Posts Tagged ‘voting’

’tis a gift to be free

August 5, 2011

Went and did my civic duty yesterday, voting in the metro mayor and council election. Got to wear my boastful “I voted” sticker on the way out, feeling briefly and cheaply more democratic than at least 60% of my peers. That’s not the best reason for voting, but it’s not the worst either.

I hadn’t planned to vote in this election, there weren’t any closely-contested races and I really don’t have strong views about the Nashville Fairgrounds. But then my morning walk brought me past my precinct polling station, and that old plebiscitary  pull had me again.

So I came home, googled the candidates and issues, did my research. There were a few goofballs in the running. One “J. Wooten” (I was hoping he might be the same Wooten I knew from the girls’ elementary school gym class, but no) ran on this platform:

1. End property taxes. Put your money back into your pockets instead of government.

2. Separate state from school. Education is too important to be left to politicians and bureaucrats.

3. Legalize the “Lap Dance.” Government should not be regulating adult behavior behind closed doors.

I don’t expect he won, but keeping the goofballs on the sidelines (no matter how well they “represent” the general public)  is one very good reason to make the effort to cast an informed vote in these ho-hum elections. When sensible people don’t participate, tea partiers (speaking generically here) still will.

Concluding my electoral research, the inertia of the day then took over and I kinda forgot about it. Late in the afternoon, though, Younger Daughter and I were driving home and there they still were, all those enthusiastic campaigners with their signs and flags waving, keeping their constitutional distance from the ballot box. Their enthusiasm was infectious. So I went in, but the line was longer than expected so I ran her home, then hopped on my bike (I’ve embraced the Pedaling Revolution manifesto: short trips and errands really don’t require tons of steel) and went back to exercise my democratic birthright.

Our politics are still as screwed up as ever, but if I had stayed home I wouldn’t feel quite as entitled to complain about it. Or as invested in fixing it. Chris Stevens understands.

And so too, perhaps, does J. Wooten, the lap dance candidate whose platform also included this unconventional plank: Freedom is the answer. What’s the question? Congratulations, Mayor.