Friday, November 15, 2013


So why didn’t you vote?  How could you not vote?  OK, some of you--very few, I might add--may have had a worthwhile excuse. You moved and your voter card didn’t get to your new house in time; you’re convicted felons; you’re not a citizen; you’re younger than 18… But the majority of you lazy cusses have no excuses.

In Virginia, the percentage of voters between the ages of 18 and 29 has dropped by six points in 12 months. The percentage of women dropped by two points, while (I am proud to say) the percentage of people in my age group rose by four points.  Still, only 43 percent of you in the Old Dominion chose to vote.  Forty-three percent. Geez… In 1989, it was 67 percent.

What’s the matter with you? Really, did you think retro-thinking Robert Cucinelli would lose by a landslide?  He lost, but not by much. This is a guy who wants to ban birth control pills and roll back women’s rights to the 1960s.  Your general laissez-faire attitude almost got him elected.  Congrats.

What’s incomprehensible here is that the people in Northern Virginia were deeply affected by the Republican- and tea party-led government closure. Here was an opportunity to truly show what you thought of the insane situation caused by these people and instead you chose to stay home and watch reruns of CSI and Matlock.

Something’s gotta be done to get your butts in gear.  Here are a few suggestions.

  • Make voting compulsory, just like jury duty. That’s draconian, some might say, so perhaps we should just make it law that registered voters have to show up at the polling booths and, if they don’t want to vote, mark their ballots with that intent. If you don’t show up at the polls, you get fined. The first election year alone will probably generate enough fines to lower the national debt.

  • Hold elections on weekends. That way, the excuse that people can’t vote because they have to work (which we know is bs anyway) becomes invalid.

  • Work out the kinks on internet/phone voting.  If the smart people who produce The Voice can do it, it can’t be that difficult.  

  • Turn off the cable channels. When you vote, you’ll get a personalized code you can enter on your computer to get service back. Don’t vote? Tough. No Homeland for you.

  • Reward young people for voting. Give them a day off from school or work. Perhaps then we’ll be able to start instilling the notion of how important voting is.

A long time ago when I did quite a bit of traveling thorough the developing world, I was fascinated by the deep desire of people to elect their own. In Africa, in the Near East and Asia, it wasn’t uncommon to see lines hundreds of yards long snaking through villages on Election Day. I have a suspicion that even here in the United States, until very recently, people made a concerted effort to have their voices heard and their choice of representatives elected.

Our willingness to avoid voting can and will have increasingly serious repercussions. The most obvious is that, as the center no longer goes to the polls, the leaders will be elected by the far right and far left fringes, and will represent the interests of those elements alone. You can look forward to a nation governed by adamant pro-lifers, NRA freaks, survivalists, big money, and special interests groups. Is that really what you want?

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