Confessions of a First Time Voter

Despite all of my politically-charged ramblings on this site and despite the fact that I like to use Larvae and the videos and music to get across a somewhat social/political message from time to time, I've never actually voted before. I know that to some people that's like admitting you've never looked at another human being in a sexual way, EVER, but for me, well I have had my reasons. The political process has never engaged me. I appreciate discussion of the issues, but not within the construct of the USA's political system as such. I hate being called a liberal, or people using the word 'conservative' as a perjorative. I hate that we only ever have two real options for a presidental election, and that for local elections there is often only ONE! The debates are intentionally polaized and used to drive people apart. The campaigns are a reminder every four years that half of the people in this country disagree with you, and if you believe in what you believe strongly, it's a reminder that at least half of the country is stupid for not seeing things the way you do. Add to that a bogus electoral college and system of representation that varies in legitimacy from state to state, and the whole thing just doesn't seem that appealing. I've always felt like my civic duty was carried out in other, hopefully more meaningful ways like playing shows, giving interviews, posting here... things where my viewpoint on the issues could be expressed without the encumbering political polemics.

But things were bad enough this time that I felt like I should probably at least make sure that it was on the record somewhere that I didn't vote for Junior. So I got up a little early this morning, drove by the polling center to see what the line was like and realized that it wasn't quite the clusterfuck I expected it to be at 8:45 AM so I pulled into the parking lot and got in line. I was wondering what the tone of the place would be, if it would be very formal and official like the line at the courthouse to pay a traffic ticket, or if it would be more like a line at a bank where people chat, answer their cell phones, etc. I looked around for people making that last minute statement with t-shirts or buttons or megaphones but didn't see much INSIDE the poll other than a Kerry sticker on a backpack which I guess if someone wanted to, they could have had removed. I don't know what constitutes campaigning, but I know you aren't supposed to do it IN LINE. All in all, it was kind of a neat feeling to be there with a diverse group of people, all taking some time out of their day to try and affect the course of the nation. I voted in the Little Five Points Community Center so I expected an overwhelmingly anti-Bush crowd and it probably was that, but no one really talked about the election or the candidates or voting. It was pretty quiet as people waited for their chance at the 'booth'.

All in all, it took about an hour to get through the lines and up to the electronic tablet that took my votes. I breezed through the instructions and then got to the ballot (which I had previewed online the night before). I looked at the presidential section and saw the write-in space and wondered how many people took time out of their day to write in Ralph Nader. It still makes no sense to me. The line for Kerry/Edwards might just as well have been a line that read "NO CONFIDENCE IN BUSH" because that's what my vote really was. Kerry seems like an ass, and a true politician, but he isn't W. and he's the only non-W with a shot. I voted democrat for the local elections because I honestly didn't know much about the candidates other than that I was going to vote against Isackson for having an ad that claimed "anything in the hands of evil can become a weapon of mass destruction." Yeah, fuck you, stop trying to scare people. I have been amazed at home much people are saying the issue of 'homeland securtiy' is the top issue on their minds. Really? People really don't feel safe here? That seems insane to me, but I moved on. There were a couple of items on the ballot to vote for, I made what seemed like the reasonable choices, then confirmed my selections and got my sticker.

Do I feel now like I've accomplished something? Not really. I still feel like the process needs to be vastly improved before it means anything. And I'd really like everyone to stop trying to ram the VOTE OR DIE mentality down people's throats. If it works to mobilize people against Junior, I guess I'm okay with it, but it seems like this giant monster of hype that sells the idea that if you vote, you've done your part. Honestly, the hour I spent this morning is only the beginning of my part and that's the only thing I'm still sure of.