11.04.2014

I Voted Today and Here's Why

I woke up about 7 AM this morning, after hitting snooze on the clock radio once, then listening to the National and Wisconsin Public Radio news broadcasts at the top of the hour, before rolling out of bed.

I micturated, made some coffee and breakfast (hamburger), fed the dogs and let them out, and got into the shower about 8 AM.

After I was dressed for work, I left the house, got into my new used Prius, and drove the few blocks to the Huegel Elementary School near my house, my assigned polling place for the 2014 Midterm Election.

Having moved to Madison WI on July 1, I had never voted at this site before. I parked on the street, taking my cue from the many other cars parked on the street, and walked up to the school, following the Polling Place signs all the way through the building until I found the large gym where the poll workers were managing the election process.

At the door was an information table with a man and a woman sitting behind it. I told them I was registered to vote but new to the site. They asked me what street I lived on and then directed me to the Ward 95 table, where I gave my name and address. However, it turned out that was the wrong table. I was meant to go to the Ward 92 table, a few yards away from the Ward 95 table.

There were no lines at either table at 8:30 in the morning. The poll workers at the Ward 92 table looked me up in the voter registration book, and sure enough, my name and address were in there, verifying my right to vote.

I signed next to my name in the book and was issued voter number 110. I took the slip of paper with the number on it to another table, where they were handing out the ballots. I took the ballot over to a voting booth and began to fill it in.

I won’t disclose who or what I voted for, but I will say the following:

I hope Scott Walker loses the election for WI Governor. I hope Susan Happ becomes Wisconsin District Attorney. I hope the Constitutional Amendment to “lock down” the state transportation fund, lobbied for by special interests in construction, fails. I hope the minimum wage in Wisconsin is raised to $10.10, even though I have doubts it will because of all the fear mongering by corporate interests.

There was only one Green Party candidate on the ballot, for State Treasurer. There were a few Libertarians and at least one Peoples’ Party candidate.

All told, it was a very easy thing to vote. Easy parking. Helpful poll workers. No lines. Understandable ballot. I am geeked to see the results of this election, no matter what they are. Unlike many of my friends, I don’t fear outcomes that differ from what I hoped for. That’s the democratic process. I don’t subscribe to hyperbole, such as, “That candidate will do irreversible harm to America.” Really? Irreversible? In some ways, I am OK with the other guy getting elected. If their policies really are bad, people will see that in action and can repent their mistake in the next election.

As for the minimum wage raise, I support that because people with more money spend more money and consumer spending is the only way to boost the economy. Yes, it creates added expense for companies, but in a way this is good. First off, employee wages are a tax write-off for companies, so the more they have to spend on labor, the more they save on taxes. Second, we want to support profitable companies that can afford to hire people at a higher wage. If a company is so close to bankruptcy that raising the minimum wage will push them over the cliff onto the rocks below, then I say push them over the cliff onto the rocks below. Disenfranchise the weak companies. Social Darwinists, misguided though they are, should totally support this “survival of the fittest” mentality directed at corporations. They use it all the time to shame and disenfranchise the weak and poor in society, so they have to apply that logic across the board, in my opinion. I should note that my opinion counts for nothing. Reality waits for no one. I do, however, have a right to vote for what I believe in…to vote my conscience. I feel gratified that I was able to do that today.

Most of all, I like voting because my vote (and yours) is the one thing special interests cannot buy, at least directly. You have one vote to spend as you see fit on election day and its sacrosanct, unimpeachable. Even though corporations have been ruled to be PEOPLE by the courts, they still cannot vote on election day (though I would not be surprised if someday they try). Special interests can’t legally bribe you to vote a certain way, they can only spend on persuasive advertising for one candidate or another, and I don’t know anyone who puts any credence in political advertising and mudslinging. It’s all totally biased and everyone knows it.

Everyone has different views and politics and ideologies, and that’s OK. The outcome of the election is the aggregate of everyone who participates in this process.

That’s why you should vote. Not because your vote is going to swing any elections (it’s not), but because your voice is equal to everyone else’s on Election Day and that involves you in the outcome. The playing field is made level on election day, no matter how rich or poor you are, no matter your race, religion, or creed. It’s really the only time when most of us will truly be EQUAL to everyone else.

Do you see why that is cool and why you should vote and be a part of your democracy?

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