Decision day

This morning I’ll be heading over to the corner church and casting my ballot.

I know quite a few people who don’t bother to vote unless it’s a presidential election. To use one of the sports analogies I hate, it’s like the people who only watch the World Series, Superbowl, or World Cup: nothing matters except the Big Game. Unfortunately, the other games really do matter; the finals don’t happen in a vacuum.

I hear lots of excuses as to why people don’t vote, the two leaders being “I don’t have time,” followed closely by “My vote doesn’t matter.” In this economy, where people have to work multiple jobs to pay their bills, I can almost accept the first, but early voting has made it a feeble excuse at best. As to the second, the only votes that don’t matter are the votes not cast.

And sometimes people tell me they don’t vote because they’re “sending a message” to one or both parties. I have some bad news for you, Sunshine: no one is listening to that message. A small voter turnout is easier to control. No one in politics cares about anyone who doesn’t vote; they only want to get the majority of the people who do vote to vote their way. Your no-vote protest is meaningless.

My father e-mailed me today, though, with a position it’s hard to argue against. He has been so sickened by the flagrant lying in some races that he chose to write in “None of the above.” I can understand that impulse. The only thing more loathsome than a lying politician is the marketing slime trying to convince us his opponent is worse.

It’s a certainty that several of the causes and candidates I support will lose, and life is likely to become still more difficult for me and for the people I love as a result. But when the results come in, no matter what they may be, I will at least know I did what I could to try to make America a better place.

If you don’t vote, you’re just letting life happen to you, instead of taking a role in it.

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By now, most of the people who are voting have made up their minds. If you haven’t, here are some tips:

  • If you’re in Miami, or at least Florida — I recommend SAVE Dade’s endorsements. These people have all proven themselves to be pro-equality candidates who will keep civil rights moving toward equality for everyone.
  • The indefatigable Michael of discourse.net has an excellent analysis of the races and ballot initiatives. Particularly useful is his breakdown of the often absurd and always confusing constitutional amendments. If you’re willing to trust me and/or Michael, here’s a cheat sheet.
    • 1 – no; 2 – no; 4 – yes; 5 – yes; 6 – yes; 8 – no
    • non-binding resolution – no
    • home rule charter amendment – no
  • Rick Scott is the most hideous, vile creature to crawl out of Florida’s political woodwork in decades, and I am horrified by the thought that he might actually buy his way into the governorship. If you truly believe that a man who led his company to steal billions of dollars from taxpayers through Medicare fraud — paying out $1.7 billion in fines, but still taking enormous personal profits along the way — is the kind of leader Florida needs, then I suspect that you are the kind of person who places far more value on money than morality. I don’t care what he paid his momma to say about him.

Overall, though, just remember.