America simply does not deserve good government. We fulfill our civic duty of whining to our virtual friends, retweeting #occupy solidarities and Liking Obama's fan page, but when it comes to the one opportunity to directly change the system -- voting -- we simply... what's on The Daily Show tonight?
On Tuesday, the country saw an insanely low turnout for the US Congressional primaries, with California being no exception. Case in point: the winner of District 2 had just 48,001 votes, second place 19,636 and third place 18,257. That's $26.50 spent per vote (plus an embarrassing $68 per vote for self-funded fourth-place finisher Stacey Lawson), plus countless volunteer hours of blood, sweat, and now a whole lot of tears.
Results? In November, Californians will have to choose between a PAC-funded Democrat, and a Republican stock broker with literally no specific plans for what he'd actually do -- there's not even an issues page on his site -- and whose community engagement is so low that he highlights Morgan Sports Car Club on his list of association membership.
The people had the rare opportunity to vote in someone like Norman Solomon, who actually has an understanding of national and world issues -- written 13 books, one of which was made into a documentary -- and a strong track record of standing up and doing something on the issues of civil liberties, environmentalism, corruption, unjust wars and more. Organizations from MoveOn.org to Progressive Democrats of America all sent emails urging their members to turn out for Solomon. Californians blew it.
So much time, money, and effort goes into elections, so much at stake at the just the beginning of our world ecological, energy and economic crisis, yet too few care enough about themselves, their families, fellow citizens and habitat to vote.
Blame it on America's corporate-backed culture of complacency. Blame it on some biological phenomenon that states democracy isn't a proper governance format for humans. Blame it on Internet access, hair-color appointments, socio-economic blah blah blah.
Face it: When it comes to responsibility, Americans suck.
1. Your vote really does make a difference.
2. Get-Out-The-Vote activism does not make the difference, be they positive, negative, pretty, ugly, or from this post.
3. Voluntary voting does not work. Perhaps it's time for compulsory voting or the opposite extreme -- have a benevolent council decide for us; maybe the latter is already happening in our current voting participation, but the results are typically not benevolent.
4. Lobbying is quite necessary, as there is no mandate from the people. The only way to affect government is to get a bunch of good or evil friends and force the government to do something; evil people are better at it.
Just kidding. All the venti mochas at your local quad-corner Starbuckses combined aren't enough to pry open your eyes, get you out of bed, and vote this year. Go back to sleep and dream of a dreamy tomorrow, because when your circumstances finally jolt you awake, you won't like your waking world.