Thursday, November 5, 2009

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

I was trying to think of what to say about doing my civic duty in the elections held just two days ago when the title of this posting popped into my head. I realized that with the mood that I am in, little could be more fitting. 

I won't go into the specifics of the candidates and the issues here, as I have done that for this week's column for the Toledo Free Press, which I expect will be available online in less than 24 hours. Instead, I thought that it might be worth the effort to spend just a minute speaking about the process. It appears that about 38% of the registered voters cast ballots in Tuesday's election. This is better than the meager numbers that we got in the September primary, but obviously not nearly as good as it should be. Yet even as less than 40% of us acted on our greatest freedom, few appeared to do so with the due consideration required to perform this function responsibly. 

Far too many of our fellow citizens (at least those who cast ballots) appear to have done so with other than the knee-jerk response to candidate names that have kept Toledo in its currently unenviable position. While many claimed a desire to end to the "same old, same old" or the "good old boys network", when presented with an opportunity to make such a change we instead held a "Green Election", recycling our local politicians. 

In the first real election since so many voted for "hope and change" in this country, we here in Toledo chose instead to trod a well-worn path to destruction. While complaining over the way that things have been done in this city, we still managed to redefine stupidity by "doing the same thing over again and expecting a different result". 

As for issue balloting in the state, I am afraid that the slick advertising campaigns appear to have once again gotten the better of the Ohio voters. Using scare tactics, unsubstantiated accusation, and juggled (if not blatantly fabricated) statistics, they insidiously worked their way into the public consciousness to reap the results that they were designed to. With aggressive ignorance, weak wills, and a drone mentality that is fascinating to those of us attempting to analyze them, these campaigns of misinformation worked their magic on the electorate with all the subtlety of an insurance commercial. (I am beginning to understand now how those Geico cavemen feel.) 

As for me, the glass of wine that indulged myself with while watching the results come in Tuesday night now seems to taste of sour grapes. Perhaps the professional politicians, the slick corporate entities with their phony ad campaigns, and the malaise and apathy of the voters are simply symptoms (or proof) that the game of politics has simply outpaced our ability as citizens to play it. 

After watching the performance of the players on running up to Tuesday however and seeing the results reaped upon wide-eyed and gullible voters, I can't help but feel that performing my sacred duty as a citizen of this country is beginning to feel like a good deed that I fear will not go unpunished. 

4 comments:

Roland Hansen said...

Toledo voter turnout of 38% equates to 19% of the registered voters put Michael Bell into the office of Mayor of Toledo.

In that only about half of the voting age public is even registered to vote, Mike Bell was elected Mayor by approximately 10% of the voting-age public.

This is just an observation and not a slam to Bell. BUT, to be honest, I do mean it as a slam to nonvoters: and, I will not apologize for that slam which is well-deserved in my opinion.

Tim Higgins said...

Roland,

I hear what you are saying, as those not exercising their right to vote deserve to have abuse heaped upon them.

My stated (probably lamely here) is that those of us who do exercise that right, and take the time to fully research and defend our positions (regardless of which side of the political spectrum that they fall on) appear to be punished for that act. Not only is our vote nullified by those who choose to vote blindly, but we are cursed additionally by the knowledge of what has been done, a punishment which we do not deserve and have not earned.

Hooda Thunkit (Dave Zawodny) said...

Amigos,

To me it just means that things haven't gotten bad enough to attract the attention of those who have much more important things to do with their time that to pay attention to an election; or still aren't taxed enough to significantly cut into their cushy lifestyle to matter to them.

And, even if they were to pay attention, how does the casual observer find the truth amongst all of the mis-truths, half-truths and outright lies being bantered about, primarily on the TV and Radio.

It matters less each election what the daily loco has to say, as so few adults can read above say, a fourth grade level.

The Age of the Illiterati is upon us. . .

Tim Higgins said...

Amigos,

I think that Dave has it. How can anyone be interested in the issues that might affect their lives and futures when "American Idol" is on?