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Zer Netmouse
August 8th, 2006
06:18 am

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Primary Voting Time
Last night thatguychuck went door-to-door with me to ask Democrats in my precinct to write me in for Precinct Delegate (Ward 5, Precinct 6). We split up the list, odds and evens, and campaigned from right after dinner (which chuck cooked while I organized the lists) to right after dark (Thank you, Chuck!). It was great to have a companion as upbeat and forward as he is to walk around with. I especially admired how outgoing he was to people we encountered on the street.

One such encounter sticks out in my mind this morning. As this fellow approached us I asked if he was voting in the Primary. He got a bit surly and declared as he passed us that he didn't vote at all. Chuck called after him, "You should vote, man, it makes change happen!" to which he responded, "That's a lie."

I believe this attitude is pervasive in our country, and I hope you will resist this kind of hopelessness and go out and participate today. Vote! It's not just a right, it's a responsibility.

A number of the people I spoke to were not so hopeless but were very concerned. Our president can't put a sentence together. Our children are not learning handwriting any more, or history, or how to build things and do science. Our country is facing a competitive international scene that is largely angry and disappointed with us. It is time for change.

There are many things that one can do to try to effect change. One of them is vote. I encourage you to vote in your local primary today (Updated to add: or whenever your primaries are, where you live).

(12 comments | Leave a comment)

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From:minnehaha
Date:August 8th, 2006 12:36 pm (UTC)
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We have primaries in September, but I take the point.

K.
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From:matt_arnold
Date:August 8th, 2006 02:29 pm (UTC)
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I certainly vote for President, Governor, and Michigan's senators and congressmen. But below that level I don't know the names of the candidates or what their positions are. Which party they are in is, sadly, no guide.

The problem with what you're saying, if I understand it correctly, is this. "Change" is a rather vague thing to say. Effect what change? What's wrong in Ann Arbor's Democratic Party that needs to be changed, at the level of Ann Arbor Democratic Precinct Delegates? For that matter, what is a Precinct Delegate? What is this primary for? And why is it that total strangers think that merely by interrupting us on the street, they can persuade us to trust them that their unidentified "change" will be in a positive direction?

Where do we get the idea that every citizen should flip a coin, throw a dart, and vote whether they have an opinion or not? At the national level things are abysmal, but locally I don't have problems which are visibly connected to a political solution. You know things are going well when the topics being voted on locally are numbingly boring civic administrivia on which 90% of the population eligible to vote does not possess the specialized expertise necessary to form an educated opinion.

I suggest that a random vote in the wrong direction for a stranger's name which is no more recognizable than a string of gibberish phonemes, with no perceptable connection for or against Bush, children's education, or international competition, is truly not useful. So, instead of encouraging people to vote, perhaps you should encourage people to have a position to vote about, and point to non-partisan informational resources they can trust to be unbiased.

On one more note; I am so used to advertisements meaning "don't wait" when they tell me to buy something "today," that it actually took a moment to realize "vote in your local primary today" means that you are saying the primary elections are taking place today, Tuesday, August eight.
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From:netmouse
Date:August 8th, 2006 02:56 pm (UTC)
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I certainly don't advocate random voting just for the purpose of voting. This is why, years ago, I was so pleased to see the creation of Vote-Smart, a bi-partisan effort to collect information about candidate stances and voting records so that people can try to be informed.

For today's primary (yes, the Michigan primary is today), if you live in Washtenaw county you'll find some interesting articles about the candidates on the progressives of washtenaw web site, and I'm sure candidates have more information on their own web sites. Candidates also support each other. I'm supporting Rebekah Warren and Chris Easthope, as well as my fellow precinct delegate candidate, Dennis Tokarski.

To let people know more about me, I happily answer questions, and I also passed around a flyer about Anne Murphy. It isn't a whole detailed position platform or anything, so I was pleased to find discussions in person also drew out my opinions on education and international relations, as well as my opinions on development projects local to our precinct, one of which I attended a city council meeting to oppose a couple of years ago (the development happened anyway).

I also answered questions about what a precinct delegate is, and I explained that a bit in my flyer as well.

I think encouraging people to have a position to vote for or about is important, but isn't something you want to do *instead* of encouraging them to vote, but rather hand in hand with that encouragement.
From:eviljohn
Date:August 8th, 2006 04:16 pm (UTC)
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And I've found http://www.publius.org/ good for getting info on our 7th district represenatives in congress.

Figuring out which judges to vote for is still tricky.
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From:foms
Date:August 8th, 2006 06:07 pm (UTC)
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I'll go stronger than that. I think that to be approached by a stranger is such a strong point against the aproacher that it overwhelms almost any subject matter, regardless of importance unless it is to do with immediate and local danger.

I am not a shy person. This is a statement against invasion of privacy and proselytisation.
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From:thatguychuck
Date:August 9th, 2006 03:59 pm (UTC)

Not judging, just hoping for more information.

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I think that to be approached by a stranger is such a strong point against the aproacher that it overwhelms almost any subject matter, regardless of importance unless it is to do with immediate and local danger.

Why?

I'm honestly baffled. I'm an outgoing person and I can't understand this sort of reaction.
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From:foms
Date:August 10th, 2006 04:06 pm (UTC)

Re: Not judging, just hoping for more information.

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As I mentioned and have, I think, amply demonstrated, I am also an outgoing person. I have a draft reply detailing my feelings on the matter in the works and I'm not sure what to do with it. It's not the sort of thing that I want to post in my own journal but I may do so anyhow. I'll e-mail it to you (once it's adequately done), if you like.
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From:thatguychuck
Date:August 10th, 2006 04:48 pm (UTC)

Re: Not judging, just hoping for more information.

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As I mentioned and have, I think, amply demonstrated, I am also an outgoing person.

Laugh. You certainly have. We've met. :) You're one of the nifty ones.

I'd like it if you'd email me a copy. I'm curious for the reasons behind the reaction.

I can be emailed at chuck_f_AT twmi.rr.com , but you'll have to remove the underscores. Thanks!
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From:skzbrust
Date:August 8th, 2006 07:10 pm (UTC)
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Well, as you know, I agree with the fellow who thinks that is not how change happens. But that is neither here nor there. I'm more interested in how you are feeling about this. What sorts of feelings do you get from politics at this level? I get the impression it is exciting. What else?
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From:netmouse
Date:August 10th, 2006 06:00 pm (UTC)
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It is exciting, yes. It's also frustrating because I continue to get the feeling that there is a great deal of frustration with the two major parties, and that a lot of people don't feel well served by either of them. This is mainly frustrating because the two parties have done so much to make the political system favor them in processes of decision-making as well as in the election process itself.

I have enjoyed meeting people and talking to them, tried not to take it personally when people don't want to be spoken to at all, and hope that eventually something will convince me that getting active in the Democratic party really is the right thing to do at this point in time. Tonight I'm going to a Ward 5 meeting for getting organized, and on Saturday I'll be going to a "unity breakfast" that's been organized by our congressman.
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From:mjwise
Date:August 9th, 2006 07:26 am (UTC)
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Change? New direction? I agree, but the two-party stranglehood on this country admits no competition. This is as close as I have to someone who represents my views in Washington. People are cynical because they are faced with (maybe) two similar choices on most ballots. Had, in 2004, the national presidential debates featured only those individuals who had qualified for enough state ballots to win the presidency, only 5 or 6 individuals would have been at the debates. They may have even been interesting as a result. Certainly do-able, but not done.

There is significantly little actual diversity on most ballots. Understandably, a great deal of the populace doesn't get too excited about voting.
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From:netmouse
Date:August 9th, 2006 06:21 pm (UTC)
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In 1999 he voted for H.R. 2587 that banned gay couples from adopting children in the District of Columbia

Other than that last part, I was really starting to like him.

I certainly support better ballot access for independent candidates.

The bitch of it is, you have to get inside the system in order to reform the system. And it seems that getting inside the system usually changes people to where they are less likely to attempt reform.

I would love to see actual, interesting debates, and a larger plurality of candidates.
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