I have cared about politics since I was in grade school. I was so excited to vote for the first time, as a college freshman (in 1984! Such a big year! Okay, it wasn’t), it didn’t matter that I had to cast my vote for Walter Mondale. I told myself I was really voting for Gerry, his running mate; that seemed to make it better. There was an hour or so between the time I cast my vote and the moment it was crushed in the Reagan landslide; but for that hour, I felt great.
Geraldine Ferraro was the name of that running mate: the woman who would have been Vice President. Decades before the big ol’ fake from Alaska showed up, Gerry was the real (and quite modest) deal. Because of her, I did not consider my first vote wasted. I thought it was cool to be involved, at last.
You can say it. I know. I’m an antique.
Current college student Jessica Glicker was not eligible to vote in 2008, but she went ahead and campaigned for John McCain anyway. (Loves an underdog, that Jessica!) Two years later, the once-plucky voice for the veteran Senator is going to sit this one out, according to George Washington University’s GW Hatchet.
“Basically, I just haven’t got my absentee ballot figured out,” she says. I guess absentee ballots are, like, hard?
But isn’t this the generation of The Indigo Child? The special ones, those into whom we have poured absolutely everything we have? They can read a ballot. Jeez.
Well, ask them. They are brilliant! And ready! They are! Says a college teacher who’s written on this subject, quoting one of his students: “More kids are becoming evolved and understanding the importance of voting.”
Evolved? What, you have special metabolizing filters for bulls**t?
Maybe this guy’s students are right. Absentee ballots are tedious, and we could make things easier by pushing the greatest of all American rights online: “I feel the internet could help a person with politics because on the Internet they write articles on the champaigns and put them on the Internet.”
Voting wasn’t always easy (or positive; thanks for the memories, Carly, Jerry, Meg!) When I was 22, I mailed my absentee ballot. From England.
Voted for Dukakis! There has never been a man in history who wanted the job less, but who had to go to all the trouble of sending an absentee ballot overseas just to contribute to that epic fail? This guy!
Never been a cause too lost for me.
This year, I have a favorite lost cause: San Francisco’s version of the Sit-Lie law, Measure L. One of our neighbors across the Bay, messy Berkeley, has it. Many cities do. It’s what keeps those places from being San Francisco: the panhandler’s delight, or in the case of Haight Street, where kids can sit on the sidewalk and tell you to smile while bugging you for change.
I realized the other day why I want Sit-Lie, here. I want them to get up. That’s all. They can still ask for money; just do it standing up. Change that one thing: Just move from sitting down to standing up. There is a part of me that thinks that this small move will start the cascade of all the others. This part tries to talk down the other part, that knows better.
I realize what I’m saying. I am close to giving up on a generation. But what else is there to do? We expected to hear from them in 2004, in 2008. We know better now. It’s 2010. They’re not showing up.
But standing up: That’s something they can do, right?