Jewish World Review Nov. 2, 2004 / 18 Mar-Cheshvan, 5765
Issac J. Bailey
Vote, but don't fool yourself
I'm supposed to urge you to vote Tuesday, tell you it's part of your civic duty, that it's a way of honoring the more than 1,000 troops who have died in Iraq. So I'll tell you: Vote. And play your part. And be counted. And let your voice be heard. And retain your right to complain when things don't go quite right. Pick whichever cliche sounds best. Use that as fuel to drag yourself to your friendly neighborhood polling place.
There, I've said it. But don't ask me to pretend that voting in this country is part of a higher calling when politicians, particularly those at the highest levels, seem determined to drag us through the mud. And for what? For a title that ensures their empty platitudes will be recorded for all of history? Don't ask me to pretend that we have the best system in the world, where only the brightest and most creative and morally sound are chosen for the top leadership positions.
Don't try to convince me that, out of a country of almost 300 million souls, George W. Bush and John Kerry and the Democratic and Republican parties are our best options for helping making this world a more peaceful place or Wall Street less corrupt or children more secure. Because I don't buy it.
I imagine many of you don't, either. Yet every four years we play the game, pulling the lever for the lesser of two evils and telling ourselves we have no other choice. Then we lie to deaden the pain, say our choice was G-d-sent and the perfect elixir for what ails us, or that the other guy would embolden terrorists or steal our Social Security checks.
I'm beginning to doubt there will ever be a day in this country we'd elect a person who tells us what we need to hear, rather than want to hear, who would make decisions no matter what the National Rifle Association or the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said. I'm beginning to doubt there would ever be a day when the majority of us wouldn't be taken in by phony documentaries or the way a candidate looks or doesn't trip over his words.
So please, go vote. It's important, shows you care, that you're involved. But as much as I detest hearing politicians pander to select groups and special interests to garner votes, I think there is a bigger worry. I'm beginning to think maybe the politicians aren't the problem. Maybe the voters are.
Issac J. Bailey is a columnist for the Myrtle Beach, S.C., Sun News. Comment by clicking here.
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