Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Lamenting a Vote for the Electable Guy

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Lamenting a Vote for the Electable Guy

Article excerpt

I cast my first presidential vote 20 years ago at Town Hall in Lexington, Mass. - a town that calls itself "The Birthplace of American Liberty." I was at that age where nothing was as hip as studied apathy. But walking into the quiet, cavernous room knocked loose my perpetual sarcasm. Voting was weighty, historic, and venerated. I felt part of something bigger than myself. I was, finally, a participant in my country's system of choices; I had a hand in my own future.

This week - on Super Tuesday - I struggled to muster the enthusiasm required to trudge four blocks and place a mark that would be tallied along with all the others.

The nation's deficit currently crests $477 billion, the unemployment rate is hovering at 5.6 percent, and all that people appear to be discussing is the FCC's fresh outrage and how to parse basic civil rights. Ambrose Bierce, in the "Devil's Dictionary," defined politics as a "strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles." It might be too cynical, but it sure sounds accurate.

Who out there is excited, eager, hopeful for what November might bring? None of us seems to be voting for a candidate; so many of us, apparently, are simply shoveling sand in preparation against the other fellow. I no longer think of my ballot in terms of economic growth and societal support, I only hope to block the election of the candidate I suspect may run our country even further into the ground.

I have neighbors, socially active and politically passionate, the kind who doggedly stand in the cold on busy traffic corners with peace signs, relentlessly hand out leaflets, repeatedly host roundtable discussions on policy. Even these active citizens are shaking their heads, discouraged, weary. How long has it been since it felt as if the system - our system - involved us?

Is this what has become of our noble democratic practice? …

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