Thursday, 9 October 2008

And by the way. . .

If you take an interest in who’s likely to become president, you can’t help notice what is going on in Virginia, Nevada and Missouri, where people’s votes actually count. It’s a sad curiosity that the existence of the antiquated Electoral College not only isn’t a campaign issue but doesn’t even cross our minds.

The experience of the presidential election that one has here in New York where the broadcast silence is deafening is starkly different from the barrage of attention, albeit mostly stupid voter harassment, going on in Ohio or New Mexico. Being a solidly blue state, no one really gives a crap how we vote, whether we move our behinds to the polls at all or what the undecideds among us are thinking.

We don’t get to canvass door-to-door or meet our neighbors; no one asks us to put a campaign sign in our yard (if we had yards); and the battle of the lapel buttons never really got underway.

We have no campaign headquarters except the one on Broadway that organizes trips to neighboring Pennsylvania or telephoning parties to people in other swing states. In short, we don’t really feel we have much say in the election at all, and it’s got to have a slightly alienating effect.

Someone should resuscitate the idea that the founding fathers faced somewhat different circumstances in 1787 when they presided over an agrarian society of four million with institutionalized slavery and limited suffrage even for white men, that times have changed and this rickety and unfair system should be abolished.

After all, if we had a real democracy, George W. Bush would never have become president in the first place.

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