by the sepulchritudinous disaffected, apathetic, mischievous, and apolitical

 

Written October 2000 (and mostly for the 2000 elections)

 

Liberty is always worth suffering a little hiply for. Maybe if we maintain it, the French'll even give us another statue.

While great art is often produced during times of repression, one must remember that the rest of us only get to see that great art because others had their freedoms intact and were able to rescue the art to show it the world. The tragedy is that sometimes the artist gets sacrificed in this transaction.

But how do peons (like us) avoid such sorts of repression? Ideally , by speaking out or acting when social structures start leaning in ominous directions (according to cultural mythos, anyway). But what is a peon to do when said peon is too jaded to believe one's voice or very being counts -- when one is convinced words no longer make any big flippin' difference? We don't know. We don't usually try.

But like most good peons, nevertheless, we do secretly have our opinions and passions.

So. The strange thing is we were challenged to mount a soapbox by a friend of ours and spout some of our secret opinions. This person told us, "Just tell them that it's important to vote." All right. We accepted that challenge and set out to do something rather uncharacteristic of us. We're going to tell you it's important to vote.

But we're going to tell you to do this in our way, which is to state up front that we're about as useless as it gets when it comes to politics.

As there are tons of posters, commercials, and celebrities all earnestly telling y'all that it's important to vote (and apparently being widely ignored), we're going to go about this task in our own particular way and give you our own brand of half-baked advice and bitter observations. Caveat emptor, ya know. Et tu, Brute?

So, here goes:

 

Voting Tips & Musings

 

"We are all of us in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." — Oscar Wilde

 

Some enervating quotes from the French Revolution, circa the 1790's. Remember, these were the "hippies" of the 18th Century that made it to the big top.

 

"Without terror, virtue is impotent." - Robespierre

"In order to ensure public tranquillity, two hundred thousand heads must be cut off." - Marat

"The republic consists in the extermination of everything that opposes it." - Saint-Just

"Peace will set us back ...We can be regenerated through blood alone." - Madame Roland

"In order to ensure public tranquillity, two hundred thousand heads must be cut off." - Marat

"The butchery has been good." - Committee Rep reporting on the subjugation of the Provinces

"Peace will set us back ... We can be regenerated through blood alone." - Madame Roland

  • Channel Cleopatra in the voting booth. Loudly.
  • Remember that you do not have to vote on everything on the ballot just because the questions are there. If you only have a particular opinion on four issues and know those to be very, very important to you, just vote on the questions you want and leave the other ones on the ballot blank. You DO NOT HAVE to fill out the whole thing. Certain states suspiciously put tons of confusing complicated measures about all sorts of things on the ballot almost in hopes of simply overwhelming a great many from not even attempting to vote on the four things that really matter to everyone. And for ALL our sakes, don't guess! It's not a test. It's a ballot. Know what you don't want.
  • If you feel guilty about leaving part of the ballot blank or if people you know will make you feel guilty for leaving part of the ballot blank and yet you haven't the inclination to make yourself properly informed on everything, there's an alternative to leaving gaping blank parts -- find a newspaper or an organization that offers opinions you usually find amenable and use their recommendations as a guide. Make sure to recheck your guide source, though, every now and then to make sure they didn't up and change their opinion platform on you when you weren't looking and are advocating some entirely new set of opinions.
  • A little conspiracy theory reading can perk you up. Too much of it will rot your teeth, though. Remember to floss before voting.
  • Remember this: trickle down theory didn't work for Marie Antoinette either.
  • Hair should always be an irrelevant issue for politicians. We should just outlaw it as a topic for media debate and shave all politicians right after they announce their intention to run.
  • The money spent on wasting trees to send us all that stupid campaign literature and cluttering up television with overproduced nothingness ads is obscene. THEN they have the BALLS to complain no one is listening to them anymore. Hmmmmm. Could it be because you stopped saying anything real decades ago? Idiots. We're not naive enough to think this will change anytime soon, but isn't it time to let them know that we're NOT all apathetic (I suspect most of us aren't, really). We just really do know when the Emperor is having his non-existent wardrobe designed by a marketing consultant and there's no reason we HAVE to pay attention to THAT. Psst. Politicians, your accessories don't match your shoes anymore.
  • Vote early by absentee ballot and let your politicians know how many pieces from their FLURRY of last minute damn literature and advertisements could not possibly have affected you. Ask them not to waste that money on you in the future and donate the portion they had allotted to getting your interest instead to [generic worthy cause].
  • If you get a reply from a politician to whom you wrote, always politely write back and point out that "impact" is not properly used as a verb unless in reference to asteroids or other really big rocks. Trust me. They will almost always misuse "impact" in all replies.
  • Those who live by bumper stickers should be run over. Do not make this into a bumper sticker. Refrigerator magnet, maybe.
  • Write to your politicians and tell them how you LONG for the good old days. Then send them video excerpts from "I, Claudius" of how problems in the Senate were handled then. Failing that, a perky picture of a French Revolution guillotine might do the trick. Oh. Wait. Scrap that. They might get cranky and mistake this sort of waxing for the good old days as some sort of implied threat. Then they might send you pictures of gulags or something. It's probably better not to invite such an impasse.
  • Rant. Don't expect anyone else to listen cuz ranting can get awfully boring. But rant anyway on paper to yourself and distill your point to its true essence. Alternately, take abstract concepts -- like liberty, freedom, truth, justice -- and expand them on paper into practical applications. Do this enough so that you're really good at it, and ... we'll gratefully vote for you.
  • When you feel stirred enough about an issue, try writing letters to your government representatives in a florid "Dangerous Liaisons" style.

    {{we must offer a disclaimer that this is partly a self-interested suggestion: if enough people do this and make it seem less extraordinary, we are hoping one of your humble editors might get taken off "Nuts To Watch Out For" list where she occasionally almost suspects her name must have been added after she -- some years ago -- wrote a few such-stylistic letters to certain statespersonages imploring certain sways of opinions. Must a well-wielded adverb really always be perceived as threatening?))

    (Really. We're joking about this whole paranoid scenario, ya know. At least, we think we are.)
  • Read history. Read it some more. Notice the similarity of societal crap that crops up in cycles and what happens afterwards. Notice how THINGS can go very very wrong in a relatively short amount of time. Are you really in the mood to become fodder for the future shows on the History Channel circa 2061?
  • Nihilism can be empowering if you squint at it hard enough.
  • Convicted felons cannot vote. Curious, then, how there are quite a few truly nebulous debatable things that keep getting classified as felonies, isn't it? You can lose an entire segment of society that way. Whoops! Too late. Already did.
  • Cynicism is born out of failed idealism.
  • 60s bumper sticker: "Question Authority." The questioners have become the authority. So, to update it: "Suspect Spin."
  • The baby boomers seem to only have recently become aware of their own mortality and their political reaction these days appears to be to try to outlaw everything in the strange hope, we surmise, of eluding it. Didn't anyone EVER make them read Orwell, for god's sake????
  • Benjamin Franklin, one of the few non-presidents to be featured on U.S. paper money, is on the hundred dollar bill cuz he was kewl. Yes. We spelled it kewl. We're not apologizing. Those of you who don't like that spelling already knew he was kewl.
  • Speaking of Benjamin and his droogies, it was bloody amazing of them to entertain the notion that perhaps people deserve the RIGHT to pursue happiness. We suspect, though, that this may have not really been THAT noble of a concept. After all, we only get the right to PURSUE happiness -- not attain it. And we know those guys were well-read enough to know well about the myth of Tantalus and, thus, that whole part was probably just a way to jerk our collective chain. Oh, those guys. How utterly morbid. Well done.

 

We're off to pursue some happiness now. We'll let you know if we get anywhere with that. Don't hold your breath.