I went and I voted and I hope that you will too.
The ability to vote for our leaders is a right which is undervalued and sold cheaply here in the United States. You can buy votes for $20 in Louisiana, Missouri and several other states, because too many of us have forgotten or just never knew how important the right to vote really is.
As the generation which lived through the fight for universal voting rights in the 1960s ages, and we raise up a new generation in government schools which teach to the test and give basic civics very short shrift, the result may be that no one remembers the value of their vote 20 or 30 years down the line, if we even still have free elections in the environment of indifference and ignorance we’re creating.
Right now our electoral process is going through a very rough transition, as modern technology begins to take over from paper ballots. Despite the fact that there has been no evidence of major problems with computerized voting machines, skepticism is running very high, and people seem to just be waiting for something to go horribly wrong.
|Three movies I’d recommend watching on election day:
The Great Man Votes. A forgotten classic starring John Barrymore which addresses issues of political corruption in city politics and the wooing of the voter. Barrymore plays the only registered voter in his precinct and humor and pathos ensue as meddling biddies try to get him declared an unfit father at the same time that politicians try to win his key vote. Sadly only available on VHS and hard to find, but worth the search.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. The obvious and inevitable choice. Possibly Capra’s best film, in which a heroic but naive Jimmy Stewart goes to Washington on a gubernatorial appointment with no political background and has to deal with corruption, seduction and a smear campaign. Claude Rains is brilliant as.the corrupt politician who knows he has fallen from his own ideals and Jean Arthur is radiant.
The Devil and Daniel Webster. While not entirely a movie about politics, this adaptation of the Stephen Vincent Benet play is beautifully done and one of the best explorations of moral corruption ever filmed. It’s unique because it presents the veteran politician in the form of Webster as the figure of honesty and heroism who has to save a constituent who has fallen into the grip of corruption. Edward Arnold is great as Webster, but the real treat is watching Walter Huston chew up the scenery as Mr. Scratch.
Today my voting experience was fairly painless, but I left the booth with some uncertainty because I didn’t receive any kind of printed confirmation of my vote. I work with computers every day, so I know how easily they can go wrong, and that left me feeling a bit uneasy. We don’t have Diebold machines here, but how do I really know what was going on inside that gray box full of circuitry?
On the way back to my office I heard on the radio that there had already been problems in other precincts, with some having only one voting machine for hundreds of voters, generating huge lines and people having to leave to go to work without having voted. This is in one of the best run counties in a state distinguished by its lack of major election screw-ups, but people not being able to vote because of long lines on a workday really isn’t acceptable. I suspect problems like this will be reported nationwide, if only because no one likes to be kept waiting even a little bit.
But if you do face a line, call in to work and take the time and make sure you get to put in your vote.
Once you’re done, come back here and share your observations with us.
How was your voting experience? Did it live up to your expectations? Were there problems or was it smoother than anticipated? Did you make votes you already regret or felt uncomfortable with? Were you satisfied with the choices you were offered? Do you think this election will bring us better government or worse?Powered by Sidelines