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Stealth Election in Progress

CW FISHER

You’re still here? Shouldn’t you be poking chad? You do realize it’s Tuesday, right? It’s mid-term election day, time to fill some vacants seats and exercise our most basic responsibility: bitching about turnout.

If you’ve spent a lifetime defending your voting record, trying to explain away those very few times when you didn’t vote because you couldn’t vote because of some work thing or because you were out of town or some other excuse — just stop it right now.

Take your guilt, take your shame, take all your tired old stories and flush ‘em.

In Spain, they have their elections on Sunday.

The skin peeled off my eyes. The world made sense again. It wasn’t us. It never was. We always cared. It’s just a little hard sometimes on a Tuesday to get to and from work and then get our butts back to our home county to stand in line and hope we’re registered to vote.

We shouldn’t feel guilty. We should feel stupid. The framers made voting hard on purpose. Tuesdays were free for the idle rich, and they didn’t want to ruin the weekends of the working folk, so they called it for Tuesday and put it in the constitution so nobody would mess with it. Significantly, voting day is not designated a holiday. Schools are in session. Places of business do not close down. This is useful only for those countries that seek the fewest possible votes.

Since Americans seem to be gripped by the idea of amending the constitution these days, maybe Senator Kerry could propose an amendment with some actual merit and reschedule voting for the first Sunday of January.

At the least, the move would provide a comparison between a useful amendment and a hateful amendment that will legalize bigotry. The amendment “protecting marriage” proposed by President Bush is a move to rejoin church and state that will have profound consequences on American culture by handing the Christian Right even more power to create their own Taliban, American-style. Bush, who doesn’t believe in big government, who believes big government created most of the problems of society, wants to transform marriage into a sacrament of the state–not to get government too involved in our lives. (See, it’s less government with a more intense focus on problem people and how best to marginalize them).

What do you think? Am I off base here? Do you think a constitutional amendment to change voting day to the first Sunday of January is a good idea? Should it be declared a holiday?

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