Are you burning or flaming?

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

Let me ask you a question: Does this upcoming election strike you as odd in the way it’s affecting potential voters?

I’m noticing a peculiar public antipathy toward this election that’s hard to put into words. It’s almost as if there’s a burnout on the one hand and a flameout on the other. It may be related to the fact that George W. Bush’s administration has had Americans thinking almost exclusively about politics for going on four years.

First, it was the election and the Supreme Court decision. Then it was 9/11 (and contrary to some opinions, I don’t believe Bush can be blamed for the attack—at least, no more than Clinton), then Afghanistan, then Iraq. Throw in the various smoke and mirrors issues the administration has raised— unlimited immigration, fake prescription drug reform, a Constitutional amendment to forbid gay marriage—and I think this is the most politically occupied the American mind has been in my whole life. I’m only 42, and I was too young to fully understand Watergate or Vietnam and wasn’t around for World War II, so maybe my sampling is small.

Anyway, my suspicion comes from a lot of places, not the least of which is the letters section, where I’ve noticed that the number of letters from local people about national politics has exploded. So what say you? What kind of result do you think this will have on the November election? Do you think undecided people are going to be so burned out by the excessive levels of political attention that they’ll stay away from the polls? Or do you think the higher level of attention will make for better voters?

Reason to vote No. 30: Your vote defends others’ rights not to vote. When you exercise your right not to vote, your vote counts twice. You don’t support the candidate who comes closest to your point of view, and you do support the candidate who would prefer you don’t vote.