Don’t let the creeps win

It seems there is never a moment to relax. The moment you let your guard down, there’s another assault on your freedom, your pocketbook, your peace of mind. PATRIOT Act 2 in Washington, D.C., gun-toting police in Washoe County schools, vote-wielding frauds at the Nevada Legislature, whenever a worry drops off the radar screen, two more appear to take its place.

Respondents to a recent question posed by this newspaper—Why don’t more people vote?—express a frustration that goes way beyond the simple “voter apathy” that mainstream media offers as the reason for the sagging number of voters at the polls.

“Over time, I no longer believe any of it,” wrote one new nonvoter. “All American myths [are] suspect, and the most suspect is that my vote counts. The 2000 election pretty much killed that one! I think the Great Experiment is ending. Most ‘superpowers’ in history crashed from the apex of their power—not a slow slide downwards.”

Another said he’d only missed two elections since 1964, but he’d decided to quit voting because his vote had become irrelevant. He went on to list five examples where the voted will of the people was subverted by powerful courts or corrupt politicians. All of the examples, from the 1998 lame-duck Washoe County Commission tax hike to pay for the train trench to the subversion of the vote to limit new billboards were local issues—disproving the popular notion that a vote matters more on a local level.

A third wrote, “We’re all very pissed off, totally cynical and very, very disillusioned after years and years of promises being broken, people never doing what they say they’ll do and never measuring up to being competent to do the job they’ve taken on.” She also referred to the difficulty of getting informed about the intricacies of all the ballot questions.

There is no disputing the arguments. These are people whose observations have convinced them that there’s no reason to vote. Their scientific minds, when faced with repeated results, have made a decision not to waste time at the voting booth. When you boil down the logic to its components, the result is appalling but clearly understandable: it’s the smart people who aren’t voting.

And they’re right. There is no fighting the discouragement, disillusionment or inertia you experience when you fill in the oval, you see in the results that you’ve spoken with the wise majority, and six months or two years later, your vote, your time and sweat in some cases, has been perverted to benefit the powerful. That’s not representative democracy. That’s not anything but a lie.

The hypothesis that intelligent people don’t vote certainly explains some stuff you’ve seen lately, doesn’t it?

The unfortunate, irrational bottom line is this: If you want things to get better in this city, state and country, you’ve got to ignore your intellectual mind in the hopes that a lifelong effort of voting will turn this ship from stormy seas.

Face it. If you want things to get better in the long run, you’ve got to be an informed and registered dummy and vote.