Voting rights should be EXPANDED, not restricted, no matter your political persuasion. You think your vote doesn't count? There's really only one contest where it could be argued that it doesn't, and that's the Top Job, where the
Every other candidate and issue on the ballot wins or loses because you made the effort to cast a ballot.
As both of you know, I don't watch much television. I've learned that I'm a happier, saner, nicer person when I don't watch the news, and it's been a while since I've had a favorite, can't-miss program. HBO's The Newsroom would be the most recent qualifier. The West Wing is probably the last. I watch sports – that's my reality TV. I watched the Democratic convention and I've tuned in to all of the debates.
During campaign season, it's not the programming itself that sends me into apoplectic fits, it's the commercials. Here in West Virginia it appears that the candidates for U.S. Senator and for governor of West Virginia are all running against President Obama.
All. Of. Them.
The Republicans are lumping the Democrats in with the President because, well, they're Democrats, while the Democrats are distancing themselves from him – "I'll stand up to anybody" is one of their oft-repeated and memorable lines – in the name of coal. (Here's a hint, guys: Your war on coal and "Obama's job-killing EPA" is misguided. Natural gas is coal's cleaner, cheaper competition. Nixon – yes, Nixon – started the EPA.)
It's easier than ever – at least for now – to cast a ballot. (It's much more difficult to register, however. Thank you, Patriot Act. And first-time voters may have to show some form of identification at the polls.) With early voting, you can't use the "I'm too busy the first Tuesday in November" excuse any longer. In my county, voting booths are set up in the courthouse beginning next Wednesday and continuing through the Saturday before Election Day.
So vote, damn it.
One more thing: I've heard more than a few people say they'll vote, all right, but they're not going to vote for [fill-in-the-office-of-your-choice – President, Senator or Governor].
I can't tell you what to do when it's just you and that screen. Actually I can, but you don't have to listen to or follow my advice. That's what secret ballots are all about. You can even tell me to my face that you're going to scratch the rooster, but when it comes right down to it, I'll never know whether you did or not.
But if you don't vote for [fill-in-the-office-of-your-choice] you might as well just vote for the other guy. If your candidate doesn't win, you have no way of influencing him/her once s/he takes the oath.
As recently as a month ago, I was one of those. I've been, um, enlightened. I'll hold my nose and vote a straight ticket. I then plan to bombard my Senator and Governor (because West Virginia is, in the end, a blue state until you start talking about the Electoral College) with letters and phone calls and e-mails, reminding them that I'm a constituent, too.
I don't work in a coal mine. I drink water from a well. My government needs to remember that voters like me outnumber coal miners by a wide margin. President
(And yes, I know they're not really standing up for miners. It's the coal company owners who fill their campaign coffers. But I'll play along until they take the oath of office.)