ANN IS SITTING ON THE couch right now, filling out her absentee ballot and grumbling about the non-choices we have for this year’s election, trying to square her idealism with a deepening sense that voting does no good.
Well, maybe. I’ve covered local elections where the three top runners were separated by one vote apiece, so I know that “one vote can make a difference.” But at least in California, and in this national era of populi polarization and electronic know-nothingism, it’s less easy to see the good it does. Do any of these people have my interests at heart? And can any of our messes really have political solutions?
Cynicism oft does cynicism breed; but I’m not willing to trade in my ancestor’s dreams of the “land of opportunity” for the cold grey stone of defeatist chic despite a dearth of viable, sincere, highroad candidates — any and all of whom you may recognize because they don’t whip up fear and alarmism, and are more interested in laying out their vision than tearing down their opponent.
The only reason I can think of for voting, at least right now, is to vote against those office-seekers whose picture of an ideal world dramatically differs from mine. (Outside the local sphere, anyway — our city councilmembers are mostly decent folk, and we can call them at home when they’re not.) Michelangelo’s dictum about “carving away everything that doesn’t look like David” may suggest at least a tolerable course for those whose civic duty ends at the ballot box.