Yes, I voted today.
I wish I could say it was a show of my optimism and deep belief in democracy. Unfortunately, as I get older, it's a more curmudgeonly urge that gets me to the polls. I have a vague, but persistent notion that I forfeit my right to complain about the foibles and mishaps of the local and federal governments if I don't at least do my minimal civic duty to participate in the process. And I like to complain, I really do, so I put on my sweater and made my way to my polling place at the local high school gym this morning.
In this election, as in the last, school funding was my pet issue. Though I live in a community which has a lot of children who attend public schools, the voting population seems be comprised of single young adults and retirees who shudder at the thought of their tax dollars being allocated to the education of future tax payers. I say those retirees may be well out of it, but those young singles better be planning to move somewhere else when they need to get expert medical help in twenty years. I voted for school funding because, at this rate, our children will go back to doing their figuring on slates that they bring to school themselves for the few hours it can be held open, given budget constraints. This year, one day a week has been shortened and music and art have been slashed because funding can't be found.
Seriously, if I wanted my children to be philistines with extra free time, I would home school them.
Of course, there were major races for governor, attorney general, senate and house seats, etc. I had some strong ideas about these, and voted accordingly. But there was also the whole back side of the ballot, which I confess I almost missed. It was a list of judges, with the question of whether each of them should be retained. It must have been over twenty people I'd never heard of and had no opinion about. I know that displays a deplorably casual attitude about civic affairs, but honestly, if I'm not arguing a case in front of them, or waiting for them to hand down my sentence, how can I really know whether any particular judge should be retained? Oh I know, I could research their judicial records, but for that many judges, I would have had to start reading before they were even put on the ballot. That just seems excessive. Since I hadn't done the research, I skipped it. Being a lazy voter is one thing, but actually making uninformed choices just felt wrong.
I think that yawning list was strategic though, because at the end of it, there was a little proposition asking whether we should increase legislative pay... Yeah it was buried under all those judges. Had I actually marked all of those lines yes, I could have easily rolled right along and done the same with this proposition and voted a pay raise for people I've been complaining about since I voted in the last election. Oy!
I must say I'm looking forward to the return of ads for low cost accident lawyers, pay day loans, and heating and cooling specialists, now that the election has passed, but that's likely to be the biggest immediate benefit. I fear that the election will not really go my way, my vote notwithstanding. But believe me, tomorrow and every day until the next election, I will be exercising the right I earned to complain, because hey, I didn't vote for this!