This election is important.
That's what they tell me.
Me, I don't believe it.
First, let me say to those who don't know me that I care about all the shit I'm supposed to care about. I've cared since 1964 when I went to a kid's convention as a Goldwater Republican. By 1968 I was Clean for Gene, but cautiously optimistic that Nixon meant what said about the war, even though at 18 I was old enough to get my ass drafted, but not old enough to vote.
In 1972, my first election as an eligible voter, and an angry veteran, I worked hard for McGovern. That Wednesday morning I awoke to a real nightmare, a landslide for Nixon. I felt like I'd been kicked in the balls. I swore I'd never do that again.
But I did. I cared, and I argued, and I learned history and policy and I got energized every election and do you have any fucking idea how hard it is to get excited about Walter Mondale?
Now, years have gone by and I've cast my vote in all but a tiny handful of elections. Unlike most Americans, I know my Congressional representative. I know his name. I know his record. I know votes he's cast that I've agreed with and votes that have pissed me off. Last year it was for the bankruptcy bill written largely by the credit card shysters. I wrote a letter and called his office to express my disappointment. It didn't matter. It's still law, and a lousy law at that.
So what am I going to do in protest? Vote Republican? I'd rather slam my pecker in the car door.
Now, here we are, with a chance to take the House and have subpeona power so we can finally find out just what the hell is going on over at that fuck-up factory they call the White House.
So why am I not voting?
It helps that my district is safely Democratic. But I don't think it matters. Because I don't think our votes count.
The touch screen machines, the voter suppression, the dirty tricks and ugly smears make me question why a supposedly smart man has wasted so much of his life, money and cranial real estate on politics.
You might as well vote on the weather. Yes, I'd like a nice warm day on Saturday, please, because I'm moving. No, you'll get cold fucking rain and like it.
Oh, you say, if I don't vote for the weather, I can't bitch about it?
The fuck I can't.
I'll still read and I'll still care and I'll still complain like the enlisted man I am and in the end I'll be just another old man yelling at the TV. Because our democratic republic is dead. The experiment was interesting, and lasted for a good long while as these things go. But we've lived through a quiet coup sponsored by people we can't see. We've become a banana republic and we can't even buy a decent banana.
That's what I believe.
So fuck them all. Every last one. I don't know who will win tomorrow, but I know who won't - you and me.
The game is rigged and only suckers play a game they can't win. They tell you that your vote counts just to keep you quiet and make you think you have some influence on things. You don't.
That's why, for the first time in my memory, I'm staying away from the polls. Let them find another rube. I'm tired.
Let someone else drive the old women to the polls. Let someone else walk the hinky neighborhoods trying to flush out that last Democrat who hasn't cast her vote. Let someone else write the checks and post the flyers and poll the neighbors and work the phone banks.
Because tomorrow night I'll do what I do every election. I'll get drunk and listen to Mick sing "You Can't Always Get What You Want." The only difference is, I won't have that "I Voted" sticker to throw away on Wednesday.
It's someone else's turn. I quit.