Election day is three days away and I am really looking forward to it, not because I’m eager to cast my vote as a responsible member of a democratic society, but because I want to GET IT OVER WITH. This has been the sleaziest, longest, most obnoxious and painful election cycle I have ever seen. The only thing on the ballot that makes any sense to me here in California is Prop 19 (which will make it easier to legalize marijuana), and I don’t even smoke pot!
I started paying better attention to politics when Bill Clinton became president. For the first time in my life, I felt like our president was my president, for he was a regular guy, born of regular people, from a regular place. Prior to that, I had always seen our elected officials as privileged people, separate from me, who couldn’t be trusted. I became much more interested in what happened in Washington. Bill Clinton made me feel like the common man would finally be taken care of, because he was a common man. I was genuinely shocked by how much his enemies HATED him, and how much time and money was wasted on trying to destroy him, by going after him for such ridiculous, personal things. That confirmed for me what I had already believed about politics - that it wasn’t about representing the people’s best interests, or about governing at all. It was all about power, money and greed. There really is no place for the common man in politics, except on election day, after we are forced to have to endure months of sleazy TV and radio ads, full mailboxes of fliers printed on tons of wasted paper, carrying unread political messages and attacks, wasted space on our answering machines of ridiculous automated messages, over exposure on the news, conflicting polls, and long winded talking heads and political pundits who, like the candidates, never seem to shut up.
After I became a mother, I started paying much closer attention to politics, at the national, state and local levels. I did it for my kids. I decided to no longer keep myself in the dark out of disgust, but to get involved, because I wanted a better world for my kids. By paying better attention, however, I had to open myself up to the ridiculous claims and promises made by candidates. They all say the same thing, every two years, and then never make good on their promises, once elected. It never changes. Everybody claims to care about education and children. This really angers me, because if they all cared as much as they said they did, we wouldn’t keep hearing the same thing every two years, for they’d be making different promises. It’s insulting to me as a voter, because I’m not as stupid as they think I am. That’s what the Status Quo counts on – keeping us stupid and afraid, so it can keep functioning as it always has. But when we give in to our apathy, we play into the Status Quo’s strategy to manipulate the masses, proving Bill Maher right: Americans are too stupid to be governed.
The Status Quo counts on intelligent voters to be so disgusted that they won’t even bother voting. The dumber ones, who are much easier to scare and control, always show up. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder if public education is a disaster in this country, not because the problems are so insurmountable and complicated, but because that’s the way the Ruling Elite wants it. The masses are much easier to control if they’re uneducated and preoccupied with their own survival. One of the many reasons why I fight so hard for arts education is because the arts teach kids how to think for themselves, question authority, and reach outside of the box for ideas and solutions to problems - traits that are not at all encouraged by institutions that want to maintain a hold over the masses. So is it any wonder, then, that without the arts in schools, mandatory scripted curriculum and standardized tests, and medications like Ridalin, that kids are so much easier to control?
I’ll be voting on November 2. I won’t stay home in disgust. I’ll show up, but it won’t come soon enough for me.