I am impressed with this renewed zeal to get out the vote. Off year elections in the US tend to be walkaways, with less than 50% of the people voting. Anything that gets people into the polls is a Good Thing. However, before we all pick a candidate that we’re sure we can get elected (if we only pool ALL of our weblog votes), time for a little reality check: is the person we pick the person we really want?
There is one reason why the American government doesn’t seem to represent the American people: time. We don’t invest the time necessary to vote wisely, and after the elections, we don’t invest the time to monitor our government carefully.
Not enough people exercise their priviledge to vote in this country, and because of this, those that are voted in don’t necessarily represent the interests of all Americans. You (yes, you) can’t bitch about the state of affairs in this country if you don’t vote. And I don’t want to hear, “But my vote doesn’t make a difference…I can’t control the government…they’re all corrupt, anyway”. Doesn’t matter boys and girls: if you don’t vote, you’re part of the problem not the solution.
In some ways, though, what’s worse than not voting is that when we do vote, we tend to vote based either on party or a single issue. Rather than look at each candidate individually and vote for whomever best represents our interests, we vote straight Republican, straight Democrat, or straight (some other party). Or we vote based on one issue, such as the issue of copyright law that has fired the weblogging world up with such reformational zeal.
As an example of single issue zeal, we sought out a candidate, Tara Grubb, who is an opponent to Howard Coble. We did this because of Coble’s support of the infamous Berman-Coble bill. If we can elect Tara, we’ll send a message to congress. We are Webloggers, hear us roar!
But what of Tara’s support on other issues? What of Coble’s? Is copyright law sufficient enough reason to elect one over the other? Are you willing to accept everything about a candidate, all the other issues they support or don’t, because of copyright?
I have a set of issues that are important to me. They include our policies in the Middle East, our environmental policies, health care in the world, women’s rights, fair trade, and so on. Copyright is in the list, but it’s wa-a-y down.
I would be more interested in a candidate that promises to force Bush into keeping our pledge to the United Nations Population Fund. I would be more interested in a candidate that pushes Congress into passing the Treaty for the Rights of Women. Why? Because once we have a baseline, we can go after behavior such as the woman sentenced to being stoned to death in Nigeria. (And don’t think the US will come off free from this treaty–we’re not pure in this regard.)
I would be more interested in a candidate who would fight the current administration’s abuse of war time powers and the so-called enemy combatant provision to deprive American citizen’s their rights by law. I would be more interested in a candidate that didn’t support the current administration’s aggressive behavior in the Middle East, in particular Iraq (and soon to be Saudi Arabia and Iran, I’m sure).
I would support a candidate that forced our government to follow through on our Kyoto agreement, and that didn’t seek to push our genectically altered corn and food on the rest of the world. I would support a candidate that sought to ensure our country treated fairly and honorably with other countries. I would support a candidate who sought to bring us back into the world that we are becoming increasingly alienated from.
If, after all of that, there was any room left, I would support a candidate that believed in a fair and equitable copyright policy.
(Speaking of weblogging and politics, we threw Tara into weblogging with no prior experience or exposure of either weblogging or the Internet, and then thrust the limelight on her before she has a chance to get a feel for all of this. And we’re trying to help this woman?)