Well, less than a day now and we'll see if this government rights its course or continues on the expressway to hell. Will you vote for more war, or endless war, or put the grown-ups back in charge? By now, no one is persuadable about who they will vote for and no words from me will make any difference. Who I wish to directly address are the 50% of eligible voters that just can't be bothered. They leave comments on this page all the time about how voting is a waste of time, each party is equally corrupt, the vote is rigged anyway, and one vote doesn't make a difference. There have been suggestions to drop out, start communes, or begin to drink heavily.
I have never understood this reasoning, although George Carlin, among others, professes non-participation. I have voted in every election that I was able because of the one time it would have mattered most, I was unable to vote. This was 1968 and I wanted to vote for Hubert Humphrey against Richard Nixon, but I didn't turn 21 until after Nixon won. I always found it ironic that the vote was granted to 18 year olds under Nixon, because if we had had the vote while attending college, Nixon would never have been elected. Imagine that. The difference between the candidates was only a few 100,000 votes. Voting students might have stopped Nixon and saved the additional 20,000 lives that were lost in Vietnam on his watch. If only.
This go-round, if you are registered to vote but don't bother, you're a fool and don't know it. But I'm here to tell you. This time the election is about peace and war, and life and death. If you're an Evangelical Christian who expects to be "Raptured Up" in the next few years, you already have a dream government and I'd like for you to leave me your car. The confrontation with Iran that I discussed in a previous post did not materialize, but it wasn't because the government wasn't trying. We conducted military maneuvers in dangerous waters only a week before an important election. The Iranians just shot off some intermediate range missiles in return rather than rise to the provocation. But these boys are just itching to do some "shock and awe" in Iran. Bush repeated yesterday that Rumsfeld and Cheney were doing "fantastic jobs," and he wants them on until the end. When the end is, will depend on the independent voter.
It's simple for me. A vote for a Democrat means the policy in Iraq will be reviewed and revised. A vote for a Republican means you're a collaborator. This wasteful war has taken so much more than is shown on TV or the Internet. Here are the most accurate figures to date that aren't discussed. On top of the 2,800 U.S. troops who have died in Iraq, there are an additional 48,000 non-fatal casualties serious enough to disqualify a soldier from further service. That's a whole football stadium full of our soldiers, friends. An astounding 650,000 to 800,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed since the American invasion. This study was done by Johns Hopkins University and the most startling thing is how non-plussed we are as a nation about this hideous number of "collateral" deaths. A further 1.5 million people have fled the violence in Iraq for elsewhere in the world, and because these were people who could afford to get out, they were the professionals and technicians needed to construct a viable nation out of the rubble we have created. In addition, there are as many American private contractors in Iraq as there are soldiers, often doing the same work for twice the money. This obscenity must end.
If you are able to vote and sit this election out, you deserve exactly what you get. The Republicans, for the last four election cycles, have demonstrated great ability in getting their voters to the polls. This election, too, is all about mobilization. Non-voters may not realize that the right wing and Christian conservatives have discovered the way to motivate their supporters and get them to the polls in great numbers. They are counting on you to stay home because the political season was the nastiest in memory. That's why they run those hideous ads; they work. But Karl Rove is not Superman and is not invulnerable. He will once again get the conservatives out en masse, and the only way to counter this is with equal determination from people wanting change. My hope is that every lethargic, cynical, and turned-off voter will wake up and realize this election is different from the rest. This government is using your children to die for a discredited ideology and only you can stop it. Will you? Tomorrow, you have the chance.