Here is a much more compelling call to vote than the video I previously commented on. I don’t really watch his show, but I like his earnestness. One thing I dislike about late-night talk shows is the reluctance of their hosts to have a real opinion on anything, seemingly out of fear that their audience will disagree with them. Ferguson doesn’t exactly say anything shocking, but his directness impresses me. Everything said by Letterman and Conan is hid behind a filter of irony and sarcasm – you’re never quite sure when they are being serious, so in a way it is a type of protection against criticism. I used to do that too when I was younger and more (yes, even more) sarcastic.
In the video Craig Ferguson argues that it is ones duty to vote, if you don’t vote you can’t complain, etc. Ok, I’ll let my readers in on a little secret: I didn’t vote in 2000. Yikes… Yeah, I know. But I complained. A lot. Especially after 9/11 when everything turned shitty. I had a right to complain. I started caring and then I started complaining. When I would reveal that I hadn’t voted (I was smart enough to make this a seldom occurrence), some people would hiss that I had no right to complain. I had the right by virtue of the fact that I didn’t really care in 2000 and I did in 2002. So I should be penalized for my past transgressions instead of welcomed into the world of the “socially conscious”? The whole ‘if you don’t vote you can’t complain’ thing is merely a fear tactic. The idea that said nonvoter would subsequently be sentenced to a 4 year detention period on airing their ideas is ridiculous. We are not in this shitty state because so many people didn’t vote, we are in this state because so many people voted for Bush.
If people want to change politics they need to find a way to convince people to vote, and that responsibility will fall on the Democrats and the third parties. The Republicans don’t want more people to vote, that’s how they will lose. Case in point, have you noticed that most of the states that have that absurd registration deadline today are traditionally red? Not a coincidence.
The other thing we need to change is that ridiculous electoral college bullshit. One of the main things that discourages people from voting is the fact that, as is clear from 2000, your vote don’t mean shit. Give people a sense that what they are doing actually matters and I think they will feel more empowered. We need to abolish the electoral college, enact same-day voter registration in all fifty states, have a commission to fight voter disenfranchisement, and have technologically advanced methods of voting and recording votes with intense oversight. Until this happens, you cannot blame people for not voting. You can guilt them and tell them they are going to um, Die or something, but it won’t matter. We have to find a way to make people care.
PS. did you know that Puff Daddy didn’t end up voting in 2004, after being the face of Vote or Die? What an asshole.