“Eh, what’s was the big deal?”
Amazingly, after all the ink spilled and broadcast blather about how vital this election is to the future of the nation, it now appears that fewer eligible Americans cared enough to haul their butts to the polls than four years ago. Did anyone predict this? I sure didn’t. With an unusually stark choice and the intensifying of social media, I assumed that intensity levels would be higher, or certainly as high, as 2008. The conservatives and Republicans in particular, who had all their heralds proclaiming death and destruction, forty years of darkness, earthquakes, volcanoes, the dead rising from the grave, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together—I’m either quoting “Ghostbusters” now or Mark Levin—and uber-blogger Glenn Reynolds warning of the “broken glass factor,” with anti-Obama patriots so energized that they would be “crawling over broken glass” to reach the polls, flopped like a dead fish in Sonny Corleone’s lap. All the pundits are wondering how it is that a liberal President with low approval ratings and high unemployment could win the election in a nation that is supposedly “center right”? What’s the mystery? Less than 60% of that public cared enough to participate in their own government! Who knows or cares what they believe or think–they can’t be bothered to do anything. If conservatives are horrified and angry, let them be horrified and angry at those who may have agreed with them but who abdicated their duty as Americans because they were too lazy to follow the issues, too illiterate to understand the positions, too complacent to work for change, too irresponsible to share the burden of self-government.
Hurray and congratulations to the caring Americans who did vote; they deserve to have their views carry the day. They are worthy of the legacy handed down to them by the Founders. No one should blame them for the results of the election; it’s not their fault if the opposition couldn’t haul itself out of bed or away from the bar long enough to vote.
The real and ominous question is whether a democracy with nearly half of its population so passive, uninvolved and apathetic can govern itself effectively; whether we can meet the increasing challenges we face as a people with nearly half our number as dead weight, and I’m not talking about what they pay or don’t pay in taxes. I’m talking about not giving a damn.
Citizenship is a an ethical value, and one of the most critical ones. Let us stop blaming the judgement of the Americans who embodied it yesterday, when the real problem is those who did not.
[ In the musical “1776,” a plaintive letter from George Washington decrying from the battlefield his lack of support from Congress (“Is anybody there?”–an actual letter), inspires John Adams, alone in Constitution Hall and despairing of enough allies to make independence a reality, to sing about his vision for a great and independent America. “Does anybody care?” he asks. The song, the climax of the musical can be heard in the video below. The answer to his question, sadly, is in the post above.]
Graphic: The Daily Beast