Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot!
I can think of no reason,
The Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot!
As you all are all too aware, tomorrow — not today — is election day, November 6th, 2012. I’m sure all of you are wishing just as much as I am that it was today, November 5th, instead — if, for no other reason, that these damned politicians, special interest groups, and everyone else would stop harassing each and every last one of us with their political ads! I’m sick of it! I really and truly am! Every time I see one it makes me want to vote the exact opposite of what it’s asking me to do! I can’t wait for this election to be over, regardless of who and what wins!
But that’s not why I’m writing this article… The fact of the matter is I’m a Democrat, and I will be voting for Obama, not just because I’m a Democrat, but because I know that it takes a lot longer to clean up a mess than it does to make one. President Bush, well intentioned or not, made a huge mess out of our economy and Obama’s only had 4 years — 4 difficult years — to try to clean up the mess, and right from the start, the Republicans abandoned any intention of trying to work with him to fix the problems. Mitt Romney isn’t a bad guy or the bad guy, but he’s just a symptom of the problem, in my opinion. But you’re entitled to your own opinion, and I’ll respect that and your right to choose as well.
But I’m not writing this article about that either.
I’m writing this article for the simple fact that there are many people that simple just won’t vote. It’s not that they don’t care, and I know that some don’t, but it’s that they feel that their vote doesn’t count any way. Others kind of feel the way I do, that the problem isn’t the particular ideology of the candidate, but the fact that politicians seem to be universally liars and crooks, so no matter who or what you vote for, you’re going to get screwed. And of course, there are those that are simply driven away by all the negative and misleading political ads that all parties utilize to scare people into voting one way or another; we’re all tired of the fucking robocalls, the political ads that come on one after another, day in and day out at this time of year. We’re tired of seeing Mitt Romney or Barack Obama when we go to look at some video on YouTube.
Now, if you’ll bear with me while I temporarily derail this train of thought, I’d like to point out the significance of today, November 5th. Though it is more of an English thing — I can’t quite call it a holiday or celebration — Guy Fawkes was arrested 407 years ago today as part of a plot to blow up the House of Lords and hopefully restore a Catholic king to the throne of England. In some indirect sense, he inspired the push for religious freedom and the right to choose our leaders here in the United States, some 170 years later. This country was founded on the principles to choose, something that many of our ancestors never had the right to do. Obviously, up until relatively recently, that right wasn’t as equally spread around for some as it was for others, but all things considered, today — or should I say tomorrow — it’s a different story.
Although it’s a work of fiction, I actually grabbed the quote, composited the image for this post (of which I own the rights to and got the permissions to utilize none of the source images), and started writing this post more with an eye to V for Vendetta (James McTeigue, 2005) than for the actual politics of voting and our rights as Americans. That story centered around one man’s quest for revenge that had the side effect of liberating England from the tyranny of an oppressive government, and restoring hope to the common people. Although I would like to refrain from drawing similarities between that fictional England and today’s America, I won’t shy away from it: I don’t see my country’s government under Obama as being oppressive, but I won’t stop anyone else from making that comparison. It would be dishonest of me to say that some people don’t feel that way, and I’m not here to lie to you or anyone else.
I would like to speculate that in his quest for revenge, V inadvertently became the kind of leader that I think this country probably could use one day. Someone that is focused on doing what he believes is right,and necessary, not because he wants to wield power or go down in the history books, but because he believes what he’s doing is the right thing to do. Someone that’s not afraid to die if it means he’s going to accomplish his goals. A person that can gain the sympathy of those that are suffering, because he too has suffered. If you’ll forgive me while I dip into my personal politics for a moment, once again, that’s why I’m voting for Obama: he knows what it’s like to go from having nothing to being the most powerful man in the world, and he hasn’t forgotten any of the people on his journey to the White House. Governor Romney hasn’t had to struggle with anything in his life other than winning the office that he desires.
V fought against the fear that the fictional government instilled in everyone. He co-opted their system to beat them. How is that similar to what we’re going through? Every political ad these days uses fear against us: every one is screaming that if you vote for John Doe or for or against Proposal X that the world is going to end. Some ads ask if you’re better off than you were 4 years ago, or compare the “flat economic outlook” to a flat-lining EKG. Lobby groups and Super P.A.C.s (Political Action Committees) act as proxies for their chosen candidates, spending hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising, rather than pump that money into the economy through other means, just so that their candidate can claim to have taken the higher road.
I think it’s time we had a V to fight the political system as it currently stands. Reboot that part of our Constitution, and do things differently this time around. For one thing, I think that no politician should be paid a single cent to serve their country in this fashion. Government service is supposed to be a sacrifice, not a reward. I think their expenses — housing, transportation, food, normal living expenses — should be paid by the government, but there’s no way a senator or representative should be making more money in a year than a teacher, policeman, fireman, and certainly not the soldiers whose lives are on the line for their country. I think that leading this country has progressed to the point it’s more about power and bragging rights than it is about doing the right thing for the country, and this whole damned system needs to be fixed.
But that’s what I think. And I’m voting tomorrow, November 6th, to make the changes I feel are necessary based on the options that I am presented with. So that, ladies and gentlemen, is what I’m really writing this post to say… Yeah, I got here in a very meandering course, but I got here. Go vote for what you believe tomorrow. Take your friends, take your family, take a complete stranger and go vote tomorrow. Because if you can vote but don’t, you don’t have a damned reason to complain about a damned thing in this country. Countless people died to give you the freedom to choose, the right to vote. Exercise it for forever be silent. Exercise it or forever feel the shame that you didn’t try to make a difference when you could.
Remember, remember, the 6th of November,
the day that has not come yet.
Remember, remember to vote this November,
see to it that you don’t forget!