“Turn the volume down on that thing, will you?”
I’ll bet that’s what a lot of us say to the never-ending barrage of political commercials on our televisions. Most of us are pushed to the breaking point and would throw the television out the window if they weren’t so big. I can’t get my hands around the average TV these days, but I can get my brain around what they are saying to me.
There’s a new twist in political advertisements this time around—a campaign to make sure we vote. “Make a plan to vote!” is the oft-repeated phrase. Every time I think about that, a little warning bell goes off in my head. If I need a plan to vote, was it important to me in the first place? I’m older. I make notes and plans for things I’m afraid I’ll forget. “Trash Wednesday” is one I’ve used before. “Trim Joe’s Nails” is another one. Joe is my dog; I don’t offer nail trimming to just anyone. “Cobwebs in Shed” is another one that comes to mind, and since it came to mind, I probably didn’t need the note.
“Make a plan to vote” is a reminder that I have never used and never will. When I am so old that my children come to get me, drive me to the polling place, carefully hold onto me while we walk in and I ask “What are we doing again?” it’s time for me to stop voting.
And that will be all right, won’t it?
I will have reached the stage in life when I no longer know about the candidates and the issues. I will simply be reaping the benefits from other people who vote. People who have studied the candidates and the issues. I will be cared for by people who know what’s going on as I am carried slowly into the sunset.
Crack. Glass breaking. Music stops as the film melts and burns. My beautiful ending dissolves in a cold bath of logic and reason.
People who know what’s going on? No, these are people to whom the privilege of voting was at the bottom of their “to-do” list. In order to make a decision that will affect my rights, my beliefs and my life, they require a “plan” to remember to decide? I do not want these people making decisions for me in my old age.
They are not prepared to vote. Watching three seconds of a candidate at a political rally does not count as “knowledge.” Believing and repeating a shouted slogan on social media does not constitute mastery of the subject at hand. Being uninformed or misinformed grants us no wisdom at all. It steals a part of the truth from us while we are unaware. It is the pickpocket of truth. The result is that we often feel used and abused–very much like we feel when our wallet is missing.
Now that is the long way around the barn to say there are many people out there who should not vote. Do not misunderstand and think that because you have the right, you should abuse the privilege. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. If you sit in your airplane seat and the flight attendant asks you to fly the plane, you’ll probably politely decline; seems wiser to ask someone who knows how to fly. We don’t let our children drive a car until they understand a braking system and what a steering wheel looks like. When we are feeling poorly, we don’t walk into the garage and drink a gallon of antifreeze, thinking “This ought to help.” Yet your right to drink antifreeze is probably guaranteed in the constitution, if you ask the right lawyer. A teaspoon of common sense, twice daily, might be better prescribed.
If we don’t know how to fly, then why in the world would we take part in the flying of our country? That’s like walking into the cockpit, reaching out your finger and saying “I think we ought to press that button.”
If you have not made the effort to be informed, if you have not valiantly tried to find the truth (and these days it is a valiant effort), if you have not lifted a finger to search for honesty, your best bet is to trust the pilot and sit down. Statistics will prove me right on that one.
If you are unprepared to vote, I urge you to stay home. Play that video game you enjoy so much. Go get that whimsical manicure that has occupied your mind this week. Break up with your boyfriend. Have a sleepover with your BFF. Party hearty.
If you are unprepared to vote, then don’t. “Make a plan” to avoid voting. We will all be the better for it.