Should I vote or go to Disneyland? Both are exercises in facade, at least that’s what it feels like. This election, this country, politics in general–it feels like I’m living in a theme park. Now entertain me. All of you: news networks, candidates, elected officials who get to decide whether or not my vote gets counted because of any number of unpublished, anachronistic technicalities. Entertain me. Let me take your picture. Wave to me. That’s what it feels like.
Please forgive my sarcasm and malaise on a day that feels so important to so many. It’s a day when the people get to speak. Instead of meeting in basements and making alliances, instead of stockpiling weapons and recruiting people to fight for a cause, Americans head out to the polling booths today to enact a gentler more civil kind of revolution. At least that’s the facade.
In this theme park we all get to cast our vote, but not all of them are counted. Scratch that, in this theme park all of us get to vote if we can afford to stand in line for 12 hours while we are skipping work to do so. We get our votes counted if there’s no chad left hanging. We get to participate in a government by the people, for the people, if the state supreme court decides that our vote gets counted.
On the morning of this historic day, I can’t help but temper my hope with questions. Do we have free elections if those eligible to vote aren’t allowed to vote? Are elections free if our votes aren’t counted? And finally, the biggest question of all. This goes out to all of my theme park buddies who, like me, are so entertained by this facade. Do we care if we’re free as long as we’re entertained?