All my adult life, I've been a dedicated voter. You don't vote, you don't get to complain. I spent much of my adolescence totally aghast at my parents' lackadaisical voting habits. Especially my Dad (Hi, Dad!), who, depsite having many and vocal opinions, hasn't even registered since sometime in the Nixon administration, I think. I have voted in every single election since I turned 18. In fact, I voted even before I turned 18!! How did I swing that, you ask? An accident of birth date. I turned 18 in 1996, which as you may recall, was a presidential election year. If you will turn 18 before the general election in November, then you're allowed to register early and vote in the spring primary. I jumped at the chance, and have been a dedicated voter ever since. Every time voting day rolls around, I pack up my children and take them with me to the polls. They charm the little old ladies working there and proudly leave covered in "I voted today!" stickers. One year, when Bren was about two, he was bitterly disappointed when he realized we were going to vote, instead of to boat. He got over it. Eventually.
So, last week I read a story about a new project by MoveOn.org. They sent out mailers to your home, list the number of times you've voted in the past four elections, and assign your level of participation a grade, based on a comparison to your neighors' voting habits. This weekend, I was tossing out the 347 political mailers that I had to get out of my mailbox to make room for the latest Oriental Trading catalog, and my eyes lit up with glee when I saw their logo! Finally! All my years of relentless voting would earn me a completely arbitrary distinction. I would find some way to laminate it and stick it on my bumper, like those obnoxious Honor Student bumper stickers!
But then, I realized it wasn't even addressed to me. It was addressed to the lady who lived here before us, who hasn't lived here in nearly five years,* and who apparently hasn't voted in at least that long! She gets a report card, and I don't? Where is the justice in this world?
So, tomorrow I will go exercise my right to make absolutely no discernible difference whatsoever in the election. I'll steal a quick kiss from my sweet husband, who takes civic responsibility up a notch and actually works at the polls every election, and loudly accuse him of trying to disinfranchise me when he insists on seeing my driver's license. And then, about 24 hours from now, the political ads will stop, and we can start enjoying commercials that get to the real issues - Black Friday sales.
*Also, we got an invitation for her son's high school reunion. Didn't these people fill out a change of address form?