MOLA:42’s Guide to the Cult of the Non-Voter
Long, long ago in a county not very far, far away, I was an Eligibility Worker with their Welfare Department.
If anything will try one’s leftist idealism, it is working at the ground floor of the welfare realm. I’ve seen Peace & Love Hippie Liberals turn into rabid conservatives after a year or two at the job.
In fact, when being placed on hold there, instead of hold music they used Rush Limbaugh recordings (honest, I’m not making this up). The first time I called them to make a job interview appointment I was put on hold for five minutes and forced to listen to Mr. Limbaugh rant about one thing or another.
My Liberalism survived but was forever tarnished.
However, I digress. (How can you digress? You haven’t even started…)
Anyway, in my capacity as a lowly EW-II I heard many a complaint from my clients about how screwed up things were. Usually it was little more than entitlement-inspired grumbling but occasionally they would have a valid grievance. My clients would ask me why things were so screwed up.
I would always reply with the question: Do you vote?
Invariably (not often, invariably) the answer was No. To which I replied, “Then how can you possibly expect things to be any other way?” The usual response was a blank stare; with an occasional guffaw at the stupid liberal that didn’t know how things worked in the real world.
Before that, when I was going to college, an intellectual fad of the time was to proclaim proudly one’s
a-politicality and disdain for voting. Their argument boiled down to, “Only suckers played in a rigged game.”
Being at the time a bit older than the average college student I knew it was impossible to talk a kid out of a cherished intellectual fad.
But here is the answer I held in my mind: “It’s only a rigged game because you let it be a rigged game.”
It’s still my answer.
Both welfare client and cynical-poseur college student are members of what I call “The Cult of the Non-Voter.” There are of course many more sects belonging to the Cult than the two I described.
A bit of Humboldt County History is in order:
Once upon a time the City of Arcata was a bastion for the most conservative politicians in the county. What drove this was the typical Town & Gown cold war that happens in many college communities.
Also, Arcata wasn’t a particularly well run town; think Eureka on a bad day but instead… every day.
So the folks on the city council (with the eager help of Caltrans) decided the solution to all their problems was to build a deep moat (now known as Highway 101) between the town and the college (I’m guessing Caltrans drew the line at the plan to fill the trench with water and stock it with moat monsters).
Consequently the project also wiped out the majority of off-campus student housing. The city council expected most of the students would go live somewhere else and Arcata would be free once and for all from a major pain in their poop hangers.
But it didn’t work out that way.
For one reason; all those students who had rarely voted before got good and pissed-off and voted.
For another; those students who were displaced did not “go away” but instead moved farther into town. Since housing became scarce (and therefore got really expensive) all those good god-fearing conservative folk turned their homes into rentals and moved out on the proceeds.
Arcata has been a progressive community since then and (in my opinion) probably the best run town in the county. I’m not saying Arcata is a problem-free Shangri-La; they just do better with what they have.
In short, the game WAS rigged; but not anymore (although conservatives might argue the game is still rigged, just now in favor of the pointy headed liberal progressives; what the heck).
Great changes can take place and do take place when a populace is driven to the point of saying through their ballot boxes that their leaders are full of feces.
History lesson over, now back to present reality (No…! I’m not coming back!).
The leading issue of this year’s Board of Supervisors campaigns is whether or not the development cabal should continue to dictate affairs for the county.
Fair enough. Let me ask a question: Why should someone living in a Eureka Victorian ginger-breaded hovel on California Street care about General Plan Updates and land use issues? What’s a 160 acre TPZ to them?
I know there are other very important issues and other concerns talked about in this election. But it seems to me the current Supervisorial election has been focused around issues that look important to progressives and mean nothing to everybody else.
If I gave them that much credit for intelligence I’d say the Regressives did a masterful job of setting that focus. Certainly, by luck or design we Progressives have been out-maneuvered.
You see, just as it was in ancient Arcata, you need a cause to get people out and voting. If the issues being talked about appear not to make any difference to the voters’ lives then why would they bother to vote?
An aggressive “get out the vote” campaign may give Chris Kerrigan the edge over Virginia Bass (assuming of course the drive draws Kerrigan supporters) but first you have to give those voters a reason to “get out and vote.”
Perhaps we have missed the boat on this election. Or perhaps it is not too late.
But being a proud Non-Voter is just a cynical pose for not bothering to even try to change what has gone wrong (or… to try to keep what is going right).
The Cult of the Non-Voter is based upon the desire to give up personal responsibility for what is happening around them.
When that attitude becomes the norm then democracy has died.
On another totally unrelated subject: Lately (and much to my own surprise) folks have been expressing their shock and dismay that I am really NOT a spunky 42 year old woman dynamically presenting the feminine point of view.
It didn’t even occur to me that “Mola” could be considered a name.
Here’s the deal: MOLA:42 is an acronym, not a name.
I’m a guy. Sorry…
Standard Disclaimer: My opinions are my own and not necessarily those of the Tuluwat Examiner. I am not on the staff of the Tuluwat Examiner. I don’t even know who these people are. This week I originally wanted to do an article entitled, “Cute Things My Dogs Did Over the Weekend,” but the Tuluwat Examiner Staff wouldn’t let me.
I think they are “doggists.”