Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Election Frenzy

Watching the local news tonight I was astonished to see a party-like atmosphere in downtown Sacramento. Yes, sadly, it is astonishing to see jubilation in our fair city but that's not the reason for my astonishment: the hulabaloo was, in fact, due to a drive-thru voter registration drive outside the Sacramento Convention Center which lasts thorugh midnight tonight (the deadline to register for the Presidential Primary in California.)

Booths draped in patriotic colors, balloons flying in the wind and rain, horns beeping...Hold on, I thought, this is America, right? The same America where about only 50% of the electorate even bother to get off their butts for the actual Presidential election?

It sure is.

I don't care how grating it can be to see our news dominated by political squabbling, or how ridiculous it is that we're on about the thousandth debate before we've even got official candidates... Americans are engaged! Wouldn't you believe it? People on the street are talking about politics, policies, and what matters to them as if they were..... shock ... horror..... Europeans!!!!

I love it. It's heartening to know that it's in this country to be engaged in the political process in an enthusiastic and passionate way. Republican (boo!) or Democrat (yay!), this has to be a good thing for this typically apathetic nation.

3 comments:

e said...

We spring into action when it matters. As for Europe - I don't know much about England, but I wish Italians were a little bit less "engaged" in politics and a little bit better people. They all vote, but it makes no difference at all. So being engaged is only part of the equation. Besides, I question European's real level of engagement, having passionate political opinions doesn't necessarily translate in people mobilizing for change. Given your recent comments of what's going in the UK, you probably agree with me on some level. Anyway, mostly I speak of Italy b/c that's what I know.

TravelVixen said...

Yes, I don't know much about Italy but I can say without a shadow of a doubt that people are by far more politically engaged and informed in England than they are (as a whole) in the U.S.

As for "Mobilizing for Change", I don't think it's true that people's opinions don't translate into actions in England. While it has declined in the last couple of elections, the voter turnout in general elections in the UK hovers around the 75% mark. In my opinion, there's no better way to "mobilize for change" than to vote with your vote!

e said...

Well, at least you have a system that works over there! In Italy you may have heard the government fell again. This time, the politician who caused the fall had 1.4% of the vote. How is that even possible? I know this is total bias, but I despise that country, all I can see is the hypocrisy and the cynicism. The romance and the food are just a smokescreen. And meanwhile, Naples is literally buried in garbage. Literally. The garbage is about 2 stories high in the streets now.

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