Tuesday, August 08, 2006

With Bated Breath and Muffled Oar...

...we're all awaiting the outcome of the Lamont-Liberman senate race. The final poll showed Lieberman making up some lost ground, but Lamont still in the lead. The Secretary of the State (CT, naturally) says a slew of new and unaffiliated voters have recently registered for the primary, and she expects a record or near-record turnout. Inasmuch as the primary is being held earlier than usual, during the dog days of August rather than in early September, many people have requested absentee ballots; and in fact a delay in sending out those ballots means that the results may not be finally and officially known until August 25. But that eventuality is unlikely, as today's result would have to be razor-thin to send the contest into overtime.

So, you may wonder, what constitutes a record turnout? According to the LR, the usual primary turnout is around 25%, but this one is expected to be about 40%. So where, I hear you ask, are the other 60-75%?

Good question. It seems the majority of Americans would rather leave the choice of their leadership to someone else. Why is that, do you suppose? Are most Americans inherently lazy and indifferent? Can they not find a few minutes to drive a few miles to the nearest polling place? For the non-drivers, is is too difficult to pick up the phone and call for a ride to the polls? The weather is not an excuse today: it's bright and sunny and warm but not hot or humid - perfect high-summer weather. Geez, on a day like this one, you could even walk to the polls!

But the fact remains that 60% of those eligible to vote in this primary will not do so. I find that a sad commentary on a state that is one of the wealthiest and best-educated in the nation. It's one thing to sell your birthright for a mess of pottage - at least you get a good meal out of it - but it's something else entirely just to ignore it and let it fust unused. No wonder they say that Americans get the government they deserve....

On the microcosmic level, will Greenwich voters beat, meet, or fall short of the state-wide participation average? I'll be interested to find out tomorrow. My guess is that a lot of locals will in fact do their civic duty today, largely because we have a hometown horse in this race. But I'll still bet we don't hit 50% participation.

Go ahead, Greenwich - prove me wrong. Show me and the rest of the world that you *do* care about matters other than golf dates, play dates, and salon appointments. Demonstrate that you have a commitment to something higher than your bank balance. Show the world that the values of good citizenship are not dead in this corner of Fairfield County.

Or not. Stay home, or drive your SUV all over town everywhere but to the polls. Spend hours on your cell phone, and fritter away your day, so that you can tell everyone tomorrow how you really meant to vote but simply couldn't find the time. And then be sure to complain loudly and long the next time local, state, or national goverment does something that doesn't meet with your whole-hearted approval.

After all, over half of your fellow countrymen do exactly the same. Ain't America wonderful?


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