Facing the Fractured World?
In some ways, we are a nation that has placed itself "on
hold." I have had several conversations this week with
people who have told me that they're now going to wait until
after the election to make decisions.
I had breakfast with someone who is putting together an event
- but that event is going to hinge on this election because
it will revolve around the intersection of politics and technology
and media - which will definitely be affected by who becomes
Oh, it's true that the ordinary business of the world ticks
on. News keeps being reported - the American psyche is focused
on who is going to face off in the World Series. On a flight
this week, we were updated every inning on what was happening
with the Yankees and the Red Sox, which was annoying to me
as I was trying to get some sleep - far more important to
me than the score. However, I was in a distinct minority on
My inbox is flooded with appeals to vote - I am almost equally
flooded by Democrats and Republicans. Both assume I am solidly
in their camp and would I please cough up a few more bucks
for the cause!
As far as anyone can tell, this election is too close to call
- and that means it is being contested to the very last moment.
With Democratic friends, I find them "tossing the runes"
to see what is coming, looking for obscure statistical trends
that support a Kerry victory.
On my flight this week, I was seated next to someone who,
in the time before the door closed, spoke to friends, encouraging
them to vote his way. I realized that his way and my way were
quite divergent, so I thought better of engaging him in any
conversation. I had just read that someone on a plane asked
to be reseated because the man next to him was reading a book
authored by Michael Moore.
We are incredibly polarized this election. The news magazines
have been filled with stories of how desperately divisive
we are this year. Civility is apparently gone. We can't, this
election, seem to agree to disagree. This, I thought, was
one of the hallmarks of 20th Century American politics.
It?s not the 20th Century! It's the 21st Century -- and we
may be moving back to those ugly days in the 19th Century
when bullying people seemed to be the order of the political
Looking back, all of this began to become frayed toward the
end of the 20th Century with Ronald Reagan but has now gone
Good, bad, indifferent. I enjoy the process we are engaged
However, I have had two conversations this week with individuals
that I like, respect and interact with on a regular basis
who will not vote in this election because they loathe the
Okay. I don't get it.
The election of 2000, more than anything in my life, taught
us the importance of the individual vote. However, that message
is lost on some people. To them, their vote is inconsequential.
Or they don't like the choices so they abstain from the process
which is so against everything I believe.
But that is what is happening within our democracy now - there's
a sense our votes do not count when they count enormously.
Each of us is important in the process but some do not know,
or accept, that fact.
I want to hit those people over the head with a rubber baseball
bat. So you don't like the choices. Not voting only allows
other people to control your destiny.
That is not what I believe in, being an American, born mid-century
of the last century when we all believed there was something
special about being American and central to that "specialness"
was that we had the vote!