The real loser from last night?
Another midterm election has come and gone and aside from a pro-wolf win and a 58 vote difference between Lamonte and the winner in that race Holly Hughes the results were close but pretty unremarkable. The interesting note is that it appears only 40% of the people eligible to vote went out yesterday to take part in the democratic process, only 40%.
Which means that 60% of us thought invented a reason to not take part in the future of our state or our country. A wise man once said that of all the needs in the world mankind requires only two, the idea that we have a stake in our future and the idea that we are not alone. But these voter turnout numbers seem to consistently spit in the face of that idea.
Instead we are told that "it's okay, stay home - one vote won't make a difference" and in the case of Lamonte vs Hughes that could have been catastrophic for either side when it gets down to less than 60 votes. Why do we care so little about the country but so much about Brad Pitt, or Taylor Swift, or who won The Voice? Why when someone like Brad Pitt or Taylor Swift tells us to go and vote that doesn't have the same impact as photos of their wedding or wardrobe malfunction would have?
In my Mass Media class, I talk a lot about the differences between George Orwell's 1984 and Adolus Huxley's Brave New World and when you look at midterm election turnouts the comparison is not only easy, it becomes necessary.
Orwell wrote about a world where we are being spied on or looked in on by "Big Brother," so we change the way we act because it feels as if we are being watched - we tend to become very boring, very normal, non-threatening individuals. When it was written it was a modern take on the Jeremy Bentham's idea of the panopticon (which is not an awesome NSA Transformer), the idea that you can be watched at any point eliminates the need to watch you because the threat gives the desired result and there is certainly a bit of that today.
Huxley wrote about a world where we gave up our need to think over to an entity that made our life easy, safe, and again non-threatening. In a modern-world the idea that we are so dumb we failed to even notice that we have given up our rights and maybe that is why we are where we are today.
But look around. Does it seem like a better place than a decade ago? I borrowed a blog from Seth Godin this week that talked about if that 60% (we will use Michigan numbers) got out and voted in every election from here on out, we could dramatically change the country in under 8 years. But what would make you get out and start?
Because THAT is what we should be talking about today. THAT is how we might move forward.