Thursday, August 26, 2004

Rock (or mock) the Vote

Does voting really matter? Should people who have the right to vote exercise that right? If they don't exercise their voting rights, should they exercise their right to complain about and criticize the government and its leadership? I'm inclined to say yes to all these questions. Perhaps the magnitude of the impact of voting can be debated but tell that to the (many civilian) soldiers in Iraq and Iraqis.

So here is one (I think compelling) reason I'll be exercising my right to vote from an editorial by Dahlia Lithwick in today's NYtimes:

This week's report by the James Schlesinger panel offers the closest thing we'll get to a smoking gun. Connect the dots and it's all there: the sadism at Abu Ghraib stemmed from "confusion." Confusion sounds accidental - like maybe it just blew in off the Atlantic - but the report is clear that this confusion resulted from systemic failures at the highest levels. The report faults ambiguous interrogation mandates, an inadequate postwar plan, poor training and a lack of oversight. It notes that much of this confusion stemmed from the Bush administration's posture that the Geneva Conventions applied only where the president saw fit, and that the definition of "interrogation" was up for grabs at Guantánamo Bay, thus possibly at Abu Ghraib.

Or you can put your ear right up to the horse's mouth, where - even before the Schlesinger report - Mr. Rumsfeld owned the blame. "These events occurred on my watch. As secretary of defense, I am accountable for them and I take full responsibility," he told the Senate Armed Services Committee last May. But we live in an era when such words are intended to signify simultaneous culpability and absolution. [my italics]

Or if you are inclined to think voting a ho hum activity, here is Chuck D's take in the latest issue of Mother Jone's:

CD: Of course voting is useful. But then again, I don’t put a big glow to it. Voting is about as essential as washing yourself. It’s something you’re supposed to do. Now, you can’t go around bragging, expecting to get props because you voted. That’s stupid. You don’t see people running around trying to get props because they washed up. “I washed today! I took a shower today!”

But if you don’t vote, you can’t go around if something goes wrong saying, “Aw man, stuff just stinks!” Well yeah, something stinks because you ain’t smelled yourself. You supposed to take a shower, dude, or you gon’ stink! The hip-hop nation is supposed to vote, because if they don’t, something’s gonna stink: The draft gets voted in, cats get pulled off to war, the average person is gonna get shot up.

In case you haven't registered to vote, you still have time.


At 8:23 AM, Blogger tina said...

Chuck D is a frickin' genius, I tell ya.

At 9:59 AM, Blogger Goesh said...

Tipping the scales:
You betcha' voting matters - if one doesn't push the button or hang a chad, one should not complain - I am very interested in how military people will be voting - will the ol' commander in chief have the support of his boys and girls? one wonders..........

At 11:23 AM, Blogger Erin said...

Chuck D is also on an Air America radio show.

At 11:35 AM, Blogger Drek said...

Kudos to Chuck D for putting things in a way any bloody idiot should be able to understand.

As for the soldier-vote... hmmm... one candidate is a decorated veteran, the other dodged the draft and certainly seems to be trying to get them killed. One hopes the choice won't be difficult.

At 12:48 PM, Blogger Goesh said...

yup, war sure makes a difference - Clinton had no problem beating Bob Dole

At 3:59 PM, Blogger heather said...

Maybe it is because my grandmother was an election judge but I guess I always assumed that people would want to vote. So I have to ask the question, "why don't people want to vote?" Is it the actual process? Is it that they don't feel heard?


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