Wednesday, May 11, 2005

One person, one vote, free beer

Here's this week's column in full. Remember, you read it in the Los Angeles Daily News first, right?

Confound the cocksure politicians and cast your vote

Experts are predicting extremely low turnout in Tuesday's Los Angeles mayoral runoff -- only about 30 percent of registered voters. Many people say the two candidates, incumbent James Hahn and challenger Antonio Villaraigosa, have just not made a compelling case for themselves.
I say, so what?
There are plenty of good reasons to vote Tuesday that have nothing to do with victory for one person or political party. Here's my list of the top 10:
No. 10: Chicks dig the oval "I voted" sticker.
Plus, they will think you're smart. In this age when homely but clever men like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett own the world, that can't hurt your chances.
No. 9: You're more likely to get picked for jury duty if you vote.
At least that's the rumor. Jurors are identified through voter registration records. Getting that jury duty notice is like a "get out of work free" card. You get to spend the day goofing off in the jury room, reading magazines, watching the soaps and Oprah, taking a two-hour lunch, and leaving at 4:30 p.m. It's almost like having a civil service job.
No. 8: It's a good excuse to come in late.
Some people take five minutes to cast their ballot; others must labor over it for an hour or more. How's your boss going to know that you were done in five minutes, stopped by Starbucks for a grande latte and got a quick pedicure before you strolled into the office? Armed with your little sticker, you are untouchable.
No. 7: Free beer and other goodies.
Check with your local watering hole because some bars have two-for-one beer night for people with ballot stubs, knowing that so few people in Los Angeles actually cast a ballot that they're not likely to lose money. Ditto with some eateries. My favorite lunch place in Woodland Hills offers free dessert to those who take their civic duty seriously. (Helpful hint: You can also find spare ballot stubs by combing through gutters and trash cans outside polling stations.)
No. 6: You can make a difference and help your community become a better place.
Ha-ha. Just kidding! Did I mention the free beer?
No. 5: So you can say with conviction, "Well, I didn't vote for him," whenever the mayor does something boneheaded.
Now one will know whether you did or not. Remember, in America, voting is anonymous!
No. 4: It entitles you to a full day of unmolested smugness.
This is the day to work your self-righteousness for deferral and concessions from friends, enemies and family members. "No, I didn't take out the trash. I was busy voting. Where were you?" Win any argument with nonvoters by using this debate-stopping line: "Yes that's true, but why do you hate freedom so much?"
No. 3: Vote with an actual ballot before they go the way of the dinosaurs.
Someday soon, computerized balloting will replace our quaint but reassuring ballot-marking system, reducing the experience to something akin to visiting the ATM. Enjoy the last few days of a brick-and-mortar polling place in which you run into neighbors you would never otherwise see.
No. 2: Because this is not a dictatorship -- yet.
But as Hollywood shows us over and over, that could change in a second. All it takes is aliens landing on Earth, a large natural disaster, an epidemic or just one evil person in charge of voting-machine software.
And the No. 1 reason to vote on Tuesday: It really freaks out politicians when lots of people vote.
Modern political campaigns depend on most average folks staying home, so they target their messages, their pitches and their advertising campaigns to the few targeted groups that will be motivated to vote -- cranky retirees, union members, contractors and developers who have business with the city and people with absolutely no social life.
Go ahead and confound the political experts by showing up in droves. It'll be fun.


Post a Comment

<< Home