Cover Story: Ghost ballots
Halloween and politics make for fun — and scary — times. Parties, candy, costumes, tricks and treats. Speeches and play-acting, fantasy and reality. Halloween is primarily a kid's time, politics an adults' endeavor. But, as I check out the decorations around town, more adults seem to have an appetite for treats than for the tricky work of deciding the country's future.?
That's truly scary.
Yard signs that usually tout candidates are scarce, while a glut of pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns, ghosts and goblins adorn windows and lawns. My conversations with voters who are usually very politically aware don't have the same pizzazz as in years past. I have more invites to Halloween parties than to political rallies.
Many people I'm talking to may not even cast a ballot. I hope I'm wrong, but voter participation is likely to hit an all-time low this November. Especially saddening to me is the vote of those under 30. Many who'll party hearty on Halloween will take a pass on choosing our next president. It seems there are major disconnects between political leaders of both major parties and young people. Proposals to save Social Security, beef up Medicare, invest in health care and strengthen education just don't resonate with younger voters.
There is plenty of reason to vote. A woman's right to choose, the makeup of the Supreme Court, sensible gun legislation, affirmative action, hate crimes legislation and the environment all have an immediate impact on all ages. For me, Al Gore comes closer to the position I think appropriate.
If you don't vote, you don't count. It'll truly be a nightmare for women if a right-wing judge or two is appointed to a Bush Supreme Court. Out the door goes Roe v. Wade. The progress on civil rights, already unraveling under Reagan and Daddy Bush's appointments to the court, will all but come to a standstill under Dubya.
I can't blame all the apathy on the electorate. The messengers should work harder to appeal to disaffected voters. Al Gore is trying to be all things to all people. Even so, he is the only torch-bearer who can cross the finish line with a progressive agenda.
We apparently do have to be scared into the voting booth. Four years of Trent Lott, Jesse Helms, Dick Armey and Tom DeLay, with no veto to rein them in, should truly frighten us.