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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS | VENTURA COUNTY LIFE

Not Voting? Less Power to You

March 05, 2000|STEVE CHAWKINS

I love to vote, whether I vote my conscience or just do what the voices that come from my fillings tell me to do.

That's why I haven't missed an election in 30 years.

The night before, I stay up late, frantically marking my sample ballot. I put orange checks next to the measures I support and black X's next to the ones I oppose. From time to time, though, I use black checks and orange X's, or even green happy-faces, just to boggle my enemies: Switcheroo time, comrades!

Without the opportunity to vote, I could never add my two cents to the grand, noisy, vibrant, bustling, aromatic bazaar of American democracy.

What is the biggest problem in America today?

Clearly, it is this: The government simply doesn't have enough money!

That's why I vote enthusiastically for all measures to increase our taxes.

Whether the taxes hit the rich, the poor, or the oh-so-weepy middle class; whether they come from municipal bonds or fishing licenses; whether they go for textbooks or toupees--all these are mere details. The point is that when officials come to us in need, we should never, ever turn them away.

(OK, I said it. Are you happy now? Will you please quit beaming those death rays into my bedroom at night?)

A related matter is debt. We should be careful about restricting the debt. Debt is what keeps us working. Debt makes the economy spin. So-called "conservatives" argue that racking up a trillion here and a trillion there is like mortgaging our grandchildren's future. I say: It'll be good for the little buggers. The greatest gift in the world is fortitude, and they'll need plenty of it!

All of these dreams can be made real with the magic of a single vote.

One vote! A one-vote margin makes all the difference in the world. By just one vote, a qualified, compassionate, concerned citizen can be elected to any office in the land. But that same tiny margin can also elect a patriot who knows his weaponry and is also sharp enough to tell when the secret black U.N. helicopters are hovering right over his compound! And one vote is all it takes!

In California, thankfully, we have the chance to vote on ballot measures by the dozen. While it takes some time to plow through all the arguments pro and con, it is well worth the effort to cast an informed vote.

Or, like me, you can simply nail the ballot to a tree, pump it with a few good shotgun blasts, and see where the yeas and nays wind up. That too is satisfying.

I can't wait until Tuesday. Nothing short of another alien abduction will keep me from my polling place and I hope to see you there too.

What's that?

It's too much trouble?

You don't understand the long ballot?

You don't like the candidates?

Your vote doesn't count?

You don't get it, do you?

There are many good reasons to vote. You can vote out of civic obligation. You can vote to change the system. You can vote because good men and women laid down their lives that you may do so.

But when you get right down to it, voting is enlightened self-defense.

You can choose to stay home, as 57% of registered voters in Ventura County did in the 1996 presidential primary.

But the bottom line is: If you don't vote, I will.

Provided the black helicopter doesn't swallow me up first.

*

Steve Chawkins can be reached at 653-7561 or by e-mail at steve.chawkins@latimes.com.

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