Most of the emails and comments I get from my readers come from the United States, so it is reasonable to assume that most of my readers are Americans. The following is a quick Public Service Announcement for those of you who are eligible to vote in the upcoming 2004 Presidential election. All my fellow non-Americans can feel free to ignore it.
Over the past four years, I have come to know more about American politics than I do about Canadian politics. During the previous administration, I would have been hard-pressed to name any employee of the Maison Blanche other than Clinton and Gore. Now, simply from effortless media osmosis, I can readily identify Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft, to say nothing of Michael Moore, Rush Limbaugh, Lynndie England, Jessica Lynch, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, and Mohammed "Comical Ali" Saeed al-Sahhaf.
Much of this newfound awareness, I think, is simply a result of my age. I'm coming out of my larval stage of willful ignorance and apathy, and entering my pupal stage of political awareness and vague left-leaning agitation. I fully expect to enter a conservative phase when I reach middle age, as well as develop an appreciation for the "Good Old Days" and a desire to procreate. I am not objective, I am an organism with a life cycle.
But, of course, it's not just me. Big things have been happening. Politics is hot right now.
When Clinton was in power, the most notable thing he did was fool around with an intern or two. I think there was also some sort of real estate scandal, but no one paid much attention to that. Now, we have a new landmark tragedy in world history, two retaliatory wars, one ominous meta-war, an outsourced indefinite interrogation facility for the uncategorized, and a nation-wide paranoia-meter that is coloured incorrectly. This is to say nothing of a proposed Amendment or two, unprecedented use of patriotism as an ideological weapon, and a campaign with more mud slinging than an Elbonian soccer riot.
Which brings me nicely to my request: please vote.
I know with the weird Electoral College thing you guys have (you guys were the first real democracy, it's not your fault you put it together wrong), your vote doesn't mean much unless you're in a swing state. I know the Diebold electronic polling stations are essentially big black boxes with a monkey inside. I know a lot of people are being disenfrachised simply because they're felons. I know you would much rather be sitting on your polyunsaturated behinds and watching Spongebob.
But your election affects me, and as a Canadian, I can't vote in it. So I need you guys, my loyal American readers, to do so in my place. On November second, please stock up on bias-balanced information, head to the polls, and make a decision with every ounce of intelligence, compassion and worldly savvy you possess. Remember to check for hanging chads.
And afterwards, we can all have football and turkey, okay?