The Absurdity of Voting

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  • By Jonn "J-Dogg" Karsseboom
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The Absurdity of Voting

I have to admit, the strangest, most odd part of being an American citizen is the actual act of voting. (It’s even stranger than being on a jury in my opinion)

I have to admit, the strangest, most odd part of being an American citizen is the actual act of voting. (It’s even stranger than being on a jury in my opinion)

It’s just all too surreal.

I remember not long after my 18th birthday I actually voted for an American President. What did I know about the best qualifications for governance? I tried explaining my thinking and feelings to my mom back then who wasn’t a citizen (and still isn’t) and she only smiled.

Conversely, there are also many people who have the right, but choose not to vote and I’ve read a few articles about them. Those people I’ve noticed, are described with terms like”disenfranchised” and often are inflicted with an “apathy”. I’m here to tell those folks: I completely understand the absurdity.

I know. I know. There have been generations before me that have fought and died for this right. There are hundreds of countries that currently deny their citizenry the right to choose. Or even worse, with a nod to national theatrics, in some countries citizens can vote so long as they vote for the per-chosen guy. (Do I dare call it a “fake vote”?) I should feel so lucky.

But if I really think about it (like I’m doing now) its counter-intuitive.

For instance, point blank I’m asked my opinion (or preference) on a number of issues, sometimes big and substantial.

Me? I often know just the bare minimum about those issues. It’s like knowing that the green side of the plant goes up. Whether I just planted a ground cover or a giant sequoia is anyone’s guess.

And if I multiplied my casual uninformed ness over the entire population somehow like a magical bean, it’s suppose to yield a good result? Of course, I’m assuming everyone’s just like me. That may not be true.

So, I’m ashamed to admit, I’ve voted in people for important positions that I wished I knew a bit better. I’m particularly bad with judges. Sheriffs too. One day I vow to know what a county commissioner actually does.

The overlay of “Republican” or “Democrat” or “Independent” over the names of people I realize are supposed to make things easier for voters. But for me, it doesn’t. Yes, I could choose plants for my garden based solely on “evergreen” or “deciduous” but does that make for a good garden?

While the ballot does arrive luxuriously in the mail (As an Oregonian, I’m quite proud of that accomplishment achieved ahem, through voting.) The ballot otherwise resembles a typical high school/college exam.

I realize it isn’t graded and there are no incorrect answers but I also know of many who use a tactic they used on the SAT’s before college. (If they’re unsure, they skip the question.) I don’t. I plow through; inking in every available option even when only one exists.

Realizing, all the while, that the study guide isn’t as trustworthy as we would like it to be.

Voting, it should be noted, requires the patience of a gardener. I may choose one way on an issue but the actual implementation, the actual growing on the issue may take some time. Forewarning here: when it does grow to fruition there may be unforeseen consequences. We collectively chose to plant an apple tree, in other words, but got a basket of crabapples instead.

I hope to keep trying however. Like planting the tiniest of seeds into the cold soil it’s not every time, not even some of the time does that seed germinate. It’s only when the decisions and actions and environment are just right. Then (and often only then) good things are sure to grow.

Jonn Karsseboom spends his time developing different kinds of hanging baskets for inside and outside all year. Send questions or complimentary comments to jonn@thegardencorner.com

Comments

  1. gala cole gala cole

    If you can't take the time to acquaint yourself about the issues and the offices and the individuals in the ballet, do your best effort at researching as many as possible, and leave the ones you are uncertain about blank. I leave the judge contests blank since most of them are the sole "candidate". Leaving that box unchecked is my small way of protesting being asked to vote when there is no choice. But calling voting in America "absurd" (wildly unreasonable, illogical, or inappropriate) is, well, absurd.

  2. Carol Wood Carol Wood

    For the first time this year I studied and learned all I could about every candidate and felt as certain as I could be that I was voting for those with whom I am most closely aligned politically and socially. It’s a good feeling.

  3. Carla Albright Carla Albright

    While I agree with the partial absurdity of my "little" vote making a difference in the bigger picture, I relish in the knowledge that sooner or later, my one vote will be important, especially when combined with the votes of others. Don't give up... study when you can and vote with your heart when all else fails.

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