You know how I used to refuse to vote early — because of my love of Election Day and the communitarian experience of getting out there and standing in line with my neighbors, yadda-yadda?
Well, I broke with that in 2020, and it’s a good thing I did. I did it, as much as anything, because of COVID. I was concerned that things were going to be unmanageable on the actual day — huge turnout was expected, and I was picturing all those masked people trying to stay six feet from each other. Also, I was worried that I might get it myself (this was before the vaccines), and be too sick on the day of.
And I had never felt it more important to vote than in that election. I knew I alone couldn’t tip South Carolina to Joe, but I had to make the effort. Every single person who cared about saving our country had to make every effort possible.
And if I hadn’t gone early, I would have — for the first time in my life — missed my chance. My brother-in-law died suddenly at the end of October, and his funeral was on Election Day — in Memphis.
So this year, I’m going to do it again. But not because I see the outcome as vital. In fact, I’ve never in my life seen a general election in which I was so uninterested in voting — or in which my vote would matter so little.
Have you looked at a sample ballot? It’s pretty depressing.
First, we don’t have a candidate for governor for whom I could vote. I don’t want Henry to be governor, and I don’t want Joe Cunningham to be governor (have you looked at his issues page? I have.). And no, I’m not going to vote for the Libertarian. Because, you know, he’s a Libertarian — which is the one and only thing I know about him.
So the one challenge for me is whom to write in. Still pondering that.
Let’s stumble our way through the rest of the ballot…
- Secretary of State. I wouldn’t care about this even if I were excited — positively or negatively — about either of the candidates. This should not be an elective position. It’s not a position that sets policy. The secretary is a clerk.
- State Treasurer. Same as secretary of state. A little more significant, but not much.
- Attorney General. No choice is offered. Alan Wilson is unopposed.
You know what? This is ridiculous. Let’s skip to the ones I’m bothering to vote on:
- State Superintendent of Education. This is about voting against someone — Ellen Weaver, who of course is almost certainly going to win, but it is my duty to stand up and say “nay.” She is not only completely unqualified to run the largest part of our state government, but she will go out of her way to harm our public schools. I’ll vote for Lisa Ellis, since Kathy Maness was done in by the extremists.
- Commissioner of Agriculture. Yeah, it’s another position that should be appointed rather than elected, but I think Hugh Weathers does a good job, so I’ll vote for him. Of course, he would win whether I did or not. But it’s kind of nice to occasionally get a chance to vote for someone you like, and see him win. It doesn’t salvage the rest of this experience, though.
- U.S. House District 2. As I’ve said before, I’m happy to vote for Judd Larkins. He won’t win, but I’m happy to say he should. Is he a perfect candidate? No. A candidate for congress should have a lot experience in public life, and Judd has none. But he’s a better candidate than the one who’s going to win.
- The three referendums on my ballot. I will vote “yes” on all of them — not enthusiastically, but as long as I’m forced to engage in government by plebiscite, here are reasons to support the statewide proposals on reserve funds. And my rule is, if Lexington County actually, miraculously dares to try to raise a tax, I’m going to say yes, because it must really, truly be desperately needed…
That’s about it. If I had to pick one reason why I’m going to vote, it would be to stand up for Judd in the congressional race.
But there should be a lot of reasons for me to embrace. And there aren’t. Which is a very sorry situation. Our democracy is in serious trouble. We’ve discussed the reasons before, and we can get into them again at another time. I need to go on and vote. It’s my duty…