Recently a bunch of celebrities have taken to the airwaves to encourage or bully us into voting. Well…not just vote in general, but vote specifically for Obama. This is despite the fact that there are several interesting third party nominees to vote for – Rocky Anderson, Jill Stein, and my personal favorite, Roseanne Barr.
I’ve seen the Sarah Silverman ads – and she’s just so funny and adorable that she’s very hard for me to get mad at. And Steve Carell is such a sweetie-pie. And Ellen DeGeneres – well…I couldn’t possibly think of a bad word to say to her or about her. If I met her, I’d just give her a big hug and then bust a move or two.
Then we have - Samuel L. Jackson who has been ordering us to “Wake the fuck up.” And, well…I’m getting a bit irritated. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely LOVE Sam. I’ve loved him ever since I saw him in Jurassic Park – and was heartbroken when he got eaten by the velociraptor. And I’ve loved him through the years, even in some movies that critics and audiences might have considered failures, like The Long Kiss Goodnight. But stop yelling at me, Sam. It’s kind of none of your business who I vote for, or even if I vote.
Besides, not only do I have Sam shouting at me and trying to guilt-trip me into a vote for his candidate, but I have a long memory, as well. It seems like only yesterday that Obama in a 2010 Rolling Stone interview chastised voters for not being sufficiently impressed with his wondrous achievements and who might then not show up in force for the midterm elections (and we all know how those turned out). And before that we had Robert Gibbs (his former press secretary) suggesting that those of us who were complaining about Obama’s policies ought to be “drug tested.” And then, who could forget the always charming and incorruptible, Rahm Emanuel calling many of us “fucking retarded.”
My feeling has been that they lost the House in the 2010 midterms because they had completely failed not only their supporters, but the entire country. On almost any issue one can name, the Democrats became card-carrying Republicans. We felt not only deeply disappointed, but foolish. And you know what George Bush said about getting fooled again.
If there is less than enthusiastic support for Democratic candidates and for Obama in particular, whose fault is that really? Where is their personal responsibility for this failure to communicate and motivate? People are not entirely stupid all of the time. They know when someone is working for them and trying to help (whether succeeding or not). They sense when someone is on their side or if words are just cheap.
The voter apathy that plagued the Dems two years ago, and may yet impact this election, didn’t just materialize out of thin air. There are substantial reasons for it. Of course, the irony is that after Obama has performed so ably for banks, corporations and such, his campaign has supposedly been struggling to get their financial support this go-round. And there are only so many Sarah Jessica Parker’s and Jay-Z’s to fill in the gap.
Some folks point out some good things that Obama has done as obvious reasons to be excited to vote for him again. The health insurance reform law for instance. And being a decent human being (if I say so myself, and I will), I’m not just thinking about myself or my family. I care about how policy affects other people as well. But, speaking personally, the only thing that’s helped anyone in my entire family is the fact that we can keep our two daughters on my husband’s health insurance at his job until they’re 26. Yes, that helps a lot. Especially because the year before that part of the bill went through, we were paying over $400 a month with COBRA for our oldest daughter. (Of course, what do we do next year when she turns 26? Her health and wellbeing will be no less important to us.) And, you know, my feeling on this is that it’s the least Obama and this government can do. And, I mean that literally – the very least. When I think of the percentage in federal taxes we pay year after year after bloody year (far more than Mitt, by the way), and the fact that they take 50% of what they scarf up from us, and send it off to the military – an expenditure that I completely disapprove of – then I think, sure we deserve some return on our tax dollars for the hard, physically difficult and sometimes dangerous work my husband does to earn a living. But beyond our personal circumstances, there are people right this second who are struggling and dying for lack of money to see a doctor. And that’s just not okay or understandable. And beyond that issue, I’d like to see my taxes go toward helping to lift people out of poverty and supporting kids so they might go to college. I’d like my money to go toward breaking up the banks and cleaning up the environment, not giving subsidies to Monsanto or ExxonMobil.
And I’d like to see a president fight for something worthwhile. But we’ve been at this rodeo before with this guy. And though he’ll toss a few more crumbs toward the small folk out there than the other guy – there is nothing and no one that he won’t betray – women, children, gays, the elderly – it’s all up for grabs if he can strike the right deal.
Oh – and I hear the voices now, echoing in my head. “The Supreme Court. The Supreme Court.” Yes, well…that may indeed be the only legitimate reason to vote for this dude. But even on that issue, I really don’t trust Obama to do the right thing. He might give the next open slot to Ann Coulter or something in another nauseating display of bipartisan fealty.
So stop yelling at me, Sam. I love you, but I don’t care. The realities of your life and most other people’s are far, far apart. There’s a reason so many of us have lost all belief in the government and in Obama in particular. And that’s his fault, not the fault of stupid people that you think don’t understand what he’s done for them. Oh, they understand all right.