Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery






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Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Sufferin' for Suffrage

It's Primary Day here in New York City. All across the five boroughs, New Yorkers are pausing in the middle of their attempts to squeeze a zit on their back and thinking, "Oh, shit, I should go vote." And then going back to squeezing the zit. The only race most people care about is the Mayoral primary, and it's pretty much an inconsequential vote, because the winner is most likely going to get the shit kicked out of them in November by Mayor Bloomberg. Not that he's a great mayor by any means, but the prevailing attitude around here seems to be, "He hasn't, like, pistol-whipped a toddler or anything, has he? Okay. Then why bother voting him out?" The only real way Bloomberg could be voted out is if one of the long-shot candidates, a congressman, should happen to win the primary. The guy's name is Anthony Weiner. There could, potentially, be a huge swell of support for him, just for the novelty of saying, "Mayor Weiner".

The other races, nobody cares about. Well, wait. I should say, instead, that the people who concern themselves deeply about who the Public Advocate is are people who would probably bore the shit out of me at dinner.

But, in spite of this being a relatively meaningless little primary, I'm disappointed that I can't vote in it. I've voted in almost every election for anything since I was 17. (I got to vote in the '88 presidential primary because I was going to be 18 by the time the general election rolled around.) I've felt, for the most part, that voting is a right that people have fought and died for in this country and it's something we are duty-bound to do. I still feel this, despite frustration that the two-party system in the U.S. has stagnated to the point where we don't have an actual choice in who's elected, but are rather forced in presidential elections to choose between the two candidates to whom corporations have decided to give their money.

I'm really kind of wildly inconsistent in my thinking.

Anyway, the type of frustration I mention above led me to, when registering to vote here in Harlem, abandon the Democratic Party, to which I'd belonged my whole life. I signed up, instead, as a Green.

Now, there aren't a whole lot of Green candidates in Harlem running for, say, Manhattan District Attorney. It's not like I could go to the polls and have my choice of eight people. So, to Greens, this primary is particularly meaningless. Which leads back to my disappointment. There are Democratic candidates running for Borough President or for Mayor for whom I'd like to vote. I've listened to what some of them have to say and I'd like to be able to support them.

But because I wanted to make some sort of half-assed stand about the need for third parties, I can't. Being a Green sucks. A lot of the candidates are just kind of geeky. Like they wouldn't have a chance at an even marginally successful campaign as a Democrat, so they decided to go Green. It's not like this everywhere. I remember there being some really interesting Green politicians in Seattle. And I don't even mean "interesting" in that, "Hey, this guy's so fucking crazy he might just show up for the debate and put mayonnaise and live weasels in his pants" kind of way.

Basically, registering as a Green was the dumbest thing I've done politically since that first presidential primary in '88 when I stupidly thought "Hmm, I guess the most liberal thing I could do would be to vote for Jesse Jackson." I just don't seem to be getting any smarter, do I?