Election Day in Alabama

June 1 is primary election day in Alabama, and what I see going on here amounts to something similar to what is going on in the rest of the country: let’s oust the incumbents! Though I don’t share this overarching idea, the majority of the political ads I saw or heard centered on creating an impression of electability based not being a career politician, not being a “Montgomery insider,” and not having any political record at all. Many of the candidates stated outwardly that they had never held any political office at all. National pundits like to harp on the Tea Party movement – which to me is nothing more than a bunch of people who don’t want to pay taxes – but that is just one form that their discontentment is taking. In one conversation with one of my family members, I said, “Having no experience at all doesn’t incline me to vote for them.” He replied straightforwardly, “It makes me want to vote for them.”

I voted yesterday, in the Democratic primary. I never miss a chance to vote. It’s an extremely important duty in America. In my opinion voter turnout should always be 90% in every election!

Personally, I have advocated many times that America follow the lead of some other countries and make voting day a national holiday, where no employer makes anyone come to work. This holiday would only disrupt American businesses for two days, five months apart, every other year. Many people in America also work a good distance from where they live, and getting to their local polling place between 7 AM and 7 PM can be too difficult. A lot of Alabamians live in rural areas and drive into nearby towns and cities for their day’s work. I ask, why are these hard-working people who have jobs and who pay taxes effectively disallowed from voting? What is the reason for voting being limited to 12 hours on one weekday?

I also believe that public transportation systems in urban and suburban areas should provide free rides for anyone going to or from a polling place on voting days. Access to transportation should also never be an impediment to voting.

If the Tea Party types and the other malcontents want to be pissed off with something, they ought to be pissed off about low voter turnout, not high taxes. Opposing taxes is very seldom the “pro-business” or “pro-family” belief that it is played up to be; most often it is politicized and dogmatic selfishness. The same people who often oppose high taxes also support “law and order” measures, like putting more police on the streets. Add that up and it means “I don’t want to help, or even tolerate, people I have decided don’t deserve it.” If the Tea Party movement was truly a populist movement, it would address voter turnout . . . but it doesn’t. There was only one Tea Party candidate I really saw in Alabama, a guy for US Congress named Rick Barber. He left a recorded message on my phone last week that was so hateful toward Islam and Muslims, in both content and tone, that I am doubly glad he got so few votes. Barber didn’t seem to me like a righteous American patriot, but more like an angry xenophobe who was spreading public paranoia.

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