not long ago, i asked a college student type person i know if he was going to vote in this year's thrilling presidential election (isn't everyone as wacked-out about politics as i am?) he had just turned 18 and in my warped political haze, i assumed he'd be excited to participate in an historic election like this.
after all, it's not often that a candidate like barack obama comes along, and there certainly are issues at stake that will directly effect this kid's future (the economy, jobs, mmm...war with iran, maybe?) and hey! he's a college student! he's part of the youth vote, right? those youth voters are gonna make the difference in this election! they're gonna show up at the polls! and besides, what a great thing to be able to tell your grandkids – "i voted for barack obama." (a few of you might prefer to tell those grandkids "i voted against the baby-killing terrorist!" i'm trying to be inclusive, here.)
"not gonna vote," my college student friend told me, "i don't like either one."
harumph. "write someone in!" i suggested.
i wondered, though, if it was really true, or if – like myself at 18 (too busy drinking heinekin and shots of tequila, and singing "come on baby, let's do the twist" at weddings five times a week) – he just hadn't learned enough about either candidate to make a choice. after a brief conversation, he confessed that if he voted, he knew who he'd vote for. i breathed a sigh of political relief.
a few days later, we talked again and he told me he'd discovered that it was too late: he couldn't vote because he hadn't registered. yikes. after doing a little research though (very little) i discovered that in his state you can, in fact, register on the same day that you vote. hmm. so, no dice there.
when confronted with this information, (and by confronted, i mean...you know...confronted) he reverted to the old "i don't like either one" line. odd, since he actually told me earlier that he did favor one over the other. so why not vote?
it was a mystery to me. i've been known to have a touch of the o.c.d. so naturally i bombarded him with information about registering, where to register, what i.d. to bring to register, voting on campus, why he should vote, videos and emails and websites and pdf's and the like. i even arranged for someone from one of the campaigns to call him and offer encouragement or help with registering (that wasn't going overboard, was it?)
i haven't heard from him since.
but i bet he thought about it, and finally sucked it up and went out and voted.
for santa claus.