A ten-minute drive, if that. Sixty seconds in line. Two minutes waiting for the print-out. Ten minutes to fulfill my civic duty. Another minute to register my civic duty. A second to put on a sticker.
That was it. Something easy. Something simple. Something barely 50 percent of our country bothers to do - vote.
Florida has early voting for a two-week period and I took advantage of it Friday to vote for Alex Sink, Charlie Crist and some school board people I know nothing about.
I'm no civic servant hero. I don't phone bank. I don't Get Out the Vote partly because of my lack of charm and my fear that some ignorant statement from an uninformed citizen would set me off. And I'm not the busiest person in the world.
Still, it takes 10 minutes. There is no excuse not to vote.
This ain't no haughty public service announcement starring John Legend, Susan Sarandon and other "librulz." It's just a simple fact. We aren't asked to do much as American citizens. Many other countries, like Israel and South Korea, have mandated military service. In the U.S., men register for the selective service, but we are nowhere close to a draft.
Just once every two years we are asked to vote. And unless you are a single parent with five kids and two jobs, you aren't too busy to vote. You have to work all Tuesday? Then vote early. Can't vote early? Then fill in an absentee ballot. Again, not difficult.
Yet less than 50 percent will end up voting in the midterm elections. The stay-at-home people will still complain, as if taking their ball and going home will give our nation better leaders. They must stare at a fire, shrug or cuss, go home and expect it to be over by the next morning.
My age group is the worst of all. Most numbers say a third of us 18-34'ers will vote. No, we're not too busy. We just don't care. We don't feel it will have an effect. The politicians don't care about us.
That's right. They don't. Why should they? Does the CW worry about how to reach grandmothers who love JAG reruns? They will not bother with an age group that doesn't vote. You have to go to them. They will not come to you. This is the same group that had to be dragged kicking and screaming to allow women the right to vote, to abolish slavery, to end Jim Crowe, to pass worker protections and food safety regulations. They are always years behind the populace, and they're just fine with that backward position if they are never called out on it.
The youth came out for Obama, didn't get 100 percent of what they wanted, and are disillusioned. Things were supposed to be fixed in two years. Little do they know that the NAACP and black Americans fought for decades until the first Civil Rights legislation was passed in the 50s. With today's attitude, they would have quit in the 30s and sat home so Strom Thurmond could be voted president.
That's basically what liberals are doing now. We didn't get everything we wanted. Obama has compromised too much. He's been excruciatingly slow on gay rights, closing Guantanamo, ending the wars, bringing down unemployment, etc. Much of this is true.
He's also the most successful progressive president since Lyndon Johnson and has done more for the liberal cause in two years than Bill Clinton was able to do in eight. Health care reform. Wall Street reform. He saved a million jobs by rescuing the American auto industry. He's invested more in green energy than any president ever has. He staved off a depression. He made America likable again to the rest of the world. He instituted the Consumer Protection Agency. He kicked private banks out of the student lending industry and invested millions back into government grants.
There a plenty of things to complain about, but for progressive/liberals/communists/potheads, this president is the best you're gonna get. Want the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Then push him from the left with all you have. He'll be more amenable to your position than a President McCain would, or a President Palin, or a President Romney.
Instead, progressives and liberals are doing what they do best, sniping and giving in. They will take a courageous stand by staying home so Sharron Angle can go to the Senate and John Boehner can be third in line for the presidency. What good does that do for their cause?
So Democrats are prepared to sit outside on the lawns and watch the fire. Almost half of America will let an extreme right wing movement take over D.C. - the same people who burned down everything from 2000-2008 - because these ordinary citizens don't want to take 30 minutes out of their day to vote.
And that's how they expect things to get better.
Since when do fires put themselves out?