If Election Day were not so near, I’d rather write some more informative or entertaining news from Goleta. But Election Day, November 4, is almost here and many have already received their mail-in ballots. This column is intended primarily for some people who say they’re fed up with government, and are threatening to boycott this election.

You may be asking, “Why bother voting? My vote doesn’t matter.” Here’s why: Close to home, Goleta voters will not only help decide who our next President, Congressperson, and State legislators will be. We’ll also be electing a 3rd District County Supervisor, two Goleta City Council members, and three Goleta Water Board members. These important local races will determine whether each of these bodies is dominated by representatives for carefully managed development or fast-paced, developer-driven growth. And we’ll also get to decide a multitude of state initiatives affecting our basic marital rights, energy planning, whether we should fund our shaky transportation systems, and much more.

Don’t think of your vote as an individual act to change the world. Think of voting as a group exercise – a time to imagine the future you want, and then, by casting your lot with thousands like you, making the future happen.

Vote because, unlike millions of people around the world, you can. Whether you call it a right, a privilege, a responsibility, an honor, the ability to vote is something we should never take for granted.

You say you’re not sure about the people and the issues? Get help from:

League of Women Voters of Santa Barbara

The California Elections Division

The Voter Information Pamphlet you will receive from the SB County Elections Division, if you are registered to vote.

Can’t believe your vote makes a difference? Goleta elections have been decided by as few as six voters out of 20,000.

Bitch all you want about government, but ultimately we are responsible for the leaders we pick and the results we get. It’s like the story of two people who meet on the street. One says, “What do you see as the solution to global warming?” The other says, “I live in a basement, I don’t see anything.” The point is that ignoring reality doesn’t mean that matters you ignore won’t affect your life.

Famed author, Louis L’Amour, wrote “To make democracy work, we must be a nation of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.” Or to put it even more colloquially, just read the first word in each of the first seven paragraphs above.

And if that doesn’t persuade you, I defer to the following far more clever verbalizing.

“Election Day Is a Holiday”

By Ogden Nash, from The Pocket Book of Ogden Nash, 1962

People on whom I do not bother to dote

Are people who do not bother to vote

Heaven forbid that they should ever be exempt

From contumely, obloquy, and various kinds of contempt.

Some of them like Toscanini and some like Rudy Vallee

But all of them take about as much interest in their right to ballot as their right to ballet.

They haven’t voted since the heyday of Miss Russell (Lillian)

And excuse themselves by saying What’s the difference of one vote in fifty million?

They have such refined and delicate palates

That they can discover no one worthy of their ballots,

And then when someone terrible gets elected

They say There, that’s just what I expected!

And they go around for four years spouting discontented criticisms

And contented witticisms,

And then when somebody to oppose the man they oppose gets nominated

They say Oh golly, golly, he’s the kind of man I’ve always abominated

And they have discovered that if you don’t take time out to go to the polls

You can manage very nicely to get through thirty-six holes.

Oh let us cover these clever people very conspicuously with loathing,

For they are un-citizens in citizens’ clothing.

They attempt to justify their negligence

On the ground that no candidate appeals to people of their intelligence,

But I am quite sure that if Abraham Lincoln (Rep.) ran against Thomas Jefferson (Dem.),

Neither man would be appealing enough to squeeze a vote out of them.


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