Fresh Takes Opinion — 31 October 2014

By the time you read this, another election week will nearly be upon us.

As sure as I am that there will be elections, I’m equally as sure that somewhere around 90 percent of you reading this will not care about said elections.

Which is OK — it’s only the fates and directions of your counties, states and country at stake. Best to leave it to those who are more educated on the subject, right?

I’m being sarcastic if that didn’t come through but I do understand the apathy that many of you feel. Democracy as a whole can feel very messy and at times very disconnected from the individual. Most races in an election seem to be decided by such wide margins that they almost seem pre-decided.

Apathy is easy.

But here’s the thing — for the most part, your apathy is being counted on as part of the political equation by forces that affect your lives negatively. A big, gaping hole in the electorate with which corporations and their lackeys in government slide laws and pieces of legislation that mess the country up for you now and in the future.

And when you, the young, do show up to vote, you make big things happen. Not that it happened here in California (which I feel a great shame about as a lifelong resident of the Golden State), but huge youth turnouts brought the long overdue legalization of Marijuana to Washington and Colorado.

Youth turnout was at an all-time high during the 2008 Presidential election, which brought the election of President Barack Obama.

Now this next bit will be controversial.

Here we are, a week or two (depending on when you read this) away from the next election and a conquering tidal wave of conservatism is poised to take over its second of three branches of government.

Mostly buoyed by the constant and often misleading (and by my estimation, barely veiled racist) criticisms of President Obama.

This has not been a perfect presidency. That’s a pretty major understatement.

But, as much restraint as I may be using with that statement, let me not hold back on this next one

This country is far better off than it was when President Obama took office and it’s not even close.

Remember that we were in the thick of a financial crisis that saw 1.2 million people lose their homes according to NBC News. Many millions more lost their jobs. The stock market essentially collapsed. Gas was in the neighborhood of four to five dollars a gallon. In essence, we were at one of our lowest economic points in American history.

Now, I just paid a shade of three dollars for a gallon of gas today. Unemployment is 5.9 percent according to the National Conference of State legislatures. It was at 10 percent during the recessions peak. The stock market is at all time highs. Gross Domestic Product is up.

Not just economically, but civil rights have been expanded. The aforementioned legal weed. Gay marriage rights spreading nationwide. Equal pay for women.

Yet, here we are, not far from the election with America poised to hand the keys back to the Republican party. The same people who hamstrung President Obama at every step of his presidency. The people who would have rather not seen any of what I’ve described happen if it was President Obama who did it.

The same people whose policies create the kinds of messes President Obama has spent his entire presidency trying to fix.

Yet here we are. More than likely going to expand the Republicans’ House Majority and give them a majority in the Senate as well.

So while you sit at home during this upcoming election, don’t be surprised if things start to get bad again. Don’t be surprised if the country starts to piss away some of the truly great progress we’ve seen in the last few years.

If you’re reading this and you don’t vote or don’t even know there’s an election coming up — well, bravo. Well done.
Of course, I’m being sarcastic. Obviously most of you won’t even read this.

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