Monday, November 06, 2006


The day after we returned from Italy, Mrs. Werbenmanjensen and I were lazing about the flat, tired from our 2 a.m. arrival home, when the door alarm buzzed. This was unusual for a Sunday, but I ran down to open the door.

"Voter registration!" said the smiling man who greeted me when I opened the front door of our building.

"Hi," I said.

At this moment, I remembered that I'd binned a mailer some weeks earlier, knowing that I didn't qualify to vote, but fearing that a response would put me in a jury selection pool regardless.

"I'd love to," I continued, "but I don't think I can."

He squinted at me. "American?"


He laughed, and then held up a clipboard with a sheet of paper showing the countries whose citizens can vote in UK elections if they live here. "Too bad," he said. "You're about the only blokes who can't."

I thanked him, and restrained myself from making a comment about a war two centuries earlier over just such issues.

But then I marvelled at a country that considers voting so important that not only do they send me registration materials, they also send registrars to my door if I fail to respond to them. It makes you think that maybe they want people to come to the polls, compared with some other countries I could name.

It's very strange living in a country where you know you have no political voice. You see politicians on the television, or read about them in the newspapers, and say to yourself, "I'd like to vote for them," and then realize you can't. Which is why I'm going to make a last-ditch appeal to my American readers to go vote tomorrow.

I'm going to make a second last-ditch appeal to any voters who haven't already made up their minds: vote Democratic.

I don't want this to become a political blog, in part because that's that's not its mission, but also because there are so many people who do a better job of it than I do (note: each word in blue links to a different political blog by people who are better at it than I am). But I do want to try to persuade undecided voters in the states to vote Democratic in part because there has been no more important issue in my sentient lifetime than the war in Iraq.

The cost of the war is as follows: 2,823 confirmed U.S. military deaths, 16 already this month as I write this; 44,779 U.S. wounded as of Sept. 30; $340 billion, as I write this; and 655,000 Iraqi deaths, more than the number of deaths caused by the man just sentenced to die.

In other words, this war is a failure. We fought and defeated a defanged enemy whose threat had been contained, doing nothing to inhibit the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and doing nothing to halt terrorism. In fact, our intervention created such anger in the Arab world that in fact more people are willing to fight and die to harm Americans than before the war.

The Democratic Party did not distinguish itself during the fight over whether to grant President Bush the authority to send troops into Iraq. Those of us who opposed the idea of the war from the beginning were portrayed as weak and as traitors, and the Democrats, unwisely in my opinion, decided they didn't want to be on the wrong side of that. I fully believe, however, that had Al Gore been president in 2002, neither the United States nor Great Britain would be in this war right now. And I firmly believe that the only way to reverse this is to change the leadership of this country.

Now, there's only one thing you can do to change it.

Steve Earle knows what to do ...

The revolution starts now, in your own backyard in your own hometown.

Go vote.


Anonymous fatslug the impetuous said...

I'm voting to get the bastards out. I realize this will only put the Democrats in line to get blamed for the mess the Republicans made, but our electoral system gives me no other choice.

12:29 PM  
Blogger Middle Kid said...

Well said, Smitty. I was out on the corner on Saturday with some of my pink friends trying to persuade people to vote for peace. All of the polls say that the Democrats should take over the House tomorrow, but, in order for that to happen, everyone needs to get out and vote.

Even then, our job has just begun. Once the Dems are in power, we have to make them act like Dems and not Republican-lites.

The revolution started 2 years ago for me, but I invite everyone to join me starting today!

2:27 PM  
Blogger oldest kid said...

You can't vote absentee? I've already voted, so I could avoid the lines! I'm hoping for a "Kinky" revolution in Texas! (but it's looking grim) Other than the vote for Kinky, I voted straight Democratic, something I've never done before. And, I've been wearing my pink shirts in support of MK and his/her pink friends.

1:14 AM  
Blogger Smitty Werbenmanjensen said...

I can't vote in the UK. I can only vote in the States.

7:53 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Werbenmanjensen said...

We, uh, didn't get our act together in time to vote absentee. Something that will NOT happen in 2008, assuming we are still amuck.

6:38 PM  
Blogger zeditor said...

Here in the heart of the heartland, we are happy. Jim Ryun will no longer represent the KS 2nd. Our nazi attorney general Phill Kline is done. The KS House delegation is now half Democrat. Who'd a thunk it???

I, too, wish Americans took voting more seriously. But for today, the right people came out in sufficient numbers to send that cliched message to W and his minions: We're done with you! We want something else!

2:25 PM  
Blogger Smitty Werbenmanjensen said...

Shades of the '72 Olympic quarterfinals with Jim Ryun?

2:30 PM  
Blogger Middle Kid said...

Uggh! I voted for a bunch of losers again. I guess I shouldn't be surprised since I live in a red state (albeit with a Democratic governor). At least pigs will lead a better life before they're slaughtered.

3:05 PM  
Blogger Smitty Werbenmanjensen said...

I'd daresay that you'd be better represented if you elected a pig over J.D. Hayworth.

3:13 PM  
Blogger Middle Kid said...

I'm not in his district -- we'll still be represented by John "I'm less tainted" Shadegg -- and Harry Mitchell is one of those "moderate Democrats" that are really "Goldwater Conervatives." But I'm sure it will be better than before.

7:34 PM  

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