Not Uncommitted

It’s Saturday morning. It’s a lovely winter day outside – the air frosty, the sun shining. I’ve treated myself to both cream and sugar in my coffee, when normally I drink it black. I slept beautifully last night and woke up this morning barely having disturbed my side of the bed. Lately, I’ve been traveling in my dreams, going to Switzerland, Germany, Italy, France…I wonder what it all means? In a couple of hours I meet A. and her mom for an early lunch and then to see The Kite Runner and there is not that much else on the schedule so I’m finding it sort of hard to tap into my rage for the rant I promised, but I think, if I really concentrate, I might be able to….

Oh, yes.

Dear Michigan Democratic Pary:

A-hem. I cannot even FREAKING believe you moved up the primary against the national democratic party’s decision. Oh, trust me, I understood why you wanted to. Certainly it’s a bit of a joke assuming Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina represent the interests of the Great Lake States. It particularly cracks me up how these states are categorized and described by the media…Iowa as really just so down-home and appreciative of the whole democratic process while New Hampshire is INDEPENDENT – New Hampshire, you see, is not made up of a bunch of sheep, you know, New Hampshire will not be told how to vote, and South Carolina, well – no one can seem to figure out whether John Edwards will win because of his southern birth right or if Barack Obama will because of his African American heritage, so I guess we can sort of assume South Carolina is made up of people unconcerned with voting records, potential recessions and health care. Certainly, many of the Great Lakes States interests aren’t represented in these early primaries, particularly concerning the stewardship of the lakes and the protection of natural resources, but by ignoring the decision of the national democratic party, not only are my choices in who to vote for Tuesday limited (Hillary Clinton or Dennis Kucinich), our delegate votes have been canceled anyway.

A philosophy professor from Michigan State University gave an interview yesterday on NPR talking about how incredibly disenfranchised Michigan democratic voters feel, and while perhaps it’s a bit casual for a blonde-haired white woman such as myself to toss around the term, it captures exactly what I’m feeling: Disenfranchised. And, sure, Michigan Democratic Party, you have graciously allowed me the opportunity to vote “uncommitted” in my primary but that hardly feels like a choice when I am NOT uncommitted in the first place and especially when my candidate, John Edwards, is struggling and could USE my vote. In fact, he is the candidate of choice among many of my friends and colleagues and I sort of think, were he on the ballot, he might even upset the stronghold Clinton has on our state. And while I know you aren’t directly responsible for the majority of candidates not appearing on the ballot, they are simply adhering to the desire of the party they have aligned themselves with, not having the kind of Clinton power or Kucinich laissez-faire to shirk the rules.

So, Michigan Democratic Party, once you found out our delegate votes wouldn’t count in the primary, you had the choice to move, as I understand it, our primary to super Tuesday or later, but you didn’t. Nobody tells Michigan what to do, you said. We’ll stick to our guns no matter how illogical and unfair to the actual voting public. It’s exactly this kind of thinking, by the way, that (I believe) has put our state in such a recession. Why should auto makers make smaller, more fuel efficient automobiles when people were still buying Dodge Durangos? Quite frankly, I’m embarrassed to be a Michigan Democrat right now. The voting public is being punished by the elitism and bull-headedness of its government and I hope all of you are voted out of office in November.

Particularly galling in this whole affair is that the Republican party is allowing Michigan Republican votes to count and so democrats are being utterly ignored while every other commercial on the radio is for Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee (his ad cracks me up, by the way – people want a president who reminds their friend, not the man who laid them off – like a woman wouldn’t be in a position of power to lay someone off? Nice play to our state’s concerns, though…) or John McCain and it makes me want to throw up.

But, you know, it’s January. My college basketball team rocks. There is so much solace to be had, twice a week, in coming home, turning on the game, and….oh, yes.

The Big Ten Network has taken over all of the basketball games, and I don’t get the Big Ten Network. In FACT, the only way to get the Big Ten Network is to live in an area where it’s provided by the cable company (I don’t) or install a satellite dish, which, so help me god, I will never ever ever do. So, for the entirety of the big ten basketball season my team will be on CBS or ESPN a grand total of four times, taking away one of my very favorite things, ever. Of course, I seem to be the only fan really upset about this because everyone else I know has simply decided to install a satellite dish regardless, spending more money than they have to do so and, probably, more time in front of the television.

Of course, I’ll probably go to a bar to watch many of the games…that’s the plan S. and I have for tonight. But, since the state’s senate has failed to pass the no-smoking ban in workplaces, to do this I have to sit in a whole lot of cigarette smoke. I mean, seriously. If they can ban smoking in public places in PARIS, I think we can manage it in Michigan. There are really only a few things we understand regarding public health, and the very first, most certain one is SMOKING KILLS. And yes, I realize as a former smoker I sound like a big huge hypocrite but I don’t care. I no longer like being around it in restaurants and bars, where so many people are smoking at once.

What else has the Michigan government failed to do? Let’s see. We are the only state without house and senate approved stewardship programs for Great Lake management which is just too funny given the fact we are the only state SURROUNDED by them. We’ve supported drilling for natural gas on every conceivable piece of public land in the state. We let a bill pass allowing off-road vehicles on county roads now, endangering even further both the terrain and the animals natural to it. Houses in the richest neighborhoods on the market are going down a thousand dollars a month in value, while middle-class workers are struggling and failing to afford their homes at all.

I don’t pretend to have an excellent understanding of politics or government, but if this shit keeps up I might seriously have to think about running for office.

In the meantime, I’d like to emphasize, once again – I will vote on Tuesday, and I will vote uncommitted, but it seems like the saddest thing in the world, to be forced to claim uncommitted when I am whole-heartedly not. All the other issues in this rant, yes, they bum me out, but this is by far I think the most heinous. I think our state’s democratic party should be absolutely ashamed, but unfortunately, I know better.

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8 Responses to Not Uncommitted

  1. Emily Barton says:

    How horrible to have to vote “uncommitted.” I feel your pain. The rest of your post if very funny, but that is very, very sad.

  2. Dorothy W. says:

    Wow — that’s really frustrating and I’d be very mad too — I can see exactly how you could get worked up about that …

  3. Cam says:

    This mad scramble to be among the first — so that your votes ‘count’, or so that your state is spotlighted by the media (I’m not sure which one really drives these decisions) — makes the whole primary process even more of a circus. I think we should have a national primary. And to those who say that such a move would limit the amount of time that the candidates have to campaign throughout the country, I point out that they started campaigning over a year ago. I think 1 year is plenty of time for the voting public to educate themselves on the candidates and the issues — too much time in fact.

    I live in a state where the primary is held so late that there is almost always a defacto candidate by the time of our primary, so my vote hasn’t ‘counted’ for the last several presidential elections. Still, I participate in the process and cast my vote. And I keep hoping that they fix the process.

  4. ~Sheryl says:

    It’s so maddening to be a Michigan voter right now. I definitely feel your pain. But until I know how the uncommitted votes will be allocated, I just can’t vote that way. I can only hope this madness creates change.

  5. Emily, it was definitely a depressing vote to cast today!
    Dorothy, I am still worked up, days later…
    Cam – You are so, so right on. The candidates have been campaigning for what feels like forever – a national primary would be the way to go!
    Sheryl – Welcome! I look forward to getting to know you.

  6. LK says:

    Oh, so frustrating. I don’t understand the whole primary system.

  7. Litlove says:

    I’m late but I loved the post – it’s a terrible shame about the ‘uncommitted vote’, though, and a very bizarre thing, too.

  8. Stefanie says:

    I was thinking about you Tuesday and feeling quietly angry at the Democratic Party for they did to Michigan. It is utterly senseless.

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