Every vote counts... more or less (part 2)

There are times when a culture, and the language in which it operates, can express a thought or an idea in an apropos way. A case that comes to mind, one used in Spanish to denote the attainment of political power, and the right to vote, is expressed when an individual is said to have, or lack, “voice and vote.” To those familiar with the Hispanic culture, both voice and vote are inextricably tied together, incapable of dissolution or even an interlocutory divorce.

Our body politic in the US may or may not view voice and vote in quite the same way, but at the end of the political day, at election time, those without a voice that can be heard are unlikely to cast a vote… blame the chicken (lack of voice), or blame the egg (lack of hope).

Of the 300 million folks that populate our nation, including 15+ million without a “legal right” to be here, a quarter of them is voiceless, or more bluntly, politically deaf-mute. They represent the socio-economic outcasts… the poor, the people left behind, the “paperless” immigrant. Half of them may be black or brown… but all of them, as a group, belong to a colorless cast of political untouchables. These pariahs that represent the American underclass are shamelessly forgotten, never to be mentioned in either the GOP or Democratic campaigns. Purposely, this group is denied visibility by the two political contenders, a dirty big secret shared by the quadrennial duo of tweedledum and tweedledee.

Few among these seventy-five million people vote, for they know that any votes cast by them might help politicians, but are unlikely to change their lives, or even give them a glimmer of hope. Most may lack education, but not brains or common sense. After having seen themselves in the political mirror of an indifferent, and often selfish, society… they accept themselves for the reality they represent.

It defies logic that one-fourth of the people in this nation are powerless, lack a voice. No messianic leaders or evangelical centurions to guide them… not a voice in the desert that can give them hope. No leadership coming from their ranks; only political opportunists ready to sell them out to tweedledum… or is it tweedledee?

The closest Kerry has come to mention this pariah underclass is when he repeats a message that underlines how he is “fighting for the middle class and those struggling to join it.” Now those poor devils, all seventy-five million of them, know that at least a few of them, “those struggling to join the middle class,” have an advocate in Kerry- never mind that most are struggling to stay put… without tobogganing further down the hill of economic despair. A shameful disregard by the Democratic politician not admitting there is a sizeable “low class” in America .

Could it be that our politicians find it un-American to admit humanity and self-criticism? After all, the reality of our underclass cannot be summarily dismissed, nor deemed invisible.

It is cynically funny that as we get close to November 2 we become concerned with electoral fraud, the debut of those “Diebold-ical” machines from Ohio , and the spectacle we are giving the rest of the world. Here we are, supposedly a first rate democratic superpower, behaving no better than an abused democracy in a third-world nation.

Because of fraud, perhaps one or two million votes could be added, or negated to one candidate or the other. Should we be concerned? At a time when there may be thirty or more million votes which the least amongst us won’t care or be willing to cast… why should we be concerned with a measly one or two million?

Every vote will truly count when it’s accompanied by the promise of a voice (in government)… “voz y voto” as the Spanish would say. Until then, America’s democracy will continue fighting its two demons: a nonsensical Electoral College and a hopeless, voiceless “low class” population that refuses to vote.