The Apathetic Voter

There is a musician that I have become acquainted with here in Bellevue that I see time to time and we usually have a chat when I see her. I say chat but I think I should define that as much of a talker that I am, she beats me by a mile. She will talk at you and I feel like it is my duty to listen. My mom was a musician so I get that when you are struggling artist sometime you need an audience. I become, at times, an unwilling captive participant in this woman’s monologue directed at me.

As I was mourning the loss of Steve Austin and wondering what the hell I was going to do to rectify this situation, she decided she wanted to talk about the president. Let’s just say that she wasn’t a fan. I think. That’s where the problem started.

A lot of the straw arguments that I see in mainstream media were her talking points and I admit I glazed over. I hear this stuff all the time. When I tell people what I do for a living, apparently a magical door opens up and folks want to discuss the political landscape. She spoke of Australian healthcare (I don’t know how she veered there) and how she thinks we spend too much money on this and then too much money on that.

After 45 minutes, she said the most shocking thing which didn’t shock me at all, “I don’t vote anyway, it’s a waste of time.”

Now campers if you want to talk at me for the better part of an hour about what Fox and Friends told you this morning, I’ll be a good sport and listen. I’ll try to debunk or I’ll agree. I like a good conversation. What I don’t like is when you take an hour of my life away from me about politics while I’m just trying to eat some french fries in peace and then tell me you don’t vote.

I did not get angry. It’s your choice not to vote although I think it is one of the most important things an American should do especially when people died to give you that right. I think it is important because right now voter suppression is happening in this country. I believe it is important to understand the policies that guide this country.

I looked at her and I think she knew that I was weary of her monologue. I said to her that I was disappointed that she didn’t vote. I didn’t really know what else to say but some sort of light bulb went off over her head.

“I don’t even know where to vote,” she said. “I haven’t even registered since I moved here.”

“You learned how to play music,” I said back to her. “If you want to vote, you will find a way to vote. I can tell you where to go and register but it’s up to you. It is just a few minutes of learning how to do something.”

I gave her some information and then she talked about her next gig.

These are the times that I know that getting the accurate message out about the importance about policy is crucial. Apathy is one of the things that we must fight as hard as anything. I have no doubt that my vote and her vote wouldn’t be aligned, but I still want people to vote. For all those folks who are having problems voting and desperately want to, there are also people out there mired in apathy.

You know the old story about not being able to see the forest for the trees. Maybe she is one tree, but that forest is huge because I don’t think she was necessarily unique in her opinions.

I think that is kind of scary.