I’ve discovered moving from outside the state midway through an election year breeds ignorance. And willful ignorance at that.
This could also be part of my 2008 election hangover. I, like so many young Americans (see: Idealistic), voted for President Barack Obama as if he was a surefire, no-brainer solution to every last problem in our country. I drank the Kool-Aid. All of it. Hope. Yes w can. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. Man, I was on board.
I still support President Obama. I’m still a Democrat, I guess. It’s just … this election cycle hasn’t roused my interest and there’s probably more to it than the fact I didn’t arrive in Minnesota until July. Despite having every opportunity to get informed on the candidates in each respective race, I just … haven’t.
For instance, the three Minnesota gubernatorial candidates — Republican Tom Emmer, Democrat Mark Dayton and Independent Tom Horner — have squared off in 20 debates as of last weekend, yet I haven’t had the patience to sit through a single one of’em. I was at the Minnesota State Fair when they took the stage. I tried to listen in, but the crowd was so restless, I felt like I was at a Maury Povich taping. (“Tom Emmer — you are not the father!”)
In the 6th district race for the House of Representatives, somehow-incumbent Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) has been entrenched in battle with Minnesota State Senator Tarryl Clark. I didn’t know that the first few months, because I thought Clark was running against some dude named Jim:
The clock is winding down for me, young Minnesota voter, to get informed because every vote counts and if I don’t vote, I can’t complain and not voting is plainly un-American and if I’m not with voting, I’m with the terrorists and I pay Minnesota taxes so shouldn’t I take interested in who decides where those taxes are going because, honestly, yes we can. Yes we can? Hope.
If I take interest in the election, it won’t go beyond the city council, the school board or the state senate. Those are the pivotal elections that get lost in the muck of gubernatorial and congressional elections. Those elections take more work to understand. While Bachmann’s off waxing hysteria on FOX News or Dayton, Emmer and Horner spar over a Minnesota Vikings stadium plan, it’s the local leaders who see neighborhoods in peril, schools in limbo and public works in flux. They’re the ones who can call attention to areas in need.