You know that show, American Idol? Yeah, I don’t watch that show. But I’m given to understand that contestants sing, and judges say things about them, and a whole bunch of weeks and eliminations later, all the viewers call or text or go online or something and pick the winner. And the winner gets…I dunno, whatever you get from a show like that. A recording contract, maybe? A zillion dollars? A pony?
All I know for sure about American Idol is that a) sometimes people end up being celebrities as a result of appearing on that show, and b) it’s made it incredibly popular to switch up your show’s format so that now YOU THE VIEWERS YES YOU SITTING THERE ON THE COUCH WITH THE CHEETOS AND THE PEPSI YOU PERSONALLY WILL CHOOSE THE WINNER BECAUSE YOU HAVE INFINITE POWER AND WE CARE DEEPLY ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS ZOMG EXCLAMATION POINT EXCLAMATION POINT!!!1!!eleven!!! This “you too can be a part of television history!” philosophy has made the leap this season to shows like Face Off, which I do watch and really rather enjoy, and America’s Next Top Model, which I … y’know what, we’re not here to go into detail about my tv habits. Moving along….
I’ve got pretty mixed feelings on the whole “viewers pick the winner” thing, because while I get it that entertainment is becoming a very interactive deal these days, I also think that there comes a point where we kinda need to think about our priorities. I mean, c’mon, does it actually matter whether your favorite singer wins American Idol? It’s not like they round up the losers, take ’em out back, and shoot ’em. I’m given to understand that some of the non-winners have still gone on to have fairly lucrative careers in the music industry. You lose, no biggie; you just find another way to live your dream. Ditto for the gals of America’s Next Top Model, whom I have seen and recognized in various advertisements (though I should note here that I find it terribly funny that I only ever see the girls who didn’t win–I guess the winners are too busy doing Important Fashion Things to appear in magazine ads, at least in the low-budget magazines I read). So no, I don’t participate in selecting the winners. I don’t call, or text, or go online. I don’t Tweet (I don’t Tweet anyway, but I don’t intend to start just so I can tell the producers who my favorite makeup artist is), and I don’t rush right out to “like” contestants on Facebook. It’s just not that important to me.
But here’s the thing: suppose that the winner of American Idol was going to come to your house every single day and sing to you. Y’know, like a replacement for your alarm clock. Suppose that person was going to follow you around, serenading you all day, every day, including a little lullaby at bedtime. Suppose the winner of Face Off was going to do your hair and makeup and wardrobe every day. Suppose the winner of America’s Next Top Model was going to play you in the biopic of your life. In other words, suppose that whoever you were helping to select was actually going to impact your life in a real, meaningful, daily sort of way.
Bet you’d vote then, huh.
So someone please explain to me how anyone–ANYONE–can say they’re not going to vote in the presidential election?
Look, I’m a blue gal in a red state. We’ve been a red state, like, forever. We blue folks have approximately a snowball’s chance in you-know-where of turning this state blue. I reckon red folks in blue states feel the same way. But Moon Man and I went out and early-voted on Friday anyway (we made a whole date night out of the deal. It was a hoot)–because I believe that I have a duty to participate in the civic process, because I believe in making my voice heard (I’m a blogger, fer cryin’ out loud. Making my voice heard is pretty much what I do), because if this happens to be the year when my historically red state turns blue then I darned sure don’t want to be the person who missed the chance to be on the winning team for once (it’s the same reason that I continue to cheer for the Cubs, now that I think about it).
I vote because I can’t imagine not voting. Not when it’s something this big; not when it’s something this important. Not when–unlike voting for the winner of American Idol–the outcome is actually going to impact my daily life.
There are people in the world who are actively denied the right to choose their own leaders. Heck, until about 100 years ago, my gender would’ve been enough to keep me out of the voting booth. But here and now, in this time and place, I have the right and the opportunity and, in my opinion, the duty to vote. So you’re darned right I’m gonna do it.
Well, I already did it. But you know what I’m getting at.
Here’s the bottom line: If you do not go vote in the Presidential election, you forfeit your right to complain about how this country is going.
If you do not go vote in the Presidential election, you better never let me hear you talk about voting for the winner of American Idol.
If you do not go vote in the Presidential election, you’re not invited to my birthday party.
Catch my drift?
So go vote. There was a big long line at our polling place, and they still got us in and out in about 15 minutes. That’s less time than it takes to get a pizza delivered. You have time, if you choose to have the time. You can totally do this.
You need to do this.
Go. Vote. The country is counting on you.