Horton Hears Who’s Voting

My son has a new favorite book: Horton Hears a Who. He wants to read from it every night before bed. It has supplanted previous bedtime staples such as Goodnight Moon, The Going to Bed Book, and I Love You Stinky Face.

He’s just 2, and while he listens to the story, I wish I could fully explain to him what the story means: Get out and vote.

Among other things.

At its core, the story is about speaking up for yourself and making yourself heard, “no matter how small.”

(It does not have anything to do with people who presume to call themselves “pro life.” Anti-abortionists co-opted the “no matter how small” stanza, and only after Theodore “Dr. Seuss” Geisel threatened to sue, did they take it off their stationary – though they still chant it, in movie theaters, in between screaming anti-abortion slogans at children.)

For those of you who don’t have toddlers, Horton is an elephant whose really big ears allow him to hear the plight of tiny, near microscopic people called Whos. As others react with depraved indifference, almost destroying their little village, Horton, who is the only one who can hear them, decides to become their protector.

Several antagonists feel it is not enough to ridicule Horton for talking to people they don’t think exist, they put him in a cage and try to destroy the Whos (to prove they don’t exist, apparently).

Does any of this sound familiar?

John McCain was once asked what he considered “rich.” He said “How about $5 million?” He said he was joking, but does he really not consider $1 million wealthy? Are you merely average at $500K?

Here’s my question: in McCain’s world, is anyone earning under $180K/yr (over 95% of Americans) worth paying attention to? Does he hear you? Do you even exist (to him) if he doesn’t?

What economic crisis? Guess what, John McCain is still rich. How about you? Have all your assets been “boiled in Beezle-nut oil?” I guess that proves you don’t exist, either.

What difference would one vote make?

In the story, all the Whos are making as much noise as they can, to prove to a sour kangaroo that they’re real – all except one. Only with that one extra, “YOPP!” does the kangaroo and the Wickersham monkey clan hear them, and agree to protect them as well.

There was a recent bill in the Senate (# S.3335) to extend tax breaks for alternative energy sources (the kind of tax breaks we currently give oil companies to go find more oil, because, you know, they need an incentive). That bill was defeated by one vote – just one more “yes” and it would’ve extended tax credits for wind, solar, geothermal, etc. Curiously, Senator John McCain was absent that day. What would his vote have been?

Most registered voters don’t even show up to vote. It’s extremely easy to get disenchanted. I’ve been there, myself. I didn’t register to vote until my 20’s, and it was years after that I cared enough about goings-on to cast another ballot.

I used to say, “what difference would one vote make?” My wife used to say that, too. And her sister, and the bulk of their family, and many people I know who are/were similarly minded. Mine is “just one vote,” and together we are dozens of “just one votes.” The hundreds and thousands of people in your district who’re going to sit at home and have their favorite shows interrupted by election results on Nov. 4 are hundreds and thousands of “just one votes.” The last two presidential elections were decided by a few hundred thousand people.

George Carlin had a great argument for not participating. He said that by voting you were buying into the illusion that you actually had a choice in what happens.

I still say that democracy is being allowed to vote on getting a sharp stick in the eye, but when you show up at the poll, the choices are Right or Left.

I still have issues with people who want to be in a position of power over me. There are very few politicians I’d choose to vote for. So, yes, showing up to vote is like asking for a less painful sharp stick in the eye.

I just can’t stand idly by and watch people actively try to destroy the little dust speck I live on. I have to make sure the people in Who-ville are heard.

Published in: on October 8, 2008 at 9:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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