Logged-In Public: Why'd you bring up voting a couple months ago? The presidential elections are three years away.
The Sardine revels in the untimely aspect of these columns.
"Don't forget," McNulty interrupts, "we have elections nearly every year. State. City. County. Ballot initiatives and referendums."
"Who cares about them?" says Joe T.
"Most people don't even vote in the off-year elections," says Frank Weathers.
The League of Non-Voters agrees with Joe and Frank. Municipal and State elections are more meaningless than the presidential ones.
"Maybe the presidential elections and politics in general could become less meaningless," said McNulty.
McNulty must be giving up his League membership by making a remark like that. He's already in trouble because he voted in the 2008 election.
"No one had to know. Nor did anyone have to be reminded again."
I'd rather introduce a resolution to form a committee for the purpose of considering the abandonment and subsequent re-formation of the political parties.
"That's a bit extreme," says Frank. "I think Perot's candidacy in the 1990s. . . ."
Perot's party is dead. Besides, what's the good of a third party when the other two are walking stiffs? The last thing Democrats and Republicans want to confront is their intellectual if not political rigor mortis. They outlasted Perot. They outlasted Nader. Jesse Ventura has packed it in, although I give him credit for understanding the future of politics: a form of the W.W.F. Election campaigns have become steel-caged matches.
"Why should you," asks McNulty, "a member of the League of Non-Voters, care? Why should the League care?"
"I want to know," says Joe T., "when the Sardine ever watched professional wrestling."
Never. One just finds out about these things. As to why the League should care. . . .
During the 2000 election's "chad crisis" in Florida, there were tense moments at out meetings. Despite explicit non-interest in the electoral results, we just couldn't help to feel inclined toward one of the candidates. Despite our organization's iconoclastic view of politics, it had intrinsically accepted the two-party axis of American democracy.
As non-voters in elections we understood how our non-votes supported the winner's feeling of gaining a majority. However, since 2000, a new attitude has crept in. It's been around in a mild form since the 1970s but now there was no stopping it. A great number of League members are declaring themselves Independents. Voters too have been abandoning the parties.
"Doesn't that affect the eventual sway of the non- votes?" asks Frank.
Definitely. Our inherent support for the winners of elections was based on our indifference toward the political parties and candidates. We had nothing personally at stake. A liberal or conservative non-voter understood how the winner, the winner's philosophy, and the winner's party's philosophy accounted for nothing meaningful.
"Now you're siding for candidates you never voted for," says Joe T.
Or actually going out and voting for them. As McNulty did.
"Now you're blaming me for the demise of the League of Non-Voters.
The decline of the parties has meant the rise of ideology. The League will lose clout because liberal and conservative members won't throw their support behind their ideological opponents. The foundations have begun to crack and give. It will be everyone for themselves. The League's doors will be closed forever.
"Seems like that already," says Frank.
You haven't seen anything. It will be as if the political world catches fire. Or put it another way. The media outlets, especially television and the Internet blogs, will be in constant chorus of yelling FIRE.
"What changes would you make?" asks McNulty.
The League can only make recommendations. Maybe someone will be listening. But, at the least, they should start with getting a new party name. A meaningful one. That signals who they are and what they stand for. Labor. Elites. Business.
"The Sardine Party," Joe T. guffaws.
"That would be the Cynic party," says Frank. "Or just hopeless."
Bob Castle is the unveiled author of A Sardine on Vacation. Check out his bio page.