• Five Reasons Not to Vote--Refuted

    • Posted on Nov 04, 1980

    11/4/80

    One sure outcome of today's election will be the question, always asked the Wednesday after an American election: Why do so few Americans vote?

    Usually barely half of the eligible voters actually get off their cans and pull those levers. They have their reasons, all of them perfectly good. Here they are: 

    1. "It doesn't make any difference who wins-, they're all–the same-" Non-voters who say this are sure that Reagan, Carter, Anderson, Commoner, Clark, Harris, Doody, Mouse, Paulsen—whoever or whatever runs the country makes no substantive difference to their lives. What that means, of course, is that these non-voters must have no children, no homes, no cars, no taxes to pay, and no jobs. For clearly the president eventually directly affects what happens to our children, homes, etc., especially now that the human race has finally figured out how to do itself in. So stay home, non-voters, and let it happen. 

    2. "My vote doesn't count; what's one vote anyway?" That's a good one, too. Granted that one vote doesn't count much (though it's been known to win whole elections), but the non-voter never seems to wonder how much a non-vote counts. That's their privilege as free agents. More non-power to them. 

    3. "Neither of those turkeys deserves my vote, so I'll stay home." Right. But of course one of those gobblers will in fact be inaugurated in January, whether they deserve votes or not. So non-voters are obliged to hold their tongues when that non deserving bird turns out to be a lousy president. I hope they remember that better than they remember what they did all day today. 

    4. "I'm too busy to bother." Now this one wins second prize as an excuse. If only Patrick Henry had scrapped his rather overstated "Give me liberty or give me death" speech and instead yawned at his podium, "Damn it, I'm too busy to bother!" Then these non-voters would have their hero. As it is, I suppose they're too busy to have heroes. 

    5. Finally, the all-around great excuse, the prizewinner: "I don't care. None of it interests me." Good, good. These non-voters must spend a fortune on lower back pain remedies, since they spend all their time stooped over, their heads buried in the sand. But let them stay that way; at least their best part is up for all to see. 

    So if you happen to be not voting today, I understand your excuses. Do stay home; keep your busy head buried, your butt high.

    You may get a swat or two on Wednesday, as I say, but no one would call you responsible. 



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    • Cedar Valley Chronicles
  • A Seven-QUestion Quiz for Finding Bogusity

    • Posted on Oct 24, 1980
    10/24/80

    Recently a young woman was lamenting about her high school days and how much time she had wasted. 

    She had been a cheerleader, a pep-dubber, a high school booster of the most rah-rah sort, who spent those years worrying about school spirit, boys and winning teams. She said, "I know now how bogus it all was, and I feel badly that I was so taken in. I was a real snob in those days toward anyone who wasn't gung-ho high school." 

    While she was so bogus, had anyone suggested she was wasting her time, of course she would have snorted and shut her little cheerleader's mind. Which makes me wonder: what if she were to look back upon what she's doing now and see it too as bogus?

    Must she, and all the rest of us for that matter, be doomed to recognizing bogusity only after we've lived through it? 

    Of course not. Bogusity puts out many signals, and anyone can recognize them even while being bogus, and possibly change. Here is a seven-question Bogusity Quiz. Try it and see how bogus your own life is: 

    1. Do your most exciting times happen while you're in uniform? 
    2. Do your facial muscles hurt at the end of a day from smiling? 
    3. Are you leading large groups of people in automatic responses for pleasure or for a living? 
    4. Are you spending more than 10 minutes a day in front of a mirror, preparing to meet the world? 
    5. Are you spending more than two hours a day for more than two days in a row sitting in committee meetings? 
    6. Do your weekend activities give you your main reason to keep living? 
    7. Do you expect someone or something else to make you happy? (Husband, wife, TV, gin and tonics?) 

    BEFORE SCORING, let's examine each question more closely: 

    1. Firefighters and police have to wear uniforms. It's only when their best times happen while they're wearing them that bogusity enters. Not to mention perversity. 
    2. Perpetual smilers affect everyone the same: phony, pasted-on, bogus. 
    3. Consider the automatic response professions and you get a sense of real bogusity: cheerleading; prostitution; advertising; politics. 
    4. Men and women alike have trouble here; vanity knows no gender. Neither does bogusity. 
    5. One reason so many administrators are highly paid is that they have so much highly bogus work to do. They know it, too. 
    6. Weekends are only two-sevenths of the week. No matter how many boats or cabins you own, that's not enough. 
    7. Husbands, wives, and Schlitz are OK for short-term happiness, but in the long haul, non-bogus happiness has to come from you-know-where. 

    If you answered four or more of the questions "yes," the chances are you're living a more bogus than normal life. You should try taking off your uniform more and standing in front of the mirror less. 

    But if you answered three or less questions "yes," your life is probably about normally bogus. Not everyone, after all, can live completely authentic lives, free of committee meetings, automatic smiles and happiness-dependent days.

    Anyone who could do that would immediately become arrogant, and that in itself would be—uh—bogus. 
    ___________________________________

    A personal note: tomorrow from 3-4 on KUNI Waller and Cawelti will be performing their inimitable brand of music. We'll be doing a few of our own songs, but mostly the good old stuff. We'd be happy to do more original songs, but as Waller puts it, "The spirit is willing, but the talent is weak." Tune in.

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“Even before the advent of the Internet, Cawelti’s columns went 'viral' in the Cedar Valley… the role of a columnist is to be thought provoking, to take tacks that shed a different light on an issue or possibly cause a reader to reevaluate a position. At the very least, it should bring clarity to a particular perspective, whether you buy into the commentator’s worldview or not.

Scott's work does just that.  Enjoy this collection of his writing.”

-Saul Shapiro, Former Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier Editor
Read Shapiro's entire introduction.

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