Those who lived under a repressive regime where elections count for little must surely look at Americans who refuse to vote as the ultimate in wasted effort. Why be allowed to enjoy freedom when you don’t really know what it means? The election process in Northwest Florida means the same thing to me when I heard of those fortunate enough to live in a community where there is real choice between those who are for and those who are against something.
The 2010 elections in Escambia County, Florida once again offers a choice of a hard-right conservative Republican versus a Democrat who would be a Republican if he or she lived nearly anywhere else. I shall refrain from voting in this election because I see no differentiation between any of the principles. I may vote for Governor only because I wholeheartedly cannot bear the idea of a Tea Party member leading our backward state. As for the local elections; what does it matter?
Voting in Pensacola, Florida is not that much different from voting in China today or Germany in the 1930s or the USSR any time after Lenin died. We have a choice in Escambia County between those who think Barack Obama is a communist and those who think he is a socialist. The fact that he is neither really has no bearing. After all, this is a county that voted for George Wallace in 1968 because they thought that Richard Nixon was too liberal!
Walking into the precinct in this area of the country to vote in local races is among the sadder things that can be done here. I so envy those places like Oregon or Vermont where a right-wing nutjob going against a fuzzy headed socialist actually can take place. Deep in the heart of this city that in 1988 tried to legally prevent The Last Temptation of Christ from being show at a local theater lies the heart of darkness. I often feel like Marlow looking for the madman Kurtz as I attempt to find a center of intellectual profundity in a town noted for crooked cops and crooked politicians who get voted right back into office year after year.
If you live in an area where you actually have a choice between an authentic liberal and a conservative with a mind, consider yourself lucky. Things could always be worse. You could have to cast your vote in Escambia County, Florida.