Reading the political tea leaves

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What do voters want? What are their votes telling us? What, what, who? What does it all mean?! Who the fuck knows? And, anyone who claims to know is probably running for office in 2010 or seeking hits, or viewers or listeners their advertisers will swoon over.

For really, though: Does your vote completely explain your feelings about our local, state and federal governments, the politicians  populate them and the policies they're pushing? I didn't think so. Our votes are tic marks, tallied together to help officials determine who got the most tic marks.

And, there are so many tic marks! (Good work on voting, by the way, to the 37.77 percent of you registered Mecklenburg County voters who did.) If you look at any one person's tic marks, what will they tell you? Not a ton. Compile them all and look again, do they make any more sense?

So, I warn you: Today you'll hear pundits and citizens alike labeling yesterday's vote as this or that or the other, trying to make sense of what the American people are saying. Try not to get too caught up in their blathering; they're just trying to fill air space and read minds they've never met. You know why you voted the way you did. Why not ask your buddies why they voted as they did, or why they didn't vote if they chose not to, instead?

I'm not going to presume to know what the American people are saying, but I can tell you what I wonder about yesterday's vote: I wonder why more people don't vote. I wonder if it's because they don't feel heard whether they vote or not. I wonder if our society is really as divided and angry as pundits intuit it to be. (I hope not.) I wonder if people understand how special our country's system of government is, and their role in it.

It really sucks not to feel heard or understood, and it's uncomfortable when we don't understand our roles. Let's work on that between now and the next election, shall we? Keep speaking up. Tune into your representatives and let them know how you'd like them to craft policy. Attend public meetings. Talk to your neighbors, and your neighbor's neighbors ... and the people on the other side of town ... about their vision for the future. Surely you'll discover we're all much more alike than we are different and, upon that common ground, we can make some compromises that will benefit us all.

Also, I'm wondering about the election results in Mecklenburg County (which you can review here). Our county's leaning left, y'all, while the surrounding counties are not. How do you feel about that? Is that good, bad ... what? You tell me.

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