, Salem, MA


September 26, 2012

Uninformed voters? At least, do no harm

“Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

— Dorothy

to her dog, in “The Wizard

of Oz.” But you knew that. It’s the third most-recognizable quote in movie history.

I always wanted a little dog like Dorothy’s. But I wasn’t going to name him Toto: I was going to reference another quote from the movie, the witch telling Dorothy, “I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too,” and name him Too.

Anyhow, if I had this dog in this election year, I would say to him, “Too, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” I should have noticed earlier, but this feeling of being in a new place didn’t hit me suddenly; there wasn’t a tornado lifting me from my usual campaign mode and dropping me in the present. It’s as if I’d been rushing as usual through a campaign season, then suddenly noticed that the surroundings aren’t familiar.

Younger people, who didn’t experience being a political activist in the 20th century, can still relate to this feeling by imagining themselves waking up in The Matrix. Or, let’s all think Rip Van Winkle or Odysseus, returning home after 20 years. Everything has changed.

Never mind decades, I’m noticing a difference just two years after I was using the theme “Revolution 2010,” singing along with Jefferson Airplane’s “Got a Revolution”; this year, I got a “Revolution 2012” bumper sticker, but just can’t get into the music or the mood. Somehow, the excitement of that tea party year, the celebration and hopefulness, isn’t here; this year is far too serious.

Since you are reading this column, in a newspaper, you may relate to my intense interest in what is happening in our state, country, the world. There are other people hardly paying attention to anything political at all. National Voter Registration week? How about an “If You Don’t Know What the Heck You’re Doing, Don’t Vote” Week.

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