Today, Thursday September 18, 2014, there will be a vote on the question of Scottish independence where, with a simple majority, Scotland will either move towards full sovereignty or remain a part of the United Kingdom. If independence is the choice, the Scottish government will aim for a March 24, 2016 independence day, following an interim of treaty negotiations, constitution writing, and other orders of business. The choice, by all indications, would be permanent. British PM David Cameron stated “It’s a decision about the next century.” That’s motivation enough to create one of the more extraordinary numbers born of the situation:
97% who are eligible to vote are registered with an expected 90% turnout.
That’s crazy. Crazy because it’s such a populist decision, crazy that such an important decision is trusted to a populist vote, crazy because… wait, isn’t that what democracy is about?
For some perspective, during the 2012 Presidential elections the voter turnout rate was about 58%, a dip from the 2008 rate of 62.3%, THE 2008 which, as I recall from my sweaty college days, was then hailed as a great reinvigoration of the voting masses. Obama, you may know, is black, and that was a big deal at the time.
Still, while low 60’s might be a good winning percentage for a baseball team, it’s a D- in school, which is fucking failing. I contributed to our collective fail in 2012. I didn’t register, had some Chipotle AND McDonalds on voting day, and watched the numbers come in on some google app. But I saved the economy with my chubby food purchases. Go USA!
This isn’t anything against the US. For additional perspective, Scottish turnouts for the 2010 Westminster election (the UK government which allegedly does not represent Scottish interests) was a cool 63.8%. It dipped to 50.4% the next year for elections to the Holyrood parliament, Scotland’s own legislature which negotiated for the current independence hullabaloo. So grade school failing rates in voter turnout is not strictly an apathetic, fat American problem. It’s also not a problem that directly correlates with particular forms of government, electoral college, parliament or whatever. If you ask a person who didn’t vote ,”Dude, why?” … hey I’m qualified to answer that, so I’ll answer it:
"What’s the point?"
California just IS a blue state, for truly and forever. Every politician is less than 2 degrees of Kevin Bacon away from being in bed with Comcast. Oh, and House of Cards is real.
Seriously, though, what’s the point? I’d do more good with my time cleaning garbage off the streets than researching which websites gave unbiased commentary, listened to said commentary plus additional commentary for perspective, read up on the issues, figured out why they were issues in the first place, and then found out that fuckall legislation is reactionary and takes ages to do diddly… I’d rather clean up garbage in bright colors, at least to give people something silly to glance at on their drive to work.
Or I can do both. No one said education was easy, or that college means you’re smart, or that smart even matters. You gotta do your best or this brave new world will stay an old fool’s club forever.
So Scotland, what will you choose? Further Devolution, Independence, or Status Quo? Will your 90% turnout rate dip back to 60% or 50% after the big day? Will you be romantic, practical, or both (because you can totally be both). Whatever you choose, go with gusto.
Photo From the LA Times:
Illustration by PD Eastman