7 November

October 23 is the last day in California to register to vote for the 7 November election. Other states may have different deadlines for close of registration.

If you aren’t already registered, get your ass registered. If your address has changed, make sure that’s reflected in your registration. This is crucial for college students–although it’s tempting to vote at home, many college towns have measures on the ballot which will affect you, the students, and you can have a powerful impact on the outcome of the election with the entire university population behind you.

You know, I’m going to be honest with you, voting is cool. Maybe even a little sexy. So don’t be a lamer and not vote, with some pathetic lazy hipster excuse. I agree that our government and election systems do need reform, and that we as a populace should be aware that many voters are disenfranchised, that changes do need to be made. But in a representative democracy like ours, every vote really does count, and there’s no good reason for not voting, no matter what you may think. So go vote and wear your dorky I Voted sticker with pride–maybe some nerdy individual with a fetish for voting will be smitten with you and three years later will find you happily married with kittens and unicorns and a picket fence.

Or not, but you know what just vote damnit.

Mr Bush is certainly ramping up the rhetoric for the election, making sure that all Americans understand a Democratic take over of the House would result in instant invasion by rampant towelheads who apparently hate Democrats even more than they hate liberty. He’s stressing the threat ploy, making speeches that we should continue to occupy…er take a hard line on Iraq, and even whipping out the 11 September card. “Never forget,” he says, and I say never forget too, but for different reasons. So does Peace Tomorrows, and I figure they have a right to say something about the issue.

I’m not very impressed with Mr Bush’s scare tactics. I see them as an attempt to shore up a slipping political party–and the fact is that most Republicans, at this point, are distancing themselves from Mr Bush, as can be seen in their own campaign speeches. Illegal immigration may come up a lot, but the President and Iraq don’t, because politicians are well aware that these are hot button issues, unlikely to meet with serene acceptance from the voters, so it’s better to stay away from them. It’s also interesting that very recently Mr Bush was telling us in the weekly radio address about “major progress” in Iraq, and all the improvements that were being made, that suddenly we’re back to an unstable government. Them there Ar-abs are a threat to us all, I tell you!

Imagine a world in which we were able to control governments, a world awash with oil, and we would use oil resources to punish industrialized nations. And we would use those resources to fuel our radical agenda, and pursue and purchase weapons of mass murder. And armed with nuclear weapons, we would blackmail the free world, and spread our ideologies of hate, and raise a mortal threat to the world.’

Bush said this on Thursday during a campaign stop in Atlanta this week, discussing the American stranglehold on most of the world. It’s not just imagination–it’s the cold, hard, truth, and he is apparently no longer afraid to say it. His speeches in Atlanta were certainly controversial, with content like that side by side with invective about the growing terrorist threat to the United States.

Well, actually, he didn’t. But I only changed a few words. He was actually referring to a “totalitarian Islamic empire,” but oddly enough it didn’t take much editing to make the speech apply to the United States. America has more nuclear weapons than anyone else in the world. We have more political clout, and we ride roughshod over more nations. And yet Mr Bush holds the threat of “Islamofascists” over us.

Pop quiz:

Were I to drive to San Francisco this weekend, would I be more likely to:
a. Die in a terrorist attack on the Golden Gate Bridge.
b. Be struck by lightning while drinking a beer on the back porch.
c. Eat dim sum and contract terrible food poisoning.
d. Be severely injured in a multiple-vehicle accident.
e. Be shot while walking down the street.

Don’t think too hard about the answers here, kids.

Did you know that globally, taking in account all terrorist attacks across the world, more people die by lightning every year than by terrorists? There were 43,443 fatal traffic related incidents in 2005 within the United States alone. That means that approximately every 12 minutes, an American dies in a motor vehicle crash. Terrorists wish they could be that effective. There were 96 homicides in San Francisco in 2005, and that number is only rising, 29% from 2004-2005 alone. And everybody knows that if you put enough chili sauce on your dim sum, it’s physically inpossible to get ill because the chilis kill everything, including your intestinal lining. Duh.

Should I be avoiding cars, San Francisco, and drinking beer? No. Then why should I let an insubstantial threat dictate the terms of my life? Why should I let politicians pressure me into making fear based decisions? How does it help my nation, and my fellow Americans, to cower in fear from the world? Grow a pair, America.

Are you going to allow fear and rhetoric to dictate your election choices for you, or are you ready to vote with your conscience? Either way, I’d better see you at the polls on 7 November.