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November 5 Weekly Open Thread

As usual, this is your place for all conversations automotive.

Tomorrow is Election Day.  For close on two years, at least, we've been canvassed, caucused, focus-grouped, push-polled, robocalled, lawn-signed, and bumper-stickered by one candidate or the other to the point where most of us 1980 bumper stickers. Anderson had the best graphics, but got the fewest votes.are just wanting to get the damned election cycle over with already. As tired as you probably are of electoral politics (as I am), if you haven't already availed yourself of whatever early voting opportunities your state offers (as I did), I would respectfully urge you to go to the polls tomorrow.

The right to vote, which gives us the power to hold our government accountable to its citizens, and the right to speak freely on political matters, which allows us to use that vote, are a large part of what makes this country as great as it is. Yeah, that's kind of a rose-colored Schoolhouse Rock thing to say, but that doesn't make it any less true. As easy as it is to be cynical about our system of government and our political class--my father was an elected official, and after what I saw him having to deal with, I could out-cynic most of you with one hand tied behind my back--what we have is still the best that human beings have devised to date. (Not that there isn't always room for improvement.) Let me relate to you an experience that brought this point home to me.

When I was in law school, there was a gentleman in the class behind me from Poland who went by the nickname "Rob." (His actual given name was a bit hard to pronounce.) This was the 1980s, and Poland was then a repressive police state under the domination of the Soviet Union. Rob and his family had come to the U.S. as refugees--I don't know the exact circumstances, he didn't seem to want to talk about it, and I was too polite to pry. Rob had gone through the process to become a U.S. citizen, and was sworn in sometime in the summer of '88.

Late afternoon, Election Day 1988, I was heading out of the building on my way home and I see Rob coming the other way, looking extremely excited. I get within conversational range, and he's so excited he's almost shouting, "I am so happy! I just voted! I feel so powerful!"

Rob knew what it was like to live somewhere where the people are servants of the government instead of the other way around, and he appreciated freedom in a way that most of us never will. It certainly reminded me just how valuable that vote is, regardless of what you think of some of the politicians.

I'm Cookie the Dog's Owner, and I approved this message.

(Image found at the Antique Automobile Club forum.)


NOTE: I wrote this post to tell a story, and to encourage citizen participation in civic affairs, not to set off a debate on the comparative merits of particular candidates or issues. In your comments, please refrain from partisan argumentation in accordance with the Car Lust Code of Conduct.  Better yet, don't talk about the election at all--there'll be more than enough of that to go around in other places this week! --CtDO


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Well put.

This is the first election in many years that. . . .I am not voting in. I've been in Egypt since early October and they didn't send out absentee ballots until later than that. Mailing it back and forth would have been iffy at best, so I am forced to sit this one out. On the bright side, I have had a solid month of not a single freakin' political ad! Ha haaaaa. . . . .well done in the timing department.

Here, of course, they've had a spate of elections in the last year or so that actually mattered for a change. Interestingly, some of the others on the project have noted that the locals are far more interested in talking about politics than they used to be (I haven't had any experience either way, save for my friend Sa'ad back in 1994 just sighing and mentioning that even though they voted it was, in fact, a military dictatorship.

As much as Americans tend to hyperventilate about this or that candidate being one step away from instituting a dictatorship, most of us -- unlike "Rob" from above -- really have no clue what living under a dictatorship is really like. As Edmund Burke wrote: "‎Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." Like not voting for starters. Do it even if it's a PITA.

At what point have we arrived in this country where we have to apologetically and sheepishly praise our system of government? Can it be improved, sure it can, by adding more of what made us great, freedom and self-determination. America has the best political system of earth and don’t ever be ashamed of that.
I do have to disagree with the just go out and vote mantra. If you don’t know anything about the candidates, if you’re ignorant of the founding principles of this country, if you think the voting booth is a vending machine for free government-provided stuff, then stay home and catch up on Snookie.
This Republic is too important and precious to go blindly into the voting booth and randomly pull levers. Voting is not a duty like taking out the trash (although the similarities can be striking) but a responsibility you have to live up to. The first part of that responsibility is to educate yourself on what you’re doing and why. So endith the sermon, now let’s talk cars.

Automotive news: Suzuki is bailing out of the North American automobile business.

I voted for more horsepower.

Couldn't have said it better Marve, very well put.

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