9/21/2012: Vote or Die Edition

Since I’ve had my registration form filled for weeks, I’ll need to go ahead and drop it off at my specifically-designated Voter Registration location!  The registration location!  You know, for the hilarious YouTube parody the South Carolina government will make to encourage young adults to vote.  Haha, just kidding, I’m not sure my government knows what a internet is.

You’d think that I have interest in determining which politicians are elected office, but that’s not exactly the case.  As the presidential election draws nearer, I simply lie awaeke in a cold sweat every night, worried Mary J. Blige is going to smother me with a pillow come November.  Alright, well now that I think more about the Citizen Change group, I can’t imagine them being any less effective than “Home Taping Is Killing Music.”  These impetuses for social change only work if there’s enough reason to believe them.  Illegal piracy was happening because the prices of music were uneven with the actual breadth of music available.  Now that we have iTunes and Amazon, much less socially-funded projects via Kickstarter, the gap is narrowing and it’s less cool to brag about how much you pirate.  Anyway, in the same thought process, there’s nothing morally lax about refusing to vote in an election, pending said election is influenced by electoral colleges or Super PACs (the Super Nintendo variant of PAC).  I have a good idea of whom I’ll vote for, but the result should be fairly inconsequential.  Rather than threaten our friends with violence for not playing the game, we should examine why the rules of the game are the rules of the game in the first place.

People today view the 21st century’s technology as a significant leap in human history, but I sincerely hope that our eventual singularity has less to do with mind-Twitter.  I tend to romanticize the past, at least the bits of past that haven’t already been co-opted by college students wanting to justify their drug addictions, but walking around campus without checking my phone for the latest video game news really does remind me of everything under the sun and its age.  My life is not far removed from my parents’ or my grandparents’.  Sometimes I sit on a wooden bench under a tree, and sometimes I look across the yard to see a circular fountain spewing a waste of water and a road of cars zipping past kids tempting fate.  No part of this vision would be absent in the 1940s or the 1970s.  All that’s changed in seventy years is that I carry a miniature computer in my pocket, one with which I can send and receive letters in the same fashion anyone in the past had done.  The technology changes, but the human condition remains the same.  Here’s your diary, your bulletin board, your business card, your newspaper, your shopping catalog, your library of motion pictures, your collection of alternative takes on chess, your secret stash of pornography.  These are all so essential to life that I’m positive they would have biblical equivalents.

“I am living in the past,” is what I should say to myself.  This will all be romanticized in three decades or seventy and some young man will wear my clothing at his college and use his Neural Impulse Actuator (or “Nia”, which will sound perfectly reasonable to the kids) and perhaps forget that all he’s doing with his time is reading and sending inconsequential post-it notes between his friends.  Advocating technological change, or even a total flip of the economic system, will only contribute to a false sense of progress and accomplishment if the heart of mankind isn’t altered.

The only significant advancement I’ve encountered is that of children too busy staring down at their phones to realize they’re about to walk directly into me.  I try not to alter my path, opting instead to completely bowl them over, just so they can be educated as to when and where it’s appropriate to gawk over Brad getting together with Trish.  So, I suppose my final conclusion is, uh, God bless you, Steve Jobs?

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