I survived my 52 hour week! Yippee! I finally have a little blogging time over the next few days and cannot wait to finally post and see what my cyber friends have been up to.
I was provoked to post because it is a political scientist's favorite holiday: Election Day. For those of those in Europe who do not have the privilege of watching Fox News (which, honestly, really just makes me want to hurl), we are stuck with CNN to see what happens on the other side of the pond. I wish they would switch to the Atlanta office because the London bureau is well . . . not gettin' the job done.
This morning I was treated to the "historical evidence that may be hard to deny." What on earth does this mean? I think my overly caffeinated reporter was talking about how the party in power (i.e. in the White House) tends to lose seats in mid-term elections. This is true. Unfortunately, he kept going on and on about it, even bringing up the fun tid-bit that the Republicans lost 77 seats in 1922 during Warren G. Harding's mid-term election. Although fascinating, I am not sure that this fact will actually influence anyone's decision today. Except mine . . . to get my BBC back.
Anyway, I am following all the election news via the internet. I am a political junkie. I cannot help myself. There are not only important legislative races, but also a host of ballot initiatives, including one in South Dakota to overturn the most restrictive abortion bill ever passed.
I was listening to some very scary Republican radio ads on the internet about how the Democrats want to legalize many illegal immigrants in the U.S. It dawned on me that there are thousands of people who live in the U.S. and pay taxes (yes, they pay taxes, it is called sales tax and can often be higher than an income tax!) but are not allowed to vote. I live 3000 miles away and I get reminders to send in my absentee ballot.
When I was in the shower this morning, I started thinking about what is a "polity." A polity is the political organization of a group. It defines who are the citizens, the participants. Who is in and who is out. Often there are many people who live in a polity but are not legal recognized. They have no voice in the laws that confine their movements or the taxes they pay. On the one hand, there have to be such restrictions. But how do we decide what is right and who belongs? I belong to this polity - Cburg - and I am not allowed to participate in the decision making around me.
While this realization bothered me for awhile, I also began to think, "What is political action?" Do I have to vote to be political? Are there other things I can do? Absolutely! Only through actions like writing to a newspaper, speaking to members of the community, demonstrating, and dare I say it, blogging, can I make my voice heard. Although I would like to vote here in Germany, I do not want to give up my membership in my other polity - the U.S. Therefore, I will have to practice other forms of political action, just like so many immigrants that live in the U.S. I am not sure which form is the most effective, though. There may be some trial and error involved.
I know, you maybe a little confused by this rambling, but elections make me giddy. (Also the idea of polity and indirect political action was going to be my second book before I decided to drop out of academia, but as you can tell, I still think about it a lot.)
I am now going to go have a glass of wine and hope that the election of 1922 repeats itself.