Grey Dawn

Well, it’s official. We’re screwed. We’re screwed so bad, in fact, that it’s pretty funny. I think the only parties not upset about the results are Labor, Shas, and the Old People’s Party (the OPP). And frankly, if there’s ever a situation where Labor, Shas, and old people are happy, you’d better worry.

This election marks the lowest voter turnout ever. Elections have always been in the 90% – 80% range, dipping to 78%-ish in the 90’s. The last election had a 67% turnout, and this one was about 63%. It’s not true that the low turnout hurts the left. A low turnout hurts everybody.

When I was in the fifth grade, we had a mock election in the classroom. That year was Bush (Sr.) vs. Clinton, and our teacher made us all write our votes on a piece of paper, and she had one of us volunteer to pick the slips of paper out of a hat and mark the votes on the blackboard. It was all very meaningless, of course, because none of us knew anything about either candidate, or politics. We were just picking names. I took my pencil, and – I remember this very clearly – wrote “Who cares, they’re all the same jerks,” on my slip of paper. I don’t know where I picked that up from; I wasn’t a very politically astute fifth grader, I was probably just repeating something I had heard at home. I passed my vote up to the kid in the seat ahead of me, and he looked at my vote (so much for a secret election), and turned around with a look of horror on his face.

“You’re going to get in trouble! You can’t turn this in!”

“How will she know it’s me?” I said. And so he passed it forward.

During the short time before she had one of us read the votes, I began getting very scared. What if she recognized the handwriting? What if she figured out it was me? What if I got sent to the principal? What if she called my parents? What if they suspended me? I had an active imagination.

When they started pulling out the votes, everything progressed more or less normally. One for Bush, one for Clinton. I think Clinton had the lead. Suddenly, in the middle, the kid pulled out a vote, frowns, and showed it to the teacher. I slunk down in my seat as far as I could go. The kid in front of me turned around and looked at me with a sort of “Wow, you’re going to hell, you’re really dumb,” look. The teacher looked around at the class, and told the vote-counter to continue, and that she would deal with it. I knew I was screwed.

Finally, after the final tally, the teacher help out my voting slip and said: “Who wrote this?”

No answer.

The she read it out loud. There was a collective gasp from the class. Who would dare write something like that? Then she gave a whole speech about how voter apathy like this is a terrible thing and how if nobody voted, the communists would take over. I never really understood the mechanics of how that would work (some sort of deal with the Soviet Union? “Voting population ever drops below 40%, you boys take over…”), but in 1992, communists were still a very scary thing. Say communist, and you would think Stalin, the KGB, and Siberia (unlike now, where it’s bearded crazy men, with funny green hats speaking Spanish). All I really cared about at the time, however, was that she not find out it was me (she didn’t).

She was wrong, though. Communists would not take over. Socialists would. Here we have the lowest ever turnout, and 40 seats handed over to the socialists (I’m counting the OPP, Labor, and Shas. I’m not even counting the actual communist Arab party. UTJ is also borderline.)

B’kitzur (and I can say that without being yeshivish, cause I’m Israeli) this country is going straight down the toilet.



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