Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Soak up the partial sun

Date: Oct. 2 and 3
Total mileage: 66.2
October mileage: 66.2

City election night means I had to work late. Not late like "better order in dinner" late. Late like "wow when did it become 2 a.m.?" late. Elections always pump a little suspense and excitement into the newspaper business, but they always leave me with nagging guilt. I consider myself a fairly civic-minded person, but I carry the deep and secret shame of not having voted in a public election since 2002. The last presidential candidate I voted for was Ralph Nader (in 2000, not '04). I have a lot of excuses. I moved around a lot. I was out of the state at all the right times. But the truth is really much more superficial.

My name is Jill, and I am incapable of dealing with bureaucracy.

I know, it sounds completely silly. But it's true. I dread and put off simple things like registering a vehicle or filling out a change of address form at the post office. I've neglected to get an Alaska driver's license because that requires waiting in line for a new social security card. I wait until midnight on April 15 to do my taxes even when the IRS owes me money. I had the option to apply for public housing while I was homeless my first weeks in Juneau, but couldn't face filling out the stack of required forms. I carried Idaho plates on my car until a couple weeks ago, and only changed them because a cop said I had to. I'm afraid of cops. But nobody with a gun is telling me to register to vote in the state of Alaska.

I know it's unforgivably simple. But it's like that with everything government-related in my life. I can't deal with it. It's a sickness.

That said, I had a beautiful couple of days to ride some 30-milers before work. I go with Geoff, who likes to ride comfortable and site-see. I haven't been working my legs very hard, but I did get a chance to explore all sorts of new corners of town: narrow roads wrapped around cliffs, rainforest paths, footbridges. Say what you will about life in Juneau (and dreary is one I hear often), but I never imagined that the simple appearance of sunlight would have the ability to snap me into a instant, almost involuntary good mood, with a shot of free energy to top it off. What can I say? Deprivation breeds gratitude.

Deprivation breeds gratitude ... hmmm. Maybe that's why Afghan citizens waited all day in the hot sun just for a chance to cast a ballot in their first democratic election. Maybe therein is a lesson for me to learn. Their example tells me to get out and vote. And yet, all I wanted to do this morning was get out and bike. I blame the sun.


  1. the government is a sickness.


    peace out, yo!

  2. ...if you don't vote, you get a goverment you deserve.

    Restrictions on freedom

    All supported but not paid for by the extration companies.

  3. "...if you don't vote, you get a goverment you deserve.

    Restrictions on freedom

    All supported but not paid for by the extration companies."

    Interestingly, if you do vote, you get the same thing.

    I really think every state should adopt a Minnesota-style election system. Same-day registration, etc, etc. It's all very simple and relatively painless.

  4. I do vote, however, I can appreciate the I fill out forms or do I go for a bike ride, forms or bike, forms or bike??? BIKE!

  5. Wow bummer you missed my speach about voting because I didn't log-in before sending it!
    Anyway the crux of it was that voting is compulsory in Australia so I do and I'm glad because it gives me an opportunity to stick it to them. Even though the political groups I support have never run the country at least they turn up on the day and have a go.

    Dr Suzuki made some great comments on democracy and freedom while he was here last month. If we don't actively champion the rights we have gained we may well lose them.

    Why not Strike a blow for all the women of the world who still don't have the right to vote.

  6. oh, i vote. every election.

    how many politicans stand on personal moral convictions? how many politicans' "personal moral convictions" change in the blink of an eye depending on the latest opinion poll?

    the question is this: if 3% of the population own 98% of the wealth, who owns the government?

    if the government is the largest employer in the u.s., on all levels, (excluding the military) and the average wage of the people employed by said government is 25-30% higher than similar jobs in the private sector (excluding the military), who owns the government?

    i'm done now. :) i don't want to turn jill's blog into a political forum. i won't do it again. ***apologies offered***

    have a great day!

    ride your bike!!!

    peace out, yo!

  7. hey jill, you can get the form online and just mail it in with a copy of your id. it takes about 10 seconds to fill out. do your civic duty. when i worked the elections, over 90% of the people were retired - our generation needs to get in there and stuff. or something. nevermind. i'm bored at work again, sorry.

  8. {has gun}

    Register to vote in the state of Alaska, Jill. And then go vote on the appropriate day.


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