In the new issue of Rolling Stone, amidst much wailing about how the media is ruining democracy for everyone and some ill-advised legal recommendations (restrict campaigning to six weeks, obligatory free TV time, and banning the publication of poll results–hey, the latter worked out great in Russia!) Matt Taibbi tells his readers an important but too-little-noted truth.
He thinks that if we instituted media central planner Taibbi's scheme (but that's not the important part), people would:
maybe even [be] stoked to get involved in their local races for county sheriff or D.A. (Such races would likely have more of an impact on their day-to-day lives: For the most part, when it comes to our daily routines, the president might as well be on Mars.)
Indeed. The stuff of life as it is lived for most of us has very little to do with the outcome of the presidential race. As I wrote back in 2004 in my essay "Not Voting and Proud":
actually doing something specific and practical to better your life, or your community, isn't as easy as casting a ballot once every couple of years. But it is more rewarding in the end than wasting even a second of your time and energy giving yourself a struck-by-lightning chance of maybe putting one particular guy in an office, where he'll do whatever he wants regardless of what you thought you were trying to support by voting for him. If you want to make a difference in the world, please try. But don't be fooled into thinking voting is a way to do so.