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William C. Altreuter
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Saturday, December 20, 2008

I'm mostly okay with the idea of Caroline Kennedy being tapped to finish out HRC's senate term, even though the tiny little gene pool of New York politics troubles me. I figure Caroline would be pretty dependably on the side of the issues that I favor, and after racking my brain I haven't been able to come up with the name of another woman or member of a minority that I like better, other than just about any of my friends. None of them are contenders, unfortunately, so if Basil Patterson's son picks JFK's daughter to fill the seat that her uncle once held, instead of picking Mario Cuomo's son, what's the problem? I am troubled that Caroline doesn't seem to vote much, though. Getting elected to things isn't a qualification that I care too much about, but voting is important, and Ms. Kennedy missed the primaries in 1989, 1993, 1994,1997, 2002 and 2005 (all years in which Republicans won the NYC Mayor's race). She missed the general election in 1994 and 2002. The Daily News, which is probably picking a fight because the Post seems to be lining up behind Caroline, says that "of the 38 contested elections since 1988, Kennedy skipped about half, almost all of them primaries." That is Not Cool. Know how many elections-- primaries, general elections, school board elections, special elections-- I've missed since 1975? None. Never missed one. Voting is really important to me, and I'd like to hear why Ms. Kennedy missed so many. Lots of people will tell you that voting is an empty gesture, and that one vote won't change anything. None of those people are Al Franken, but there is some truth to the argument. I vote because I think that turnout is important. I want the people who run government to feel as though they are accountable to more than just the people their efforts brought to the polls. I don't have a great record for picking winners, but rain or shine, in sickness and in health, I show up. On those occasions when I've been traveling, I've voted absentee. Of course, voting isn't everything-- it appears that Ms. Kennedy contributes dough to campaigns, and although I wish that campaigns were less about raising dough than they are, when you have money and you are political, contributing money is important too.

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