Singletude: A Positive Blog for Singles

Singletude is a positive, supportive singles blog about life choices for the new single majority. It's about dating and relationships, yes, but it's also about the other 90% of your life--family, friends, career, hobbies--and flying solo and sane in this crazy, coupled world. Singletude isn't about denying loneliness. It's about realizing that whether you're single by choice or by circumstance, this single life is your life to live.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Singles and Politics: A Single Vote Is All It Takes

Someone I can no longer remember--if it was someone famous, please don't sue me unless you really, really want my stamp collection--once said that statistics are meaningless until you make a story out of them. Now it's time to take yesterday's stats on singles and read the story of your life. That's right. If you're single, this is about you. So if you're starring in this story, singletons, I can't help asking: Why are you letting someone else write the plot?

The stats show that you singles now comprise half the population and almost half the workforce, yet you're still underpaid, underinsured, and underrepresented in comparison to your married counterparts. (And the minimal difference in educational level between you and the marrieds doesn't justify it.) With elections rapidly approaching, it's of particular concern that 50% of the American population is represented by just 15% of Congress!

The other 85% of your representatives, an overwhelming majority, don't know what it's like to work round the clock just to pay for someone else to kiss their kids goodnight. They don't know what it's like to hoard medication in terror that a layoff will leave them uninsured with no backup plan. They don't know what it's like to shell out extra cash for car rentals, hotel rooms, and club memberships while their friends are admitted two for the price of one. They're married. They have spouses to lean on when life threatens to knock them down. And although this political underrepresentation goes a long way to explain how these injustices exist, the overriding question is why you, as the single majority, tolerate them.

Perhaps we can chalk it up to the political apathy in our society as a whole, but at least among women, singles are less likely to vote than marrieds. (I don't have comparable statistics on men, but if you do, please write in.) Please, if you're single and eligible to vote, register and show up at the polls. It only takes a few minutes, and if our turnout reflected actual demographics, we'd be 50% strong. Imagine what changes we might set in motion!

Hang on, I know your objections. You're thinking, "Elsie, you just finished enumerating how our current crop of (married!) politicians is out of touch with the values of its single voter base. How can you expect me to go out there and vote in one of those slimy singles surchargers? Wouldn't that be hypocritical at best and completely self-defeating at worst?"

But, in fact, I'm not asking you to do any such thing.

There's a problem with our two-party system. Most Republicans and even Democrats align themselves with the status quo of two married parents and 2.2 children (dog and white picket fence optional). But if you delve into the platforms of third (and fourth and fifth) party candidates, you'll often find ideas that are more in tune with the needs of singles. You'll even find that some of these candidates are single. (Remember Nader, anyone?)

That's why, with the exception of the presidential election, in which so much is at stake, I urge singles--and everyone--to vote for alternative party candidates. So many voters throw up their hands in despair of seeing an alternative candidate elected and vote for the GOP or the Dems, even if those parties don't represent their values. We forget that the only obstacle to the emergence of an independent, green, or working party congressman is our support!

It won't happen overnight, but if we stick together and get vocal at the polls, that persistence will pay off. Even if we never get a sympathetic third party candidate elected, our outcry can be the wake-up call that Washington needs to notice its constituents aren't June and Ward Cleaver anymore. Well, okay. We still have June and Ward, but these days June has a briefcase instead of a Beaver, she and Ward are divorced, and it's Ward who wears pearls and high heels in the kitchen...but only when nobody's watching.

And now, if you'll hand me that stepping stool, I'll come down off my pedestal. :)

Tomorrow, we'll continue the analysis of our latest data on singles but without the donkeys and elephants duking it out in the background.

Fun Link of the Day


Wizardry said...

I would vote, but, I can't. And if I could, I would be supportive of your views, but first comes my dedication to the Socialist Party. But if you find a single socialist, then I'll vote for that ticket. (But there are so many splintered factions of socialism it would take a vertable lifetime for me to attempt to convey my exact ideals on the system, so you'll have to content with knowing me superficially as a Socialist.

Looking foward to the next post you'll have.

Clever Elsie said...

It's great that you've already put a lot of thought into your political convictions and know what you support.

I was 17 in an election year and livid that I couldn't vote. I even thought about petitioning to lower the voting age. After all, teens can work and pay taxes. Why should they not have a voice in who governs them, too?

Personally, I'm a big fan of democratic socialism, which is the system used throughout much of Scandinavia. There is a Social Democrat party here in the U.S., although I seldom see them on the ballot. The Labor Party, Working Families (here in NY), and, to a lesser extent, the Greens and Independents tend to espouse beliefs and ideals that are relatively in line with social democracy and have more leverage to get their nominees on the ballot.