KEEP IN THE VOTE! | 2000-10-28

The governing parties in France are very upset. They put a plebiscite before their people and nobody came.

Actually, thirty percent of the electorate came, but for obedient Europeans, that is an unbelievably minuscule turnout. American media point to the fact that ninety percent of Europeans turn out for every European election, even when there is absolutely no real choice offered. They want us to be like that.

So the French electorate, as always, approved what their rulers wanted in the plebiscite. But a thirty percent turnout did not say, "Yes, Master!" with the traditional European enthusiasm.

The fact is that the French Constitution, written for Charles DeGaulle, is out of date. To make matters worse, huge segments of public opinion, such as LaPenn's Party which wants to cut down on immigration, get no attention at all. That is fifteen percent of the vote that is simply written off as naziswhowanttokillsixmillionjews.

So the "reform" proposed for the plebiscite -- reducing the presidential term from seven to five years -- had absolutely nothing to do with the real problems there. Normally that would not matter, and Europeans would all troop to the polls anyway. But this time, faced with no choice that mattered, the French did what Americans would have done. They said to hell with it and stayed home.

Refusing to take part in meaningless political ritual is very, very unEuropean. In Western Europe, ninety percent of voters show up for the most meaningless exercise. Behind the Iron Curtain the people have been what our "Get Out the Vote" media would call even Better Citizens. Over ninety-nine percent of the voters showed up at the polls for every Communist "election." In North Korea, they once claimed one hundred percent participation in the voting, including those on deathbeds and in comas.

Nobody on earth has as low a voter turnout as America does. So, according to the "Get Out the Vote" philosophy, the worst citizens in the world are in the United States, and the best citizens in the world are in North Korea.

If you don't know the details about what Communists call elections, you've missed a good laugh. Here is what happens.

The Good Citizen, or Comrade, walks into the polling place. A Party official marks his name off the list and hands him a ballot. The ballot is already filled out, one line for each office, and the Communist Party candidate's name is the only one beside each office.

Standing there in front of a Party official, the voter now has two choices.

First, the voter may do what absolutely everybody else does and take the already-filled-out ballot directly to the box and drop it in, thereby voting a straight Communist ticket. Please remember that he is standing in front of a Party official who has just gotten his name and who is sitting there with pencil poised to put down further information beside his name.

Keeping that in mind, our voter in a Progressive People's Peace-Loving Democratic Republic can take the ballot and scratch out some names and substitute others. If he goes back to scratch and substitute that way, you can bet he will get a visit from some other Party functionaries who will want to congratulate him on his independent spirit.

So, as in America, the ideal of the Progressive People's Peace-Loving Democratic Republics is for all the voters to show up and make whatever "choice" they are told to. That is the essence of "getting out the vote."

I say keep it in.