For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an Independent voter.  It was official, even said so on my registration card.  Then just before the last general election in 2004, my status was changed to Unaffiliated.

Who did that?  And why?  I didn’t ask to be changed.  I liked being Independent.  Being independent implies you can think for yourself, whereas unaffiliated just sounds like you don’t belong.  Technically, of course, they both mean the same thing, but it bothered me for a bit at first.  Republicans belong, Democrats belong, and Independents always stood on their own, but the new designation made it feel different somehow.  You have Coke, you have Pepsi, and then what… the Uncola?

Truth is, in some states, we Unaffiliateds can throw some weight.  In New Jersey in 2004, nearly 60% [59.1] of all registered voters were ‘Uns’.  In Pennsylvania however, the number was only 11.7%.  This year, when you look at the ballot you got in the mail, try reading it from left to right.  Block out the [D] or [R] that follows the candidates name, and concentrate instead on the person that you’re voting for,  The bottom line is, get off your duff and go vote.  You can’t complain about the outcome if you don’t.

Cartoon from Sid in the City

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