What Monica Wehby could learn from Dr. Seuss about voting in Oregon

Evan Manvel

In short, saying you're too busy or important or voting's too hard doesn't cut it.

Monica Wehby, the Republican Party's candidate for U.S. Senate in Oregon, is apparently too busy to bother with democracy.

When the Willamette Week reported Wehby hasn't voted in the majority of elections, her spokesperson said this:

“Wehby has an extremely demanding schedule that often can change in a second... yet, she still voted in the majority of general elections in which she was eligible.” [Note the weasel word: 'general' elections, though huge issues appear on non-general election ballots, including Wehby's own nomination.]

Unfortunately for Wehby, she lives in Oregon, where you have a good three weeks to vote, and you can vote at your leisure in about five minutes if you've been paying attention to the issues and candidates.

Oregon isn't one of those states where you have to go to a polling place, and sometimes wait in line for hours in awful weather, to vote. Oregon isn't one of those places like Afghanistan where you have to risk your life to vote.

You can vote in your bathroom. Over coffee. With friends over martinis. At work. From overseas. Dr. Seuss might explain: You can vote in your house, with a mouse, in a box, with a fox, on a train, in the dark, with a goat, in a boat...

I'd guess Oregon is one of the easiest places in the world to vote.

But for Wehby - apparently she can't be bothered to find five minutes in three weeks to participate in one of the most basic responsibilities of democracy.

Meanwhile, many single parents who are working multiple jobs and can't afford child care make the time to vote. Oregonians who lack permanent homes are voting. Oregonians who struggle to feed themselves are voting. Oregonians who need language or visual assistance are voting. Oregonians who are serving in the military are voting.

In short, saying you're too busy or important or voting's too hard doesn't cut it.

After all, Senator Jeff Merkley has bothered to vote in 46 of 47 elections, though he just might be a little busy.

The fact Wehby usually doesn't vote reminds me of the finding Amazon's Jeff Bezos, who bought The Washington Post, almost never votes, even though he gives six and seven-figure donations to political causes, and the recent study concluding the U.S. is more an oligarchy than a democracy.

The message is clear: for people like Monica Wehby, voting is a distraction and a charade.

When we participate in the basic structures of democracy, we are reminded of how it's supposed to work and who our elected representatives are supposed to serve. I think Sen. Merkley gets that. Wehby, not so much.

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