For the last several weeks, the media coverage of the presidential election has focused on so-called battleground states. President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney have been knocking themselves out trying to woo voters in Ohio, Colorado, Wisconsin and Virginia.
Those are states with wishy-washy electorates where "independents" and "soft supporters" of both candidates incredulously had not made up their minds whom to vote for just weeks before the Nov. 6 elections. Or at least that's what they told pollsters. Maybe they just like all the attention.
Just once, I wish I could vote in a state where I would feel like my vote was a deciding factor in who becomes the next inhabitant of the White House. Instead, I'll be casting my ballot once again into a sea of Democratic blue in a state Republicans haven't won since George H.W. Bush in 1988 and which Obama is expected to carry for the second time.
It's easy for Californians to feel left out of the game -- regardless of their party affiliation -- with all of the attention elsewhere in the final stretch of the presidential campaign.
Yet our votes do matter.
The fact is, California is the largest and most important state. We command the most electoral votes in the country -- 55. That in turn is one-fifth of the 270 total electoral votes needed by the president or Romney to win.
So who cares if Wisconsin gets its day in the sun?
I've heard some people say they're
In order for votes to be tallied, they have to be cast. What would happen, God forbid, if oh, say, 12 million other people took the same attitude and decided that they just wouldn't bother.
This election isn't just a presidential race. We have several key races and ballot propositions at the local and state level. These include Proposition 30 -- Gov. Jerry Brown's effort to temporarily raise taxes on earners over $250,000 a year and levy a quarter-cent sales tax hike. This in the hope of averting billions in cuts to K-12 schools as well as community colleges and state universities.
I can't even imagine not voting at such a critical time in our nation's history -- the most important election, certainly, of my adult life.
I am appalled by efforts by extremists within the Republican party to turn the clock back 40 years when it comes to women's rights. Across the country, conservatives -- most but not all of them men -- have sought to restrict women's access to birth control while at the same time placing more and more restrictions on abortion.
The intent seems to force women to bear children that they do not want, which of course has serious negative economic consequences for women.
We have GOP Senate candidates who want to pass laws that would force a woman who gets pregnant after a rape to give birth to the child. Even if it is a child victim of incest -- claiming that is what God intended.
Romney has made no effort to distance himself from extreme positions that are so far out of the mainstream.
He has endorsed so-called "personhood initiatives" that treat a fertilized egg as a human being under the law. He wants to eliminate Title X family planning funding, which would cut off access to contraceptives. He would cut off all federal funding to Planned Parenthood when it pays for breast cancer and cervical screenings -- not abortion.
If Romney were elected president, there is a strong likelihood that he would get to nominate the next Supreme Court justice. If that were to happen, you could pretty much say adios to Roe v. Wade.
If that's not enough to get people worked up enough to go to the polls all over this country, I don't know what will.
Tammerlin Drummond is a columnist for the Bay Area News Group.