03 November 2008

To Vote or Not to Vote

"I never vote for anyone; I always vote against."
--W.C. Fields

Each year since 2001, I have polled my closest friends about the songs that stand out to them for the year.  I won't go into the particulars, but know that in the interest of variety, we only admit one song per artist to our year-end list.  There have been about ten of us each year, and I have to tell you that organizing a democratic process is not easy.  It's also not something that you can control.  I remember in 2004, it seemed that Toby Keith's "Beer for My Horses" was going to be unanimous until another voter cast a ballot for "I Love This Bar."  "Beer" was a six-week, number one hit that dominated the summer of '04.  Yet, our dissenting voter argued that he had spent a lot of that year hanging out in clubs that resembled the lyrics of "Bar."

There have been songs that made the final year-end list that surprised me, and several more that didn't that surprised me even more.  I never can tell who will vote for what songs or artists, and each year that we do this, I find the end result fascinating.  When you put the outcome of anything in the hands of individuals, control goes entirely out the window.  Trust me: there may well be election officials who interfere with tallying each vote, but no one can influence who shows up and votes.

Maybe "Beer for My Horses" will still make the final list, but it doesn't have to be unanimous if you find something else to vote for this year.  You can't control who votes for, or against, your candidate.  What you can do, and what you should do, is cast your ballot.

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