Eduardo the Eagle paced back and forth in front of the voter registration booth and called to the people at the fair. “Come and get yourself registered!” he shouted. “Do your civic duty and vote, vote, vote!” The National Anthem started playing in the background.
Behind him at the booth were two elderly women, eager to hand out forms and guide people through the registration process. They wore their special reading glasses and red-white-and-blue pantsuits.
But nobody came.
Eduardo wondered why this was. Everyone was so excited to share their political opinions to him at the fair. For instance, middle-aged man in a wifebeater passed him by a few hours ago and pointed to him, very knowingly telling Eduardo about how he was wrong and needed to support a different candidate in the upcoming election. Eduardo was an eagle and therefore could not vote for any candidate in any election, but he appreciated the thought that the man gave to him. It was too bad that he himself was apparently not going to be able to vote unless he was already registered.
A young couple passed by and Eduardo tried to hail them down. He showed them his bright colorful sign hanging from his neck (since he didn’t have opposable thumbs to be able to hold it himself) that said, “Come get registered to vote!” in shining glitter glue.
One of the boys in the couple said, “Uh, no thanks,” he muttered.
The other one looked at him and said, “Why not? It’s not like it’ll hurt.”
“We’re probably going to move before the election anyway,” he said.
The couple walked off towards the apple-bobbing booth and Eduardo slumped over. It didn’t make any sense. Why didn’t people want to register to vote? Voting was fun, because America was fun. America was a super-cool representative democracy collecting fifty states together and fitting a near-infinite number of cogs with each other to work as the world’s biggest and coolest machine.
He turned around to the elderly woman. “Why isn’t anyone registering?” he asked. He was clearly in a severe amount of grief and would cry if eagles could cry.
“People just don’t vote anymore,” one of the women said. The other one had already given up waiting and began knitting a sweater for her great-grandson.
“That isn’t true!” Eduardo shouted. “Everyone votes! Why would they complain about the government if they didn’t? That’s crazy!”
Someone tapped Eduardo on the shoulder. He turned around to see none other than former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. “Why, Eduardo,” Newt began. “You need to see the statistics yourself.” He gave him a smart phone with a web page already loaded on the subject, from Fairvote.org.
Eduardo saw the statistics and nearly burst into tears. “We haven’t had a turnout of over 65% in the past century? That’s impossible!” he cried out. “And the midterms… 2014’s turnout was only 36%? I can’t… Why wouldn’t people want to vote?”
“It’s a sad fact of life,” Newt said, taking the phone back from Eduardo. “As an eagle, you should know that sometimes people aren’t smart. Sometimes they don’t vote and still complain about the results. Maybe one day that’ll change, but it won’t unless people want it to change.” And with that, Newt Gingrich wandered off to the apple-bobbing booth.
Eduardo the Eagle cried himself to sleep that night.