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Every vote really does matter

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By Calen McKinney

I have always loved documentaries.

Give me a movie about some real-life situation, a good book of someone's memoirs or a television show documenting something worth watching, and I'm set.

I didn't realize I had a thing for documentaries until maybe seven years or so ago when I began watching real-life crime shows and made-for-TV movies on Lifetime.

My first crime shows were "CSI" and "Law and Order SVU."

I know those shows aren't documentaries, and aren't real life, but it got my interest in real-life crime dramas started.

Since then, I have become a frequent viewer of the crime show "Snapped" on the Oxygen channel, which documents the events of true crimes. A recent episode featured the details of a murder committed at a tavern in Louisville.

I also like shows that document the interesting lives of other people, like "Jon and Kate Plus 8" and "Little People, Big World: Meet The Roloffs" on The Learning Channel.

Honestly, I'm a fan of just about anything on TLC or the Oxygen Channel. My remote also finds the Discovery Health Channel quite a bit.

One of my favorite movie documentaries is "Shut Up and Sing," which details the experiences of country music group The Dixie Chicks after its lead singer, Natalie Maines, made a statement during a concert in England that she was ashamed President George W. Bush is from Texas.

I have also enjoyed documentaries I watched in high school history classes about the Holocaust and then in college about Sept. 11.

I guess what fascinates me about documentaries is the glimpse into other people's lives and hearing interviews with experts, family and friends that reveal why the Holocaust happened, the impact of the attacks of Sept. 11 or how Jon and Kate Gosselin survive with eight children.

My late night reading has recently featured memoirs written by Jon and Kate Gosselin (the parents of twins and sextuplets), Tori Spelling (I was a huge Beverly Hills 90210 fan during my teen years and still catch reruns on the Soap channel), Lance Bass of Dancing with the Stars (he was my favorite boy band member in high school), tennis-great Billy Jean King and The Freedom Writers Diary, a book full of diary entries from a class of "at-risk" students at Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, Calif.

Recently, I caught a rerun of another great documentary that I happened to catch on one of the many movie channels in my cable package.

"Recount," which premiered in May on HBO, takes viewers behind the scenes of the recount of votes following the end of the presidential election in 2000. That election made George W. Bush our president for the past eight years.

While it might be boring for those not interested in politics, I thought the movie was fascinating. The movie truly shows the highs and lows of the political process and just how ugly politics can be.

It also made me think about what would have happened if the last recount had been finished and Al Gore had become our president.

Would we be in the financial crisis we are facing today? Would we have ever gone to war with Iraq? Would he have focused his presidency on global warming? Would we have been better with Gore as our leader than Bush?

I guess those questions are neither here nor there really. It is interesting, I think, to consider what could be different in today's society if Gore had in fact come out on top.

We Taylor Countians won't have to worry about hanging chads clogging up the actual vote count in our upcoming election next month. We will cast our votes on paper this year, which will create a backup of each vote in case of a recount.

Overall, the most important lesson to be learned from "Recount" is that every vote truly does matter.