Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Did you vote this week?

I did. Used one of those unwieldly optical scan ballots that are the size of cafeteria trays. The whole experience was very Alice-in-Wonderland for me. After connecting all of the arrows to my choices for public servant, I took the over-sized sheet to the tabulator, which operates much like a paper shredder. It sucked my ballot in and that was that. A lady with her name stickered to her blouse handed me a generic “receipt” that I suppose was to make me feel better about the process because now I had PROOF that I had voted. But all it really did was give me a meaningless piece of paper that I promptly discarded on the way out the door. More meaningful would have been an itemized receipt - like the bill they give you at a restaurant, with all my choices clearly listed so I could verify that I had voted correctly. Imagine playing Super Lotto and having them hand you a generic, "Thanks for playing!" ticket. What good is that? I want to see the numbers I picked so I know who I'm rooting for.

As I walked away from the scanner machine I pointed back at it and announced, "There's the winning ballot, right there!" Everyone looked at me like I was insane. "That's the winner, right there. I just picked all the winners. Trust me - I have a knack for these things." The registrar at the entry table wiped horseradish off her mouth with a napkin and said, "That's not how it works, sir."

"Watch the news, tonight. I bet you I win." And I walked out.

It turns out I missed two. But that's not a bad percentage. I believe this may be the first time in my life that I have ever voted and came out on the majority side of things. I voted for Dole in '96 and he was trounced by Slick Willie. I voted for Bush in 2000 and he was beat by Al Gore (although the powers that be made sure he ascended to the throne) – so I suppose that qualifies as a win. Although, considering where he’s taken our country over the last 6 years, it's hard to call that a win. Then voted for Kerry in ’04 and he was mauled by the Republican rhetoric and marketing machine. Every successful politician in this country since 1776 has been a "flip-flopper," but Kerry was officially branded one...and that made all the difference.

But this election year was different. It was good to see people are finally coming around to my way of thinking.

South Dakota rejected a law that would have banned virtually all abortions. That’s a pretty conservative state, but like I’ve been saying for years – church-going farm folk get knocked up unexpectedly, too. What people don’t want to admit in public, they will vote for in private. Or against, in this case.

Speaking of which, Arizona voted against banning gay marriage. And good for them. I’m sure the temptation was overwhelming – thousands of heterosexuals standing in those cramped poll booths with the power to legislate the boundaries of love. They easily could have been Wedding Nazis: “No love for you!” But instead they chose the enlightening path of compassion and empathy. Lots of old people out there - maybe the rest of us could learn something from them. Such as: There are all kinds of people in this world – why not love them all? The institution of marriage promotes monogamy, which is healthier for all of society. Why would we discourage ANYONE from participating in that?

And then there was the passage of the stem cell measure in Missouri – a hotly contested debate that plumbed the depths of decorum when Rush Limbaugh accused Michael J. Fox of hamming up his debilitating illness for the camera. The measure was a big win for the advancement of medical science in the Show Me state, while the incumbent Senator who publicly opposed it will soon be collecting unemployment. For your files, here’s a file photo of Rush in rehab. He’s a little thinner here because he’s battling a fierce addiction to over-the-border pain killers.

So, yeah – it was encouraging to see that the American majority, by and large, has had enough of our Administration’s blind leading the deaf leading the dumb policies. Tuesday’s sweeping Democratic victories were essentially a referendum against Lord Bush and his elite Republican cronies. The only two candidates for whom I voted NOT elected to office were the two Republican candidates I felt were better for the job. I threw them my support, but it just wasn’t enough to overcome public suspicion that the elephant in the room is actually an elephant.

Who's got a Chinese calendar handy? Is this the year of the ass or what?

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