Pass Me The Crayon
THIS PAST TUESDAY was Election Day around here. All sorts of people running for all sorts of governmental offices. As usual, the voters stayed home in droves. Primary elections are really just political party love fests. The various party leaders decide who they want as a candidate for the November General Elections then they hold these Primaries to move the cards around on the table to let you try to pick the winner. It is sort of like a Three Card Monty game with lawn signs.
On Tuesday afternoon my wife, the lovely and politically enthusiastic, Dawn, and I went to vote. That is when the curtain slipped a bit and The Wizard became visible.
It went well until I got to the race for U.S. Congress. I touched the button for my choice and the screen indicated that I had just voted for the incumbent. Say What???? I never vote for the incumbent in any race. I backed up and erased that erroneous vote. I started over. I touched the button next to MY CHOICE, but it indicated that I had voted for the incumbent once again.
Everything ground to a halt as I waved at one of the Poll Workers to come to my location. I explained that there was a problem with the voting computer.
Her response was, “Well, we can’t have that, can we?”
No, we cannot.
Then, to my suspicious surprise, she reaches into her pocket and pulls out an Orange Crayon.
As she handed it to me she said, “Try this to make your selection. I’ll bet that works.”
I took her crayon and used it to make my choice once again. This time it registered my vote correctly. What the flying Fruit Bat was going on around here?
Obviously I was not the first person to have this problem or she would not have been carrying around the crayon or known that it was the solution to the problem. My question is/was: how many votes were being misdirected?
The next morning the election results showed that the incumbent received about 70% of the votes cast. The man is widely regarded as an idiot and available to the highest bidder.
Welcome to the American Voting Process.
Does that sound cynical? It is not meant to. It is meant to sound disgusted. I passed cynical back in the 1970s.
Even though that is how I feel about the entire process I still show up to vote because it is the only opportunity, remote as it is, for me to express my opinion short of taking to the hills in camouflage cargo pants.
Oh, boy – am I going to catch flak about this. Fair enough, but any political affiliations I may have are strictly so I can get through the Polling Place door and maybe get a cookie.
Come November the television will be clogged with ads and lawns will be covered with signs. Mailboxes will be stuffed with pleas for support and cash. Our recycling bin will be overflowing with this trash, but, unfortunately, not with the candidates as well.
Every now and then I am cornered by someone who will try to extol the virtues of their favorite candidate. I let them finish their Sermon on the Stump and then I ask them one simple question. If they have a quick answer I know that they are full of hot air. If they pause and hesitate I know that I have successfully planted a seed of doubt in their brain.
What is that question?
“Has your candidate ever expressed to you why they want to be elected?”
If the acolyte responds with the boilerplate drivel about “wanting to serve the people” I know that their idol just wants a crack at picking the lock on the public cashbox.
If they answer me with specifics about what their candidate sees as problems that need fixed, I know that at least some thought has gone into it all.
Am I totally cynical about our governmental processes? No, not really. I am extremely hopeful because, it may take some time, but…
Well, you know what they say about Paybacks.