Soon it will be over

Just got back from voting. It’s one of them blue-sky days that makes you squint. And the leaves are hanging on for dear life, despite Sandy. The views are still pretty. The air is crisp and clean. It’s all good.

My polling location is smack in the middle of a low-income housing project, which made the incredibly cheerful Paul Ryan supporters stalking all the entrances seem all the more…..well….odd. Half of them were passing out stickers (“no thanks Ladies, I’m one of them anti-rape weirdos”) while the other half seemed to be acting as spotters, making sure the people who actually lived a few feet away didn’t interfere….the way poor folks are liable to do….especially in an election year.

I walked in….and I was the only voter there. I was confronted with what looked like the American Idol panel, although nowhere near as good-looking. If they were volunteering, they need to work on their collective body language. I tried to lighten the mood a bit (“jeez, where is everybody?”) but all I got in return was stone. My demeanor must scream “beware! socialist!” I grabbed my ballot, filled it out, and shoved it in the machine….all in about 20 seconds. I’ve never been in a gulag….but I now think I know what the people in gulag’s look like.

As I was walking out…..one of the Ryan supporters said “thanks for voting today” and instinctively I said “good luck”. I was damn near charmed to tell you the truth. I hope he didn’t take my reply to be smart-ass, ’cause I was being sincere. The guy was probably married to one of the women with the stickers, and for that alone I felt like offering to buy him a drink.

It all made me wonder if there are actually people out there so wishy-washy that they could be swayed by somebody thrusting a sticker or a button into their hands 10 feet from the voting booth. I already know the answer to this is yes. This is the frightening part of democracy.

We’re supposed to know who wins by tonight. But we probably won’t. Florida and Ohio have a way of making the rest of the country wait. The fact that the election itself is largely in the hands of a relatively small segment of Ohioans and Floridians makes me wonder if the way we choose our President doesn’t need a bit of tweaking. Not sure why we don’t do the “guy with the most votes” wins thing. Seems fairly….well….fair to me. But no….we’ve got this electoral college thing, which even members of the electoral college don’t understand. Large swaths of the country are simply written off as a result. Romney winning California is as likely as Obama winning Texas, and this is one of the reasons a current red-blue state map looks like something General Grant may have poured over in 1863. It’s also, I believe, one of the reasons that more Americans vote on Dancing With the Stars than for the President of the United States. An Obama supporter in Texas? Shit, I’d stay in bed too. My brother lives in Houston, where his Obama yard sign lasts about 2 hours before it’s set on-fire.

Pennsylvania is one of them so-called “swing states”. So we’re all important now. Pundits are predicting Obama will carry the day here….but any state that elects Rick Santorum to anything is powder-blue to say the least. Obama sent Clinton and Romney sent Rudy….just yesterday. So there are some frayed nerves for sure.

But I’m glad it’s just about over. One more attack ad and I might’ve done an Elvis to my TV set. All of them mention the word “war”. “War on Coal”. “War on Women”. “War on Religion”. Nobody talks about….you know….war itself. As in the one we’re still fighting in Afghanistan that Obama promised to get us out of, and the one that we’ll likely be fighting in Iran…the one Ronmey has promised to get us into.

Seems to me that fighting 2 wars with borrowed money is what got us into the economic mess to begin with. Republicans talking about “cutting spending” sound as deluded as Democrats who talk about “civil liberties”. If Obama is so anti-business, why are corporate profits up 8% on his watch? This is socialism? And if Republicans are the ones so willing to pee on the constitution, why is Obama the ones obliterating “enemies” with drones….in sorta secret? Without due process, obviously.

In truth, there’s not much difference between the two parties…except on social issues. And these “wedge” issues (abortion, homophobia, flag pins on the lapel, who loves god more etc..) mean about as much to most of us, day-to-day, as what color shoes the President decides to wear. I’m way more concerned with my job than the lesbians across the street.

Soon it will be over.

I hope we make the right choice. But even if we don’t, we’ll survive. A nation that overcomes Nixon is pretty resilient. In 1960 a non-white couldn’t get served at a Southern lunch counter, and a Catholic becoming President was un-thinkable. Now we’re bickering over the African-American and the Mormon for our highest national office. That’s some non-partisan progress, no?

–Tom Flannery

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~ by admin on November 6, 2012.

One Response to “Soon it will be over”

  1. I live in the big ole swing state of PA. I am scared that I walk amongst those who would have elected Ricky.

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