Tuesday, November 4, 2008

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard."

-Henry Mencken

Blah! Blah! Blah! Rightwingrahrahrahmumbojumboblah!

Vote today! Vote often! Vote for your dead ancestors! I cast a ballot for my newborn! He's a dyed in the wool Republican! I know, because I bought the indoctrination dye off the RNC website! VOTE!

I'm tired of all the ads telling me to vote. I mean, okay already! Setting aside my strong, patriotic feelings that only white, male landowners should vote -just as our founding fathers intended it- I am always saddened by these MTV-style ads urging the youth to vote. I mean, voting is good, a civic responsibility and a moral obligation and all that, but I would find it vastly more heartening if the MTV ads encouraged people to learn the issues, understand state's rights and the separation of powers, and know our country's history so that prior electoral errors are not repeated -but, alas, it doesn't fit into a sound byte.

And then you have this "early voting" thing. I mean, what is this? Absentee I can understand, you know, if you're off fighting for our country or having a baby or something, but voting a month early? Do we even need an election day, then? Why not have "late voting", too, after the results are in? It's only fair for those of us who weren't really paying attention to the campaigns. I don't think voting should be easy. It should be hard. You should have to take a test. You should have to know a few things. You should be able to recite the alphabet backwards while intoxicated. Winston Churchill spoke with wisdom when he uttered, "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."

I'll vote later this afternoon, after the midwife comes to visit. I don't expect to be asked to show I.D. Funny, you have to take a test to get a driver's license, but you won't need that license as a form of I.D. to vote for or against those roads you drive on. You will, however need a valid I.D. to get free sandbags in the event of a flood.

But what an amazing campaign! I found it truly fascinating to watch, though now it is becoming fascinating to watch in the sense that it's impossible to take your eye off a brutal car wreck. All the smears and comedy routines and unexpected economic downturns, and then yesterday the feel-good candidate's grandmother dies and doesn't get to see the boy she raised elected to the nation's highest office? At one point I think I heard that the image of Obama's face appeared in someone's wheatgrass smoothie. (Wait, no, it was in the seaweed at low tide.) Man, what drama! At this rate, one half expects McCain to pull out the biggest upset since Truman/Dewey, and then die of a heart attack from the shock of it all.

Moments later, President McCain collapsed in a massive coronary failure, giving America its first woman president.

Still, what a day. I now have a TV in the office here, up on the wall, and I'm going to leave it on until midnight (even though the first polls don't come in until 3:00.) I find politics a fun diversion, if you didn't notice. I flopped out of my government class in high school (my best friend's girlfriend was the teacher's aide and she fixed all my test scores), and I only passed with a C in my political science class in college because I figured out what the teacher wanted to hear and I gave it to her. Now I listen to right-wing talk radio all day to distract me from the demons in my head, and my mind has been filled with all sorts of genius (liberals read: gibberish.)

I'm not a debater. Try debating me, you will win. It will only take a few minutes, but launch into what you know and I will quickly transmogrify into a sobbing, quivering bowl of lukewarm flan intent on appeasing you. This is why I prefer the written word, sequestered safely up here in my second-story suburban tower with the curtains drawn and the cel phone on mute. Perhaps I should disable the Comments functionality on my blog today. Anyway, I know nothing. I am but an insignificant shill in the boundless liberal landscape of this blue Left Coast. But wow! Politics are spellbinding!

Which is why I have the other blog, The Suburban Conservative. Savvy bloggers who have read my lame profile any time in the past few months may have stumbled upon it on their own, too appalled to bring it up in polite conversation. I don't blame you. I meant it as a place to post all the political stuff out there that I found funny, with a conservative bent to it. (I mean, come on! Where are all the Obama jokes?!) The fact that I haven't posted much over there recently is not for a lack of material, by the way, but rather because there have been certain, uh, familial distractions of late that have kept me from keeping up with all my blogs. Anyway, I mention it here because I thought some of you might find it interesting and/or amusing. Perhaps you need more reasons to alienate yourself from me. I promise after today I'll put all my political wanderings over there, and won't bother you with them here. You don't have to check it out. I only have two readers anyway.

I suspect Obama will win today. Lincoln was the last guy to win who didn't look good on television, and that's the way it's been ever since: Kennedy, Carter, Reagan, Clinton -heck even Bush looked better on TV than Gore and Kerry. So it will probably be Obama, (because he's just so clean and articulate! Also, he sold more scary Halloween masks.) I had an analogy (however poor) that I shared with my wife this morning: "You are the general manager of a community organization like, say, the YMCA. You have two applicants to be the new camp director. One of them is an older guy who might not connect with the youth, but has a long, impressive resume, a record of public service, commendations for his accomplishments, and excellent references -some even from people who totally disagree with him on management style. He is totally qualified for the job. Then you have the other applicant who struts in with his charm and charisma and his nice smile, you immediately like him and you know all the kids do, and you take a look at his resume and there's not much there, it's more a list of his ambitions than his experience. He gives a great interview and speaks in broad idealistic terms instead of practical methods and solutions. He leaves the office and you feel great, even though he has some questionable friends on his MySpace page. Anyway, who would you choose?" I think this is when my wife pointed out that we're talking about the United States of America here, not summer camp.

Okay, so it's a flawed analogy. It may surprise you to hear that I'm not going to disembowel myself with a claw hammer or bang my head against a lead refrigerator for four years if Obama wins today. If Obama wins, he will be my president. "I believe my highest allegiance is not to a political party but to the Constitution of the United States." I admit I might mope a bit with the we'll-get-them-next-time attitude, but then I'll go back to regular life (which I'm actually looking forward to.) I think it was Jefferson who said that in a democracy, the people get the leaders they deserve. It's true.

Of course, Jefferson also said that "a government big enough to give you everything you want is also strong enough to take everything you have."