Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day

First, a footnote to yesterday's entry on Saddam's conviction and his sentence. No small number of people have drawn attention to the amazing coincidence of Sunday's announcement, just two days before our election, Bush. More to the point, I think, is the convenient supression of reaction in Iraq prior to the election over here. The curfews there have effectively postponed any possible adverse response to the verdict, especially, of course, from the Sunni population. I can only conclude that this was done with forethought: this way, you get to do your little victory dance in front of the electorate (not unlike the one you've been accusing the Democrats of doing!) without the risk of bad pre-election news about the anger and dissent.

Anyway, today is Election Day. Finally. After the most expensive--and I think the most divisive--race in history. We'll have to wait until likely late this evening before we begin to see what shakes out. Meantime, this anecdote. I was talking to a friend at the gym yesterday, election eve. Well, more an acquaintance than a friend perhaps, but I’ve known him casually for about ten years. He was on an exercise bicycle, I was on the elliptical walker, which I happen to prefer. We were talking about the election.

Turns out that my friend--my acquaintance--Michael had not too high an opinion of you and your administration, Bush. Which did not especially surprise me. I think that many of my friends--most of them really--share that unfavorable opinion. It did surprise me, though, when we began to talk about voting:

Me: So I imagine you’ll be voting for Steve Young tomorrow? (He’s the Democrat, Bush, running for Congress in this heavily Republican Orange County district. A good man. I voted for him already, last week, by mail.)

Michael (cheerfully): Oh, I don’t vote.

Me (shocked): You don’t vote?

Michael: Not since the fiasco in Florida in 2000. Gore won. Bush lost and got elected. So what’s the point? (I’m paraphrasing a bit here, Bush, but you get the picture.)

Me (sputtering): Well, I can’t disagree with you about Florida. But even so…

Michael: You were just talking about distrusting the election process. (We had been, Bush.) In Ohio, right? Those machines?

Me: But even so, it's a responsbility to vote.

Michael: Even if I can’t be sure it will be counted?

Me: If you don’t vote, you can be sure it won’t be.

Michael: You’re contradicting yourself. You say you don’t trust the election process and then you tell me that I have to vote. You're asking me to trust what you say you don't trust yourself. As I see it, it’s a waste of time.

Me: So you won’t be voting then?

Michael: I’m not even registered any more. I haven’t been registered to vote since 2000.

Well, Bush, I have to tell you I was shocked. Here’s a bright man, young-ish. Married, with a little one. Had a car detailing business, then went into real estate. Of Irish descent, and from back East, where he has two brothers heavily involved in Democratic politics. And he's not registered, and not even bothering to vote.

How many more are there like this? I was doing calls for MoveOn.org the other day--did I mention this already, Bush?--and reached a man in the state of Missouri who was a registered Democrat and did indeed plan to vote. But not, he added, if he had to wait in line for three hours, as he’d had to do in 2004. Not enough polling places, not enough machines in his (heavily African American) district. How many more are there like this?

Ah, well, I guess we’ll see before the end of the day today. Or maybe not. I understand that there are armies of legal eagles out there, watching, from both sides of the aisle--the Democrats watching for unfair practices in the requirement of IDs and situations like the one described above; and the Republicans watching for “voter fraud.” So maybe by the end of the day we’ll be in a bigger mess than we are already, Bush. I can easily envision it.

Let’s hope that doesn’t happen, though. Let’s hope that we get a clear-cut verdict from the American people this time. Let’s hope they see through the bullshit of same sex marriage and the myth of evil Democratic tax hikes on the middle class and the looming "victory" in Iraq to the real issues that we’re facing. Let’s hope they give your Republicans a good trouncing.

Well, I hope so, anyway, Bush. You probably don’t.

1 comment:

PK said...

I was talking to a friend of mine a while back, asked her what she thought of the Saddam trial. She said she could care less, we did what we apparently were supposed to do and got him out of his position, now it was up to Iraq to take over and do with him what they will, that we shouldn't even be there anymore, our mission was accomplished a long time ago... Don't think he factors into this election.