Is It Wrong to Add Fun to Voting?
I take voting very seriously. I believe it’s every American’s civic duty to decide who their elected officials are. OK, would you believe it’s everyone’s civic duty to stand inside a curtained booth and push buttons?
I have no delusions about the voting process. Too much bullshit exists to trust the system completely. Poll workers make mistakes, voting officials “misplace” ballot boxes, and a fruit salad of other shit falls to pieces.
But, my Da taught me to embrace my God-given rights (or the illusion) and vote my ass off. Sure, when he first got to this country and became a citizen, he was a little confused by the “Green Party.”
Northern Irish nationalism aside, I come a voting family. I was born and raised in Idaho (insert potato eating Mick joke here). There are about six people in that state and none of the elections are exactly thrilling. The rest of the country and the Electoral College doesn’t give a goat’s shit about Idaho’s votes. Now, I live in Montana, a state with four people living in it. The races are a little more hectic and up in the air. Usually. This was a midterm election. Some states vote for a shit ton of elected officials during a midterm. Some don’t. There were states in the Union that, flat-out, didn’t have any elections. The sadder states had one. Guess which state Montana was?
That’s right, there was one office up for grabs and two people running for it. And by “two people” I really mean one guy that didn’t have a prayer in Protestant hell of winning… and the other one. The kick i the ovaries was that the majority of universities were closed for the big election. Think about it. Every single college institution closed their offices and suspended classes so the staff, administration, and students could race to the polls and push the button for the dude who was going to win or the poor bastard that already lost. That’s time well spent!
I like my elections the way I like my riots: mobbed, confusing, and violent. Call me a sentimental little girl, but a tear comes to my eye when a bar fight breaks out during a presidential primary. Someone cares enough about the election to smash a beer bottle over another dipthong’s head. That’s patriotism!
I want excitement, damn it! Momma wants to have fun while casting her constitutionally guaranteed, if not somewhat useless, vote. Voting doesn’t have to be a chore! It can be a big bowl of OK. So, I went to my designated voting place determined to make the most of this wonderful event. Democracy, baby! It tastes delicious!
It was fucking cold. We don’t get fall ’round these parts. It goes straight from 90 degrees to Ice Age. The line extended out the door and down the sidewalk a bit. I thought, maybe, I could promote voter bonding by lighting a fire to huddle around. No. Apparently, even suggesting that will get your ass carted off to jail. Fine. Fuck you. Am I the only one who cares?
A round of beer pong was out; no one had a table or cups, for that matter. I thought a round of shots would relax my fellow patriots. When the hell did it become illegal to offer alcohol to strangers in public? Fucking seriously? That cop hanging around the entrance was a serious buzz kill.
As I got closer to the entrance, I realized I was hungry. I sure as hell couldn’t do my duty (doody) as a citizen on an empty stomach. So, I broke out the hotcakes meal I got from McDonald’s. Momma loves her pancakes. The bitch of it was that it’s really hard to hold that little tray of pancakes, use your fork, and sneak a sip from your bible flask at the same time.
Wouldn’t you know it, as soon as I mastered the art of two-handed sidewalk breakfast and whisky drinking, it was my turn. I put my shit on the table surrounded by blue hairs. I don’t know if it’s a requirement on the state or federal level, but I think every poll worker has to be 70 and above. The old bag I talked to got bent out of shape when I handed her my driver’s license covered in pancake syrup.
I don’t know how they do this voting booth thing in other states, but the booth you go to is a big fucking deal. The one next to me was free. But, nooooooo. I had to wait in ANOTHER line to get to the assigned one. Here’s another thing I’ve learned: most people don’t take kindly to you asking who they’re going to vote for. In fact, making a guess then shouting it out so everyone can hear is frowned upon too. Everyone was such a friggin grump.
Finally, I was permitted to step inside the little curtained peep show-esq booth. Before a voter goes in, for some reason, they have to announce your name. Well, I thought the least I could do was give some sort of acceptance speech. I thanked my parents, my brother, alcohol, bacon… you know, it doesn’t matter. I didn’t get to finish. Fucking geriatric fascist cut me off and made me go in.
There I was, about to unload a pile of democracy on the nation. But, I had to finish my pancakes first. I don’t like to rush, so I took my time. Cripes, take more than ten minutes in a voting booth and everyone gets bent out of shape. I didn’t know what to do with my trash, so I tossed it over the curtain. I carefully reviewed the race and the two people running for it. This was a big deal. Whoever I chose would have the potential to be a success, like that Chocolate Rain guy, or a failure, like Brett Micheals.
I couldn’t make up my mind. I pressed both buttons, but the machine-made some sort of disapproving noise at me. I tried to select a blank button, but again, disapproving noise. At this time, Jessica Tandy who was monitoring the booth outside, was giving me shit for goofing around.
I was at an impasse, so I did what any other red-blooded American would in such a situation. I flipped a coin. Well, sort of. Instead of a coin, it was my cold cup of coffee and instead of heads or tails it was “if I managed to hit the old bitty giving me shit.” The decision was made for me and I pressed the button. There! I have carried out my obligation to the nation. I’m awesome!
I learned a few very valuable lessons. Voting is serious business. People get all touchy when you talk about making a campfire outside an elementary school, and pancakes aren’t the best breakfast to eat while waiting for your turn to vote.
Posted on November 4, 2010, in Alcohol, In the news, Life Lessons, Politics, Ren, Society and tagged Electoral College, Green, Idaho, Montana, Official, United States, United States midterm election, Voting. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.