Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Midterm Midtacular, Midwest Edition

My staggeringly unscientific poll results from the front counter of the library on Election Day reveal disturbing implications for the future of America. Most significantly, it appeared that a healthy percentage of eligible voters were able to somehow circumvent our state's ban on liquor sales while the polls were open for voting.

Also, approximately 36% of our library's visitors yesterday mistakenly believed they could cast their vote somewhere on our premises. A statistically significant subset of those seemed positive that they could simply get on the internet and zap their ballots to Election Headquarters. None of them, not one, was actually in current possession of a voter ID card; neither was anyone aware that said cards identified his or her actual precincts with clearly marked addresses. One or two appeared entirely incapable of identifying the current year or their own names.

While I was pondering the imminent doom of America's experiment in representative democracy, a fascinating row erupted at the front desk between the generally pacifist Aging Hippie and a horribly misguided would-be voter. I could tell the A.H. was trying with all his considerable reserves of mellowness to keep from throttling this woman to whom I was attempting to explain the basics of voting procedures. ("Do you have a voter registration card? Are you even registered to vote? How many fingers am I holding up?") She firmly believed she was entitled to alight at any vaguely public, semi-government facility and just yell loudly enough in order to make her electoral voice heard. She refused to believe there was any such thing as a polling place or a specific precinct to which she may have ever been assigned, despite the Aging Hippie's increasingly plaintive protestations to the contrary.

In between furiously shaking his head at her every oxygen-deprived comment, he must have somehow divined that her electoral choices matched his own. He was obviously determined to help this poor woman vote so his wishes of overthrowing the Republicans could come one ballot closer to fruition, but I could also tell he wanted to beat her senseless with a tire iron as soon as she emerged from the appropriate polling station.

In the wake of this and other deeply frustrating interactions with our uninformed electorate, I began pondering the pluses and minuses of benevolent dictatorship and/or the divine right of kings. Just for practical reasons, I'm not at all sure if many of the individuals I attempted to help yesterday would even be able to choose between more than one candidate on a ballot in any case. I began to see the wisdom of a North Korea-style electoral system until the final national results were tallied Wednesday evening. When Big Tom Jefferson said, "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government," he said a mouthful, and for a few minutes at a time at least it makes me proud to work in a public library.

Then again, Will Rogers wasn't kidding around at all when he said, "Oklahomans vote dry as long as they can stagger to the polls."

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3 Comments:

Blogger Adjective Queen said...

Please give me just a few more days to celebrate before I give in to the bitterness and skepticism that usually perch on each shoulder!

11:29 AM  
Blogger craftyminx said...

Ahh! You and I are kindred spirits! I read your comment on gypsy's post and I am completely feeling the way you did. Damn the hoops! I'm afraid its going to take me forever to get over the resentment and apply.

7:54 PM  
Blogger Zena said...

LMAO! I can't take anymore. I started laughing so hard I've got a cramp in my side. I'll be back! Zena

4:27 PM  

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