Hi, Lucites. (This is my new name for you. What do we think? It makes me laugh and think of stripper shoes with goldfish in the heels.)
And I hope you did/do, too.
Not to get all high-horsey, but it takes only a few minutes, you probably don’t have to go too far out of your way to get to your polling place, and listen, IT IS AWESOME. I don’t want to get on you all, CIVIC DUTY and A MILLION STARVING CHILDREN IN CHINA and all, but seriously, you get to VOTE. For people who REPRESENT YOU. That’s an awesome ability we have! And so many people I know just don’t bother. I know it’s not the presidential election year this year, but there are people running for positions that need your vote, so go, run in, take ten minutes out of your day and do something awesome that we, as Americans, get to do.
OK, slightly haranguing rant over.
Also, I’ve mentioned it before, and I’ll do it again, but UGH Scantron voting, you SUCK SO HARD. Why is this a thing? Why did we get rid of the old awesome cast-iron historic voting machines? Chads? Hanging chads? Well, I hate you, hanging chads, because I miss the old days. And now I am my grandmother. But seriously, something is missing from the experience.
Walk into a old-timey booth that has been used for probably half a century by other voters. Pull the lever; a musty, ugly curtain seals you in. Just you and the voting machine. Push down the little levers. They give a satisfying little “click” as you vote. You can go back and correct your votes if you screw up and misread the instructions. Sometimes, people bring their children in with them so they can see how democracy works. The children giggle as they are allowed to push the levers into place. This is utterly adorable. When you’re finished, pull the big lever again; your curtain withdraws, and your votes are tallied in the bowels of the big metal machine. You are counted. You feel part of history. You feel special and important and proud.
Walk in. Everyone’s chewing gum and looking so, so bored. They hand you a Scantron sheet. They are supposed to hand it to you in a privacy envelope but no one ever gives you one so your vote is all hanging in the wind like a exhibitionist’s naughty bits. You walk to a plastic table that wobbles when you stand on it, which is separated by mere inches from the weird, grunting person beside you with barely opaque plasticine “walls.” If a child were allowed to stand beside an adult in this cubicle to watch the democratic process, the entire thing would topple like a house of cards. You fill in your bubbles, hoping you don’t make a mistake, because if you do, back to the table of boredom and the vaguely disapproving polling place overlords. Walk sadly to the Scantron machine and feed your sheet into the machine. The fingerprint-grimed screen flashes you’ve been accepted. Walk, somewhat defeated, to your car, wondering what the definition of “progress” is, and fairly sure, whatever it is, this isn’t it.
But, no matter the fashion, vote! Vote! Vote!
This year there were a lot of people running unopposed. I find it odd they were even on the ballot. Isn’t it a done deal? I mean, they only need one vote, right? Or do they even need that? It seems like a waste of ink. Are they there in case of some sort of groundswell movement of write-ins? I should totally have voted for myself for County Coroner, shouldn’t I? DAMMIT. Missed opportunity. I would have been the best County Coroner, I can’t even tell you. Like the girl from Tru Calling, only without magical powers or whatever she had. I don’t remember it that well.
This year, I voted against my party lines in one race, which I don’t take lightly. But I researched it and researched it and I just couldn’t vote for one person. I had many, many issues with her. I’m fairly sure my one measly Scantron bubble isn’t going to make her lose – we’re pretty stuck in our ways where I live, and she’s an incumbent, so I think she’s going to get it, no matter what I do – but I felt better letting my Scantron bubble do the talking.
And! Listen, the political robocalls were OUT OF CONTROL this year. Were you all getting these as badly as we were around here? I was getting, on average, 3-5 of these a day for the past 3 weeks or so. And why are they YELLING SO LOUDLY ON MY VOICEMAIL. Here is a typical political robocall:
“THIS IS JUDGE DICK HANDLER. I AM RUNNING FOR STATE SUPREME COURT. ON NOVEMBER 8, PLEASE VOTE FOR ME. DICK HANDLER. AS I AM RUNNING IN A POLITICAL RACE AND NEED YOUR VOTE IN ORDER TO WIN SAID RACE. SO PLEASE VOTE FOR ME. THAT’S DICK. DICK HANDLER. YOUR VOTE COUNTS. BUT ONLY WHEN CASTING IT FOR DICK HANDLER.”
I am now deaf, Penis Groper. But thanks.
Also, I have an unlisted number. HOW ARE THEY GETTING IT IN ORDER TO CALL ME. I think this is a Mel-Gibson-sized conspiracy theory, right here, friends and neighbors. Maybe Mel can get that beaver puppet and look into this or something.
If you are lucky enough to have a polling place in a school, you might even get an adorable children-run bake sale, or book sale, which are the most fun and also totally suck you in. How can you turn down these kiddos with their little faces of neediness? I mean, what if you just walked on by and then they thought less of the democratic process, hmm? NICE JOB SLICK.
Hey, and also, women, back, on the, “get out and vote please it makes me feel better if you do” thing that I promised I’d stopped way on up the page there? I don’t mean to call you out, here, but we fought REALLY HARD for the right to vote. And I know. I KNOW. We also have the right NOT to vote, OUR BODIES OUR CHOICE, yes yes yes, I get it, go go girl power. But I like to think that our ancestors, who didn’t have the chance, are watching you with COMPLETE HORROR that you don’t even bother to take ten minutes out of your day to do something they fought really, really hard for. I mean, we didn’t even get the right to do so until 1920, for the love of Pete. ALSO, today I found out that Mississippi didn’t ratify the 19th Amendment (that’s the suffrage bill, you non-history types) until – are you seriously ready for this? NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR. I mean, women there could VOTE, but Mississippi was making it very clear that they were NOT DOWN WITH IT. Anyway, look:
If these women wearing these totally constricting-looking outfits and hats and such can protest for your right to vote LESS THAN 100 YEARS AGO I think it’s really not too much to ask that you go down and occupy your Scantron cubby. I mean, seriously, 1920? My grandmother (and also Hugh Hefner, because they are TOTALLY SIMILAR) was born in 1926. This is kind of still within the reach of history. But I am so, so glad that styles have changed because my, oh, my would I have had trouble with corseting, skirts and hats. DO NOT WANT.
To those of you (I am sitting not five feet away from one RIGHT NOW in my office) who refuse to vote because “every year the same people get voted in” – well, think about it logically. Let’s say you, and a thousand people like you, who don’t normally vote, decided to go out and vote this year, for someone other than the incumbent. Or ten thousand. Whatever. What would happen, Lackadaisical McMalaise? CHANGE. Change would happen. But you know when it’s NOT going to happen? SITTING ON YOUR ASS COMPLAINING.
AND. If you don’t vote? You don’t get to complain about the people in office. You don’t get to say “I didn’t vote. He’s YOUR president.” Nope! He’s ALL of our president (or state senator or governor or dog catcher.) Because YOU DIDN’T VOTE. Congrats! He’s YOURS now. You’re the winner! By not participating, YOU WIN.
I know. I kind of went off-track, here, and back into the haranguing I promised I wouldn’t. See, listen. I love to vote? I think it’s just the coolest. I think we get to do some really awesome things, as Americans. We can speak our minds and we have the Constitution to back us up. We can marry who we love, despite race and (in some states, and more all the time!) gender. And dammit, we can vote! Why would you NOT vote when it’s this free and awesome thing that we’re given as a gift, just for living in the country we live in?
So you have until 9pm tonight, in most areas – go out, bubble in your bubbles, make a difference, even if it’s only to yourself. And let me know that you voted! It will restore my faith in America.
(Title courtesy of George Jean Nathan, New York drama critic and editor. Because if I can shoehorn theater in, even in a political post? Win win WIN.)