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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Doing my civic duty...

(tl,dr - I voted. America whooooo! I have a silly mustache!)

...In November 2000, I was working in MSM as a photo editor at the St. Petersburg Times in Florida. I worked in sports, which meant a lot of late nights and tight deadlines, so at that point I really could have cared less about elections - to me, every night was election night in our department, so boofuckinghoo the poor news guys actually had late breaking news to deal with...

   I had moved from Virginia to Illinois to Florida since the last presidential election, and as usual for most 20-somethings, didn't bother to keep up my residency or voter registration. I barely paid attention to the campaign and really didn't have a stake in Bush v. Gore - one thing I did notice, though, is how incredibly left-wing the entire newsroom was. Dems were cool, GOP were morons, QED.

   Now, since I tend to be a bit of an iconoclast, and have always been suspicious of any kind of groupthink - that made me want Bush to win just to piss off all the journalists I worked with. But whatever, I didn't vote in 2000. I do recall most of the newsroom cheering as the early returns were running in Gore's favor, and I thought that was a violation of the "no cheering in the pressbox" protocol from sports reporting - but to be honest, most journalists can't help themselves when it comes to politics - and that's a conversation for another day...

   As history unfolded that night - and I was up drinking with a bunch of Times editors and writers as the calls for Florida were reversed and re-reversed into the wee hours - it was pretty obvious that one person (and a few hundred other momos like myself) could actually swing a national election. I still have the four variations of the Times A1 stored in the house somewhere (yes, the phrase "Stop the presses" was actually uttered that night - how quaint that seems just 12 years later) for the historical record...

  So I vowed never to miss an election after that.


  For the most part I've kept that promise - especially since I got married, bought a house, had a baby, yadayadayada - I do take these kind of civic responsibilities seriously. Which brings me to today's election...

  Like most people who pay attention to these things, I've about fucking had it with the chattering class of pundits all over the media who do nothing but analyze a horse race every hour of the day, dissecting polls, viewing every event through the lens of "Does this help/hurt Candidate Momo?"  The worst part is, at some point Election night, after a call has been made one way or another, a bunch of these bubbleheads will start talking about the 2016 campaign, because EVERYTHING IS A ZERO-SUM ELECTION GAME TO THESE IDIOTS.

  All these people could get swallowed up by the Earth tomorrow, and we would be better off as a society, guaranteed.

(This said, I do enjoy the work of Nate Silver, and hopefully one good byproduct of this election is a greater understanding and appreciation of statistical analysis. Oh, and I can't wait to see how the gap between this and this gets explained away over the next few days.)

  The only poll that matters is the one on November 6, 2012. So on the way to work, I pulled up at the local school, told all the paper pushers to please leave me alone, and waited in line to vote.

It's still amazing to me that we as Americans can hold an election in a reasonably peaceful, civilized fashion - sure, you get gripes and whines of "VOTER SUPPRESSION" and other political accusations, but for the most part we're allowed to assemble and express our opinions in a manner unlike anywhere else in the world. Try and see how easy this is in most of the Arab or Latin American world  - Democracy isn't easy to pull off, and we're lucky to have over 225 years of experience and tradition at it.

 The poll workers looked up my registration and address, I got a paper ballot (not voting electronically yet, I know how that system can be gamed, at least I physically filled in a circle and submitted the ballot for scanning and tabulating) voted, and was done in 15 minutes.

 I did actually put out a Facebook call to friends and colleagues asking why I should vote FOR a candidate, instead of against one, and got some good answers. I appreciated everyone's input.

I ended up voting for this guy's preferred candidate. I jknow I can feel better about my vote if I actually picked what I want, instead of a binary choice of what I feel like I have to settle for.

-Barack Obama is a charismatic, personable salesman - even when he's (justifiably) being a dick. I think he and his family represent a lot of good things about America. I also think the Democratic Party machinery behind him is systemically responsible for the growing dependency this country has on government and the nanny state. I wouldn't vote for him if he was Barry Owens from Georgia because of this philosophy, so I'm not going to do it just because he's a half-n-half kid like me.

-Mitt Romney represents a party has been on the WRONG, WRONG side of every major social issue in this country for most of my lifetime. Gay rights, drug policies, women's rights - even silly online poker playing -  etc, etc. The Republican Party has seen what the left has used Government for over the last 40 years - and instead of pivoting to, "Washington should just stay out of almost every social issue and simply preserve liberty and equality while leaving people alone" has joined in with "Washington should be able to enforce our morality and lifestyle choices on free adults because WE KNOW BETTER SILLY SHEEPLE."  I'm not going to reward that clownishness simply because I agree with general GOP fiscal philosophies, especially because in practice, the right spends just as foolishly as the left - they just have different caviar tastes....

There's a phrase amongst statheads when confronted with a false choice between two concepts:

"Beer or Tacos?"

Meaning, life is not binary - there's no reason, by making one choice, you exclude the other entirely. Most real choices in life involve a synthesis or compromise between competing ideas.

I'm not pretending I've done anything amazing here - this is essentially a wasted protest vote. But just because you're served a shit sandwich doesn't mean you have to eat it. I just decided to go off the menu, pour myself a Scotch and cook a steak instead.

Overall, I can deal with whoever wins this election - there really isn't that big of a practical gap between Obama and Romney when you pull back for the long view - not moving to Canada or anything. The issues we face as a country run much deeper than who sits in the White House.

At least I made my opinion a matter of public record....

Oh, and to wind up with some poker/life notes:


-Played three games a couple of Sunday's ago at the local free bar poker establishment. Finished 1 - 1 - 5. Not too bad. At least I can close in a teehee live game still.

-Can't play dead when I show up for a Dank. Did win a AIPS home game last time out and have no idea how I did it.

-Sorry to see Joe C shut it down. A late comer to the scene but a definite bright spot.

-I am probably going to grow the worst Movember stache in the history of man. Already being called Pierre by the entire family....

1 comment:

lightning36 said...

Unfortunately, both parties have ventured far from what they were. The Republicans, sadly, are pretty much what you have described. The Democrats -- the far left is as bad as the far right imo.

I originally thought that I would be forced to vote for Obama because most of the Republicans were such far far far right dweebs. However, Romney is despised by the far right almost as much as by the far left -- certainly a point in his favor.

So who to vote for -- the guy who probably cares a lot more about the poor and the middle class, but was ineffective in his first term and stands behind views I find immoral, or the rich guy who probably will be more concerned with making sure the other rich guys are okay -- since they provide jobs, of course.

I chose the rich guy, who I think has the best chance of leading us out of economic woes and seems much more of a moral person than the guy currently in charge.

And oh yeah -- be it The Mookie or The Dank, I will cooler you or suck out on you every time. It is the way of the world. :o P