The midterm elections were a hoot this year. At least three giant redwoods were felled to make all the paper needed for the fliers that were sent out. My mailbox got to expect lots of goodies and is now feeling very sorry for itself because it is neglected now that the voting is over.
Some of the TV ads were interesting. Many times it was the pot calling the kettle black. Most of them were very doom and gloom, as if our country would not be able to survive if the opponent was elected. Every party participated in pointing out the weaknesses of their opponents. It seems that no one really would fit the bill.
I also received a whole bunch of telephone robo-calls, asking my opinion of candidates and whether or not I was going to vote. It was very frustrating, because those robo-calls cannot understand your answer when you are using a cell phone. They would ask me to push "1" if I were planning on voting. I would push "1", then it would repeat the request. After about five or six times, I would hang up in frustration. I cannot begin to tell you how many of these calls I got, but it was a lot.
Nonetheless, on Tuesday I ventured out to vote at the crack of noon. I didn't want to run into the whole after-work crowd nor the early-morning-before-work voters. I needn't have worried, no one was there, except for the pole-workers. At 12:05, I was the 30th voter so far that day. I am positive that we have many more registered voters in my district than that, so I assume turn-out was light.
My poling place is a local elementary school, in the gymnasium. I walked in and was blinded by the contrast of sunniness outside and the gloom of the inside. Someone must have forgotten to turn on the lights. I saw the usual voting booths and tables for the pole-workers. But there were also a whole bunch of tables & benches, covering the rest of the floor. The workers offered me a choice of paper or electronic voting. I have a huge distrust of the voting machines, so I opted for paper. I went over to the tables and sat down to fill in my ballot. As I was blackening in the ovals, I felt someone looking over my shoulder. I looked up, and saw no-one, but then I lowered my gaze somewhat. Standing there was a child of maybe 4 or 5, staring at me.
Before I could cobble together a reasonable (and truthful) answer to that rather esoteric question, a grown-up shooed the child over to another table, where lots of other children and a few grown-ups were starting to eat lunch.
I was not entirely convinced that my privacy rights were being respected.
I went back to filling out the form. I figured the child had not seen enough to report on my choices.
Suddenly there was a loud sound behind me. I hesitate to try to describe it, but suffice it to say that it was not particularly harmonious.
Again it came. I turned around and saw what appeared to be the entire eighth-grade band assembled on the stage. They warmed up a bit further and then started playing "Nearer my God to Thee". I wondered if they chose that particular tune because they thought the country was a sinking ship.
I put my ballot in the ballot box and went outside, this time blinded by the sun after coming out of gloom. I had done my civic duty for another two years.