Behind the Curtain

Emma Goldman, anarchist and political activist, is alleged to have said “if voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.”  I don’t know if that is true or not.  In moments of cynicism or disgust with what I see as the “democratic process,” I might whisper it to someone close by.  I do think there are a large number of uneducated voters who vote along “party lines” in the hope of some personally beneficial reward.  Other voters pull the lever for certain candidates because they “feel good” about him or her.

I’m tempted to say this has been one of the ugliest mid-term elections in recent years, but would that really be true?  The public relations and marketing firms become exponentially more sophisticated every election cycle.  Social media fuels the binary arguments.  So do Super PACs of all stripes.

Binary means “composed of two pieces or two parts.”  Right or left, good or bad.

I’m not going to over-think things too much today.

When I lived in New Hampshire, I dutifully marched to the polls at the appropriate times.  I would read about the candidates and the issues and try to make informed decisions.  I’ll admit, though, sometimes I didn’t know much about the local elections.  I didn’t have any children in school, so I was unfamiliar with the school board candidates.  I never made it to a town meeting, either, so I didn’t always have a good understanding of the articles on the town warrant.

When I didn’t know who to vote for in local elections, I would write in local auctioneer and antique dealer, Harvey Webber.

He never won.

I’m not living in New Hampshire anymore and fortunately, I know all the candidates on this year’s ballot.  Some, I know personally.  The last-minute commercials I saw during the New England Patriot’s thrashing of the Denver Broncos were heavy on rhetoric but light on details.  They won’t influence my vote.

One of them even looked make-believe.  Maybe it was supposed to look that way; I’m not sure.

One of the highlights of this election season, though, is that I’m going to be “working at the polls.”  When I lived in New Hampshire, I would think longingly of the day when I moved home and be able to go to the polls, have my mother check me off on the voter list, and then go in behind the voting curtain and fill in the little circles.

When I finally made it home, I visited the town office to pay my taxes.  On a whim, I asked the town clerk if I could work at the polls with my mother.

They had openings!

My mother was a little concerned when she found out I’d be working at Ward 2 with her.  She said “You’re going to have to behave yourself.”

Behave myself, indeed.

Behind the CurtainDo what you must behind the curtain.  Then bring your ballot to me and we’ll stuff it in the voting machine.

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2 Responses to Behind the Curtain

  1. Loosehead Prop says:

    A thought on voting from over at theautomaticearth.com a day back:

    “If you vote, you vote for more growth, even if that’s an entirely obsolete thing to do. You do it anyway because it soothes your worries, and it allows you to think you can hold on to what you got. While most people in the west could be just as happy – or unhappy – with a bit less than what they have and spend so much time trying to keep. And while you try to keep holding on to it, it slips through your fingers.

    “And you tell yourself that child poverty is not really your fault. It happened while you were busy doing other things. Maybe it’s time to change your priorities. Like first make sure the society you live in is alright, that the people around you live good lives, and only after that put energy into increasing your own comfort level even more.”

    This is no indictment of you or of working the polls, only something to think about along with Emma’s adage.

  2. Jim says:

    Hey, watch it on the Emma Goldman/anarchist quoting–that’s my job! 🙂

    Make sure you “behave yourself,” and pay attention to the pro.

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