The World as it Sits

Falling through the universe

By David Glenn Cox

I get irritated sometimes when I see a series of coincidences. The same story repeated by editors with the same angle, released within hours of each other and all with the same message. Be afraid, be very afraid. The Republicans are up to no good. They’ve got Uranium 235 in the basement and are up to something. They have secret plans to have thousands of activists and lawyers to contest the votes in “Librul” polling places. Oh yeah? Your mother wears Army boots.

As a former polling clerk and assistant manager. I can tell you with certainty that plan is going to get you about as far as you can spit. A polling station manager is like unto a god. If they say, “Take em out of here boys.” The Police will take you outside. They will take you downtown where you can file a complaint, if you like. But if you think you’re going to block up the polls by making challenges, good luck with that.

It’s like the myth of voter fraud. If I gave you five different identities on election day and it took you two hours plus car and gas money at each poll. That’s 10 hours for five votes, plus the hours to create the phony voters. A very inefficient way of trying to steal an election. It’s almost as if the time would be better spent campaigning.

The system is very cut and dried. You come in and give me your name. As a caution, I might ask for your birthday. I check you off the list and give you a ballot. In an average ten-hour shift, you might have one or two voters with a question. James Smith Senior? James Smith Jr. or James Smith, the third? The third is Jr.’s boy but lives with his grandpa sometimes. So, go ahead and challenge. A good lawyer and ten or twenty activists, you could eliminate four or five votes in a twelve-hour day.

You don’t challenge the votes here. You can challenge them in a courtroom over to Marietta. But today we’re voting, everybody. If you create a disturbance, I’ll have you dragged outta here and your lawyer too. You can file a complaint while you’re downtown or maybe threaten to sue or something. It’s all so very mundane and boring. A plan devised by people who don’t understand how the system works.

The polling station manager is not going to let you set up a gauntlet for voters to run through. You challenge three voters in fifteen minutes, and I’m picking up the phone. Those aren’t challenges, that’s creating a disturbance in a polling place. If you have three challenges all day, I’m looking at you hard. You might not have one provisional ballot all day.

Most polling places have a sign posted: No skateboarding, loitering, or smoking allowed inside the building. If you think you’re just going to hang out and watch…think again. You might notice the absence of chairs. If you’re not in line to vote or waiting for someone voting, you’ll have to wait outside. Four hundred feet from the front door and if you don’t like that that, I’ll have you dragged out of here by your heels. Then when you’re released on bond, you can file a complaint or threaten to sue or something.

Now, while you’re creating a disturbance and gumming up the works as the police put the handcuffs on you. You may discourage as many of your own voters from voting as the oppositions, with your struggling and crying on the floor. It sounds scary, doesn’t it? Time to ride the lighting! If that’s what they want, they will be accommodated!

There’s  an episode of The Simpsons where Homer asks Bart, “You don’t think very much of me do you boy?” Bart looks back full of sincerity and answers, “Nooo Sir!”

Someone thinks you can’t be trusted to vote because it’s the right to do, to try to be a good citizen. Because you care about your community and your children’s future. No, the focus group results show fear as the best motivator. As a concerned citizen with his finger in the pie of news journalism. Do you really think the voter needs to be further motivated to vote in today’s climate?

It’s all in the approach; in the Beatles song, “We Can Work it Out.” There’s Paul’s optimism “Try to see things my way” versus John’s cynicism, “Life is very short and there’s no time.” Two approaches to the same problem. They can’t steal a landslide.

You don’t have to be frightened to vote; you should vote with a growing confidence and certainty. The days of whine and Republicans are coming to an end. The political pendulum is swinging back irrevocably and demographically. A generation of Reaganomics has created urban wastelands and a generation of young progressive Democrats.

The subprime court, Matt Gaetz and Marge Tater Greene. “Oh no, what are we going to do now…they’re too strong for us! And they’ve outsmarted us again! We’ve been outsmarted by Donald Twump and the Republicans again.” Ain’t gonna happen no how, no way!

Election night in 1932, came after three years of Republican inaction and mis-action on the Great Depression. The voters didn’t need to be frightened into voting; they were frightened. And when the dawn came there was nary a Republican elected west of Pennsylvania. The United States had growth and jobs and the economy and wages prospered and things got better. Nothing can prevent it from happening again.

FDR said we were going to build fifty thousand planes and they said it couldn’t be done. Then we built 50,000 planes. John Kennedy said we were going to the moon in ten years, and they said it couldn’t be done. Then we went to the moon in ten years. The Republicans said it was all just a big waste of money. Google. Microsoft, Dell, Facebook, Twitter and a hundred others waste of money. Today they ban books and try to make education unavailable. Keep wages so low you couldn’t afford school anyway.

Argue about masks and cattle wormer. Put up signs in restrooms to warn the unaware, “human beings sometimes use this restroom, despite my wishes.” Outlaw anything that they don’t like in the name of freedom. Fight the unions, fight the school tax, fight the minimum wage. Fight the women and fight for guns. Twenty years ago, they fought to defend smoking. They fight to defend air pollution and deadly chemicals. They fight to defend guns within hours of a gun massacre of school children and yet, someone thinks, that’s not enough. You need to be motivated just a little bit more, to vote those assholes into oblivion.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt

The world as it sits, teetering on oblivion, isn’t reason enough?

One thought

  1. As a person who works elections in my county, I really appreciate this. It’s become a relatively scary job in recent years.


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