American Democracy in Action (a conversation)

Quote of the Day:

As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action: you liberate a city by destroying it. Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests. –Gore Vidal

TB voted, got the sticker and everything. It took me a freakin’ hour and a half because they only had three voting machines. Insert early voting rant here.

On the upside, I did get to listen to a fascinating conversation between a lady who appeared to be in her mid to late 70’s and a local elected official. I decided not to be depressed by the conversation, and instead to focus only on the humor of it.

Old Battle-axe–(she seemed very sweet actually)–Hmm, I wonder why they only have three voting machines here today.

TB–I don’t know, but it’s inexcusable. Of course it wouldn’t matter if we could just vote early like they do in a lot of other states.

OBA–What’s early voting?

TB–Um, it’s when you can vote any time for a week or two prior to election day. (disengages from conversation, stares blankly at shoes)

OBA–Do any of you gentlemen know what is on the ballot today?

County Elected Official–Well ma’am there’s a county court seat, a circuit court seat, an appellate seat, and we need to vote for our Congressman, Mr. Incumbent. Well, that IS a contested election. (ed. note–setting aside the editorial comment, CEO added one race in his recitation that was inaccurate).

OBA–ohhhhh, you know A LOT about this.

CEO–Well, I should ma’am, I’m the County Tax Assessor.

TB–(stares harder at shoes)

OBA–That’s so nice. What does “contested election” mean?

CEO–Well, ma’am, that’s when a candidate has an opponent.

OBA–Oh, like when somebody runs against ’em.

CEO–Yes ma’am, like our fine Congressman, Mr. Incumbent, has some opponent. And like Judge Companyman, who came and visited with me in my neighborhood THREE TIMES, face to face. He’s running against some other people who I don’t know.

OBA–Ohhhhh. Congressman Incumbent…he’s done pretty good right?

CEO–Yes ma’am, he’s a fine man.

OBA–And you say this Judge….is he the genteel lookin’ one?

CEO–Uhhhh, I’m not sure ma’am. Judge Companyman is the one whose been an assistant prosecutor for twenty years, he’s real good about making sure the criminals are taken care of, that’s what he’ll do when he’s Judge. If he’s elected, I mean. His opponent is really from Jackson I think, and hasn’t lived here long at all.

TB–(setting aside the editorial intent, and realizing everything in the comment was factually incorrect–briefly looking up at CEO, then returning a blank stare into my now slightly smoldering shoes)

CEO–(realizing other people can hear him I guess)–But I’m just here as a private citizen ma’am, I’m just lucky I don’t have to campaign because I’m not on the ballot this year.

OBA–And this is not one of those elections where only Republicans can vote, right? And then we can’t vote next time if we miss this one?

CEO–No ma’am, this is a bipartisan election.

OBA–That’s what I thought. Now bipartisan just means that…

CEO–…..They can either be from the Republican Party or the Democrat Party.

OBA–And you say this gentleman that met you met three times is going to be a Judge….oh my, I think that young man’s shoes are on fire…..

About travellinbaen

I'm a 40 year old lawyer living in Ridgeland, Mississippi. I'm several years and a couple hundred miles removed from most of my old running buddies so I started the blog to provide an outlet for many of the observations and ideas that used to be the subjects of our late night/happy hour/halftime conversations and arguments.
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12 Responses to American Democracy in Action (a conversation)

  1. tkh says:

    I haven’t voted yet today, but I doubt I’ll hear anything like I did standing in line for the 2008 elections. Three women, late 20’s or early 30’s, wide eyed and chatty about how they’ve never done this, what happens when you get in there (this was around the corner from the actual room you voted in) and asking others in line if this was their first elections too. Which most politely smiled and said no.

    I understand the argument that is good to get people in the process who haven’t been a part of it, but come on if you’ve made it that far and life and you’ve never voted for anything?

    Oh a side note, we are having a governors election here in MD where the incumbent is running against the previous governor and both candidates have ads placing the responsibility for a certain rate increase on the other yet no one seems to care or point out the hypocrisy of one if not both.

    • It is always enlightening to me, I don’t know why I forget, when I’m reminded how out of touch I truly am with the “thought process” of Joe and Josephine voter.

  2. On a lighter note, Rich Whitney was incorrectly identified on the ballot machine as “Rich Whitey.” Good luck on that election.

    • TDW, that’s hilarious. Thanks for lightening up the conversation. Despite the fact that your comments are usually treated like Kent Dorfman when he asked, “You guys playing cards,” you continue to slay me. Keep up the good, nay, funny work.

      sorry I didn’t reply. My feelings were hurt when a post tagged “humor” needed lightening up I guess. Whitey. I get it. Ha. I mean, HA! (TB)

    • Barista says:

      Ha! I don’t know about IL, but here in the dirty south that would have been enough to ensure he’d win.

  3. Madd Dawg says:

    Your state has a cool abbreviation.

    I think you made that whole conversation up to fit into your theme.

    I voted this morning also: Only one Libertarian on the ballot, and that was in the Gene Taylor vs Steve Palazzo contest. should be a close race.

  4. ZEEK says:

    I wish we could pull a Rich Pryor and vote “none of the above” for all of ’em!!!!

  5. Sweet says:

    good movie

  6. Jessie Lou says:

    That was funny especially picturing you standing there with your shoes on fire – better there than the pants.

    Someone at the gym this morning said they never pay attention to the elections because it is all rigged anyway. Interesting thought. We need term limits to get the lifers out of there.

  7. Madd Dawg says:

    yes we do JL. That keeps fresh blood and ideas in there and helps to keep them from becoming too indebted to lobbyists. If they can’t run again, they won’t have to raise more money and can hopefully do what’s right for the country instead of worrying about short-term political gains.

  8. face says:

    Several years ago I served as a poll watcher in a local race in Jackson County. I drove around the county to different precincts and had the following experiences: a woman talking on her cell phone and asking who she was supposed to vote for (I had to point it out to the election officials ), the wrong ballots being given to certain voters due to confusion over the gerrymandered district, and a supporter of the other candidate threatening to whip my ass at the East Central Community Center. It was an eye opening experience.

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