Sunday, October 30, 2016

Once Again I Participated In The Sham That Is Our Nation's Voting System!

For good or ill, I did my civic duty and got it over with.

I was sick to death of all the hype, debates and most of all the polls that claim both presidential candidates somehow have a simultaneous, commanding lead. I also wasn't looking forward to standing in line for hours on election day, so this past Friday I went to the library and voted early.

I've never voted early before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. There was a surprisingly heavy turnout! I ended up standing in line for maybe twenty minutes. By the time I left though, the line had tripled. Good thing I got there when I did!

While casting my ballot Friday it occurred to me that the voting process in this country is severely broken. I'm not talking about the Electoral College, although that arcane and convoluted system is indeed in need of an overhaul. No, I'm talking about the fact that the future of the country is decided by citizens
— myself included who have no idea what the hell they're doing.

Most people know enough about the presidential candidates to make a relatively informed decision, and... that's pretty much it. After that there's a dizzying list of congressmen, senators, judges, councilmen, coroners and other officials who no one has ever heard of. If you're like me, you have absolutely no idea who any of these people are, what they stand for or what they plan to do if elected. 

The sad fact is, in this country our public officials are nominated and/or elected based on the acceptability or stupidity of their names. If you sport an atypical name that can momentarily pierce the stupefying veil of dance shows and reality TV that occludes the mind of the average voter and lodges tentatively in their dim consciousness, then you're a shoe-in. Congratulations, Jonathan Hampton III! You're elected! Sorry, Mervin Throbwilter. Back under the bridge with you!

God forbid they ever place the candidates' photos next to their names. Can you imagine? "Oh, he's dreamy! I'm voting for him!" Or "That woman looks like my shrew of an ex-wife! She's not getting my vote!" Let's hope whoever makes out the ballots never gets that bright idea.

Then there's the invariable list of propositions and other questions at the end of the ballot. "Should Chauncy Endtable be retained as circuit court judge? Yes or no?" How the hell do I know? Did he do something really awful and that's why his job's on the line? Does he just not feel like going to all the trouble of campaigning and wants us to keep him in office? Who knows? I've never heard of the guy. I'll decide based on something scientific, such as yes if the person on my right is a male and no if female.

I consider myself fairly well informed but I don't know any of these names or issues on the ballot. I've got a job, a mortgage and I'm CEO here at Bob Canada's BlogWorld. I ain't got time to research this crap! If I don't have time then I know that 99% of the rest of the population doesn't either. So we're all just clueless peasants deciding the future of our communities and our country based purely on whim. No wonder our nation's so messed up.

I don't really have an answer to this dilemma. Maybe each voter should be quizzed by election officials before being turned loose to vote. Each citizen would be asked a few simple questions about a candidate or proposition and if they can't answer them, then they don't get to vote. Of course that would result in election returns that resemble soccer scores, but... it might be better than the coin-flipping that goes on now.

I've asked this before, but it was never more relevant than now... Do we even NEED a President?

Think about it. No matter how passionate their speeches, no matter how sweeping or revolutionary their platforms, neither candidate has any earthly intention of keeping any of the outlandish and unlikely promises they've made. Heck, the candidates themselves probably don't even know what they stand for. Their positions and stances and even the color of their ties are carefully calculated by teams of speechwriters, image consultants and wranglers.

Then of course there's the fact that whoever's elected spends approximately one, maybe one and a half years of his four year term actually governing. The rest of his term is spent campaigning for reelection. There will be no decisions of note made during that period, believe you me.

So what if we just forgot about the election and tried living without a President for a while, just to see how it goes? Congress and the Senate could pick up the slack, and we could all go on with our daily lives, trying to stretch our meager paychecks in a desperate effort to make ends meet.

Think of the billions of dollars wasted on these ridiculous campaigns. Money that could be used to buy food, shelter and blankets with sleeves for the homeless. It makes me want to plotz.

I'd be very willing to give it a shot. And if it turns out that yes, we actually do need a president, then fair enough. We can start it all back up in 2020. I say we ought to try it.

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