Some post-election cynicism

Some post-election cynicism

By Michael Benjamin

Some post-election cynicism

Just when you think we couldn’t possibly regress any further in our political process, another example comes along to prove, once and for all, that a fair segment of Americans are but gerbils on a treadwheel.

Citizens of West Palm Beach County, Florida, are crying in their Metamucil and martinis over alleged “confusion” at the polls. Apparently, due to what was a widespread breakdown in the collective cognitive functioning amongst liberals there, many Democratic Party voters are now shouting “foul” because they accidentally voted for the wrong candidate November 7. In wishing to vote for Al Gore, some voters mistakenly punched the Buchanan hole instead. The perplexing ballot, they argue, was obscure and cryptic, possibly due to its logical, sequential layout and well-defined arrows clearly marking the appropriate holes.

Come on, people! I mean, we dial the phone, we surf the Net, we drive our cars, fold our clothes, handle kitchen appliances, run power tools, and yes, as frightening as it is, some of you raise children. But when it comes crunch time to visually coordinate a hole, an arrow and a name that’s been drilled into our brains for months, suddenly many West Palm Beachers metamorphose into Rain Man late for Judge Wapner. I’m sorry, but if you are too intellectually limited to navigate the intricacies of a simple paper ballot, then I am downright fearful of your ability to form a valid political perspective in the first place. It’s time to lean deep into home plate and take one for the team, Bubba. Stick to exercising your opinion in something less damaging to our country than casting a presidential vote: something like critiquing Jerry Springer episodes in on-line chat rooms, for instance.

I also find it a very telltale correlation that the IQs responsible for this political faux pas were unanimously Gore supporters. But I’m sure it’s not their fault. Perhaps they were raised in challenging environments by challenged people. Perhaps they were unfortunate products of America’s John Dewey public educational system. Perhaps they have poor self-esteem or suffer as victims from some terrible, faultless disease like, say, smoking crack or shooting cops, or syphilis or something. Or maybe choosing Buchanan wasn’t a mistake at all, but perhaps a Freudian slip where the infected core of their repressed, subconscious Fascist tendencies finally came oozing out, popped like a fresh boil, through a clogged and dirty, socialist epidermal facade.

But, as I said, I’m sure it’s not their fault for being liberals, and I’m most positive it’s not their fault for casting the wrong votes. The fault has got to lie on the paper company that made the ballots, and the makers of the little metal thing you punch the hole with, and the ink producers who printed the ballot, and the grammar and syntax guy who designed the arrows, and the county organizers and their little blue-haired volunteers, but it is definitely, absolutely, indubitably not the fault of the individuals who actually made the mistake! Eight years of Clinton/Gore have taught me this, and of this I am sure. And I’m also certain that legal gun owners, tobacco smokers, white males, heavy metal music, gangster rap, Microsoft, Joe Camel, South Park, meat eaters and registered Republicans are at fault as well, but I’m just not sure how. I really think we should get Janet Reno to investigate this situation; then maybe I could sleep a little better at night. Yes, then I’d sleep as snug as a Branch Davidian bug in a sterno-soaked rug.

Now, with no surprise, due to the ridiculously litigious nature of liberals in general, we can expect a lawsuit to force the courts into approving a new vote that may or may not go the way they preconceive. I’m really not too concerned about this, because if they couldn’t figure out the simple format of their ballots, there is no way in hell they’ll be able to find their local courthouse. On top of this, the Floridians’ proverbial flames are being further fueled by the typically inflammatory bombast of Jesse Jackson. This guy is like a vulture on carrion. Remember his scavenging on Decatur schools last year? Or maybe he’s more of a great white shark, no pun intended, because he can definitely smell a drop of blood diluted in a cubic mile of polluted salt water.

The Floridians, as a result, are getting a bit agitated, almost passing the stink of rebellion in the winds like the Watts riot days, or South Central L.A. after the Rodney King verdict, or maybe even, Christ help us all, the Rolling Stones at Altamont. That’s OK. Let the liberals rise up. It’s we Second Amendment nuts and right-wingers who have all the guns anyway. Well–us, the gangs, the cops, the bikers and the militias, so I’m not too worried. Unlike American politics, there seems to be a real solid balance of power in that system of checks and balances.

You know, I’ve seen the disputed ballots on television and in detail. I concede that West Palm Beach County’s were not as self-explanatory as ours, but it wasn’t neuropharmacology or symplectic geometry, either. In fact (and you behavioral therapists back me up on this one), when a six-year-old plays “Mario Brothers” on Nintendo, he exercises more cognitive skill and analytical reasoning than it takes to correctly skipper the baffling format in question.

Did I vote for Bush? Obviously yes. Why? Well, that’s my own business. Let’s just say it’s hard for me to trust the number two man to a draft-dodging, adulterous, perjuring lawyer. Nor do I buy into throwing my vote away on some third party hack who hasn’t got a hope to win, even if he is a genius. If you don’t agree with me, that’s fine. You’re an American, I’m an American, and what makes our country better than Northern Ireland, the Middle East or the Balkans is that when we have dialectically opposing political or religious views, we don’t have to kill each other over it! We can even, as progressively heretical as this may seem, be friends despite our ideological or theological differences. If you disagree with my views, great! Become politically active and vote for politicians who will support your opinions. But just remember, when you’re casting your vote, as any Texas oil man can tell you, hittin’ the right hole is the secret to success.

Michael Benjamin holds a B.A. in history and a minor in Southeast Asian Studies from NIU. Besides his career in education and social work, he has published two volumes of original poetry: Crowsongs (Vantage Press, 1998) and The Wind of Seasons (Sterling House Publisher, 1994).

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