It is Election Day across America and it couldn't have come quickly enough for me. I had the same giddiness about Election Day this year that I had as a kid at Christmas time. It's not because I was looking forward to executing my civic duty. I was looking forward to the end of the incessant political ads and phone calls to our house. Living in Iowa, we've been inundated with political pressure ads since last year because of our state's "First in America" status with the Iowa Caucus. And because Iowa is a "swing state", we've had more than our share of ads and appearances by the candidates. And because where I live is a "swing community" in a "swing state", the political process has been exacerbated fivefold.
I've laughed at some of the television ads that have been completely wrong on both sides of the ball for both state, congressional and national candidates. And even after the ads have been proven to be wrong, the political groups (not the candidates) that funded the ads CONTINUE to run the SAME ONES! I'd just sit there and laugh at the ads and I'm still chuckling about some of them as I write.
Look, I'm a pretty apolitical person. I've lived long enough to know that change will never come, no matter how much a candidate says it will. There's a number of things that have to happen to make change happen and the first thing is to get the block-headed dolts on the extreme right and the sanctimonious self-professed intellectuals on the extreme left to soften up and take the blinders off. I see good and bad on both sides of the issues. But I also know that my perfect world will never happen with today's divisive political scene.
The other thing that has gotten me sort of confused this year is the concept of voting early. For a guy like me who travels, voting early is a convenience. But this year, I blocked out Election Day on my travel schedule to be able to have the chance to go with my wife to vote tonight after work. I read a report this past week that with the 32 states and the District of Columbia that allow for early (not absentee) voting, more than a third of people in those states have taken advantage of voting before November 6. I don't anticipate a long line of people when I vote tonight around 6:30 p.m., not like those people who stood in line for a couple hours waiting for the polls to open in Iowa at 7 a.m. I sort of dig voting on Election Day. I mean, if you vote early and it turns out the guy you voted for had been outed as a serial child molester a couple days before the election, wouldn't that make you feel a little foolish?
The Slakingfool retweeted a link to a post by Jane Burns, a Wisconsin woman who writes the irreverent "Sneezing Through the Roundabouts" blog. It sort of hit home with me in a couple of ways as she talked about waiting to vote on Election Day and about the diminishing numbers of "church ladies" who run the poll places. Losing my brother-in-law recently, the husband of my niece remarked that getting food from people brought out to my sister's house was all good and well, but what we really needed was some "church lady food" - that comforting, "stick-to-your-ribs" homemade food that church ladies back at his home in Western Iowa had made up in pans and brought to grieving families after the loss of a loved one.
This picture at the end of her blog post said it all. The caption is "You know all these Church Ladies had some awesome potato salad recipes." If you're over the age of 40, you remember these church ladies. Unfortunately, we don't see these matronly old bags all that much any more. Life does change, but it's still the status quo at statehouses across America and at the Capitol in Washington. What a strange dichotomy that is.
Do yourself a favor - first of all, don't forget to vote today; and secondly, click here to read Jane Burns blog entry on the winning combination of church ladies and poll workers.