I cautiously opened one eye and looked around the day after the election. Everything seemed to be pretty much the same. I looked out the window and it appeared as if the world was still there. Well, glad we got that over with.
But with some of the dust settling from the election, I have two thoughts I would like to present before I hide in the basement and wait to see what happens on Jan. 20.
The first is sure to make a few people angry, but why should I be any different than anyone else who is talking about politics these days?
It is my observation that the political activists on the far right and far left actually are the same people. They may look different, they may sound different, but they basically end up doing the same things.
I listened while some people called George W. Bush the worst president ever. I listened while others called Barack Obama the worst president ever. I have listened to both sides claim elections are rigged, depending on who wins. I have watched as people who claim to be for diversity and tolerance threaten others and call them names simply because they don’t agree with them. I’ve watched people who claim to be for freedom of speech resort to almost anything to shut other people up.
I have to say I’m pretty much sick and tired of them all. Am I the only one who sees that while both sides claim to believe different things, they often end up acting the same? My only consolation is that one side or the other rarely can control things for long, which gives us all hope for survival.
My other observation concerns Election Day. As of last week, there were still votes being compiled in various areas of the country. How in the world can the most advanced nation in the history of the world not be able to count votes in a sensible amount of time? We could have fifth graders across the country tabulate the ballots by hand and they would have been done weeks ago.
Here is my proposal for how Election Day should work. First of all, it should be a national holiday. What we could do is combine it with Columbus Day – no one seems to like Columbus anymore, anyway, We’ll just phase him out. Since government workers already get Columbus Day off and there’s no way we can ever take that back from them, we schedule Election Day on Columbus Day and give everyone the day off. I know there are some Italian-Americans who might get mad about putting Columbus on the shelf, but the Italians wouldn’t even fund his trip, he had to sail for Spain, so they don’t really have a lot to say. Besides, he has a bunch of cities named for him, which should be enough for anybody.
This would also allow us to put Election Day on a Monday so we all can have three-day weekends and those of us who are too fed up to vote can at least go somewhere and have a good time.
Or, if people are concerned that having elections in October instead of November violates some kind of American unalienable right, we can hold Election Day every year on Veterans Day. What better way to honor military veterans than to vote on a day set aside to honor them? Take the day off, honor veterans, cast your vote.
Then we lengthen the hours the polls are open so people don’t end up standing in line at the end. Everything will close by 9 p.m. or so, but no one is allowed to release results until the next day. That puts all the time zones in the same boat. We give the boards of elections all night to count votes. They can bring in some fifth graders to help if they need to. Everyone else goes home and goes to bed.
Then at around noon the next day, when most of the votes are counted, the results are released. I suppose if we want to increase the drama we could have the states announce results one at a time, maybe alphabetically or by random selection. No more listening to those knucklehead commentators (who all turned out to be wrong this time anyway) all night while they guess about what the partial results mean. Or we could hold it all until prime time and have a big elections results show the next night. If we wanted to put a little humor into it (we could certainly use some), we could have Steve Harvey host the Big Show. Or if we wanted to get all serious and sentimental we could bring Bob Costas in as host.
We could even do things the American way and make some profit off the whole deal by allowing the networks to sell ads for the big announcement show. We could stretch it out and announce a new state every five minutes. There’s a lot of potential here.
I don’t suppose any of this ever will happen, but talking about it does at least distract us from listening to both sides predict the end of the world as we know it — which, on some Election Days, doesn’t seem like such a bad alternative.
David Lindeman is a Troy resident and former editor at the Troy Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected]