Ake's Pains debuted in the University of Akron Buchtelite in September of 1977. The school's reputation as an institute of higher learning has still not recovered. Ake's Pains returns after a brief 32 year hiatus. It's back, baby!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Sometimes Democracy Stinks

These are the people at your polling place, at your polling place, at your polling place
These are the people at your polling place, the people that you meet Tuesday

 Last November I exercised my right as a United States citizen and voted.  I admit that I was a bit cranky as I drove to a local church after work to cast my ballot.  It was dark and rainy and I was tired and hungry.  More importantly I knew the only issue I really cared about was going down in defeat.  But I still wanted to vote so my side would end up losing by one fewer vote.  And it worked!  Due to my efforts the issue only lost by 792,249 votes instead of 792,250.  So stick it other side, stick it really hard.

I wanted a quick, uneventful, voting experience, but that wasn’t going to happen. As soon as I entered the hall, I encountered a most horrific smell.  I soon realized the source of the stench was the 20-something man standing directly in front of me.  He will hereafter be referred to as “Young Stinky Guy”.  I don’t know how long you have to go without bathing to create such body odor, but I actually looked to see if there was a toxic cloud hovering over his head.  It should be illegal to smell this bad.

Young Stinky Guy was trying to decide where his precinct table was located.  I knew mine was to the left and I was so hoping his was to the right, but of course he finally turned left.  So I was stuck right behind him, but fortunately the line was not too long.  However, then Clueless Unregistered Guy entered the picture.  It took a while for those lively poll workers to determine he was not registered to vote.  When informed of this, he smiled sheepishly and said, “Well I’ve been out of the country for awhile, so maybe that’s why.”

No, you don’t lose your citizenship if you leave the country, you moron.  You are not registered, because you didn’t register.  And now you decide to show up here at one of the busiest times of the day and expect to vote.  So then Aged Poll Worker Guy has to find a provisional voting application and slowly and thoroughly explain to Clueless Unregistered Guy how to complete it.

While we waited, I was tempted to offer some manly advice to Young Stinky Guy about the benefits of soap (or since it is the suburbs, "body wash").  He really could have used some (both the advice and the soap).  I know he doesn’t have a girlfriend unless the woman has no sense of smell or better yet has no nose at all.  He probably doesn’t have a job unless he works as a diver at the sewage treatment plant.

But just when I thought things couldn’t get worse, Old Blind Guy gets in line behind me.  I had noticed him in the parking lot as his daughter was helping him make it slowly to the door.  I knew he was behind me because I was naturally trying to keep a large gap between me and Young Stinky Guy, but Old Blind Guy was violating the guy rule of assured clear distance and was bumping up next to me.  Normally I would have turned around and given him a dirty look, but that wasn’t going to work now, was it? Saying “Is that your white cane or are you that excited about the candidates?” was not an option either.

However this created an ethical dilemma. What is the protocol when standing in line in front of a blind person?  Do I let him cut in front of me? What is the rule? I didn’t have a clue, but it was making me very uncomfortable. I did feel compassion for him.  I did feel sorry for him.  However there was one person in the room that I felt even sorrier for. That would be the person directly behind him in line.  And then I had an epiphany.  If I let Old Blind Guy go ahead of me, the person directly behind him in line would in fact be me.  You may disagree with what I did, but no cutsies this time.

I finally got my access card, went to the voting machine (one next to Young Stinky Guy of course) and made my selections. In Ohio we actually got to vote on Obamacare.  I thought it was ironic that I was voting on the healthcare bill with much more knowledge of the subject than Congress had when they rushed to vote on it in 2009.  Heck even Old Blind Guy knows more about it and he is of course, blind.  Is this a great country or what?

I finished voting and sure enough Old Blind Guy had still not made it through the sign-in process and the line had now stretched to the door. As I left the church I realized that Young Stinky Guy was probably one of those hippie freaks and had no doubt cancelled out all of my votes.  There is of course a 50% chance Old Blind Guy (if not assisted) had nullified my choices also.

Driving home I was still feeling somewhat guilty about not letting Old Blind Guy cut ahead of me, when I had my second epiphany of the night.  I remember reading that if someone loses one sense their other senses are enhanced.  That means that if Old Blind Guy had an enhanced sense of smell and I caused him to stand too close to Young Stinky Guy, then he would now be dead.  Therefore I am not a cad; I am a democracy loving hero.

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