Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Not better late than never, actually

(an open letter)

Dear Lady at the Polling Station Who Shushed Everyone So She Could Read Her Ballot: I'm sorry the stick up your ass was interfering with your concentration, but come on, sweetheart -- if you didn't sit down to read through Seattle's lone ballot initiative in the months you had to do so before today, grumbling over it while standing at the polling booth isn't going to do you a whit of good, as there are about four words' difference between the two versions.

More than this, though, I want to know -- really, you're just now looking at this stuff? Months of campaign info, endorsement slates from every publication in town, an entire Comcast channel of information, and you walk in for a first read? And sweet sticky Jesus, your vote will count as much as mine? Bad enough that you're the sort of person who doesn't just shush but feels compelled to deliver a 45-second lecture to a roomful of people who feel so much civic duty they volunteer to sit there and not mock your ass (hey, that's my job); there's absolutely no way in hell you could be voting an informed ticket. Maybe you're a straight-Dem or straight-GOP voter; that'll get you halfway through the process, maybe. The uncontested races will take you two or three closer to the finish line. But when you hit the judicial slate? God help you. Better yet, God help me, as I have indeed helped myself as per custom and aphorism.

Here's the deal, lady. I know you're busy. We are all very, very busy. We're all sick unto death of this campaign season; we're all a little perplexed by Seattle's new primary system; we're all trying to check the to-do list item that hauls us through the parking-challenged streets of Wallingford to the odd little room in the church. But voting is one of those things that requires that one do one's homework before the exam. If you can't be bothered, understand that you are quite possibly doing more harm than good -- and not only to the cheerful spirits of those who care more than you do about the republic.

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