Hope

Let’s Do the Covid Time Warp Again – Part II: It’s Just a Vote to the Left…

Note: This is a continuation from the previous post, found here. It’s not necessary that you read such, but it does flesh things out a bit.

Before we did the delicate dance of the damned with the denizens of the departed doctor’s den, we did something else. We voted for the next president of the United States. Now, this might sound like a very simple and straightforward thing to do, and it would be, if the world was not in the place that it currently is.

2020 has been a hard kick in the ass, and that’s putting it mildly. Nothing has been straightforward or simple. We started off the year, at least in America, with the impeachment of the sitting president. This was all spectacle with no lasting impact, as the Democrats needed at least a handful of votes from Republican Senators to make this happen, and said Republican senators have lap-danced on Trump’s ass so gleefully that they might as well have “Property of Trump International” stamped on their foreheads. They voted based on dark allegiance and not patriotism or Constitutional duty to serve all Americans, not just one. (We miss you, John McCain.)

Then we had that string of shameful incidents where it became very clear that racism was not only alive and thriving in America, it was being encouraged by “should have been impeached” Trump. He was practically handing out white sheets at the White House, spooning with white supremacist groups and white-power senior citizens riding golf carts in Florida. Trump was emboldened by his non-impeachment, convinced more than ever that he was above the law. (His sociopathic ego has never allowed him to doubt that delusion, but nothing confirms “do whatever you want, master” like a cavalcade of lap-dancing Republican Senators.)

Oh, and let’s not forget that tiny little incident wherein some idiot ate an animal that they shouldn’t have, or something along those lines, and before you can say “what fresh hell is this”, a nasty virus is spreading and killing and locking down and upending the life of every single human on the planet. I won’t even begin to list the stunning examples of how the Trump Administration mishandled the pandemic from Day One, other than to say that Trump, and the lap-dancing Republican governors who re-opened their states too early, are, at the very least, guilty of negligent manslaughter.

Too much? Just think how many American lives could have been saved if Trump and the dancing governors, from that infamous Day One until now and beyond (because we’re not done, by far) had simply made mask-wearing a patriotic and compassionate thing to do instead of turning non-mask-wearing into a political statement in support of the “should have been banished” president. So many lives, lost. It’s just… unconscionable. I will not go quietly into the night.

Deep breath.

Okay, one last thing, so I can finally get back to where this post once belonged, which is the previously-simple and straightforward act of voting for president. As it became clear over this miserable year that Trump was sliding in the polls and he was not going to get re-elected, he and his minions launched a campaign to discredit the entire election process in this country, setting up the possibility that he would refuse to leave office, should he lose. His talking points were ridiculous.

Massive voting fraud! (Though there has never been any measurable instance of such in this country, ever.) Billions of illegal aliens turning in ballots! (They can’t even vote, nimrod. And I’m pretty sure they just want a warm bed and a decent meal; political anarchy is not in their day planner.) We have to protect the polling stations from those evil Democrats who dare to vote! (A dog whistle to fringe groups like the “Proud Boys”, finally giving them a chance to wave about and possibly use those AK-47s that they shouldn’t have in the first place.)

And now we’re back to the voting.

Earlier this week, on Tuesday, early voting began in Texas. The in-person, physical kind, not the mail-in ballot kind. (Don’t trust the postal service! Democrats work there!) Partner and I knew better than to attempt such an effort on said first day. As mentioned, it’s Texas, where so many Republicans have done everything they can to thwart the election process. (Have you heard about gerrymandering? We’ll talk later.) We wanted to see how things were playing out.

The evening news on Tuesday reported massive turnout and long lines. (Six-hour wait in Houston!) This intel was somewhat sad, because part of the reason for the long lines is that Republicans had shut down some polling stations and ballot drop-boxes “due to security concerns”. But isn’t it interesting that these shutdowns had happened in areas with large minority populations? Hmm. Do you suppose there was a plan behind this? Surely not. Still, the long lines meant that some people were willing to do what it took to get their voices heard. Good on that.

The evening news on Wednesday was essentially a repeat report. After the newscast, Partner and I agreed that we might as well try to vote the next day, since the lines and waiting times might not lessen. We carefully considered all preparatory points. Should we go early, or would there be a mad rush of people doing the same thing? Should we go later, hoping the crowds had thinned? Should we pack a lunch? Maybe a change of underwear?

Thursday dawned and, since I’m retired and Partner had the day off, we didn’t immediately leap out of bed and race to the polls. (Besides, leaping out of bed at our age is a perilous decision. Things can snap that will never be right again.) Eventually (we may have relaxed with a book or watched something on the TV, as focus is also an issue at our age) we gathered our things, piled in the car and motored our way into civic duty.

Our favorite “early voting” location, which is basically our “regular” voting location, since we almost always vote early, is a recreation center plunked in the middle of a modest park. We like using this one because the neighborhood is peaceful, it’s a bit off the beaten path, and the lines are generally very short. However, based on the media drama that has been playing out lately concerning the upcoming election, we fully expected to turn the corner and see a massive queue of people spilling out of the building, meandering about the green grass of the park and ending at the duck pond two blocks away that could probably use a good algae wash. (Budget cuts, you know.) We also expected to see Confederate-flag-emblazoned pickup trucks thundering about the landscaping, with howling rednecks standing in the beds of said pickups and waving misspelled signs proclaiming that they were taking back the America that only existed in their incest-addled minds.

We didn’t see any of this.

In fact, we didn’t see a line at all. Hmm. Wait, was this polling location even open? (Covid wreaks havoc, have I mentioned that?) Then we noticed the hundreds of campaign placards shoved into the ground running alongst the street. (Side note to campaign workers who think it’s a swell idea to place the same placard every couple of feet into infinity: I don’t care what party you represent, that’s just a wasteful use of resources and the planet is hotter because of that mess. Pick two or three prime spots and call it good. And get your ass back here to retrieve all of those signs when the day is done.)

I parked on the street instead of pulling into the actual, somewhat-crowded parking lot, a decision based on past experiences. (I got trapped in said parking lot once, when two very excited people on opposite sides of the political spectrum were blocking the exit as they stood in the crosswalk and “discussed” varying visions of  “equality”. I’m sure they had valid opinions which they wished to share. I was equally sure that I needed to get to Whataburger before the lunch crowd hit and they’d best move out of my way, pronto.) Partner and I grabbed a mask (I just keep a pile of them in the car now, you?), secured the vehicle and we trotted toward the building, keeping an eye out for Hank and Bubba Joe in Dixie-themed dump trucks.)

As we stepped on the long sidewalk leading to the building, we spied those now-familiar Xs placed six-feet apart on said walkway (in this instance, they were created with blue tape, if you require intricate detail in the stories you read), indicating that there had been long lines at some point. Just as we neared the doors, we realized there was one lone man standing on the primo first X. Partner and I dutifully assumed positions on the next two Xs (ah, the routines we learn in this crazed world). We were soon joined by a rather large contingent of folks who began covering a significant number of the Xs that eventually led, in a roundabout (and partially imagined) way to that distant duck pond.

Dedicated warriors voting for a return to decency? We can only hope so. Despite so many shocking examples lately of men and women bellowing hatred, I still believe that most folks will do the right thing, given the chance.

The door of the rec center suddenly popped open, courtesy of a beaming and welcoming poll worker. “Hey, y’all. Let’s get three more people in here. Come on, we don’t bite.”

Lone Man, Partner and I were the next three. We ambled through the door and found three more Xs leading to a temporarily-converted gym where the actual voting was happening. The magic and the hope, as it were. Then three more things happened which stirred that hope, and the delicate promise of a better future, even more.

First, the poll worker, she of the beaming, personally thanked each of us for taking the time to do what we should. She didn’t have to do this, as her job is essentially to keep the river flowing. But she did, and it was a reminder that so many people have lost the concept of common courtesy. We may not agree, but we can play nice as we go about doing what each of us thinks is right.

Second, the woman who joined the line behind me had brought what I’m assuming was her young daughter. (I didn’t ask, she didn’t offer. I just observed, as is my usual modus operandi.) The daughter seemed a bit young, six years old, possibly seven, somewhere in there, so it’s very possible that none of this would register. But kudos to Momma for trying to instill in her child the opportunity and responsibility of an American citizen.

The young girl never said a word the entire time, not that I noticed, but her eyes were wide and she took in everything. She reminded me of me, at that age. Despite the adventures I often share wherein it seems that I was a precocious child, I was mostly silent, eyes wide. But I took notes, and I remember, and those notes became the stories that became Bonnywood. Perhaps, one day, Young Girl will launch her own blog, and one of the posts will be “The Day Mommy Taught Me About Freedom”. I hope so. I’ll certainly click “like” on that, should I still be around to vote.

Third, we have the intriguing interplay of the converted gym. There were four “check-in” stations along the right side. Stretching out from said stations, heading left, were four long rows of Xs. One would think that the new folks granted access to the gym by Beaming Poll Worker would join the shortest line and then move forward to the right. Instead, due to happenstance or intention, not sure, the newest entrant would proceed to the lower-left X, and then folks would snake up and down along the Xs, instead of straight across. Due to the layout, everyone eventually ended up in the lower-right X, where they would await the next available check-in station.

I apologize if I have not adequately described the machinations of our movements because, in an odd sort of way, it was rather lovely. There we are, all of us masked, all of us a bit out of sorts with what the world has become, but every few minutes or so we all knew where to step and when. It was a surreal dance of dedication and duty. All we needed was a melancholy minuet playing on the soundtrack and we could have been in a scene from a Fellini movie.

That minuet will stick with me as another lasting image in The Year of Our Covid, 2020.

Perhaps, in the future, I can meet up with Young Girl and we can collaborate on a post that mingles the wide-eyed notes we once took concerning a dance that we danced with people who stood on Xs.

Cheers.

 

44 replies »

  1. I am amazed at the long lines and waits that people endure to vote in US (as shown on tv, anyway)! I have never waited longer than 10 minutes to vote, ever, even in very populated centres. We have polling stations everywhere.
    Are those waits normal or this a result of Trump’s attempts to prevent the democratic process? If so, it seems like there’s a lotta lotta work to be done to clean up after that sociopathic grifter, including making sure he goes where he belongs – prison. (It really looks like he’s going to lose, right?) If thoughts count for anything, there are lots of supportive ones coming your way from up here. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • The long-line situation (at least according to my own experiences) is a “newer” thing, but it did start happening before Trump. The Republicans have made a concerted effort over the last decade or so to reduce the voting options for the populace. Their fear? If everyone voted, they would never win elections. It’s been repeatedly shown that the majority of the country is more progressive than conservative, but if the Repubs can make it harder to vote, the progressives will stay at home. This has resulted in fewer polling stations, thereby funneling the voters into the remaining stations and increasing the lines. Pathetic, and a corruption of equal opportunity.

      It does look like Trump is going to lose. But he shouldn’t have won in the first place, so…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a lovely post. Congratulations on voting! I remember going with my parents to vote or (as my lifelong Democrat mother said to my lifelong Republican father) cancel out each other’s vote. At the time I thought it meant if one of them didn’t vote, their side would lose. Now I think maybe I was right.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, Barb. I don’t remember any of my parents (long story on the “any” angle) voting during my formative years. They might have and I just didn’t notice, but if they did, I’m sure they were conservative in their choices. It was Oklahoma, after all.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It all sounds as if the process actually went as it should do. Odd though, that some locations had to be shut down for ‘security.’ Guess the freedom to vote is all about location location location? Then again, I have no doubt the good Governor Abbott knows what he’s doing… The other thing I’d note is that we’ve just had our election, the result was a Left leaning bloodbath and I admit I’m left rather happy about this welcome outcome.
    We have had early voting for the previous week and on election day there was literally an election location every block; libraries, malls, school halls, church halls, every damn where. (I daren’t step into a church, even to vote’ Why risk an errant bolt of lightning?) In a one kilometre area around us there were five locations that I know of. One could never claim you never had a chance to vote. There were signs and arrows and volunteers outside, smilingly beckoning us inside. Kinda like clean-cut sideshow barkers. No long lines due to so many locations. This allowed us to do our duty in an easy seamless no-sweat manner. Rather than being fractious and aggravating it felt freeing and liberating. Now that’s what I call a truly Great feeling.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s nice to hear about countries that do it right, giving me at least a small degree of hope.

      Bad Governor Abbott’s “security” rationale is ridiculous. When you blatantly shut down voting options in traditionally liberal areas and leave open the options in traditionally conservative areas, that’s not security, that’s malfeasance.

      In my salad days, these restrictive games were not being played. During elections, you could throw a rock from wherever you happened to be and manage to hit a polling station. (Sometimes they were even in people’s garages, not exaggerating.) Even in Oklahoma. That’s far from the case, now. Republicans are the culprits, but so are the complacent progressives who looked the other way until it was too late…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations on successfully voting! I sent my ballot from here in Germany to my state — one of those evil ones that has been doing mail-in ballots for decades and has it well in hand…. A hopeful note on the long lines of voters in the US. If the people waiting to vote have on masks and not yellow caps, we can make some happy assumptions about who they are backing. Take care Brian and stay healthy and safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Jadi. Based on what I could discern at the polling station, the results from that location are going to be very strongly blue. (Everyone had a mask and everyone was polite, neither of which are hallmarks of Republicans.) Then again, we live in a multi-cultural, multi-racial part of Dallas, a melting pot of “we’re in this together” variances that the Republicans hate…

      Like

    • Good on your state for allowing the overseas ballots. Not sure if you’ll recall this, but there was a big effort by the Republicans a few years back to prohibit ANY overseas voting. Until somebody in their ranks figured out that doing so would exclude deployed military members, who are often strongly conservative voters. Then they changed their tune…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. We have one small polling place for our little rural town with limited hours and space… in so we dropped our ballots in the oh so official looking converted trash can box outside. But as for bringing a change of underwear when voting, that’s never a bad idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As I mentioned in one of the comments further up in the thread, I can remember polling stations set up in the garages of folks in certain neighborhoods. Of course, this was way back in the day, when EVERYONE appreciated the sanctity of voting, regardless of your choices, and you knew that your vote was going to be counted, even if you placed it in a converted trash can…

      But the extra underwear? Never leave home without it…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This brought tears to my eyes – such a lovely, lovely post.

    Regarding the voting dance in the gym-slash-voting station – While the name Fellini did not spring to mind – I was thinking something similar before you referenced his style – a dream-sequence in a post-apocalyptic world – like Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, kinda sorta.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad you got the emotion I was trying to capture in the last part of the post. It really was moving, in a surreal sort of way. And the Terry Gilliam reference is equally apt. Truth and heart in the absurdity of it all…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m still waiting for my ballot. It hasn’t shown up (yet) and the nimrod who delivers my mail often puts the wrong mail in the community boxes that serve as our ‘mail box’ ’round here. If it doesn’t show up soon, I’ll find out where they’re holding public votes and I’ll possibly go out there and do it the old-fashioned way.

    Oddly (co-incidentally) another blogger wrote about voting today and I posted her blog and your contribution in one long post:

    https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com/2020/10/19/clothing-optional/

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have lain eyes upon your post, and I have deemed it worthy and righteous. Not that I didn’t expect to find otherwise.

      But please assure me that you WILL get out and vote, old-fashioned, new-fashioned, or however. Every checkmark counts…

      Like

  8. I haven’t yet mailed my ballot in. Older Daughter and I were planning on sitting down together and filling out our ballots. We always vote together (not necessarily vote the same, but for the big stuff, we agree).
    Life, life, life… Tomorrow it is on the agenda, and Younger was reminded to return her’s when she stopped by to pick up mail today.

    I didn’t take my daughters with me to vote, but I did take them on many marches and many rallies and they even got to march in the Pride Parade with us one year. Now Younger Daughter marches in BLM events.

    This is a beautifully written post, Brian! Bring on that Blue Wave!🌊🌠💃🏼

    Liked by 2 people

    • To be honest, I was mildly hoping for at least a little bit of “I’m here and I’m queer!” confrontation, but everything went swimmingly and there was nary a ruffle in the proceedings. Which was satisfying in a completely different way…

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Beautiful post, Brian. Practically perfect in every way.
    BTW, I always took my kids with me when I voted, just as my mom took me. When we came of age to vote, she took us to get registered too. I may have disappointed her just a little when I checked “Independent” but she didn’t say a word. And you know what they say. Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose, and nothin’ don’t mean nothin’ if it ain’t free.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Christi. You have a sixth sense about saying just the right things on the posts where I hope to hear just those right words.

      I think I may have mentioned it above (it’s been a few days and I’m too lazy to scroll back) but, in my younger years, I didn’t notice my parents ever even voting. They may have, but they certainly didn’t take me with them. Anything I learned about the political process was done on my own, which is another contributing factor to why our ideologies diverged so greatly. There is something to be said about carving your own path, but there’s also something to be said about parents who light the way, and it appears your family has done some lovely torch-passing…

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Its interesting that you live in Texas where former Senator, Vice President and President Johnson hailed from. Who became Senator after a previously undiscovered ballot box was found – seriously suggesting fraud.

    I also remember reading a biography about Johnson who worked as a Congressional Aide before becoming a politician where it was well known by other Congressional aides that Johnson had a penchant for stuffing the ballot box even when he was winning an election.

    After becoming president after the assassination of President Kennedy Johnson gave the nation his “Great Welfare Society” programs geared to entrapping Black Americans in poverty while conning then into voting for the Democrats successfully wooing them away from the Republican party.

    Yes you read that right Black Americans used to vote overwhelmingly for Republicans until Johnson’s welfare plan came along.

    Not only that but in the regulations concerning eligibility to recevie walfare is the requirement that no able bodied male can live within the home receiving walfare. Leading to ever increasing numbers of Black Families headed by a single mother until today over 70% of black children are born and raised by single mothers in the Black Community.

    I’m 61 and ever since my 20’s when i started paying attention to the news I’ve heard and watched several reports of dead people voting in elections.

    Historically it was the Democrats who practiced and defended slaverly, who started the Civil War, wrote and enforced the Jim Crow laws in the South, fought against the intergration of Blacks into schools and made it a requirement to have a High School diploma in order to get a job during the time when most Black People didn’t have one in order to legallly discriminate against them.

    And the party of Democrats, who today promote socialism while claiming to be defending Democracy, have always been and always will be in the business of winning er stealing elections by any means necessary through massive voting fraud and welfare bribes to the minorities living within their plantation.

    Like

    • Well, then. I thought we were off to a great start with your initial comment at Bonnywood, but now it’s clear that you’re one of those folks who distort and warp the truth to fit your own agenda. It’s best that you unfollow Bonnywood, because your delusions are not welcome here…

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s ok I’m used to dealing with those on both the left and the right who resemble the followers of the Jim Jones cult.

        I just don’t drink the kool-aid either side offers preferring to think for myself.

        At first I thought you were a woman and when i realized you were Gay i still decided to read on because its your writing style that attracted me not your sexuality.

        Like

      • It just so happens that I understand the origins of both the left and right and can clearly see the direction both are headed which is why i refuse to join with either side.

        It takes a great deal of effort to remain “Intellectually Honest” often requiring one to let go of cherish opinions when confronted with the truth.

        The question facing you at the moment is:

        Are you willing to put in the effort and face reality or do you continue to breath the stale miasma of lies and propaganda swirling within the “Intellectual Bubble” you have chosen to live inside.

        I prefer the fresh air of truth myself no matter where it ends up taking me.

        Take care,

        Dabir Dalton

        Like

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