"Here are some comments that I make, every four years or so, when the television networks cut from the end of a presidential debate to a living room full of mysteriously undecided voters: 'Where do they get these people?" "Who is dumb enough to be undecided this close to an election?" "Do they not read newspapers?'"
-- Rebecca Traister, Salon [thx to Lynn for pointing out this smart article]
One year ago #1: I asked you who you were voting for. See what you said.
Longtime Chickarina readers won't be surprised to read that I woke briskly at the [to this night owl] ridiculous hour of 5am today. I defy you to find a civic-duty-lover who can sleep one wink when it is time to vote. If loving voting is wrong I don't want to be right! If trying to be the first person at the polls to increase my chances of fulfilling a lifelong dream of being in an exit poll is wrong, then you people are crazy. I have been dreaming of this day since my last aborted attempt to participate in a civic duty, which many will recall wistfully as The Terrible Jury Duty Debacle of '07.
But here I stew, watching the sun rise over that bullshit slag heap, the Cooper Square
Hotel Hostel, which, as every good downtown agitator knows, is but a stone's throw from the home for the elderly which is also my spiritual home, my Jerusalem-on-the-Bowery: the polling site in the all-linoleum rec room on the first floor. I want so badly to skate over there right now and start a long, gratifying day of voting, but I have been struck with a case of vote fright.
Listen: I tried to volunteer for the Clinton campaign. After some promising telephone conversations that led me to believe that I was needed at any of the 8 campaign HQs in the city and would be called over the weekend to find out where to report to get out the vote on Monday, and if it wouldn't be too much trouble Tuesday too, not a word. Not a word, Clinton campaign. Yet still you send me emails asking for money. You want my money and my vote, but you can't get your ground campaign together to press a volunteer into service?
How can I not be moved by that Obama video? How can I not enjoy that the Obama campaign just sent me a handy lookup guide to find my polling spot (as if I didn't know that already! as if I'm not up here on the balcony playing Juliet to the poetic pleas of the JASA Home for the Elderly's irresistible Romeo??).
I don't know. I don't know I don't know I don't know.
And then it occurs to me: I secretly do know. This could be my last chance. I'm going with my brain. I'm going to vote with my addled, but still reasonable, intellect. Because I've had my heart broken too many times on election day. (See: Presidential elections 2000, 2004; mayoral elections 2001, &c.)
One year ago #2: I was in Chicago, starting that book tour. One year later, third printing. And so we continue.