Thursday, November 4, 2010

2+2=5 for very large values of 2

The midterm elections this past Tuesday were very popular. For the first time I can remember I had to wait a considerable amount of time in line before voting. At the computer screen ballot machines a group of four folks stood staring at the screens in apparent disbelief. I had run over the ballot ahead of time so my actual voting took almost four minutes (timed) but the four folks who had begun “voting” before I arrived took almost twenty minutes. There is something admirably spontaneous about showing up to a polling place to be surprised about what you are being asked to vote on.

Smart candidates should take advantage of the last minute voters and change their names to reflect popular views on hot button topics. I think a candidate named “Second-amendment prolife” would be a shoe-in for anything in my voting district. Imagine the look on the Supreme Court justice’s face as he swore “Death-panel Birther” in for president of the US.


There are outcomes which I am resignedly uncomfortable with (like the defeat of my favorite candidate for Governor by a more than 33% margin), but more that I am ambiguous about.

A couple of thousand miles away Christine O’Donnell’s campaign went down in flames. There was something oddly entertaining about the idea that she might be in the US senate. Somewhere in my mind I store a fantastical picture of a grainy surveillance film featuring her and Rand Paul half-dressed as giant chickens while offering bong-hits of ground retread rubber to Aqua-Buddha. Despite this being filed away as another unfulfillable fantasy I’m sure that the new congress will provide ample opportunities for voyeuristic entertainment.

Jerry Brown was re-elected as Governor of California, and pot is still not legal. I am trying to be interested in this; there was a time when those California results would have been the center of many a conversation as opposed to being buried in the center of a blog entry.


Even races where I was interested I feel ambiguous about the outcomes. In Massachusett’s Pittsfield's 3rd Berkshire District the initiative to allow women to go topless with no more consequence than me failed. Perhaps it is because I am getting older and young women look more like my daughters and old women look more like old men, but I am non-pulsed by this result.

So too the Denver initiative to establish an “ET” commission. I enjoyed talking about UFO’s and “The new Area 51” leading up to the election, but the resounding 84:12 defeat was not at all uncomfortable. Someone had pointed out that the establishment of the commission was a feeble attempt to validate a fringe religion’s belief system as plausible; would I want a creation research commission formed in Salt Lake? I began wondering if there already was a CRC in Utah, and I decided there probably was.

The only thing that still disturbs me was the track several campaigns took of presenting physical issues as democratically amendable options. What is it with the idea of global climate change that makes it an issue people think they can vote on? At least one candidate (who was thankfully not elected; if only by a slim margin) stated: “I will believe in Global Climate Change when a majority of Americans believe in it”. An educated electorate would demand that their politicians know the difference between a matter of physical reality and a matter of public opinion.


I imagine future ballot measures outlawing gravity with campaigns that promise “flying without wings”. Perhaps we can abolish the limiting speed of light velocity so inconveniently established in the special theory of relativity: “Travel to distant galaxies in seconds; meet interesting aliens”. The feds would then need to establish an ET commission like the one Denver defeated.

The only aliens featuring prominently in my local elections were those from south of the border. If I expect any campaign promises to be fulfilled the one to enact a “stronger than Arizona’s” immigration policy for Utah is one.

Sometime around 1984 I heard a version of the Dead Kennedy’s song “California Uber Alles” (which Jell-O wrote about Jerry Brown) re-written for Ronald Reagan. The song was titled “We’ve got a bigger problem now!”

“Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.” -- George Orwell

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