Saturday, November 1, 2014

I Voted

My voting place on the West Side, in a 98th street shopping center near I-40 halfway up Nine Mile Hill, where the anchor store is a Dollar Store, is usually almost deserted, but not today. For awhile, there were almost as many people headed into the Cell Phones For People With No Credit store, but in the end, voting won in a landslide.

The voters come from the exclusively working class neighborhoods around there, from the street right behind the shopping center lined with trailer parks, where people get by any way they can, to the big Get The American Dream For No Money Down housing projects that were going up in droves during Marty Chavez' reign. Those houses are built with the eaves almost touching and have no back yards, so as to squeeze a few more houses into each unit of land, but they probably sold faster because of the lavish looking improvements to the major streets around there that Chavez put in for his real estate tycoon buddies. There have been a lot of foreclosure sales up there and still are.

As long as it gets them there

I say voting was "busy." I waited behind five or six people. While I did a padre of some kind, a priset or a monk or something, a balding man in his thirties with a four day beard that matched the stubble on his head, and who wore one of those long black garments like you see in old movies, got up from a folding chair at one of the voting booths and wandered around waving his long ballot and looking confused.

"The longest ballot in history," the smiling, elderly woman who checked me in said proudly, when I questioned her about the time it was taking and whether the computers and counting machines were working alright. I was relieved I hadn't got the young woman at the end of the table with the watery eyes and runny nose who was wiping it on her hand every few seconds. I love the people who work voting duty. I'm not sure why because I've kind of soured on voting. You turn what power you have over to someone who will do the bidding of the rich, but the people who work voting still believe.

I do, in a way. I still vote. I have to admit, though, that I usually don't vote for everything. If I'm not exactly sure what I'm voting for, I skip it, which has the advantage of getting me out of there faster, which soon becomes my main objective. I'm a little uncomfortable around people, on the phone, on dates, around my family anymore.

I voted for Maggie Oliver and Ray Powell as instructed. I didn't vote for Democrats In Name Only Tom Udall, Michelle Grisham or Gary King, who feel entitled to working peoples' votes even as they oppose unions and vote in favor of Reaganomics policies that are rapidly transferring wealth upward.

I knew little or nothing about anyone else. No judges. I vote for bond issues if they sound remotely necessary because I know how hard it is to raise money if you're in government, and it seems there are always vested interests lined up against bond issues, but I skipped a list of county bond issues this time. It was rather long and I was wanting to go, and I've been a little suspicious of that board ever since Michelle Grisham walzted onto it merely to set herself for her run for congress.

A homeless man wandered past and hit a few people up as they left. He was one of those who give you something in return. I've got a little pack of baseball cards with a rubber band around it, from a guy like that down at the TA truck stop, but I know none of the players. I used to know every major league ball player, but there are players now who come into the league and retire without me ever having heard of them.

But sports, like hunting, were things of my youth.  I was 18 when the voting age was lowered to 18, and I got my picture in the New Buffalo Times as I was registering to vote. Today was a nice day to vote, and I'm glad I did. My favorite part of the day was seeing this young man walk out of the voting place. Several other people, men and women, had walked out with a little smile on their face from knowing they had done something important, had performed a civic duty, but none as young as he.


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