Wednesday, May 11, 2016

teach your children well

I haven't voted in an election since the first time Barack Obama ran for president. The first time, back in 2008. I skipped every election after that, including state elections and local ones. I stopped voting for a few reasons. First and foremost, I was chosen to serve on a Federal Grand Jury for two grueling years, thanks to the pool of candidates culled from registered voters in the eight-county, Eastern District of Pennsylvania. That experience was one that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy, although I would heartily wish on my sister-in-law.

Second, I vividly remember the fiasco that was the 2000 Presidential election. The majority of the voting public in this country seem to get a little fuzzy on the details of that election and, thus, continue to vote, thinking their vote actually means something. In the past-midnight hours of tallying the returns, I distinctly remember Dan Rather proclaiming that Al Gore had won the crucial state of Florida. Suddenly, within seconds, an off-screen voice yelled something incoherent, the vote-counting map put Florida back to a neutral color and Mr. Rather tripped over his words as he backpedaled on his statement. Soon, the country was plunged into a recount hell that kept us on edge while votes were re-tallied and chads were examined and results were debated. In the end, George W. Bush became the 43rd President of the United States despite Al Gore winning the popular vote. I decided that I had participated in enough of these pointless exercises. I honestly believed my vote did not matter. Actually, I believed that nobody's vote mattered. Disgusted, I gave it one more shot for Obama and then I swore never to set foot in a voting booth again.

Once again, the country finds itself in a heated frenzy over the upcoming presidential election. From a large contingency of hopefuls, the Republican party had whittled itself down to just a few potential candidates, including blustery narcissist Donald Trump. Trump is a guy that I never liked. I always thought he was a pompous loud-mouth who marketed himself to the lower echelon with the promise of "you can be just like me." He's a slimy bullshitter who talks a big game, but whose actual accomplishments show his true colors. He is fraught with failures, bankruptcy, lawsuits, divorce, infidelity and lies. With campaign tactics he learned from his time spent with professional wrestling, he has convinced a staggering majority that he has what it takes to run the country.

Second best.
My wife has become worried that Mr. Trump may become president. She asked if I would consider voting this year. Just prior to the Pennsylvania primary election, she explained that if Donald Trump wins by one vote, it would be my fault because I didn't vote. Well, even though Trump is a Republican and I am a registered Democrat and one cannot vote outside your registered party in a primary, I conceded and agreed to vote. A few days before the primary, our son came over. He told us that he had proudly made a contribution to the Bernie Sanders campaign. I told him that his mom convinced me to vote this year. He asked who I would vote for. I shrugged and said, "Hillary Clinton, I guess."

He frowned. "Would you consider voting for Bernie Sanders?"

"Sure.," I said, "As long as my vote doesn't make a difference, I don't give a shit who I vote for. Bernie it is!"

So, when Primary Election Day rolled around, I pressed the little button next to Bernie Sanders' name and exited the voting booth. I didn't look at nor vote for any other office. That night, Hillary Clinton won Pennsylvania. Oh well.

Second best.
This past Sunday, my son visited for Mother's Day. As evening approached, I offered to drive him to his South Philadelphia home. He asked if we could stop at our local Target so he could pick us a few cartons of La Croix sparkling water. According to my son, La Croix is the elixir of life — calorie-free, Aspartame-free and unusually refreshing and delicious. It's waaaay better than that 68¢-a-bottle swill that I buy from Walmart... or so I was told.

I pulled into Target's parking lot and we headed into the store. My boy made a beeline to the soft-drink department where — tadaaa! — there was a special sale on La Croix beverages, My son grabbed three colorful eight-packs of La Croix.

"You should try this.," he said, tucking the pack of coconut-flavored water under his arm. I looked at the shelf display, considered the many flavors and I buckled. I selected three eight-packs of La Croix. So far, I've had three cans of La Croix apple-cranberry. It's okay.

I love my son. I wonder what he'll talk me into next.

No comments:

Post a Comment