Less than two months until the election, and I’m guessing most people feel about the same as I do, waiting eagerly for all the politicking to be over.
That doesn’t mean that there will be any happy endings. It seems safe to predict that no matter who wins the presidential race, the aftermath of the election will be bitter and drag on and on.
But we can anticipate a few things.
Goodbye to those
No more callers asking how we plan to vote and encouraging donations to this party or that.
I got one call from someone who congratulated me “for being an outstanding member of the (name of political party).” The problem was that it was not my political party. When the caller got to the part where the party is hoping to mail me a packet that I’d return it with a donation, I asked, “Do you know who I am?”
I was asking because I wanted to know if this was a random call or if I was on some list, by name, as a member of the wrong party.
But I probably sounded as if I were under the illusion I was someone important.
“Have a nice day,” the caller said before hanging up on me. Oh, well.
When I get a call regarding my voting choices, and assuming that there is a real person on the line, I respond by asking if that person is familiar with the concept of the secret ballot.
The secret ballot came to be in the mid-1890s. Before then, American elections were conducted in one of two ways: by voice or by ticket. Using the voice method, voters went to the polling place and announced the candidates for whom they wanted to vote. With the ticket method, each party had a different looking ticket so it would be obvious when the voter handed it over.
This helps explain how, back in Leadville’s early days, voters would be handed $5 at the polls in exchange for their votes. Those buying the votes could easily find out whether the person followed through and voted for the “right” slate. I guess, too, that people back then tended to vote for one party or another and not split the ticket. By the way, $5 back in 1900 is equivalent to $154.23 today.
Election Day was a lot more fun back then than it is now, as you can imagine.
With the secret ballot, no one knows for whom a vote is cast.
Of course, public bodies such as the city council and the board of county commissioners, still adhere to the public method of voting. That way the public, essentially their employers, knows how they vote, although it’s clear at times that some of them wish they could keep their votes secret.
Then there’s Facebook.
I am with those who try hard to keep their political feelings off Facebook. And, yes, I sometimes fail. But tongue biting and fist clenching do work to a degree. After all, it’s not like anyone is going to change their minds.
But this year especially, there are more topics than ever that have become politicized. It’s not just the old standbys such as gun control and abortion, as two examples, Now it’s tricky to write about such things as empathy, law and order and loving one’s neighbor without being accused of taking one side or another.
As far as Facebook posts or reposts are concerned, mine this year generally concern three topics: my dogs, Colorado’s beauty and the weather. The last is a bit tricky though. Global warming might raise its politicized head.
I looked through the things I’ve reposted since the beginning of the year and these stand out to me:
— Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young performing “Four Dead in Ohio,” written when National Guardsmen shot and killed four students at Kent State University during a protest of the Vietnam War.
I lived in Ohio at the time, and remember those times vividly.
— A newspaper obituary in which the family blames those who refuse masks and won’t social distance for the death of their family member who died of COVID.
I reposted this because I thought my journalist friends would find it interesting rather than as a statement for or against masks or social distancing.
— Several about the First Amendment, especially a free press, free speech and the freedom to assemble. But I post about these topics even when we’re not in the throes of an election.
— An article about an Australian newspaper that printed several blank pages to make up for the toilet paper shortage.
I got a response to this one from a friend who used to work in a print shop. He said based on the chemicals used in newsprint, it probably would not make the best toilet paper.
— A quote from one of my favorite writers, Dorothy Parker: “If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do is present them with “Elements of Style.” The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now while they are happy.”
Some might take this as a statement against gun control but, come on.
— And yes, there is one repost that clearly expresses an opinion about who should win the upcoming election. It’s wordy though, and I know that most people won’t read anything that long.
Do elections drive you to drink?
Prohibition was repealed in 1933 and states were allowed to determine their own laws when it came to controlling the sale of alcoholic beverages. In most states this meant that liquor stores and bars were closed on Election Day. It started out in large part because people were buying votes with liquor. And, of course, no one wanted inebriated voters making ballot choices.
State by state these laws were rescinded, with Colorado making that decision around 1980. South Carolina was the last state in 2014.
So whether Election Day 2020 makes you despair or rejoice, you don’t have to face it cold turkey.