Friday, November 03, 2006

too much of too much

*****

Last night turned frustrating quickly – and this time, it was after Duckie went to bed.

I caught the last twenty of the Report, then we switched over to Glenn Beck, Brian’s new favorite. Presented along with a lot of other annoying bullshit (at least he didn’t ask me to watch the Tony Snow mutual masturbation segment a second time) was a terrifying yet unsurprising segment about the inherent errors of electronic voting machines and the software used to both record and count the votes. The gentleman on the show, Warren Stewart from VoteTrust USA, was pretty clear about the typical failures – about 10%.

Ten percent.

Ten fucking percent.

Some of these races are pretty close – certaintly within a ten-point spread. Something goes bonky in an election, blame it on the voting machines, software errors. And then what happens?

What’s really mindbending is that it works both ways. If Republicans win in states where Democrats were leading by wide margins in the polls, Democrats can holler about the voting machines and election fraud. And if Democrats take the legislature (House and Senate both, what a thought!) then Republicans can throw around the same damned accusations. What a ridiculous mess. Our country completely screwed, no matter what happens.

The essential trust of living in a democracy (however flawed that system and its philosophical underpinnings are) is that you have a say in who governs you. Once that trust is betrayed – not just once, but twice, and now potentially three times over the course of six years – then we’re not living in a democracy. Maybe we haven’t been for a while, and we’re just now starting to notice; I dunno.

We’ve always taken pride in our democracy, right? Even if there are serious issues with our government, even if our leaders are blockheads or liars or criminals, we believe in the possibility of change and we are proud of the votes we can cast. To my mind, those votes seem to justify a lot of hubris on our part, and a rather overinflated opinion of ourselves. We’re a free country, we say. But what does that even mean anymore, I wonder?

I voted last night. I watched the paper audit receipt roll on up as I cast my votes, and I couldn’t help but wonder what the point is of all that paper, if paper can be lost or otherwise destroyed.

(I should note here that I am a trained quality systems auditor and I know my way around a database. If it comes down to it, I can at least investigate whether or not my own vote is counted. There appear to be some local misgivings as to the counting of early votes.)

I came home and gritted my teeth through an hour of TV political commentary while I was folding clothes. I choked down my sadness for a little while and tried to explain it to Brian – ineffectively. I tried to work through the conflicting opinions (and “facts”) we have on our country’s status going into these elections, on media bias, on the economy, on lies, damned lies, and statistics. But I’m scared to look stupid in front of him. (Ridiculous, I know, because he’s the one who witnessed me hiding the remote in my underwear drawer and forgetting where it was.) I’m scared to appear ignorant or, worse, naïve.

He and I have major differences of opinion – and, as I’ve discovered recently, major life changes such as, oh I dunno, parenthood, can …

Oh, screw it. I give up. I just don’t have it in me to be coherent about this today.

*****

I practiced yesterday afternoon, and discovered that I had a bit more flexibility in the groin than I thought I did. I’d never seen my foot from quite that angle before. Practiced again this morning. My ass hurts. I’m wading around in the shallow end of PMS – definitely time to up the meds for a couple of days. I have work to do and deadlines to meet. I want to gag my co-worker for the next six hours. I want chocolate.

Here's wishing you sanity and stability. See you next week.

*****

2 comments:

James said...

I think our Democracy has ceased to existed years ago now.

I'm terrified over this election.

Yogamum said...

I hear ya. It is scary, absolutely. I don't have any coherence on this, either...just a shaking in my boots kind of fear.