Tuesday, November 02, 2004


Today, November 2, 2004, may well be one of most important days in our history. Today Americans choose which direction their country will go, whether the liberal philosophy will win over conservative values, whether an "unelected" president will finally secure his seat in the White House, whether our country will value the opinions of other countries or express our pride in "going it alone!!

We have a choice between the aggressive and persuasive George Bush and the introspective and intellectual John Kerry. Most of us will spend our leisure hours before the television sets, listening to the exit polls, lost in the verbal descriptions given us by the Talking Heads, who fill up the minutes and hours with short chats between this expert and that expert, feature the Election Day activities of the candidates, and give way, with a sense of relief, to commercials.

The campaigns have been hectic, fevered, intense and ugly! I have lived many years and I have never heard such ugliness. Our political campaigns have descended to kindergarten level, with fingerpointing...."He did it! "...."I did not"...."Yes, he did!" "No, I didn't! He did!"...and nasty ads put on by groups like the Swift Boat Sillies and Move On. It has been stated in the ads that ONLY George Bush can protect us all from terrorism. It has been stated that John Kerry can and will protect this country from terrorism better than Bush.

The truth is, you or I could probably do a better job than either of them. How much sense does it take to know that ports should be guarded and cargo inspected? How many brains does it take to know our borders should be closed and patrolled? How sensible must you be to know that the cargo holds of airplanes just might contain bombs?

Besides terrorism, this campaign has featured a lot of nonsense about which candidate is "strong". Now, I suppose strength is an important issue...and I presume we are talking about strength of purpose here rather than the ability to break a board in half with your bare fist...but if strength is combined with other qualities, it may not be so great after all.

As Bill Maher has said, "Strong but Wrong". My mother used to call it "bull-headedness" and she accused me of having an oversupply of this quality. To be wrong about something and refuse to see it or understand it is not a good quality at all. It's reminiscent of a toddler refusing to give up a firm grip on a pair of sharp scissors!

My grandson, Shannon Snider, believes that Election Day should be a National Holiday. He feels that all activity should come to a halt, so people can find the time and opportunity to vote. After all, we have a nation that celebrates such events as Labor Day, Memorial Day and Columbus Day. One would think Election Day would be far more important!

Besides, the kids would love it. Another day with schools closed would be a day to celebrate Freedom for All!

If you stumble over something on this Election Day, chances are it may be a lawyer. Both parties, Republican and Democrat, had sent fleets of lawyers to trouble spots and I understand that citizens in any area, anywhere in the country, can summon the presence of legal teams within a twenty-four hour period.

With all this going on, we may discover the name of our next President a year from now. And who runs the country in the interim is more than I know. I did read that we may have an interim team of Bush-Edwards, although the methods used in deciding this combination may have been faulty.

The trouble is, Thomas Jefferson and his cohorts, back when they were framing the Constitution, had never imagined such nonsense as has been going on in our most recent elections. Talk about a "Hanging Chad" to Jefferson and he probably would have thought someone had been lynched. And he certainly would not have known about "provisional ballots".

I understand the results of this election depend upon the political actions of a certain few "battleground" states. One of them is Florida. Another is Ohio. I hate to have those Ohioans shoulder any more responsibility, what with all the Roadwork they have to contend with yearly on I-75. Just keeping that constant stream of traffic flowing is responsibility enough! And a great deal of that traffic is Michiganders heading for Florida. They are in a hurry, too. Not only to escape the snow, but to get past those boring flatlands between Toledo and Cincinnati.

But, aside from the hysteria, aside from the historic moment in the history books of tomorrow, this Election Day has an even greater meaning. As we flock to the polls, across the ocean, far from home, thousands of young American men and women are facing a life or death situation. It is up to us to decide what is best for them. It is up to us to remember our choice may add to their chances of staying alive.