Opinion » The Rant

The Rant



Not that I am really all that worked up about this, because I am just too old and tired now to get all that worked up about very much (I no longer even shudder when I see George Bush dancing and chest-slamming people in other parts of the world who already think — and justifiably, I might add — that we are a clan of global misfits), but I think if I hear the words "delegate" or "super delegate" one more time I am going to turn into a porcupine, take some acid, lift myself into the sky, and propel myself downward like a weapon of mass destruction — that really exists — and land in the most crowded mall parking lot I can find. And I hope I experience unnaturally spasmodic spinning spells while it is happening. Well, maybe I am a little worked up. And I do still shudder every time I see George Bush's face in print, on television, on the Internet, or in my own personal nightmares. I try not to let him rile me up as much, now that he's going bye-bye, but it's hard.

Still, I have to ask: Is it just me, or does anyone else find it odd that the voting system here is still based on the premise of the right for people to "own" African men, women, and children who were brought here to this magnificent New World to be shackled, whipped, beaten, humiliated, raped, bought, and sold as slaves? That would be the Electoral College, which is going to decide which candidate becomes the next president of the United States. No, your vote in the popular (depending on your definition of that word) election is worth about as much as mine: marginal. Oh, believe me, I know it's a bit more complicated. I know the "small states" have a stake in keeping the system the way it is, so the candidates will pay attention to them, as well as the states the candidates know up-front they can't possibly lose or win, even though you can access their every move, thought, word, and haircut via our constant information overload. But what the hell happened to this idea that every vote counts and, as the adage goes, "If you don't vote, then you have no right to complain about who gets elected?" I don't even know who the "delegates" are who are representing me in the upcoming presidential election. I've Googled it until I cannot Google anymore and can't find one single name. Who are these people who are going to "vote for the candidate I voted for" and where did they come from? I sure hope I don't know any of them personally if they are reading this. That would be awkward at a cocktail party, should I ever attend another one. I hope none of them is from, God forbid, East Tennessee. By the way, I really can't stand East Tennessee, even though I have friends and relatives who live there. Sure, it has those beautiful mountains and rivers and gorgeous trees in the fall, but the last time I was there I stopped at a little restaurant (okay, Shoney's) for coffee, and the waitress asked, "Are you-uns ready to order yet?" I kid you not. I was incredulous. But that was back when I was a lot younger and was easily worked up. I would find that kind of charming now. But I wouldn't want someone who says "you-uns" representing me and my vote at the Democratic convention this summer. The Electoral College system, as many of you know, started out to help the slave-owning Southern states have more representation in the presidential election, because so many of their citizens were slaves and were not allowed to vote. We almost got rid of it in 1969, when Congress overwhelmingly and bipartisanly voted to do away with it. But it got stymied by Strom Thurmond and some of his segregationist pals. Despite the fact that Americans like to think of themselves as citizens of the most progressive country in the world, we still employ this system of voting, which was a direct result of our Founding Fathers' constitutional compromise to count a slave as "three-fifths" of a human being to represent the states where they were held captive. I'm so glad we are not liberal like the French.

It renders me politically listless to know that someone who owns a "Taters 'N Stuff" bin could actually be representing me as an Electoral College delegate. It's difficult enough in this world to JUST GET BY (and I put that in all caps because I mean it). But having to vote in an election in which my vote is subject to the whims of some unknown person who might be a total freak of nature is something I find hard to abide. Someone please tell me that I am wrong and that my vote really does count. I'm afraid I'm going to get worked up.

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