Thursday, October 30, 2008

Vote, dammit......

We are all getting crazy amounts of emails as the campaign grinds down to the last few days and hours.

Whack job racist emails about Obama (thank you, Newspaperwoman.......), kind and concerned emails from both sides, internet rumors, a zillion pleas for money.....the whole ball of wax. Or whacks.

I am more and more disturbed by my former party's descent into deceitful demagoguery, spiraling down to encourage the worst, most vicious facets of our national character.

That is why it was really disturbing to get an email about Obama voter fraud from one of the Kind Christian Cult.

The Kind Christians (I have identified about a dozen) seem to exude actual Christian values: concern for others, tolerance, lack of judgemental ideology......and that whole kindness thing. Do unto others, etc.

We Catholics have a few ourselves: the nuns at the Monastery by Point Lobos, and the monks at the Camaldoli Hermitage. Bruna Odello. The Bereavement Ladies at the Carmel Mission.

All these folks share what I call the "Goosebump Power": when they say "God Bless You", you have a more than passing feeling that there really is a God......and you just got blessed.

Anyway.....there is no such thing as voter fraud anymore. For instance: my middle son got a great job in Seoul, Korea (as opposed to Seoul, Indiana?) and couldn't figure out the absentee ballot thing in 2006. He called up his brother and asked if he could vote for him at our local precinct.

These guys look enough alike that they have used each other's passports.....and we won't talk about the whole "older brother driver's license to get in the bars three years early deal." (A favorite moment of mine was when my UC Santa Cruz son was in the 41st Avenue Safeway buying beer. In the line with him was the son of my college roomate from Cornell....a kid who had worked for us a bunch of times. Both boys were using their older brother's driver's licenses. Another day at college).

Anyway, the boys figured it would be OK for one to cast the other one's proxy, sort of.

Yeah, well.....guess who the poll worker was?


Out here in the country, we not only all know each other and talk shit about each other....but we bring the poll workers cookies, and ceviche and smoked salmon. I can just see me walking in pretending to be my dead friend Robert. Right.

There is registration fraud, though. A different critter.

Here is my letter to my Kind Christian friend, Sally in response to her email.


There is a difference between voting fraud.....and voting registration fraud.

Six years ago I did a registration program to try to register everyone in Cachagua to vote. The Store was the polling place and we tried to get everyone to participate. We did semi-legal stuff like give away free beers to voters......Coors to Republicans, Newcastle to Democrats. It was free, so it was kind of legal.

I paid some locals to distribute and collect registration forms......I paid by the form.

My purpose was not to start the next Socialist Atheist Abortion Front of was mostly to encourage the nearly dead feeling of our little valley as a community again. Yipes! There is that word! Commune! Aaack. Sorry.

The other reason was simply that the higer the number of registered voters in a given precinct the more attention you get from the local pols. I didn't care if people registered as Democrats, Republicans or KKK members. I just wanted everyone to register......and vote in whatever whacky way they wanted. Then, when I call up Dave Potter to fix the damn road....he would have to pay attention. Or when I call Abel Maldonado to cut us some slack on the private winery thing....he would pay attention. Or when I call Sam Farr to help us out with the water or the ESL classes or steelhead poachers or Cachagua Fire.......he would have to pay attention.

We got all kinds of weird shit back on the forms: many famous Goth musicians registered to vote in Cachagua. Adolf Hitler registered. Timothy Leary registered.

An ex-hitman for the Irish mob registered as a member of the Penis and Freedom Party.

This is what I get for paying crack-heads to register folks. They were very busy!

Even though I knew it was bullshit.....I still had to send in the forms. The voter registration form is the third most sacred and important piece of paper in our democracy, after citizenship and the actual ballot itself. I highlighted the ones I thought were bullshit....but I could not shitcan them.

If I censored the forms, I would not only be breaking the law.....I would be open to people saying that I was trying to influence the electorate by tossing opposing view points. Like Democrats tossing Republican registrations....or vice versa. Even though I knew they were nuts, wrong, and potentially illegal.

I am fairly sure that Adolf Hitler, Tim Leary and Kurt Cobain did not attempt to vote in Cachagua......but I paid two bucks for their registrations anyway.

Get it?


Chef Michael

Here is the North Carolina version of my problem.....written by a Daily Show writer.


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