Domestic Franchise Abuse

Kage Baker, as I have often noted, was heavily in favour of voting.  The exercise of one’s franchise was a dearly bought privilege, as her studies of history taught her: she appreciated that. And we were in the first batch of under-21’s to be allowed to vote in California, which was a memorable honour.

Also, being strongly opinionated but dreadfully shy, Kage loved a way to express herself that did not involve arguing with other people. Also, a way that  could not be dismissed out of hand: her side might lose, but no one could automatically discount or ignore her vote. It had to be counted.

She kept close track of politics, feeling that as a corollary to voting, one ought to be informed as to what the hell was going on. Besides, doing the research herself let her check what she wanted, not be force fed by some partisan volunteer. Volunteers are frequently uninformed, unscrupulous and untruthful. Please try not to take offense if any of you are or have been political volunteers, Dear Readers. Heck, Kage and I both did it in our youth. But that was how we discovered that some people volunteer because they desperately want political power but are not even as electable as a popular cartoon …

They are the folks who have made life in Los Angeles a living hell the last month. Today we all go to the polls to elect a new mayor in a close-run and contentious campaign; raving, hair-burning, wild-eyed party flacks have been knocking on our doors, littering our lawns, monopolizing our telephone lines and buttonholing us in front of all the local grocery stores the entire freaking time …

It’s almost enough to make one withhold one’s vote, out of sheer pique. Not to mention the frustration of getting 4 calls from some candidate’s flunkies in an afternoon: obviously, they don’t have the manners or competence to keep track of who they have called. Then there are the knocks on the door, usually well after dark – you can hear them coming up the street by the sound of hysterical dogs howling. This morning being The Day, the first  door knocker arrived at … wait for it … 5:30 AM.

Guess what, Eric Garcetti? Had I been considering voting for you before, I sure wouldn’t be now.

The Corgi – who nearly went through the front window in his urgent desire to eat the dawn intruder – has since frightened off three more of them. They’ve been wandering up and down the street like zombies.

We’ve gotten calls today from all candidates for every office, Speaker of the House Willie Brown, and Bill Clinton.  They were all recordings, sadly, or I would have told them what I think of all of them by this point.  If I hear about Garcetti’s childhood memories of Carvel soft-serve one more time, I am gonna scream … anyway, Carvel: small potatoes, Valley boy. I remember Currey’s.

Nor do I care about anyone famous’s opinion for or against marijuana – famous people have no trouble getting marijuana if they need it, so their opinion counts for nothing. And if they are against medical marijuana, they can afford plenty of other medical care and their opinion counts for even less.

I have researched the issues. I have made out my sample ballot. I will indeed be voting. But I am sick of all this grand-standing and yammering. The only reason Kage still walked to the polls, really, was that she liked the stickers they handed out … as do I. I like keeping score. But this is ridiculous.

Next election, I am mailing in my ballot. I am putting up a NO TRESPASSING sign on the lawn. I’m hanging a chain, a gate and a row of barbed wire on the porch. I may wire the door knocker to give electric shocks. And I am recording a new message on the phone:

You have reached XXX-XXXX and no one wants to answer the phone. If you are calling for normal business, leave your name and a number. If you are calling for anything political – anything at all – hang up now. We will not talk to you. Now go away or we’ll subscribe your candidate to the nastiest magazines we can find.