Hooray!

November 6, 2008

I watched CNN, PBS, Current TV, BET, Fox News, and The Daily Show. I tracked Facebook statuses and Twitter updates. I piled my friends into the car and drove around Central and Harvard Squares, honking my horn and cheering out the pent-up frustration of the past eight years.

And then, I checked this Web site one more time, and teared up a little with the hope, dignity, and sheer elegance of it all.

BarackAsPresident

Why are the early voting lines so long… and why did NPR’s Carrie Kahn just report about them like they’re a big block party? We’re talking three to five hours long, when more than a half hour should be considered undemocratic.

A long voting line is not an act of nature. It is not inevitable. Nor can it be attributed to surprisingly high voter turnout — after the past eight years, there’s no surprise. Besides, election officials should have methods for handling “surprises” within their jurisdictions. Even with early voting.

“This has the potential to disenfranchise a heck of a lot more people than, dare I say it, hacked electronic voting machines,” said Tova Wang, vice president for research at Common Cause, which has been monitoring potential balloting problems ahead of this week’s vote. (LA Times, 11/2/08)

I want to know how and why long voting lines happen. If we don’t ask, and we don’t know, then we can’t press for change. We’re down to the wire now. If it’s true that the presidential race looks different when pollsters ‘narrow the pool of responses from registered voters to likely voters,’ then there should be no block-party reporting where voting isn’t smooth.

John and I just returned from a month of U.S. travel (travel-logs are forthcoming). Our mutually agreed news blackout was quickly obliterated by Hurricane Ike, and we were then free to marvel at the nomination of $7 Sunday NYT on TuesdaySarah Palin and the painful circus of financial collapse and executive bailout.  Our primary sources were motel CNN, John’s BlackBerry, and the very occasional New York Times. And boy was I hungry after a week in Montana where the only New York Times we could find was in downtown Missoula. The Sunday issue. For seven dollars. On Tuesday.

We’re home for a few days before heading off again. After weeks of being teased by television, BlackBerry-friendly newspaper sites, and email forwards, I’ve finally caught up on the internet video party. In this realm, it’s no contest between the financial scandals and Sarah Palin. Wall Street execs are smart enough to keep a low profile. So here’s what I’ve watched so far: 

At this point, I decided there was no need to watch Palin’s RNC speech, or even voyeuristically dig for videos of the child she’s leading into motherhood and (possible) marriage. The New York Times put it well in a Sept 13 editorial:

If [John McCain] seriously thought this first-term governor — with less than two years in office — was qualified to be president, if necessary, at such a dangerous time, it raises profound questions about his judgment. If the choice was, as we suspect, a tactical move, then it was shockingly irresponsible.

Nearly as shocking is that Palin accepted. Sarah Palin does not know just how much she does not know. That is beyond stupid, it’s dangerous. 

I am glad to have had only a couple of days for this bullshit. She’s wasting everyone’s time. Except that of McCain and his staff, who didn’t waste much time vetting her. Seasoned journalism operations and world leaders are having to treat this joker as though she is a real player. I have enjoyed learning about this nutter, but I should have been doing it in furtive scans of People magazine while in the doctor’s office.

However, don’t think for a minute I’ll be missing that VP debate… I’m searching for pubs in Kent with satellite dishes and Tivos as soon as I hit “Publish” on this post.