This is my first Presidential election voting by mail. Previously, I always voted in person. I like the feel of democracy in action—your neighbors, whom you always regarded as extremely boring people, suddenly appear in front of the polls, jabbing pamphlets in your face excitedly, trying to convince you that electing their candidate for the Sewer, Drain and Other Big Rusty Pipes Authority is the most important political decision of your life. Then you solemnly sign the Big Book of Voters, after which you get to pull the curtain of the voting booth behind you and, for a moment, feel yourself enveloped by the power of representative government. Or merely claustrophobic.
It’s a somber, almost religious experience, but much more enjoyable than attending church because it doesn’t last nearly as long. That’s the problem with attending religious services, in this column’s opinion—they are exercises in pious tedium. If church consisted of just breezing into a booth and pulling either a “Sin” or “No Sin” lever, more people would go.
But that’s a digression, so let’s get to the point. I’m glad I voted by mail this year because between the state and the city and county of San Diego there were thirty-one separate propositions on the ballot, and sitting at the kitchen table sorting them out was a lot more comfortable than standing in a voting booth squinting at them for forever.
This is direct democracy, which some other states don’t have and for which they should be grateful, because it consists of barely informed people making important governmental decisions, which leaves our politicians free to make speeches, strike poses, and run for re-election instead of making these decisions themselves. When the propositions turn out badly, they are free to say, “Hey, you idiots voted for it, so deal with it. And send me a campaign contribution.”
A lot of the ballot measures were an invitation to instant ennui, but several stood out for their candor. We got to vote on whether we wanted to build a new stadium for our football team to disappoint us in. Our football team has been browned off ever since the city built a new stadium for our baseball team to lose in, while they still have to blow fourth quarter leads in a 70’s style concrete bowl.
I don’t even watch football anymore, because ignoring it is a big timesaver on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays and we don’t even have to pay for a cable package that includes ESPN, which during football season consists of nothing but husky men barking at each other about football. I voted for the stadium anyway, just because a lot of my friends are football fans and I want them to be happy.
Likewise, weed! Legal weed is coming here, according to the polls. If the pot proposition passes, we Californians won’t have to drive to Oregon or Colorado to light up our blunts legally. Of course, our legislature could have legalized bud on its own, but that would have meant taking responsibility for all of us being stoned out of our gourds, so that wasn’t happening.
I don’t smoke pot, either, because I don’t want to be hungry and paranoid all the time, but a lot of my friends do, and like my football-watching friends, I want them to be happy. And believe me, there is plenty of overlap between those groups. Even though I won’t start smoking it again, I intend to grow a few marijuana plants in my tiny condo yard, just to piss off the HOA, which I consider a moral obligation.
Condoms were on the ballot as well, as we Californians were given the opportunity to vote on whether our in-state porn performers should be required to wear condoms on the job. This struck me as putting the California porn industry at a serious disadvantage, as it would make dozens of the wetter porn categories impossible to film here. Plus, my partner informed me that she prefers her views of large erect penises to be unencumbered by latex, so I bowed to her wishes and voted no.
Oh, yeah, and I voted for Hillary. I suppose the Blessed Virgin could miraculously appear at Trump Tower and endorse The Donald, amid a wondrous display of angels and saints, in a blaze of Heavenly glory that would make the Olympic opening ceremonies look like a wet paper match struck in a root cellar, in which case I might regret having cast my ballot so early, but I’ll risk that.
Don’t think Mother Mary would take a chance on standing that close to him.