Well boys and girls, Tuesday is Election Day in America or ‘Murica, depending on for whom one is voting. This year, it seems we’ve had more of a voting season, what with early and mail-in balloting. Lord, I’ve been voting since God was a boy, but I’ve never been quite this beat up about it.
First, we’ve been admonished to make a plan for voting. Well, here in Texas, I had no choice but to vote in-person because the powers that be determined that a pandemic was no reason to relax the rules on who can vote by mail. So I picked the first day during early voting when I already had a reason to leave the house. Plan done.
I knew that wouldn’t stop the onslaught that would come. “Did you make a plan? Have you voted yet? Don’t wait until the last minute. Vote now. Vote. Vote. Vote.” Via text, email, and social media. And I get it. The faithful have to be harangued so that the less than reliably faithful can be admonished. It’s like a Southern Baptist revival (which I’ve worked a few of in my time) where the believers are preached past to get to the heathens.
My original plan for this last column before the election was to provide a politically oriented drinking game to play while watching the election returns. I figured if I got the rules right, the losing side would be sufficiently loaded by the time the race would be called that the blow would hardly be felt.
I’d been toying with this idea for a couple of weeks or more, thinking Trumpites would take a shot of their chosen poison whenever a “lean Republican” or “toss up” state was called for Biden. Similarly, the Bidenettes would do the same when a “lean Democratic” or “toss up” went to Trump.
The Cook Political Report provides seven categories and matches up closely to the other reputable analysis available. But the five states in the “lean Republican” category started moving to “toss up,” and I started to worry that the drinking game might result in a whole bunch of drunk Trumpites and stone-cold-sober Bidenettes. When Cook moved Texas to “toss up,” I knew the game idea wouldn’t work and began to check the Weather Channel to see if Jim Cantore was covering a blizzard in Hell.
Besides, we’re eight months into the pandemic, nearly four years into the Trump administration, and moving toward five centuries of racial inequality. Whatever one is using to get through this is already coming from the doctor, the guy who owns the liquor store, Uber eats, or that special friend in Colorado involved in a particular export business.
There is a new message that seems designed to prepare Americans/’Muricans for the possibility we might not know who has won the presidency next Tuesday night, and it’s going out across the board from MSNBC to Fox. (For those who never watch it, Fox operates with a kind of sundown syndrome, with the more agitated commentary provided at night.) That’s a possibility, but not an inevitability.
Control of the Senate is up for grabs, too, and that part of the equation gets much less play. When it comes to media narrative, it lacks “sizzle” compared to the race for the White House. But how the Federal government functions starting next January isn’t just about Biden or Trump. If Mitch McConnell has done nothing else, he has shown us how powerful being Senate majority leader can be.
The Countess of Grantham once warned O’Brien, her recalcitrant lady’s maid, that she was “sailing perilously close to the wind,” and I had no idea what she meant. Karl, sailor that he is, explained that steering directly into the wind causes the sails to luff or flap, resulting in the loss of forward propulsion. So it is sometimes necessary to tack the boat to move toward one’s destination.
If the wind is steady, a series of tacking moves must be made by the boat to sort of zig-zag in the right direction. So the skilled sailor zigs then zags then zigs again. That may be necessary to get where one is going. The point is not to worry about the zag when one is zigging but to get to the destination.
So it’s voting and voting and voting. Then counting and counting and counting, perhaps followed by waiting and waiting and waiting. Because, by golly, this is America. And as Winston Churchill probably did NOT say, “You can count on Americans doing the right thing, after exhausting all the other possibilities.”