November 3rd, 2008

The exercise of the franchise

Two months ago, in a cool dark place away from light, I wrote that I intended to cast my vote for John McCain and Sarah Palin in the upcoming Presidential election. Well, my ballot is in, but my mark went into the box for Bob Barr and Wayne Allen Root. It was quite an abrupt last minute change of heart.

Upon arriving home from nearly four weeks out to sea and a day of duty, priority number one was to take care of business at what's effectively my polling place - the New London, Connecticut post office. Before I left, I flipped on CNN, and Barr, the Libertarian candidate, was live in studio doing an interview. He parroted the normal Libertarian position, but his response to the last question caused me to take note. When asked what he'd do after the election, he said he'd go back to practicing law, writing, and staying active in politics. He went on to say that even if he didn't win, maximizing the number of votes was vitally important, because it would inject the libertarian viewpoint into the public debate. Barr followed up this point with historical evidence - sixteen years ago, Ross Perot's showing at the polls helped pave the way for the Republican Revolution two years later, even though Perot didn't carry a single state. I remembered that my mom was one of the many who voted for Perot in '92.

CNN then joined live coverage of a Sarah Palin rally in Ohio. I had it on mute most of the time, but the quotes shown across the bottom of the screen were telling. Palin was speaking about the traditional Republican ideals of government being in the way, and that we'd see more of that under an Obama administration. I shook my head and muttered, "she just doesn't get it." While she and Senator McCain might be genuinely interested in slashing and burning the Federal establishment, being for small government isn't the same as being for Constitutional government. The size of the government does need to be drastically reduced, but Republicans are just as interested in using Washington for their own ends as the Democrats. Neither side wants to return to the Constitutional limitations on Federal power envisioned by our Founding Founders.

I wasn't comfortable with either ticket, and as the days have ticked down to Election Day, I've gotten more and more uneasier with supporting the Republicans. New York is an unquestionably blue state, so my vote wouldn't be likely to affect the outcome. I was considering not voting for President at all, until I watched that half hour of television this morning. So it was that I arrived at the post office, pleased to discover that I'd been sent not one, but two absentee ballots. (One was dispatched directly to Connecticut; the other came by way of New Hampshire. Big props to the Suffolk County Board of Elections.) And I voted for Barr and Root, and for Republicans the rest of the way. As an aside, that put me flipping the U. S. House seat, and returning incumbents to both the State Senate and Assembly. I feel confident that I haven't wasted my vote, and am happy that I had the chance to cast it.
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Some might not have heard, so spread the word...

...twelve fluid ounces has returned, live and large, yo!

The ORSE concluded with an unusual Sunday mooring in the Armpit of New England. (More to follow on the exam itself, in another post.) I had duty yesterday, so it wasn't until this morning until I could reunite with all the familiar things. The Blue Trooper's engine rumbling. The New Nexus of Hate. Decent food. The Elixir of Joy. Television and the Internet...and a presidential campaign nearing its death knell. One unique aspect of this return to port was voting by absentee ballot. And having been away for so long, there was a surplus of American dollars in my bank account. Thus a low-grade shopping spree ensued. (Don't worry, I also moved money into savings, which are nearing $31,000.) The big splurge was for a 750 gigabyte hard drive. I bought this to support a newly established goal: obtaining Star Trek. All of it. And it can back up a lot of other stuff too.

Two other morale enhancements were purchased this afternoon. One was an admission to the Webster Theater in Hartford this Wednesday night. That's right, Sara B is a go! It likely involves a direct departure from work, but I'm mad stoked for it. I'm presently enjoying a preview of what I'll see two nights hence. Sara's new DVD, Between the Lines: Sara Bareilles Live at the Fillmore was released last week. I looked at Best Buy and Wal-Mart, to no avail. After that, I moved into "obtain at all costs" mode; I was prepared to cover the length and breadth of the Armpit to find a copy. I needed travel no further than the FYE in the Crystal Mall, and so wonderful sights and sounds fill my living room. Even though we know Sara does it for love, let there be no mistake: I do it for the lulz.

One thing I wasn't expecting at all was to see this on the way back to the Blue Trooper:

I knew crude oil and gasoline prices dropped, but the sheer magnitude was a bit shocking.

The countdown is under two hundred, and the path from here is a lot more primrose that it was even four days ago. It is all smiles, and the pleasure is all on this side of the table.