Today is November 8th. Election Day. When it comes to politics, passions run deep and divisions become canyons. They’ve switched to mail-in ballots here in Washington and I think that’s a mistake. I used to look forward to walking to the local polling place with my neighbors to perform my civic duty. Yes, it is a civic duty – like paying taxes – and you get what you vote for. This presidential election has been the ugliest campaign in memory, and I’m looking forward to it being over. I’m also tense and nervous and I can’t relax about the potential outcome and its aftermath. I’m getting my post-apocalyptic soundtrack ready, just in case.
This election reminds me of when I was eleven-years-old and I used to attend pro-wrestling matches at Jack Witschi’s Sports Arena. In between bouts, the young fans would hang out by the wrestlers’ locker rooms, hoping to get an autograph. There were two locker room doors: one for the good guys and one for the bad guys. One time, while standing to the side of the door awaiting my turn, I glanced into the locker room and noticed a bad guy or two walking around! It was one big locker room! There were no good guys or bad guys. Just beefy actors, making a buck on a Saturday night, slapping another beefy actor around. It was all in good fun, and kind of cathartic, too. That’s how I feel about the republicans and democrats. They all share the same locker room and have drinks together after the show, the show in this case being the running of the United States of America. I think they’re the only ones having fun though and the drinks are on us.
The only significant memory about presidential elections that I can recall from my youth is watching the election returns of the 1972 presidential election. Richard Nixon was defeating George McGovern by a landslide and my father was very happy about this fact. It was my bedtime, but I was allowed to watch some of the early results and even though my dad was happy, he was still in some discomfort. That evening he was suffering from a painful boil on his ass. My mother was using her skills as a nurse’s aide to lance and clean out the abscess, while he lay on his stomach. Now when I think of Richard Nixon, I think of the boil on my father’s ass.
It was only a year later though, when our family was privileged to witness a moment in history. We were visiting Washington, D.C. in the summer of 1973 and I happened to recognize Fred Thompson, the Minority Counsel, in a pizza parlor. He put my entire family on his guest and we sat in for the morning session of the Watergate hearings, watching the beginning of the end of the Nixon presidency. Karma can be a real pain in the ass.
[I promise to tell the Watergate story in its entirety in another blog post.]