Monday, November 3, 2008

Back Off My Vote

Honestly, I'm a little sad that I voted early. If I were going to the polls tomorrow, I would be just ITCHING to take a swing at the first overzealous votary, fascist thug or state Attorney General who tried to step into my way.

Four years ago was the first time I ever got to vote in a Presidential election. As we all know, that didn't turn out so well, but at the time I cast my vote, it was honestly the most excited I had ever been about anything political.

One of my favorite sayings is that, "If you're not pissed off, you're not paying attention." In November of 2004, I was paying attention and I was very, very pissed off. I was not pleased to be mired in a fledgling quagmire we had been told was a "Mission Accomplished," I was alarmed with rising corporate irresponsibility and I was deeply concerned about the declining state of the middle class.

Four years later, not much has changed -- certainly not our President. The heinous brew that was the state of our nation in 2004 has sat for four years, and it has stewed, it's fermented and ripened like a neglected trash can.

When I cast my vote in 2004, I did it with the giddy little thrill of a middle schooler flipping the bird at his least favorite science teacher. But when I turned over my absentee ballot this year, I was solemnly satisfied and calmly defiant. I won't say I was quite confident, but I felt pretty darn good.

Suffice it to say, had anyone tried to prevent me from doing the civic duty every American should take a maniacal pleasure in, violence would have ensued.

More than the reports of our esteemed Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen and his cronies hanging around polling places like the Hamburglar trying to steal people's votes, the fact that there are people who take their right to vote as seriously as I do makes me glad Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney is assigning some of his community deputies to stop in at polling places and make sure there is no undue interference being put before voters. I sincerely hope more sheriff's offices in the state are following Mahoney's lead, because the last thing we need after the past eight years is an election day marred by disenfranchisement and violence.

Mahoney told us at the radio station that the County Clerk, Bob Ohlsen, and a number of town and village clerks asked him to have deputies check in to make sure everything was going smoothly. He said, between the state Republican Party assigning intimidating poll watchers to stand guard and the Attorney General dispatching his goon squad to do the same, many clerks are worried help will be needed to chase away potential usurpers.

"We will not be precluding people's free speech," Mahoney told Sly, "but we will not allow people to disrupt the voting process and to stand in the way and intimidate those individuals who come out and exercise their right to vote."

Mahoney said he himself does not expect there to be any serious trouble in Dane County, but his deputies will be watching out for it if there is. Personally, I love the thought of dispatching the authorities to intimidate anyone who was thinking about trying to intimidate voters.

The mental image of J. B. Van Hollen getting dragged away from an inner city polling place in cuffs is just as sweet.

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