Why it feels good to fail at voting

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Delegates stand at the Republican National Convention in Florida, the US, on August 30, 2012

WARNING: You must understand the Electoral College before reading the rest of this article.

So please close your eyes and imagine that each American state maintains a squad of confederate soldier zombies that were created to preserve the power of slave states. During every election, these states set their zombies loose in polling places to feast on the brains of the electorate and vomit them into one box or another. (Note: while every vote is counted, for the most part, only the vomited brains matter). Obama knew he had California and New York's zombies in his corner. But he needed Florida's. And my brain was registered there.

Right now, my favorite New York Times reporter, Thomas Fuller, is prancing around Yangon extolling the restorative power of elections.

It's refreshing to know that, since the re-election of Barack Obama, things have returned to business as usual in newspapers all around the world. 

Instead of polling the bejeezus out of every sad sack in Scranton, America's reporters have gotten back to filing screeds about bipartisanship and non-stories about the Chinese Party Congress.

Few have covered how bad we all feel inside about the election.

How does it feel?

For most people, the election felt like a big dumb party they were only half-invited to"”the most tedious and relentless US$8 billion tug-of-war that money can buy being played out in some state we've never been to.

We can watch, but that's about it. (Remember, the zombies ate our brains already.)

In New York (where I went to college and later lived) mobs of normal people took to the streets to set off fireworks and cry when Obama was elected in 2008. We still tear up, sometimes, when he talks about things like hope.

In California (where I grew up and still hold my driver's license) most people would vote for President Obama even if they found out that he had dispatched Secret Service agents to secretly spit in their sandwiches.


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They would vote for Obama even after he handed the most reckless people on Wall Street truckloads of free money. They would vote for him after he kept American troops in Afghanistan to teach war to students who routinely shoot them in the middle of class. They would vote for him after reading about the list of people he's blown up"”a list that includes teenage boys and scores of unnamed women and children. They would vote for him if he continued to spend millions imprisoning people for using the same drugs they all smoke and love.

And I would too.

And not just because zombies ate my brain.

But, because the only alternative to the handsome man who frequently acts against our interests was a rubber-faced Ronald Reagan scarecrow stuffed with casino cash"”a creepy game show host who spent the weeks before the election wandering around Jerusalem holding his hat out for blood money and promising more across-the-board toughness.

There was a candidate on the ballot proposing a human response to all of these issues, a response that fell much more in line with what we all believed to be right and true. But no one would ever vote for her.

Remember: zombies ate our brains.

Florida, a nightmare

In the weeks leading up to the elections, I remembered an important fact.

I spent two years working as a reporter in Florida and my brain was still registered there.

Florida became famous for incompetence during the 2000 presidential election, when its zombies vomited rather sloppily, all over the place. The mess was so severe that it took the oldest and most accomplished lawyers in the country to declare the worst person ever the winner.

The worst zombies in the lot were kept in Miami-Dade County, where I had lived and worked.

So I spent two weeks calling and emailing the county Absentee Ballot Unit begging for an electronic ballot. The list of bungles and delays are too boring and depressing to recount here.

Needless to say, when they finally emailed a ballot at 4 p.m. on Election Day, I had to spend hours sifting through twelve pages of indecipherable horse manure, including 11 proposed amendments to the state constitution that were designed to, among other things, cut taxes and prevent poor women from getting abortions.

When everything had been completed and I attempted to fax in my vote I got nothing but a busy signal all night long.


I continued to send the Miami-Dade Election office furious emails long after Mitt Romney's handlers gave him permission to stop smiling.

But I never got to vote.

The holdup created by the nonsensical and lengthy ballot had created long lines of voters wrapped around polling stations all over the state and leaving the zombies all standing around with their hands in their pockets.

The governor (the person principally responsible for these idiocies) promised to get to the bottom of things.

It took Florida four days to actually weigh all that zombie vomit and confirm what everyone already knew"”that Barack Obama was the winner whether I voted or not.

The last thing I received from the Miami-Dade Absentee Ballot Unit was a form letter inviting me to fill out another ballot request form.

My paper ballot (the one I never asked for) arrived six days after the election. It continues to gather dust and calculations on my nightstand.

Maybe, one day, it will be worth something.

Until then, I think I like not voting.

God knows what kind of terrible things President Romney would have said if given the chance. But who cares?

After bombing civilian apartment buildings, police stations and personal vehicles in Gaza this week (leaving civilians and journalists dead and injured) Israel received the diplomatic equivalent of a high-five from President Obama's official press weasel.

After Israel cranked up its murder machine and flattened an apartment containing four children and five women, the President himself stepped up to the plate: "We are fully supportive of Israel's right to defend itself," he said.

Don't blame me. I didn't vote for him.


By Calvin Godfrey, Thanh Nien News
(The story can be found in the November 23th issue of our print edition, Vietweek)

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