Copyright © 2003 Henrietta W. Hay
November 7, 2003
The by-annual cataclysm is over for this year. I deposited my ballot
in the mail box in the fond hope that the results would match my vote.
Well, you can dream, can't you?
This one has been more exciting than most off year elections, with water
and taxes and gambling and a new library on the ballot, to say nothing
of six men running for two spots on the school board. As I write this,
I am going to have to wait several more days before I know the results
and it is getting pretty tense.
I have lived through a lot of post-election Wednesday mornings. When I
was a kid we had to wait until the results came along in the Rocky
Mountain News Wednesday morning and the Post in the afternoon.
Then in 1924 KOA came on the air and we could get a few results on the
crystal set Dad and I built out of an oatmeal carton and copper wire.
Somewhere along the way we bought our first radio and then we could get
results faster. Our house was either a happy, wonderful place to be, or
a place for a kid to get out of as soon as possible. My mother was a
political junkie. She was quite certain that "In the beginning there
was the Republican Party."
I outgrew my upbringing, but never had the nerve to tell her. After all
she was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia
and voted for Wendell Willkie. I'll never know whether I became a
political junkie through heredity or environment.
It seems to me that the arguments are more bitter this year than in the
past. Actually, though, every election has its battles or they
wouldn't be any fun.
We had a Depression, but as I remember it, people were more scared than
mad at each other. We had a president resign and a couple get
impeached and we survived without bloodshed -- much. We had some pretty
wild activity during the Vietnam war, but there were more flowers than
stones. Of course we had the beginning of the new feminist movement,
but only the women got excited about that.
One difference, of course, is the media. In my younger days we really
didn't know everything that was going on across the country. In recent
years we have instant access to news.
Another addition to the overall confusion is talk radio which has opened
the microphones to every crackpot in America. I hope Rush is enjoying
his rest in de-tox.
The 2004 campaign has already started and, as usual, we seem to be in
deep disagreement over just about everything. Some political pundit
commented that we don't know yet what the social issue of the
presidential campaign will be -- abortion, same sex marriage, right to
die, or something else that will emerge before November, 2004.
Personally I hope the issues are the war and the economy and that we
can leave religion out of it.
This year we have debates among the nine Democratic candidates.
Lincoln and Douglas would have been horrified at the scripted
performances, but they might have enjoyed the air conditioning. Their
seven debates took place in the boiling Illinois summer sun, pitting the
short, powerful "Little Giant" Douglas against the 6 foot 4 inch "Honest
Abe" Lincoln. Both were skilled politicians, brilliant orators and
experienced dissemblers. They went head to head in front of a handful
of people who couldn't even vote. Now those were debates. One does
wonder about the progress television has brought.
Maybe elections over the years haven't changed as much as I thought.
The country goes on as it has for 200 years. Elections are like street
cars. There's always another one coming.
But this year I think F. Lee Bailey is right. "Can any of you
seriously say the Bill of Rights could get through Congress today? It
wouldn’t even get our of committee."