Yesterday was the day before Election Day. I told one of my friends, “Don’t lose any sleep over it.” It was one of those comments that I felt was unnecessary, even as I said it. After all, who really loses sleep over Election Day? It’s a big deal, yes, but it’s not Christmas Eve or anything. Well, last night I could not fall asleep. When sleep did come, it was a restless kind, filled with dreams about voting and democracy which would seem like a pleasant enough thing to dream about except it’s so unlike my normal dreaming patterns that it felt like I wasn’t asleep at all. I think I tossed and even turned. I woke up earlier than I normally do and listened to my AM radio with tired ears as Joy Cardin discussed voter anxiety with her guest, a clinical psychologist. Did I have voter anxiety? Am I more nervous about this election than I let myself, and others, believe?
Or maybe my sleeplessness had more to do with a recent addition to my diet: Coffee. For 26 years I went without drinking coffee, with exceptions here and there, of course. Like beer, it’s been an acquired taste, and like beer, I wonder if it’s really worth acquiring a taste for. But here I’ve gone and started the process. Anyway, big deal, that’s hardly news. But there is no news. There is nothing really significant going on in the news today, ho hum…
Just kidding. We’re going to get a new president!
On my way to my polling place this morning I was thinking about the two-party system that many are frustrated with. I can understand their frustrations, but I’m still pitching my tent in the camp that feels a 3rd party vote is ultimately a vote for “the-other-guy” (whoever the other guy may be in your political views). People with stronger convictions than myself will say, “I can’t vote for a candidate who doesn’t represent the full range of my beliefs.” But will such a candidate ever exist? The only way to really find that candidate is to run yourself for office. If we broke down the two-party system and had fair representation of every possible combination of beliefs there would be such a mess of candidates, and in the end we would still elect someone that only a select few agreed with completely. Is it really choosing the lesser-of-two-evils to settle on a candidate that represents a majority of the values of a majority of voters?
I thought of it this way, this morning: When you are invited to a wedding you usually have a choice between two dinner options. Although the restaurant probably has dozens of delicious entrees available, on the night of a wedding it would be complete chaos to feed every guest their individual preferences (especially when you get down to the finely detailed special orders… dressing on the side please, and hold the olives!) Sometimes, for the sake of the Wedding we must simplify things. So yeah, maybe I would have preferred the duck l’orange, but the chicken marsales was more widely palatable. So I chose the chicken marsales, because I don’t like salmon.
And if you really, really can’t stand the options, you can just go to the restaurant next door! In this case that would be Canada. Don’t you love analogies?