I feel a little nervous about what I’m going to admit, but this little ounce of shame has given me a little perspective and empathy for a people I spent most of my life looking down upon. Yesterday, I voted in the California primary as a registered Republican.
Walking into my Hollywood polling place I felt like I had been harmfully exposed as some sort of enemy of the state each time the poll workers loudly announced to each other a Republican had arrived to vote, and the Republican needed a Republican ballot, as well as a Republican voting booth. After I was finished making my selections I had trouble inserting my ballot into the counting machine. When I finally got it, one poll worker told me that the sound the machine was making was my ballot being shredded. Maybe he makes that joke for everyone, but paranoia and shame both swirled around my head, feelings I assumed would be absent from voting. That being said, the poll workers were very courteous and helpful… all 15 of them… being paid by taxpayer dollars… to manage a near empty polling place.. and they probably had a paid day of training too… (oh boy, maybe labels do influence opinions).
Why did I register as a Republican? I wanted to vote for one of the primary candidates because I liked what he had bring to the discussion about our wars and the country’s drug policy. OK, I’ll stop beating around the bush, I registered as a Republican so I could vote for Ron Paul.
Already I feel like apologizing, but let me just say A) what am I really worried about? No one reads this blog and B) I have no love for either party. But now I kind of think of it this way, this November when I vote for some unknown oddball pro-peace, pro-environment, anti-consumerism third party kook the Republicans will be whining about my costing them 1 vote as opposed to the Democrats.
However, I think this shame I feel just because I have given myself a certain (if incorrect) political label is a sad state of affairs. In a democracy, problems should be solved by an open discussion of ideas instead of arguments that start off with a “What the Hell is wrong with you?” What do we assume of each other when we’ve boiled down a whole country of ideas into two political teams?
Note 1: Mentioning Alex P. Keaton reminds me of this 2008 article by one of the creators of Family Ties, What Would Alex Keaton Do? which ends with this gem:
For what it’s worth Michael J. Fox and I have differing opinions about just where Alex Keaton is today. I believe he does pro bono legal work for the Children’s Defense Fund.
Mike thinks he’s just now getting out of prison.
Note 2: I voted to raise CA cigarrette taxes just to balance everything out.
The above link is the material from my first stand up set a while ago (note the NYC Republican Convention jokes). It was performed at the Royal Wood Comedy Night in Williamsburg. The next day I then recreated my set in my apartment for posterity.