Friday, October 27, 2006

Another Bowl of Popcorn, Please

This is a very funny reality if you manage the sarcastic angle that is necessary for full savoring of the comings-and-goings of American elections. I was reading of the impossibility of fitting Jim Webb's whole name into an election machine when I came across this comment by someone called Niranjan Ramakrishnan:

There, but for the grace of God... was my first thought as I read the report. If the machine deemed "James H. 'Jim' Webb" too long, I could only thank my luck that I had firmly turned down all requests to run for the Senate from Virginia this year.

I scanned the Post quickly to see if a similar fate had attended George Allen, Webb's incumbent opponent in the race. A quick tally revealed that George Allen had more letters in his name than James Webb -- and even more, if you added recently-acquired middle names like 'Macaca' and 'Stock Option'.

Actually, Allen did pretty well in what might be termed Great Ballot Massacre of 2006. The report goes on to say George Allen is one of the few whose names appear in full, although his party affiliation has been cut off. Fortune finally appears to be shining on Allen. What a godsend, in a time when according to every poll, the presence of the letter 'R' after the candidate's name is tantamount to electoral cyanide!

Luscious. And it is all very funny, if you're a world-weary and cynical goddess. But it's also fairly outrageous. That few people find it outrageous just goes to show how very despondent people are about democracy. What does it matter what the name is on the ballots, after all, when we don't even know how the ballots are counted or if they are counted. Who cares if you have to vote for some guy called Jim, or if you have no idea what the party affiliation of Allen might be. Who cares about anything anymore? Except the absolute necessity of requiring all voters to have photo IDs based on valid birth certificates, so that they can go vote for some guy called just Jim or some guy with no party affiliation.

What matters is that nobody should have to fix this problem before the elections. Now, that is more important than having a farce for elections.