I voted today. I love voting. However, The Man tried to keep me down. I stuck it to The Man. The monitors at my polling place said I could not come in to vote if I was going to wear a “political” t-shirt. I know the monitor guy was just following the instructions he had been given, and it was unfortunate that he had to be the lightning rod for my political fury, but this was my right to vote that was being meddled with and there was no way I was going to stand for that. It went down like this:
Polling Guy: You can’t come in here with a political shirt.
Me: Oh. Why?
Polling Guy: We just can’t have you come in here with a political shirt.
I was standing in line (for over an hour) and minding my own business. It wasn’t like I was trying to rally the people in line to vote my way. This seemed to me to be a retarded rule with no basis. And that they had no reason to give me for this rule was unacceptable.
I am well aware of the “no campaigning within so many feet of the polling place rule.” But you have to admit the definition of campaigning can be pretty gray. If you wore a blue shirt with a donkey on it, would that be considered campaigning? Or what about a shirt with any name on it, that could be a write-in, no?
But so as not to loose focus, here’s my point. This sort of ignorant acceptance of the rules is what vexes me so about society. I am a firm believer in rules and regulations, but for the love of Jack Lord, know the reasons for the rules. Furthermore, know the facts and arguments that support your views. For example, when the whole “under God” phrase was at a head we had a nation divided over whether or not said phrase belonged in the American pledge. Now, as an American you have ever right to be for or against this issue. What is unacceptable was the all too popular argument: “why change it, it has always been that way.” The problem is, “under God” was not ALWAYS in the pledge. Just for the record, it was added in 1954. My tirade went on.
Me: If there is no reason, then I am going in to vote.
Polling Guy: I am sorry, those are the rules.
I raised the bar.
Me: The whole idea of voting is for the masses to voice their opinion. This is the reason for this very day. You can’t deny my first amendment rights. If I want to express an opinion with my t-shirt, than that is my right as written by Thomas Jefferson in the Bill of Rights. If I have to go in there naked to vote I will, and I will make sure everyone here knows the reason I had to vote naked.
At this point, I was making a right good scene. I was just about to re-enact the “Help, help, I’m being repressed!” scene from The Holy Grail, and it was going to be a doosey of a performance, but at this point, the polling people wanted to prevent a scene even more than they wanted to prevent me wearing my riot-inducing shirt. So, they ushered me in to vote so I would leave.
I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed about the polling people bending to my will so easily. In the passion of the moment, I was having wild dreams of the polling people calling the fuzz, having me hauled away and later going on the talk show circuit to recount my horrendous, anti-american treatment…maybe write a book from jail. When I tell this story to my grandkids, I will definitely be arrested and put in jail for decades…uphill…in the snow.