More importantly, though, Mr. Marvick got me out of writing about the presidential election on the Sunday before Super Tuesday. I was honestly dreading writing that column for several reasons. First, everything that could have been said at that point had already been said, whether by me or someone else. I had nothing new to share about the issue. Second, I was quite sure that my fellow Tribune columnists were all going to get in one last word about Obama and McCain and how the world was going to end if Americans didn’t vote one way or the other. And you know what? I was right. They all wrote about it. I figured my readers might like to see at least one different topic addressed on last week’s opinion page, or at least have something to read in the middle of reading the other four columns about the election. Kind of an intellectual cleansing of the palette.
I’m going to take a shot in the dark here, but I am betting my fellow small-town pundits are all talking about the election results this week. As I write this, I have not read any of the other columns for the week, so I am truly taking a guess — albeit a guess based on a year of experience. Anybody care to place a bet? Go ahead, ante up. If you look at the odds, they’re in my favor. OK, now shift your eyeballs to the right and see. First, Ira Hansen laments the end of conservatism and the blind following of empty hope. Then Jake Highton will be happy that the shriveled prune McCain and his Arctic bimbo didn’t get elected but in some way America is still inferior to France. Travus T. Hipp, if he’s out of the slammer from last week’s pot bust, is smiling through a cloud of smoke. Finally, Andrew Barbano is praising the American people for seeing through the follytix of the past year and a half and given the finger to the Oilgopoly that has been in control for the past eight years.
Just having a little fun with you, guys. Feel free to return the favor at any time.
I will not be joining the discourse about President-elect Obama (other than to say hooray!). Instead, I want to celebrate the efforts here in Washoe County that I saw as I participated in and observed the voting process. When I voted early one evening at my local Scolari’s store, I was surrounded by people eager to make a difference in their country. I was greeted by no fewer than half a dozen volunteers working the table to make sure I was properly checked in to cast my ballot. Most of them were older, but one was a man who looked to be in his twenties. They quickly found me on the list and whisked me to my democracy machine, where I stood shoulder to shoulder with four or five other early voters. I have voted many times before, but it always feels good to take part in the process, especially at a time when such excitement is swirling about a change of leadership. I hadn’t felt such excitement about politics since the California recall election that ushered in the era of Ah-nuld. OK, I’m sure that event will be on the blooper show of American politics, but for the recall I did actually stand in line for an hour to vote.
News reports say that early voting greatly reduced pressure on polling places on Election Day, which I’m sure is a large part of the reason I heard no reports of voting-place mishaps. In fact, it’s almost worrisome that I heard no accusations at all — from Nevada or anywhere else — about hacked voting machines or illegal voting by unregistered voters or other misdeeds by the winning party. Could it be that political parties no longer think their opponents can only win by cheating? Come to think of it, that strategy only works in a close game, not in a blowout (insert smug snicker here).
If watching the workers and volunteers at the Washoe County Registrar of Voters on Tuesday night was any indication of the rest of the country, it is no surprise that the voting process was smooth this year. Other than having the memory cartridges show up a little late and a delay in counting because of some late voting elsewhere in Nevada, the flow of data from polling place couriers to the folks at the computers to the reports generated every half hour was seamless. I didn’t observe the process very long, but after 90 minutes or so I was comfortable going back to my office knowing that I wasn’t going to miss a meltdown in the counting that would wind up in the Supreme Court and leave me with egg on my face for missing a huge story.
Dan Burke, the Washoe registrar of voters, put together a good process. He ought to have, with his years of experience doing this work. I think he’s been working in elections longer than I’ve been alive, and I can’t imagine the task of trying to keep up with the changes in voting technology and surrounding controversy that have occurred in the last 10 years. I applaud him and his staff for a job well done.
As I sit here four days after the vote, the news reports continue though at least now they focus on what Obama will do when he takes office. No more trying to convince Americans that one guy in a tie is right while the other is full of manure. Instead, now we get to at least find out if the one who is left standing is really full of manure or full of progress. Let’s hope for the latter.
I will miss a couple of things from this campaign, though. I’ll miss John McCain calling me his friend. I don’t think my actual friends have called me their friend as many times as McCain did in the last 18 months. And I will most certainly miss Tina Fey doing her Sarah Palin impersonation. I am sure it will go down as the best Saturday Night Live presidential mockery since Dana Carvey did the first George Bush. If Palin can ever learn her geography and regain Republican trust enough to run for national office again, I’ll at least be happy knowing that there will be new jokes at her expense. I just wonder who will be doing Obama on the show.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go watch some campaign-free TV.
Nathan Orme is the editor of the Sparks Tribune. He can be reached at email@example.com.