Election 2004 Rant

Enough already

Just a few minutes ago, I came across something that made me so mad that I had hot tears pricking at the back of my eyes. Anyone that knows me well knows that I DO NOT cry.

Go check this link out and come on back. I’ll wait here.

Why people? WTF!? It’s called coincidence. How about I go find data that is not at all correlated and make graphs? Do people even care about the enormity of the statement they’re making when they write comments like “these pictures speak for themselves,” “Amazing,” or the sardonic “Oh, how far we’ve come…” Is everyone so blinded by blue and red that they can’t even look at the data scientifically to come to the conclusion that it’s bullshit?

Can I note that territories were probably technically “open to slavery” because they had no official organized government? In 1865, most territories were the home of the Wild West and vigilante justice.

Perhaps we should also consider the populations of the territories in 1865 — Montana had approximately 30,000 and Nebraska Territory as a whole couldn’t have had a population of more than 100,000. Why does this matter? Because the current population of these lands is now made up of people that travelled from the east (yes, that means the northeast) and from foreign countries to settle in the plains. Territory borders didn’t close in 1865 and we’re all now descendents of the 1865 population.

Although those that find some sort of message in the linked graphs might like to think so. I mean anything’s possible when you throw logic and statistical data to the wind.

Election 2004 Politics

Day two

I have A LOT more to say about the elections and the commentary following, but I’m just tired right now. (But did you seriously think I was done talking about it?)

For now, I want to say one thing. To everyone who thinks so called “Middle America” is the problem in this country, get the eff over yourselves.

Election 2004 Politics

The Day After

It’s the day after the elections. George Bush won. Many are now trying to choose between the quaintness of Vancouver and the warmth of Mexico. Some are devising a plan to secede. While others still, are planning Canada v2.0.

What crap! I say don’t get mad, get even. Okay, okay. I did a little bit of the mad part. Now I want to get even.

I think the most disturbing part is that one party is in control of both the legislative and executive branches. I would have a problem with this no matter what party was in control. I feel we need those checks and balances. However, our representatives regardless of party affiliations ARE OUR REPRESENTATIVES. That means they represent us, the constituents.

Call me an idealist, but I believe we can make our voices heard. No more apathy. No more seething inside, but doing nothing about it. This is our democracy. Let’s get involved. Write letters, get involved in your political party, run for office. Personally, I think we have to believe that we can make a difference. And can we complain if we don’t even try?

I’m hatching a plan. I’ll keep you posted.

Election 2004 Politics

Election thoughts as I have them

9:50pm: They haven’t called Montana for Bush or Kerry yet. I think this is cool as they had already called South Dakota before the polls closed or any precincts had reports.

10:29pm: The South Dakota senatorial election between Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle and former legislative representative John Thune is in a dead heat with Thune having 2,000 more votes. This is with 75% of precincts reporting. Holy crap South Dakotans! Any thoughts? (Like there was any way I wasn’t going to follow this) . Looks like another early morning vote count might be in order.

10:36pm: Okay, more comments on the Daschle/Thune race. Oddly, Daschle barely took Minnehaha (largest SD county with 99% reporting) while Pennington county (2nd largest county) has not reported any numbers at all. I would guess that Pennington county would go to Thune handily. It’s getting even better…

11:02pm: Things are not looking good for Kerry. NBC just projected that Ohio will go to Bush. Even if Kerry takes the rest of the states, the electoral votes would be 269 – 269. The House, which is controlled by the Republicans, break any ties.

11:11pm: I might just go to bed. I don’t think I can take it anymore. Things will be better in the morning, right?

11:41pm: Ack, ack, ack.

11:47pm: Thune is hanging on by a very slim margin in South Dakota. It looks like Schweitzer will be the governor-elect here in Montana. The amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman will pass. There will still be no cyanide leach mining in the morning. And, marijuana will be legal for limited medicinal uses.

11:50pm: I’m going to bed. Whether I like it or not, they do expect me at work bright and early tomorrow morning.

Election 2004 Politics

The Election

I’ve decided to finally gather all of my thoughts on the elections. The polls closed in Montana just over a half hour ago (at 8pm). This means I cast my ballot about 12 hours ago.

It was actually only the second time I’ve officially gone to a polling place to vote — the first time being when I went to the community hall in Newell, SD, to cast my votes for the local school board. That was only a few months after my 18th birthday. Since then, I’ve cast two absentee ballots as I’ve been away at college for all big elections since I turned 18 (absentee in 2000 and 2002 — 2002 was a time of big elections in South Dakota). In 2000, I cast my first presidential vote for Bush. Today, I used my second one to vote for Kerry.

A lot of things have changed since my first presidential vote in 2000. I graduated from college. I got a job. I abandoned South Dakota for Big Sky Country (also known as Montana).

With a new state comes new politics. It’s hard to get a grasp of the politics in a new state. Of course, I’ve only had 11 months to become apprised of Montana politics. I had 23 years in South Dakota. However, I did my research and, for the most part, ignored the annoying, abrasive TV ads. The big race in Montana was the governor race between Brian Schweitzer (D) and Bob Brown (R). Also of note was the House race, though I don’t know that it was very hotly contested. Among the ballot initiatives were I-147, a measure to lift the ban on cyanide leach mining, CI-96, an initiative to amend the Montana constitution to only recognize marriage as between a man and a woman, and I-148, an initiative to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes.

For posterity’s sake, I want to record the votes I made today that I felt were most important to me.

  • President of the United States of America – John Kerry (D)
  • Governor of Montana – Brian Schweitzer (D)
  • Montana legislative representative – Mike Fellow (L)
  • I-147 – voted AGAINST lifting the ban on cyanide leach mining
  • CI-96 – voted AGAINST using the constitution of Montana to discriminate against people based on sexual orientation
  • I-148 – voted FOR allowing the limited use of marijuana for medicinal purposes (Yes, mom, I’m such a heathen — but you suspected that didn’t you?)

Now, I want to talk about my voting experience today. Because of redrawn precincts, I managed to show up at the wrong polling place. Whoops. Five minutes later, I had driven from the Library to the Cathedral. When I arrived, there was a very short line. I was asked for my ID, the helpul election helper verified my precinct and pointed me to the correct area. There I again showed my ID, signed my name for further verification and was given my ballot. The ballot came in a sleeve. Montana uses optical scan voting, so I filled my ballot out by connecting the butt of the arrow to the point. Pretty simple. I checked and rechecked my ballot as though it was the ACT or SAT. I put it back in its sleeve where the election official slid it out of its sleeve and into the ballot box in such a manner that she never actually sees the ballot. All in all, my polling place had its stuff together. I grabbed my “My Vote Counted” sticker and bounced on out within ten minutes of arriving. However, a healthy line was starting to form as I left.

All day, I’ve been reading the experiences of other voters around the nation as comment after comment gathers at Jason Kottke’s incredible How’d Your Vote Go? post. I’ve wasted quite a bit of time today reading the different experiences — from people standing in line for hours to them having to vote provisionally to asking for paper ballots. It’s really awesome to read this, and it has to be the most comprehensive gathering of voter experiences today. The thread has made me appreciative of our democratic process. As of late, I’ve been feeling pessimistic about the direction of our country. But this makes me feel hopeful as well as thankful that I live in a country where I can easily walk the two blocks to my polling place, be greeted with friendly smiles, and cast my votes freely for candidates and issues entirely of my choosing.

Although, I do hear votes are selling well on eBay.

2oo4 Votes for Sale on eBay