Independence at voting time not worth it

September 07, 2006|by TIM ROWLAND


Why will I be away next week when civic duty dictates I be home? Why will I be lolling away the hours in idle recreation when I should be trudging, a la The Seven Dwarfs to the mine, toward the polls?

Why, instead of running to the voting booth, will I be running from beauties in short skirts who will be chasing me across the Northeast? That's right, because I'm a poor tipper, but that's not important now.

I will be away on Election Day because my kind aren't wanted around here. Because I am not beholden to imbeciles, that's why. Yes, I am a member of: The Few. The Proud. The Unaffiliated.


The political parties don't want our input because they are afraid we might vote for somebody decent. Political parties ask you the following questions:

"Are you independent minded?" "Do you vote your conscience instead of the way some hack tells you to vote?" "Do you believe in fairness and truth?" "Do you believe in progress and a better way?" "Yes? Then we do not want you."

And, of course, then there is hardly any point voting in November. Because by then all the wild-eyed freakazoids on each side of the fence will have narrowed it down to the two most extreme, least qualified hicks of the litter.

It doesn't even sound good. Unaffiliated. "Ew, don't touch him, he's UNaFILLiated." They can't even give the fair-minded individuals in this state a respectable name. Unaffiliated. I'm affiliated all right, I'm affiliated with people who aren't kooks, that's who I'm affiliated with. So put that on my registration card and smoke it.

It's not quite so bad at the local level, but still. There were 24 candidates for Commissioner in Washington County. One of them was starting to make some sense, and so he, visibly shaken, dropped out. I watched the candidate forums and couldn't believe it. There are only 23 people in the entire United States of America who believe that Washington County and the City of Hagerstown have a good relationship, and they're all running for county commissioner. What are the odds?

I know there are reasonable people in each party and I understand it's important they go to the polls, because one day they might just outnumber the overzealous and underinformed. The pity is that if you took the reasonable people in each party and added them together they might have the majority, but they don't get to vote for the same candidate until the general election, and by then the damage has been done.

I am aware that I could have voted for school board and my main man Russell Williams - anyone whose main form of transport is a three-wheeled bike with a Mensa sticker has my vote, no questions asked - and I had planned on it.

Before I skipped town I was prepared to pick up one of those fraudulent "early voter" ballots, but then some activist judge stepped in and spoiled it for everyone. Of course, as far as the establishment goes, it's probably for the best. When the legislature approved the early voter law, I doubt I was the type of voter the Democrats had in mind.

I'm not big on all those standard issues that politicians wouldn't be able to fix even if they tried, such as immigration, health care and Social Security.

I am looking for a more practical, more doable campaign. I am looking for a candidate who will announce a Movement to Bring Back Whitewall Tires.

Remember them?

If you are under the age of 30, you probably don't; sit on my knee and let Uncle Tim explain. Automobile tires, see, used to have a circular, white stripe about an inch wide all the way around them. Why? I'll tell you. I don't know. But I thought they were kind of cool.

Time was, you never saw a car what didn't have whitewall tires. A car without whitewalls was a sure sign of a loser-car - a delivery van, a pickup with "Farm Use" spray-painted on the doors or one of those three-cylinder cars from Czechoslovakia that got 40 hectares on a liter of kerosene.

But then people had to go and ruin a good thing. The plain, one-inch stripe wasn't loud enough or flashy enough and they got bigger and louder and went from sensible stripes to white letters spelling out words that didn't exist like "MAXITRAK."

Whitewalls went too far. They lost their way. Instead of a pleasant, helpful accessory they became bellicose and obnoxious and it got to the point that no one could stand them noways.

Now that I think about it, kind of like party politics itself.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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