Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail; TIW Style

Update 7:45— Now that early returns are starting to trickle in, has your outlook on the final result changed?

Update 5:15– I have come into possession of prize for our “Guess the Electoral Vote” contest. 1 T Shirt, black, with suitable lettering about Election Protection. Will ship in return for more comments.

Edit: also, no reports of pending litigation so far. That is good, I think.

Update 1:30 —

So, we seem to have hit a lull. Other than a few technical difficulties.  Without giving any juicy details, I thought I’d share some of the things that are being reported in the call center. People following the wrong procedures, missing deadlines, being intimidated, and generally running into what would universally be considered “poor service.” It’s a bit depressing to read some of them. One of the things that strikes me however is that while everyone in America may be required to attend civics class or watch the Schoolhouse Rock episode on how a bill becomes a law, it seems that people don’t really know how to vote. To know not to accept a “Sample Ballot” as if someone was doing them a favor, to know what their rights are and basically carry thru the mechanics of voting. Maybe there should be some sort of dry run.

Update 11:00

Interesting tidbit 2: TV is reality to most/many/some. There have been some TV news media here. But rather than taking shots of they myriad “workstations” setup in the center, or “what is really going on”, a national network setup a mock computer and phone at a table to interview one of the people running things. Sure they are just props, and things should look as good as they can, but isn’t there something a bit left-handed about willfully inserting this fake-ness into something that should be so minor as to be unimportant. It triggers the conspiracy theorist in me. Chuck Todd’s goatee may not in fact be real!

Update 10:00

As mentioned in my comment to Ty’s “Let’s Spend the Night Together” proposition, I am functioning as an entrenched reporter for TIW during today’s election. Ty has not agreed to approve my expenses; instructions for donations to the Brain Skarpowsky Election Fund will be posted later.

I am coming to you from a national “election protection center” — essentially a large call center where the disenfranchised, harassed, or utterly confused can call and get assistance to make sure their vote is cast. So, if someone with a McCain/Palin T-shirt McGovern bumper sticker flattens your tires on the way to your polling place, you can pick up the phone and seconds later be talking to a lawyer (that’s the American way!). It is at once heartening and depressing that such a thing as “election protection” exists. Heartening in that voters have a recourse to make sure they can vote; utterly depressing in that the self-proclaimed “free-est nation in the world” can’t hold a relatively simple election without having to call on our deep and dark litigious nature to ensure matters don’t get out of hand.

I will try to update throughout the day (in between panhandling for expenses). I can’t guarantee that interesting things will happen. But if they don’t, I will make them up as my Gonzo worldview demands.

Interesting tidbit 1: yesterday, the day before the election, there were over 20,000 reported “incidents.” The day before! Now many of these were of the obviously mundane “voter forgot card”, “voter is deranged”, “voter cannot find Humphrey on ballot” nature — but many of the others, I speculate were real infringements. Today should be interesting.

Update 9:30

“That is the one grim truth of this election most likely to come back and haunt us: The options were clearly defined, and all the major candidates…were publicly grilled, by experts who demanded to know exactly where they stood on every issue from Gun Control and Abortion to the Ad Valorem Tax. By mid-September both candidates had staked out their own separate turfs, and if not everybody could tell you what each candidate stood for specifically, almost everyone likely to vote in November understood that [the candidates] were two very different men: not only in the context of politics, but also in their personalities, temperaments, guiding principles, and even their basic lifestyles….

There is almost a Yin/Yang clarity in the difference between the two men, a contrast so stark that it would be hard to find any two better models in the national politics arena for the legendary duality–the congenital Split Personality and polarized instincts–that almost everybody except for Americans has long since taken for granted as the key to our national character…”

-Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72



4 Responses

  1. bravo to your excerpt, commentary and your service, sir … and to your suspicious, inner-conspiracy theorist, “also, too.”

  2. “Left-handed” as code for sneaky? seriously? Can’t you at least use the Latin?

  3. Is it code? Did you use your decoder ring? Which hand did you wear it on.

  4. Another parent at our school (We had a CSA pick up today ..) said that she got an “unlisted” number call her phone and tell her , a recording, that she shouldn’t bother voting because she can’t because she is hispanic.

    CRAZY, huh?

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