Election Dysfunction

GENERIC kerry bush debate meter election vote poll swing voters undecided undecideds
I can't be the only person who feels this presidential campaign is the longest one in history. When it started, George W. Bush probably talked like the Eastern establishment, Connecticut-born, Yale graduate that he is — and Kerry was short with a round, boyish face. But astoundingly, the Undecideds wish the campaign would go on even longer.

Apparently, they feel they haven't heard enough speeches, seen enough commercials, listened to enough lies to make up their minds about the candidates. How is this possible? I know more about these two guys than I do most of my cousins. What more do the Undecideds need to hear? What are they waiting for to help make up their minds? Do they think Kerry is finally going to say, "All right, I admit it. I've been all over the place on that issue?" Do they think Mr. Bush is going to say, "We made a big mistake. But I'd like to try to fix it?" Forget it. These guys aren't going to say those things. Do they think the war is suddenly going to end tomorrow? Are they waiting to see if the Social Security problems will be solved in the next few days? Do they think the rest of the world is going to love us as they once did by the end of the weekend?

I have a different take on the Undecideds than most of the experts. I don't think they're going to have an effect on the election at all. That's because I don't think they'll be able to get it together enough to vote. If they haven't been able to make up their minds yet about this election, don't you have a feeling that they probably have a hard time making up their minds about everything else? How are they going to decide what to wear on Election Day? Will they chose what to have for breakfast by dinnertime? When Tuesday rolls around, do you honestly think they'll be capable of deciding what time they should vote? No, I have the feeling that they'll be stuck at home all day, deciding whether to open their front doors with their right hands or their left.

Please Vote
But I hope I'm wrong. I hope they all vote. I hope everybody who's eligible votes. It seems especially important today when we're telling the world that our form of government isn't perfect, but it's the best thing out there. How can we say that if so many of us don't even participate in the process? Obviously, you have the right to refrain from voting. But if you don't vote, all of your friends have the right to tell you to shut up every time you complain about anything during the next four years.

Maybe sometimes when you're watching a big game, a fight, or a close election, you feel bad that somebody has to lose. I don't think you have to feel that way in this presidential election.

My guess is that if Kerry loses, he'll probably be feeling something like this: "Obviously, I'm disappointed that I didn't prevail, but there's no dishonor in an honorable defeat. In some ways, I didn't really want to win — not if winning meant losing idealism or principles. But then again, winning might not mean that. On the other hand, it's quite possible that I may be able to better contribute to the nation — and receive more in return — by serving this great republic in some other way."

And if Mr. Bush loses, he'll never admit it, and he'll just keep going to the White House every day.

A Final Prediction
Beginning one week from today, we'll be talking about the disputed election, that big mistake the television networks are bound to make, and the stupidity of the Electoral College.

Lloyd Garver has written for many television shows, ranging from "Sesame Street" to "Family Ties" to "Frasier." He has also read many books, some of them in hardcover.

By Lloyd Garver