Monday, November 13, 2006

Jew Defeats Rich Guy Who Thinks He's All Big

This election season, I volunteered for the Lamont campaign in CT. One of my jobs on election day was to stand near the polling place in my town, wave a sign, and generally try to get people to vote for Lamont. This necessitated standing outside on a street corner from the time the polls opened in the morning until they closed at night. If you ever want to get a feel for a town or its people, I highly recommend standing in one spot for fourteen hours. You'll see things in a whole new light - trust me.

Here are the highlights:

Highlight #1.

Around 1pm, I witnessed what I'm sure must have been an essay from The Onion.

I saw a guy coming out of the polling place. As he walked out, his buddy across the street recognized him. My town is pretty rural, but the polling place was in a fairly active part of town. I wouldn't call it a town-square, per se, but it was a lively place to be at the time. There were lots of people around. Anyway, when the dude across the street saw his friend, he shouted:

"Hey Davy, who'd ya vote for?"

Davy yelled across the street with a full voice:

"I VOTED FOR THE JEW!!"

Davy's pal replied:

"THAT'S WHO I'M VOTIN' FOR - I CAN'T STAND THESE RICH GUYS WHO THINK THEY'RE ALL BIG!"

...

Later that night, as I listened to Ned Lamont concede the election to Joe Leiberman, I couldn't help but imagine that the next day's headline would read:

"Jew Defeats Rich Guy Who Thinks He's All Big"

Highlight #2 -

Around 11am, a woman showed up and explained that she was a write-in candidate for State Senate. She was there, you see, to wave her sign and to try to garner as many write-in votes as she could. It is important for me to emphasize that this woman was "on the campaign trail," so to speak.

She was wearing matching sweatpants and a sweatshirt. The sweatshirt was grey and the pants were yellow, but I say they were matching because the each had the same colors of paint spattered all over them. I suppose she might have been painting her house that morning - her clothes certainly support that hypothesis. And she was sweaty. Really sweaty.

As I stood there waving my Ned Lamont sign, she waved her sign which included her name of course followed by the words "Write-In Candidate for State Senate."

The thing about her sign, though, was that it was written with a sharpie on a piece of loose-leaf paper. Not any loose-leaf paper, mind you, but a piece of spiral-bound loose-leaf complete with the fuzzy edges still attached.

She had just been ejected from the polling place, where she had apparently been waving her sign and soliciting votes not only within the 75 foot perimeter, but within the actual building itself. A police officer ordered her to remove herself to the legal campaign zone where I was standing.

When she arrived, she was angry with the cop. Furious really. She complained about the right-wing consipiracy that sought to silence voices like hers. "I've got this cop's number now! I know who he's working for! He won't get away with this!"

At that point she reached into her pocket and pulled out her "Enemies List" - she had an actual Enemies List. It was a piece of loose-leaf paper - which I would have suspected probably came from the same notebook as her Campaign sign had it not been for the fact that it was long and aged.

She had been carrying this list, I assume, for quite a while. Years I'd guess. On the top of the page, the words "Enemies List" were appropriately scrawled in red ink. The list itself filled the rest of the page in tiny letters - there were dozens, if not a hundred, names.

When she scribbled the cops name on the bottom, I immediately pretended to take an important cell phone call. I did not want to end up on that list - and I felt sure that only way to stay off was to avoid talking to this woman at all. After 45 minutes of chatting on my cell phone to a number of people - some real, some feigned - the woman finally left and I was safe again.

After she was gone, her words continued to haunt me. She had stood there for almost an hour wearing a dirty, mismatched, paint-spattered sweatsuit, waving a ragged-edged campaign sign and when I asked her why she was running, she replied:

"I'm here to restore some professionalism to the motherfucking Senate!"

I really wished I had voted for her.