For the first time since I registered to vote in 1996, I’m sitting out an election day. It’s not that I don’t think primaries are important or I want to opt out of the system. One of the fun facts of life of being, as Maryland puts it, “nonaligned”, is the fact that there is basically nothing for an independent to vote for or against on primary election day. Annoying as it is, I can understand the thought process behind only allowing registered members of a political party vote in that party’s primary. It would basically be like letting me vote for mayor of Denver while living here in wild, wonderful Ceciltucky. Sure, I might have an opinion, but since I live outside that particular jurisdiction, it would mostly be an academic exercise.
The fact is, I don’t want to be associated with the right wing tea partiers any more than I want to be associated with the left wing socialists. There isn’t a national political party that speaks to my special blend of beliefs and opinions… and I’d rather sit this one out than get myself painted by the broad brush of either party. With neither side able to show the leadership qualities of the common groundhog, I’d hate for a moment to even give even a vague impression that I support one side or the other when the reality is I loathe them both, just for different reasons.
So here I sit, on primary election day of my 36th year, counting myself among the ranks of the people who just stayed home. Not because I wanted to. Not as a silent protest. But because primarily speaking, this just isn’t the kind of place where the “nonaligned” have a voice. Maybe that’s just what it means to be an independently minded American in 2014.
1. Furlough payday. Holy balls. Even when you’ve run the numbers and have a good solid sense of what’s coming, no amount of tinkering around on a spreadsheet really prepares you for Uncle Sam reaching deep into your wallet and financially raping you. Repeatedly. A week ago, I was philosophically opposed to Sequestration and the resultant furlough. With the arrival of my most recent direct deposit, I’ve transition more into a mode of going out to the shed to see if I have a pitchfork and a few torches to spare. It strikes me that if I were alive and in Boston on December 16, 1773, I would have probably been heaving boxes of tea overboard with a smile on my face. It seems that although I don’t particularly like the rabble, I do enjoy rousing them.
2. George. While I would like to thank the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for naming their offspring in honor of my Tortoise, I am utterly vexed when it comes to understanding why the good people of the United States spent half a dozen days buzzing about it. If we were the United Colonies or a member of the Commonwealth, I could understand being interested in the birth of our future head of state, but since we’re citizens and not subjects, I’m at a loss. How many other 30-something couples in the UK had babies this week? How many people in your town had babies? Know how much we all care about them? Yeah. We don’t. I say Godspeed to Wills and Kate, but knowing that they had a baby and that he will sit the throne long after most people alive today have shuffled off the stage is a sufficient report. There’s no need to get our collective nickers in a twist.
3. POTUS. When I hear the president on television talking about growing middle class jobs, increasing spending on education, and generally touting his plan to improve the economy, I only have one thought these days. That thought: WTF? As the head of the executive branch, the president could take one giant step towards improving the plight of the middle class by directing his Secretary of Defense to cancel the administrative furloughs of 650,000 civilian employees. Before he has any credibility on any issue that even tangentially touches on pay, benefits, and employment, the man needs to keep the promises made to the folks already working for him. What I think I understand so far is when large corporations load up on part time employees to keep costs down, it’s evil and wrong, but when the largest agency of the federal government does it it’s a prudent cost savings measure. WTF, Mr. President? WTF?