My Post-Election Post to America

“America I’ve give you all and now I am nothing.
America two dollars and twentyseven cents January
17, 1956.”
Allen Ginsberg, America (quoted throughout)

I realized that many of my readers do not reside in the US of A, but are interested in the election that took place Tuesday night. So, I thought it would be nice to share my good ‘ol American Election Day experience with all of you. Hope you enjoy!

I think this story should begin with a basic outline just one day before the election.

Monday, November 5, 2012:

  • Teaching class: 8am-noon
  • IT training: Noon-12:45pm
  • Skype w/gf 2:15-3:30pm
  • Working the latte fields: 4:30-10:30pm.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012:

  • Back slangin’ espresso: 7am-3:30pm
  • Vote: sometime between 4:30-5:00pm
  • Droppin’ knowledge on those college kids: 6pm-10pm

“When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I need with my good looks?”

I left work at 3:30pm, speeding down the remainder of the highway after avoiding a major traffic jam on the main drag. All day they came in to the latte factory. In droves. All wearing that little, red sticker: “I Voted”. They looked so happy. So proud. And, boy, were they out and about. By the end of my shift, I was scratching to get out of there. After battling my way home through traffic, showering, eating, writing a few last minute discussion questions, I had about 30 minutes to vote.

“America stop pushing I know what I’m doing.”

According to an online ABC news report, there are 13 various retail & food establishments offering free swag, or “freebies,” for any citizen who walks in wearing an “I Voted” sticker. Including, a free taco at California Tortilla, or a coupon for a free small fry at White Castle. A customer asked me if we had any “freebies,”–yes, apparently this person had been driving place to place collecting free crap, sorry, swag–and that is when it hit me: this was a holiday for most people. For most people, those average 9-5 working stiffs, this was a day or morning off to do your patriotic duty, grab a latte and go to work. I found it odd that no customer asked whether I had voted. It isn’t that I wanted their attention or recognition, no, but the phenomena itself amazed me. Nothing defines America like spending; consuming; buying; couponing; driving-eating-sitting-repeat. But who makes those tacos? Who makes the small fry? Do they vote? When is their opportunity to raise their individual voice and be heard, as so many celebrities encourage us to do?

“It occurs to me that I am America.
I am talking to myself again.”

Luckily, I was pre-registered. I got in line, grabbed a pen, my ballot, and waited a few minutes in another line before entering a rickity, blue plastic-shielded, podium-like desk offering the intimacy I had waited for all day: Me and My Ballot. Alone at last. In Minnesota we were voting whether a marriage should be constitutionally defined as between one man and one woman. I voted “no” so I can finally marry that squirrel that has been digging up my flower box this last spring–that little nose is so cute! We were also wondering whether Minnesotans should, nay, must, present valid ID before voting. Again, “no.” Mostly because I have quite a few IDs, I’m pretty darn trusting (Midwestern!), and I am really not interested in being hassled outside voting stations in the future by people looking to “borrow” my expired driver’s license so they can illegally vote. That just sounds obnoxious. We Minnesotans like to keep to ourselves. And eat venison. Most likely with mashed potatoes and green beans. Butter only. No spices. Unless butter counts as a spice.

“America is this correct?”

America why is voting on Tuesday? America why is voting not a national holiday? America I will not google the answer to those questions, but hope that my readers understand their rhetorical nature. America I received nearly three emails a day from this Obama character asking me to vote, but not once in his quite informal address to me did he write this:

“Hey Shawn.

Listen, I know you are working 12 hours the Tuesday of Election Day, so what I did was ask congress to figure out how we can make voting easier for you: the working man. Tell you what we’re gonna do: we are going to either make Election Day a national holiday (we’re gonna shut down everything so you all have an opportunity to vote), or we’re gonna move the Election Day. Bush moved daylight savings time, I can move the Election Day.
I’m the President, damn it!
But I won’t be unless you find time to vote for me this Tuesday.
Let’s move forward.

Love ya pal,
Barack H-bomb Obama.”

And he probably never will, but I still think he’s a damn fine president. And I’ll make a 30-minute window in between a 12-hour work day be the time that I vote for our president, Barack Obama. Thanks for reading everyone. I hope your election day went well.

-Ginsberg, Allen. America. University of Pennsylvania. http://www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/88/america.html. Web. 22 March 2009.

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “My Post-Election Post to America

  1. Everyone in my German class was quite interested to talk to me about the election. Their main concerns seemed to stem from your point: Why do Americans vote on Tuesday? Why don’t they vote on Sunday (as they do in Germany, when most workers are not working)? crickets. That was my response. I have no idea why we are so set on voting on a day that most people have to work. I will say, though, that when I had a more typical 9-5 job, it was expressly told to me that since the polls open before I was to report to work and stayed open after I normally left work, voting was something that should happen on my own time…

    • Ahhh, Sundays in Deutschland. I love a good, quiet Sunday in Deutschland. There are def some interesting measures by businesses in the States to prevent or at least hinder people from voting during working hours. As a business, one would think you want to give people time off. Oh well.
      Ahh, just as I thought (he writes after a quick google search). The reason we vote on Tuesday is partially agrarian. It took farmers a long time to get in to town. I’m glad we’ve moved with the times.

  2. Nice one, Shawn. The election and its respective process are sometimes quite baffling for Europeans (again: Tuesdays?!), but at the same time a lot of people are really interested. The TV stations here in Germany were having a field day, broadcasting all through the night (due to the time difference). It actually felt like they devoted more time and effort to the US election than to the local ones….

    By the way: Accodring to some surveys, the vast majority of Germans (90%) wanted Obama to win. Apparently, Germans generally tend to be more trusting of the Democratic candidate than the Republican one. Go figure.

    • Thanks Tinka! Most Germans I met knew more about US politics than most Americans. My gf texted me at 2 in the morning saying: “Ok. Your state is done. I’m going to bed.” She stayed up just to watch how MN voted.

Comment Below

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s