Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ding dong, Stroger's gone!

Election day in IL. Finally. “Just” the primaries, so probably the usual 8% of registered voters will vote – which is pathetic, quite frankly. But for weeks now (months? seems like years), every ad on tv has been political, I’ve been getting about 15 pieces of campaign material every day, and the calls! My max in one day (not including today) was 7. Yes, 7. And yes, I’m on the do-not-call list – but imagine, politicians and their campaigns are exempt from that! I know, shocking. I don’t mind the actual calls as much as the robocalls, which annoy the hell out of me. I’ve chatted with Ed Mullen’s people so many times, once when I was on vacation in Florida, that we’ve truly bonded, such that I think I’m getting invites to several weddings and block parties this summer from my new Mullen “family”. Hey guys, don’t worry, I’m bringing the bundt cake! Then there was the visit by Dan Farley himself – he of the dominatrix wife – not to mention one of his henchmen.

So finally - finally! – we get to today. Where I somehow naively and foolishly think that the madness will end. I think wrong, of course. By 9AM today, I had already received 4 calls. I’m tempted to see if anyone will show up at my door so that I can ask for a ride to the polling place, as this is the Chicago way. But finally I decide I can handle walking the 4 or so blocks, even with that daunting inch of snow which has apparently sent voting levels sinking to heretofore unseen depths, so I start trudging over to my polling place.


As I get near my polling place, I see three people standing on the sidewalk holding some kind of flyers. You’ve got to be kidding, I think to myself. More crap being foisted on me??

Me, to the merry trio: Oh come on, you’re NOT going to try to foist more paper on me, are you?
Woman: We’re just handing out flyers with Alderman Schulter’s suggestions on who to vote for.
Man: Are you voting?
Me: Hey, you’re the guy who showed up at my door last week! On Bell – I’m the one who told you that of course I’ll vote, I always vote, even in the primary elections where there’s one guy running, unopposed.
Man: So you’re voting today?
Me, sighing: Yes.

I take the sheet of paper, even though I know full well that Schulter’s picks are all the Democratic Machine candidates, and I’ve done my own homework, but otherwise I can sense I’ll be out here much longer than I want to be.


I walk in after battling the crowds – okay, after moving past 3 people standing in front of the door chatting and creating a bottleneck – and give my name to the first guy. Then I see Holly from Starbucks, working at the polling place.

Me: Holly! How’s it going?

I go over and chat for a while, holding up the democratic process for the 2 people who come in after me. But hey, if voting is important to them, they can wait.

Finally I make it back over to the name-taking guy, where I jokingly ask if I’m one of tens of voters. Sadly, I am – about #60 today. Then we’re discussing the craziness of this election, with the phone calls and so on, when… phone rings.

Me, to name-taking guy: I’m answering this only because I’ll bet you it’s a political call. Hello? Hello?
Person on phone: Hello, I’m calling from Ed Mullen’s campaign.
Me: I’m actually at the polling station right now, getting ready to vote.
POP: Oh, okay then, thank you.

I vote. The only real toss-up is the governor’s race. Pat Quinn is a buffoon, but I was so annoyed by the irrelevance of Dan Hynes dusting off 30-year-old video of Mayor Harold Washington saying mean things about Quinn that I can’t in good conscience vote for him either. Though it’s easy to vote against Todd Stroger, with glee. My back hurts. I sit down and chat with Holly some more, and as we’re talking, the woman from outside comes into the polling place.

Woman: That woman who asked to use the bathroom, she didn’t have any credentials. You shouldn’t have let her in.
Hapless older polling place woman: I…but……she just wanted to use the bathroom.
Woman: She’s not allowed.
HOPPW: Maybe she was a voter?
Woman: She wasn’t a voter, she had Ann Williams stickers all up and down her coat.

(Ann Williams is running against Dan Farley, Schulter’s guy.)

Me, wondering what the big deal is: Did she leave campaign literature in the bathroom or something?
Woman: No, but no one without credentials is allowed in a polling place, except for voters. And certainly not people with Ann Williams stickers plastered on them.
HOPPW: I didn’t know, I….
Woman, sternly and paranoidly: It’s okay. Just ask for ID from everyone from now on.

I leave, and walk slowly over to SB for a well-deserved latte. On my way, across the street I see another polling place, and Teamster-looking guys standing in front of it. Interesting. I’m willing to bet they’re more of Schulter’s guys: the Democratic Machine in full force.

After getting my latte and talking to Diane for a while, I head home, this time walking on the side of the street with the Teamsters. First I pass two guys who look like hoodlums – turns out they’re from the Williams campaign. Then I get to the Teamsters – yep, Schulter’s people.

Teamster #1: You votin' today?
Me: Already voted, thanks!
Teamster #2: Because we got a form here with Alderman Schulter’s suggestions.

Since these guys look like they’d be happy to snap me like a twig if I look at them crossways, I take another flyer. This is getting a bit ridiculous. No, wait, the Ridiculous Train left the station a long time ago.


I make it home, and see from the footsteps in the snow that someone’s been by. Kind of early for mail – but they couldn’t still be leaving flyers…..could they?


They could. Yet another one for Dan Farley. I think I’ve now received the equivalent of at least one Amazonian rain forest in campaign mail.

12:32 – 3PM

4 more calls.


The doorbell rings. It can’t possibly be a campaign person….can it?


It can. A pleasant woman from Ann Williams’ campaign, asking me if I’ve voted yet. Sigh.

3:15 – 5PM

3 more campaign flyers shoved in my door. I start watching the clock, counting down to 7PM when the polls close.


Whee! Party time!


Watching LOST, and now it’s REALLY time to drink, as they start showing the preliminary results – though of course they keep reassuring us that “we will not, we repeat not cut into LOST viewing at any time this evening.”. Whew! The most relevant one, for Cook County Board President: Toni Preckwinkle, the uber-candidate, is running away with it by a more than 2-1 margin. Todd Stroger? Dead last. Finally, cause for celebration!!

And for all you people who didn’t vote today for one lame-ass reason or another, do the rest of us a favor and never bitch and moan about our elected representatives, about corruption or politics or high taxes or any of that stuff, okay? Because if you don’t care enough to vote, then you pretty much forfeit your right to do any bitching, in my book.

No comments: