We seem to live in a society that
lacks communication. When you try to communicate, you're
called a radical, a communist, dirty, a Republican or
something to let you know you're not speaking their
— Comedian Richard Pryor
It's Election Day, the day of Revolution
If we didn't get Mr. Pryor's point before he
died in 2005, I'm sure we all get it now. We various kinds of
Americans do not speak each other's language.
In a way I'm multilingual, speaking a little
conservative and a little liberal, though not a word of
apathetic. The Secretary of State was predicting a 60 percent
voter turnout. How do we voters communicate with non-voters?
I tried once, and heard, "I don't vote, it
only encourages them."
Very funny. You think that if you ignore the
government, the government will leave you alone?
To prove I can speak Democrat, I will quote
the late Tip O'Neill: "Anyone who says they are not interested
in politics is like a drowning man who insists he is not
interested in water."
Libertarian is my official language, but I
can barely communicate with other libertarian activists who are
more interested in making ideological points than in actually
Speaking Conservative: Balanced budget
amendment. National debt racked up only during emergencies, then
paid down quickly. Free markets. Priority spending on public
safety, including a strong and appreciated military. Legal, not
illegal, immigrants. Personal responsibility. Limited taxation
leading to limited government power.
Speaking Liberal: Privacy. America does not
torture people. What the heck are we still doing in Afghanistan?
Medical marijuana. My first political "cause" was Zero
Speaking pidgin: The globe may be warming,
just as it always does between ice ages. Why waste resources
when you can live a more simple life; why must we always "grow"?
I like most animals more than I like some people. Free-range
My own libertarian dialect: Most social
issues are none of the government's business. Absolutely no
military draft, but we can all have guns to defend ourselves and
our country, like the Swiss.
There, I've communicated. Is anyone still
speaking to me?
I'm open to discussion on any of these
issues, love a good debate, but you have to use reason, not
emotion. Calling me "Babs" or a "racist" doesn't count as
I don't really mind name-calling, though; I
enjoy collecting enemies and am not always nice myself. Didn't
have time this year to carve my Halloween jack-o-lantern, but
I'm superstitious about having something scary on the porch to
keep away the evil spirits.
porch Halloween display.
For full impact
Impulsively, I clipped out the face of a
longtime Democratic woman activist from a John Tierney attack
flyer created to scare senior citizens, made her a tall witch
hat from a computer image and cardboard, and taped this to the
front of my pumpkin. It will remain on my front porch with the
rest of my decorations till after the election.
This may mean I can never run for Congress
without being attacked as a "kook," of course. Just add it to
all the other reasons I never considered "politician" as a job.
When we first heard about Bill Hudak's lawn
sign, some people asked me if I'd run instead. I asked them, "Do
you know what I had on my front lawn last election?" and they
had to admit they did not.
Some people will go through life waiting for
"the perfect candidate." I honor those imperfect human beings
who offer themselves up to the political arena, especially those
who run against incumbents with all their built-in advantages.
I voted early. Have usually held signs for
candidates or issues, but I have a cold so I'm glad I have a
column deadline to keep me warm at home with my tall glass of
pulpy orange juice.
Of course as I write this I don't know what
the election results will be. I'm personally hoping for
something definitive: Near-total victory, or near-total defeat.
I want to know: Are we saved as a nation, as
a commonwealth, or are we doomed? Just don't want to muddle
along in political limbo for another two years.
I've come to think that the election of
Barack Obama was a good thing. With the Republicans (before the
tea party got their attention), we were heading down the
slippery slope; with the Democrats, we went over the cliff.
To be determined today: Do we bounce, or go
I became a tea partier without a teapot this
week. I got distracted when warming water for my instant
oatmeal; the teapot overheated and lost its purple color. I
loved that teapot with its red spout and chartreuse lid. Have I
finally learned the lesson about paying attention?
Will the election results allow me to retire
from hectic political activism and into "the moment"?
For today, I am typing my column, listening
to two talk radio stations, and occasionally popping into the
Salem News live election blog or RedMassGroup. The latter is
where some young people who often speak my language hang out
No matter what happens today, they'll
continue the battle, soon to be called Revolution 2012.