For those of you who live in the United States, that title is sort of a “duh,” but to those readers who live in other countries, and I’ve been getting quite a few showing up on the analytics WordPress so conveniently shows me, this is an American tradition, every four years, that can drive some of us, including yours truly, CRAZY.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE our democracy and I really believe in voting. I have voted in every election since I was 18 and was first granted the privilege. I was one of the first to be allowed to vote at 18 as the voting age had previously been 21, but when the Viet Nam War was raging, and the citizens were raging about the war, and we all asked why the nation could draft young men who could not vote for the people who were doing the drafting. well the age was changed. That’s history. I vote, no matter how small or how large the election, I VOTE.
To be precise, I vote by absentee ballot and I just put my envelope in the mail today. My vote has been cast. There is no going back. That said, let me tell you about a visitor to my front door a few moments ago. By the way, it is local election time in Fresno as well as the national primary. California, for some strange reason, is one of the last to vote in the presidential primary, so it’s a done deal before we ever see the ballot, much less mark it. We are the biggest state, but we get the last say. Makes no sense to me, but I digress. Back to the candidate volunteer who showed up today.
She was decked out in red, white, and blue. Stars and stripes vest, straw hat with flag scarf tied around it. Sensible shoes, though. I think she should have some jazzy little red, white, and blue number. I graciously answered the door, and she started to hand her candidate for city council flyer to me as she’s rapidly telling me about him. She opens the flyer (of which I have an over-abundance of these left on my doorstep and also receive in the mail from all sorts of candidates) and starts to tell me he is against high speed rail. Have I told you, dear Reader, that I do not have a poker face? She must have seen my expression change from gracious and smiling to vicious with teeth bared. Ok, it’s not really that drastic, but close. I am very much FOR high speed rail and will only vote for those candidates who support it.
“Oh,” she said, closing her flyer and stepping back from the door, “you’re for high speed rail.”
“Yes I am.”
She then begins a litany of reasons for opposing it, all which I have heard, all which make it sound like we are living in the 19th century.
I can dispute all of the reasons, and I tell her, the bay area and the Los Angeles basin citizens are also opposed to the high speed train coming through the San Joaquin Valley as they see no good reason to spend money on this geographic area. There is nothing of interest to them here and they want all the money spent in their areas.
Those of us who favor the high speed rail in the San Joaquin Valley see it providing jobs and, here’s my main reason, a fast way to get to the bay area and/or Los Angeles basin. The people who live in those areas can take a plane trip for less money and get to the opposite end faster than by high speed rail. It’s almost impossible to fly out of Fresno to those locales unless you pay $300 and plan to leave very early or very late in the day. The citizens in those locales never fly to Fresno. Well, almost never, unless their company pays them to fly here for some business-associated visit. So, you see, they have no desire to see tax money spent on the line to go through the San Joaquin Valley. I have people in the bay area tell me, “There is nothing there. Why should we have a fast train that goes where no one wants to go?”
My votes are cast. The ballot is in the mail. After election day, June 5, we will see how it all shakes out. Probably not to my liking.