An Anticipated Election


2020 Hawaii Ballot
The 2020 Hawaii county ballot section for president

Ballots complete, stuffed, signed, and deposited in the drop box at the county elections service center that just opened. While decisions on the various candidates had been made quite some time ago, we had to spend some time reading to understand a few of the county charter amendments I was unfamiliar with.

I cannot recall a ballot I was so anticipating filling out or dropped in the box with such satisfaction. Even if the deeply blue Hawaiʻi result on the presidential election is already well known, filling in that box was something of a catharsis. I may have used a bit more ink than necessary to register the vote properly.

I realize I have voted in nine presidential elections across the decades. I have always made a point to vote, even in primary elections. I look back and realize that years past I often voted without much concern for which party a candidate declared, particularly in traditionally conservative Arizona where the best candidates were usually in the GOP. Those days are gone, maybe for quite a while.

Voting in Hawaii is very easy… Get the ballots in the mail, fill out at leisure, mail them in. Deb and I opted to drop them off directly to the elections office as the service center site is just a skip and hop off the main road into town.

The elections service center for the island’s west side is located in the county office complex off Kealakehe Parkway. Around back in the multi use room, easy parking, no crowd, the kind ladies manning the center will point out the box just inside the door.

Now we just have to wait 14 days for a result, and perhaps a bit more for confirmation.

The Divide

Country and city have always been different world, as long as cities have existed. The language each uses to describe the other captures this… Hillbilly, city-slicker, redneck, yuppie, hick, the tradition of mutual derision is as old as history.

Windmills and silos in Wasco County, along state route 206
Windmills and silos in Wasco County, along state route 206
This weekend I was borrowing a pickup truck to run yard waste to the county facility. When I started it up a rather annoying radio station began to play. Looking for an alternative I clicked through the presets on the stereo… Country? I can do country.

With a bed full of oleander branches piled higher than the cab and the tarp flapping I was off, with some very country, country music playing. There would be a few loads this Saturday before the county closed the scales at four.

One thing about country music, it is very reliable. Heavy on the guitar, simple melodic lines perfect for driving. The themes are often heavily based on nostalgia and a simple world of country values. The station is one I seldom listen to, KKOA out of Hilo, carrying the programming from ABC Radio’s “Today’s Best Country” satellite feed.

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Election Day

Tomorrow is election day. A day so many of us have been awaiting, and dreading. This election has seen so much rancor, so much passion, it is difficult to measure by any past standards. Tomorrow it will be over in one way, and I suspect, just starting in others.

I Voted
I Voted sticker, image credit: Wikimedia
I will not be joining the line at our local polling place. Not because I do not want to vote, but rather as I have already voted. I stopped by the Waimea Community Center last week and voted early.

This election is too important and life has a way of disturbing any plans. Not that my vote will decide the presidency, that will have already occurred by the time polls close in Hawaii. But rather it is too important to me personally. I can not abide the thought of not having voted in this election, an election where so much is at stake for our country.

There is only one acceptable outcome tomorrow… That Trump loses hard. That our country rejects hate, rejects divisiveness, rejects racism, and rejects the lies. I, like so many others, will be watching the election results very closely tomorrow, sweating the results from each battleground state. It will be a long day.

Smashing the System

In light of recent events I have been re-reading the history of the early 1930’s Weimar Republic again. The parallels we can see in the current presidential election are simply frightening. A populist leader arising to manifest the resentments and fears of a large segment of our population that feels dis-empowered and threatened. The issues have inspired me to consider again the history of our own country, what it really means to be American.

US Constitution
First page of the US constitution
It is not so much Donald Trump I am worried about. He is merely a con man who’s game has grown out of all control. No, it is what Trump enables and represents that I am truly worried about. A basic disrespect for the institutions of government put in place by the founding fathers two centuries ago. Trump and his followers do not want to work to improve our government, they want to take a hammer to it and destroy two centuries of success.

Trump has repeatedly indicated his contempt for many of the functions of the federal government. Worrisome proposals by Trump include significantly reducing the freedom of the press, allowing more participation of religious organizations in politics, slashing environmental protections, and repudiating many longstanding international treaties. While the candidate is extreme, a good portion of his political supporters go far further in expressing their desire for slashing at core functions of the federal government.

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