Wednesday, November 16, 2016

when progress isn't all that progressive

With all the media hype surrounding the campaigns before the election, there were many fears that the elections themselves would be a little more hostile than normal. Thankfully, that turned out not to be the case.

One thing I've learned over the last twelve years is that there are two elections where people when turn out en mass to vote. One is always the presidential election. The other is an election where there is a controversial election. So everyone was fully expecting extreme chaos.

We did have long lines. The first few days of early voting I was able to work in Garner. We had lines when we opened, and those lines never ended. We "closed" the lines with a line. (When closing time arrives, a worker stands at the end of the line with a sign. Everyone in front of the worker is allowed to vote, which means closing time and finishing time are always two different things.) After seven days in my hometown, I moved to my assigned workplace in a rural town that's a 40 minute drive away. While we had a steady stream of voters, the lines were nothing compared to what other sites were seeing. It wasn't until the last three days of early voting that we experienced lines with wait times of 30 minutes or more.

Our number one issue, besides fatigue (17 days of 8am-8pm work is crazy) was voters enraged over the state's ID requirement for voting being struck down by the courts. I don't mind people complaining or running their mouths. What I do mind is the belligerent voters who demand workers look at their ID, some going so far as to shove it within 1" of your nose. What does that serve? So you want people to break the law. When the courts tell you NOT to do something and you force someone to disobey, that's exactly what you're seeking. In your self-righteous anger you demean and insult people who volunteer to make almost minimum wage for insane hours at a time just so you can exercise your democratic right to vote. And for what purpose? Because you are angry someone disagrees with you? To add even more irony to the situation, most poll workers actually liked the ID law. It often made finding people in the system much easier.

Thankfully, we didn't have more than 2 of those a day, but encounters of the kind leave you on edge, with your blood boiling more than a little, and a growing dislike for the general public. It also makes me ponder how it is that we can process 925 kind and reasonable voters, yet when our day is done, our mind lingers on number 926 who was a jerk. Why does my mind reflect on the minuscule minority with no manners?

Despite all the talk from people about how far our society has advanced and how much better we are than our ancestors, when I read memoirs and excerpts from the past, I realize we've not really progressed. Oh sure, there are certain evils and vanities that society is no longer "trapped" by, but in mindsets and attitudes and behavior towards one another, nothing has really changed. I have liberal friends who are just as mean-spirited and hateful as some of my conservative friends. The only thing different about them is the side of the fence they throw their rocks from.

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