Self Editor’s Vote: Our Man in America is an alien and therefore lacks the alienable right to vote. But he’s still gonna tell you what he thinks about the June 8 California elections.
THE 60-something-year-old man sitting to my right at the Oakland Main Library rose and tapped my shoulder gently. I took off my headphones and turned.
“Excuse me. Are you on wireless?” he asked, pointing at my laptop.
“Yes,” I answered.
He was having trouble connecting to the library’s WiFi.
He placed his laptop next to mine and asked me to see if he was doing something wrong. I looked at his network connection preferences. Nothing wrong.
That’s about how much I know about computers, so I sent him to the library’s techies, while I watched his backpack. (I think if you are not at the airport it’s OK to watch a stranger’s bag).
He returned a few minutes later angry.
“They said it (WiFi) has been acting up,” he said and grabbed his backpack to leave.
I refreshed my page.
“Mine is working,” I said. “Maybe you should try again.”
“Oh!” he exclaimed. “You are plugged to the power outlet. Maybe I should plug mine too.”
I’ve never heard anyone say that plugging to the wall can improve a signal’s strength. I’m not saying it doesn’t, I’ve just never heard such thing and I’m not going to waste my time googling it. The man took out his battery charger, plugged it in, and YES!
We high-fived each other.
That was more commotion than we library junkies can tolerate, so I did not bother to introduce myself and ask what he was working on.
But I did ask him four hours later, at closing.
“This is a ballot,” he said, waving what looked like an oversize multiple-choice exam answer sheet. “I’m researching the candidates for California primary elections. Did you know we are voting next week?”
I’m not eligible to vote but, yes, I know that Californians are going to the polls June 8 to pick candidates for November. I’m not a political news junkie; I just have a Facebook account, and for quite sometime I have seen bombarded by campaign ads. In fact I have become so obsessed with them that every time I log on I go straight to the right column to see what candidate’s Facebook ad will come up first.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom wants to be the next lieutenant governor. Some guy named Chris Kelley is seeking the attorney general’s office. (He pops up on my page more than anybody). Meg Whitman for governor. Etc., etc.
The candidates may differ in ideology — whatever that is — but their campaign ads have two things in common: They are mediocre and vague.
Newsom says Californians should elect him lieutenant governor because he is the state’s “greenest mayor.”
Kelly says you should make him attorney general because he thanks veteran U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein for proposing a “total ban on offshore drilling.” He doesn’t stop there in his show of how well versed he is in current affairs: He also wants you to sign a petition urging all his opponents to oppose the “dangerous” Arizona law Gov. Jan Brewer signed recently requiring law enforcement officers to check immigration status. That’s original, Chris.
And Whitman wants Californians to know that “jobs are on the way.” They should also vote for her because she is “the only fiscal Conservative” running for governor. Sounds like the tribal chieftains in my country of birth: Elect me because a Gusii has never held Kenya‘s presidency.
Regardless of all the mediocrity, someone is going to win. Will anyone ask Whitman whether “jobs are on the way” up or down? Kelly, without using the names Boxer and Feinstein, would you please tell us why we should vote for you? And Newsom, please explain what “greenest mayor” means.
The man at the library told he has voted mostly Republican, and at times Democrat. This time around he wanted to really understand candidates before voting.
“I’m not going to settle for the lesser of two evils any more,” he said.
I admire the man for taking time to research the candidates before voting. But with a California electorate used to vague campaign ads and recycled rhetoric, the angel he is looking for might be difficult to find.
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