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Where is “None of the Above” on my ballot?

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Super column. Ironic, isn’t it, that people are once again mad as hell but instead of a protest they are partying in the streets, listening to the singer who used be called Cat Stevens, a TV star and ad pitchman (Sam Waterston) and two Comedy Central icons. At the local Fed Ex were groups of folks buying poster board and making signs for the rally.

I am out -of-town, so I filed my absentee vote before I left.

I did keep looking for the “None of the Above” box to select. I so often seem to be voting against one individual or another (pick a party or cause, it doesn’t seem to matter), usually the so-called front-runner. But I am rarely wildly enthused about anyone running. Where are the Jeffersons and Madisons and Lincolns of the 21st Century, heck even the second half of the 20th Century, though I had a soft spot in my youth for the Kennedy allure.

I wonder what would happen if there was a choice for voters of “None of the Above.” I suspect that choice would win in a landslide this election year. To elect a live person, there would have to be another election and the losing candidates from the previous election could not run again. At some point, we might actually start electing highly qualified, highly motivated and interest candidates who served the people who elected them and not their own interests.

Meanwhile, down on the Mall in D.C. last Saturday, Comedy Central’s iconic Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert hosted their “Rally to Restore Sanity or Fear.” For an electorate that professes to be mad as hell at Democrats, Republicans, Tea Party folks, Greens, Libertarians, whoever, it was more a tailgate. As my friend Ken Winter noted in a column it was a far cry from the riot geared police on hand with tear gas of 40 years ago. But the similarities are profound, an unpopular war, a President sunk deep into the polls, a feeling of desperation. This era also has record shattering unemployment, massive foreclosures, bank bailouts and despite the assurance of the economist that the recession is over, the Great Depression of the 21st Century continues for millions.

Were there protests in the streets of the nation’s capital? Nope. I saw a lot of very clever hats, many hand written signs and everyone seemed out for a good time.

No matter the bomb threat of the night before or the arrest of a Virginia man for plotting to blow up the Metro a couple of days before that.

Today, we get to the serious business of voting. I just wish I could have located that “None of the Above” box on my ballot. I wouldn’t have used it for every race, but there were certainly some.

Kudos to the Online News Association and its leadership for a terrific, lively, informative, inspiring and useful conference in DC last week. Of particular note were Amy Webb of Webb Media Group, Evan Smith of texastribune.org, Jan Schaffer of J-Lab’s pre-conference sessions, the legal session and the Wikileaks downloaded session among other terrific presentations.



Written by jrnjbb

November 2, 2010 at 8:11 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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