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HURT: Voting in Washington, D.C., is an experience like nowhere else
Question of the Day
Living here in the capital of the world’s most powerful and sophisticated democratic republic isn’t so easy, especially on Election Day. As the beacon of freedom and self-governance, we voters in the District of Columbia take seriously our duty once again to humbly demonstrate to the world how democracy works.
Normally, I vote down the street at Hine Junior High School, where on Election Day the school is closed and the metal detectors are pushed to the side of the hallways. The metal detectors are returned to use when the junior high school students come back the next day. It is unclear what the metal detectors are for because it is largely illegal to have a gun in the District.
But since Hine has been shuttered and taken over by vagrants and tall weeds, I got to vote across the street at Eastern Market. There was a long line, but it was a peaceful affair. Despite our panoramic diversity, we put aside our differences in the name of democracy.
By “diversity,” I mean almost exclusively white, 98 percent college-educated, no dirty fingernails, all belonging to the same party and everyone voting for the same person at the top of the ticket.
The atmosphere was positively ebullient, with all cocooned in the safety of knowing that the people in front of, behind and all around them would once again be voting for President Obama. This whole diversity thing comes so easy for us D.C. voters that we have a hard time understanding why the rest of you people just can’t seem to get with it and be diverse like us.
This year, we had both sides of the large ballot to fill out. In addition to voting for a U.S. senator that we do not have and a U.S. representative that we do not have, we also got to vote for a whole bunch of other positions that do not have any power. Such as an advisory neighborhood commissioner, which is like a hired gadfly who has no actual power but pesters the heck out of people who do.
There are 296 elected positions around the District, and I wrote in a couple of the homeless people from my neighborhood, figuring they would be highly effective and probably have the free time to take on the positions. Certainly they would be better than the eager white dude who came by campaigning for a gig a few weeks back wearing — and I am not making this up — a cap with glittering letters on the front that said: “RUSSIA.” He surely will win.
We also got to vote for several members of a “State Board of Education.” With D.C. not being a state, it is unclear which state’s board of education will be saddled with the public servants we pick. But, boy, will they be surprised by whom we send them!
In addition to selecting this whole slate of important people, we D.C. voters also had to handle three amendments to our city charter. After very careful consideration, by which I mean reading once while standing at the flimsy little voting table, I voted against all three of the amendments.
One would allow for expulsion of any member of the D.C. Council for “gross misconduct.” Another would disqualify felons from sitting on the council. The third would bar felons from serving as our mayor.
To all of you unsophisticated and unlearned voters out there, this probably sounds like good government to you. But being a longtime, experienced and savvy D.C. voter, I know this actually means unending vacancies in our local government as well as other headaches.
I mean, if dangerous amendments like this were to become law, what would we do with council member Marion “Bitch set me up” Barry? Or recently departed council member Harry Thomas Jr., who is sitting in prison for embezzling $350,000? Or another recently departed council member, Kwame R. Brown, who is to be charged next week in his bank-fraud case? Or all the bribe-takers, small-time grafters and big wheels who just want seriously pimped-out rides paid for by city taxpayers?
This is why the serious task of voting should be left up to us professionals, whose entire livelihoods are in some way wrapped up in politics here in the nation’s capital.
• Charles Hurt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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