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Boomer Grandpa: Thank goodness the election is over — I can rest

November 15, 2018

As I was entering my polling location Nov. 6, I ran into Karen, a friend and neighbor, as she was exiting. Her husband was still inside filling in ovals.

As we lamented on the barrage of commercials that beat us into political unconsciousness, Karen said she never imagined she would miss the My Pillow commercials. She is thankful to again have the My Pillow guy back on the airwaves.

Karen was on a roll as she also said they might need a new television remote because they had been pressing the mute button over and over and over. She put a smile on my face as I headed in to vote.

Personally, I wondered how all the conciliatory calls went after the totals were in. As candidate A called candidate B to concede I wonder if it went something like this: Candidate A calls and says “Hi B, I just wanted to congratulate you. I will support you in any way I can.”

Candidate B then says to A, “Wait a minute A, for months you have called me a low-down, treacherous, bone-headed scoundrel who is out of touch and doesn’t share the right values, and now you want to be nice?”

Candidate A responds with, “Well, uhh, you know, I mean, gee whiz, come on, look B, everybody is doing it, you must understand it was nothing personal. In my defense, we had a great deal of money to spend — what else could the party do with all that money?” Candidate B then responds with, “Yeah, right.”

‘Investigate something’

Every day I look forward to an inspirational, funny or occasionally cynical email message from my friend Lisa. On Election Day, she sent out a Will Rogers quote. Rogers loved to make fun of politicians.

Over the years I’ve written a couple of columns using Will Rogers’ material. His quotes are still humorous years later. Rogers was a movie star, American cowboy, comedian and a newspaper columnist. He died in a plane crash in Alaska in 1935.

In 1925, he wrote a column about writing a column and using slogans. Here’s a sample of Will Rogers quotes from that feature 93 years ago. A few of these one-liners could be used by Jimmy Fallon today:

• “Join the Senate and investigate something.”

• “Why sleep at home when you can sleep in Congress?”

• “Be a politician — no training necessary.”

• “It is easier to fool ’em in Washington that it is at home, so why not be a Senator?”

• “Come to Washington and vote to raise your own pay.”

• “Get in the Cabinet; you won’t have to stay long.”

• “Work for Uncle Sam, it’s just like a pension.”

Despite poking some fun here, we know politics is a serious business. Each person that steps into the political arena unveils themselves, along with their family, to unimaginable scrutiny and even threats and hassles. Good grief — it’s not OK what candidates have to put up with.

With the election over, I’d like to say thank you to all those, despite the grief they take, who still run for office, not only at the state level but also locally. Thank you to those who wish to serve on school boards or city councils. Thank you to the judges, county commissioners and soil and water supervisors. Thank you for your service to the public.

There’s one more group I’d like to recognize from last week, and that is everyone who worked as an election judge. In talking to Annisa Hollingshead, city clerk/communications director, she said goals are to have election judges who are representative of the community and to ensure polling places are properly staffed to minimize lines.

Her department strives to also have election judges who can provide language assistance if needed. Annisa told me this year they even had a dozen student election judges who served in polling places. She felt their goals were achieved and they will continue to work to improve the process for 2020.

I had a few friends who served as election judges, and each one of them said it was a positive experience and they will do it again. One said she wishes more young people would get involved as election judges. State law allows an individual time off from work to be an election judge without a loss of wages.

Cheering first-time voters

Another told me the most exciting part was when a first-time voter arrived. Everyone cheers and thanks them for doing their civic duty. If you are interested in helping in the future you can go to the city website, www.rochestermn.gov/departments/city-clerk/elections/election-judges.

Elections are a remarkable process here in the United States of America and in Southeast Minnesota. Thank you to all those who make the procedure fair and go smoothly.

However, I do have to say it’s good to have all that in our rear-view mirror and to have that guy back on the television screen — you know, that guy, that My Pillow guy.

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