Election Aftermath -- November 8, 2000

Quite a cliff-hanger so far, eh?

Jennifer voted yesterday morning on her way to school. I voted shortly afterwards (in fact, she was pulling out of the parking lot -- we vote at one of the local elementary schools -- as I was pulling in). Nancy voted after she got home from work. (I was working at home yesterday and today because I have to analyze a new software system, design a possible training course for it, and estimate the effort required to build that course... and there were just too many distractions at the office... this entry is my sanity-restoring lunch break.) Jennifer voted for Ralph Nader. I voted for Browne (the Libertarian candidate -- I just disagree with Nader on too many things to vote for him). I'm not sure who got Nancy's vote but it was probably Nader. Since Adam sent me email urging me to consider voting for Nader, I assume he cast his ballot that way (and his fiance probably also cast a Green vote) so you can see that we are not among the statistical center in terms of presidential preferences.

Jennifer and two friends were going to Boston last night to see the rock group Rancid performing at the Avalon Club on Lansdowne Street (right behind Fenway Park) -- where the Boston Red Sox play). I was concerned about that for two reasons -- first, I did not know where the venue was located and I was concerned about them (two college females and a high school male) being in some less than savory Boston neighborhood (and Boston does have a few of those) -- and second, concern about her making the drive back in the middle of the night. So, I offered to drive and she accepted. We printed directions from MapQuest -- which is a very helpful and useful site, but you always have to remember that the directions are produced by software and not by people and sometimes seem to follow logic that picks shortest distances rather than most convenient driving... and the final few instructions can cause the most problems. Still, we managed to follow the route almost until the end, when we ended up on Brookline going away from our target instead of towards it. Attempted to get directions at a gas station (less than a mile from our destination) but none of the attendants (who were of dubious citizenship) had ever heard of Fenway Park (let alone Lansdowne Street. Fortunately there was a Boston cop nearby who was able to point us in the right direction.

I dropped them off just down the street from the Avalon and drove off (not wishing to spend ten dollars to park my car in what appeared to be a converted warehouse that was crammed full of automobiles). I found golden arches and had coffee and one of those little "apple pie" things. I had brought one of those little walkman type radios with headphones, thinking that I could listen to election returns but I could not tune in any election coverage (even though I could get NPR on the car radio at 90.9, that signal was drowned out on my little portable by more powerful stations) so I sat there attempting to tune in something interesting when I heard a familliar voice on the radio -- Bruce Williams, who does a phone-in talk show, generally discussing personal finance and investment topics. I used to listen to his program sometimes when I lived in Binghamton but I don't think any Rhode Island stations carry his program. I found a place to park (right by a NO PARKING sign *grin*) a couple blocks away from the Avalon and listened to Bruce Williams and then to some oldies music that followed his program... must admit I almost fell asleep... and finally, as it neared eleven o'clock, I decided to find a restroom and another cup of coffee. My guess had been that the concert would end about then (Rancid plus two opening acts, doors open at seven, concert starts at eight) based on my experiences taking her to Lupo's in Providence but she was sure that it would run past midnight... so I was just stepping up to the counter in a Burger King a few blocks away when my cell phone rang. It was Jennifer, the concert had just ended. So I got my coffee, picked them up, and tried to find my way out of Boston.

Actually, I had a pretty good idea about where we were and how to get home. This was not all that terribly far from the Museum of Fine Arts and I thought I remembered the route I had taken so I set out to follow Route 9 West signs but the I was seduced by a sign pointing to Route 1 and I thought that might get us out faster but it is very dangerous to rely on signs in Boston -- they are even worse than Rhode Island (which is an amazing statement) -- and I was quickly on streets with no informational signs at all. I found Beacon Street and a little Dunkin' Donuts -- an opportunity to feed my passengers and get directions. Well, we were able to get bagels and donuts, but the young woman behind the counter, who spoke limited English with a thick Spanish accent, was not a driver and other than agreeing that we were on Beacon Street could provide no further information. All I really wanted to know was which direction to go to find Route 9 again... fortunately as we were leaving a guy who was parking next to me was able to tell me to go left on Beacon and then just take the next left. I followed his directions and soon was on Route 9 West once more and very quickly reached 128/I95 and off we went on the approximately eighty mile drive home.

We were following NPR election coverage until we got far enough from Boston for the signal to begin to breakup (we were listening to the Boston University station.... WGBH may have a more powerful signal, but they were playing music) and I switched to a Providence station carrying ABC news coverage. Jennifer and her friend Leah (who also had cast her first vote and had also voted for Nader) were outraged at one of the pompous political pontificators who was talking about Nader voters. (Jerry Brown, former governor of California who had sought the Democratic Party's nomination a few elections back, had been interviewed a few minutes earlier and had said that he didn't think Nader had cost Gore too much because most of them would simply have chosen some other non-Gore candidate if not for Nader.) This expert commentator, however, said that he thought Nader voters were hurting Gore and giving the election to Bush then he went on to describe Nader voters as being "aging hippies and college students with blue hair and multiple piercings." Jennifer was royally pissed off at that. Of course, she currently has bright red hair, but she did have blue hair back in July... and Leah has very dark blue hair... and they both took the commentator's remarks as being both personally and politically insulting.

After we got home I watched election coverage on television (and checked local results online at the Providence Journal website) until they decided that Florida would be won by Bush (of course, earlier in the evening most of the networks had declared it had been won by Gore, only to retract that just a little while later)... But, of course, now I see that they have retracted their declaration of Bush as the winner, waiting for the Florida recount to be completed.

So... right now I don't know who the next president will be... I don't particularly like or support Bush (and I certainly would never vote for him!) but I find the thought of a Gore win to be really upsetting. I think Gore could be really dangerous in office -- I think he is an absolute liar, someone who panders to special interests far more than Bush (which takes some doing, but nevertheless...) and someone who believes that Big Brother knows best and who will work to increase government control of every aspect of our lives (oh, but always with the very best of intentions, of course, because he knows far better than we what is best for us)...

Ah, at least it has been interesting to see the news networks look like the idiots that they are....

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