Are We There Yet?: A Liberal Votes in California

Are We There Yet?: A Liberal Votes in California

Are We There Yet?: A Liberal Votes in California

Who knew provisional voting could be a teaching moment?

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“Are we there yet?” my 9-year-old son asked last Tuesday as we crossed the street of our quaint Los Feliz neighborhood so I could vote in the primaries. I had flown home from New York, where I am currently working, just so I could vote in the election, and I insisted that he come with me.

“I don’t want to vote, mom, I want to go to school,” he whined. Having never heard those words come from his mouth, I felt even more convinced that he should witness the democratic process. We walked exactly three houses from our home to vote in the garage of a neighbor, where I’ve been voting for years, only to find out that I wasn’t registered there. That’s right, my voting district had been changed. If I were a conspiracy nut, I’d be convinced that a multinational oil cartel was running our government because my voting location was now a full eight blocks away, which in California is considered a long-distance drive.

“You can vote provisionally,” I was informed, “but it won’t be counted for forty days.” Living in California, I vote, but at the same time I’ve become conditioned to feel that my vote doesn’t count, as the country is usually decided by the time our votes are tabulated out West. So I relented. Besides, I had dragged my kid with me.

“So, when do we find out who the new President is?” he asked. “Well, this is just the primary, Ezra,” I said, “and we won’t know these results until late tonight. And then, yes, we’ll probably know who’s running for President.”

Because everyone is now their own 24/7 news organization putting out news bulletins and Internet alerts, I returned home and, sure enough, my mailbox filled up with news:

9:34 am:

MoveOn.org e-mail reminding me to vote.

9:58 am:

Robert Greenwald’s Brave New Films reminds me to watch its live coverage on the Internet.

10:43 am:

An e-mail arrives from a member of the cast of Desperate Housewives exhorting me to vote for Obama: “I trust him!” Which I suppose, coming from an occupant of the intrigue-laden Wisteria Lane, seems like an amazing endorsement, particularly if you think that TV is reality.

11:37 am:

As if beamed in six months ago, an e-mail from Denis Kuchinich, reminding me to impeach the President.

12:02 pm:

A retired attorney from Chicago sends me the Yes We Can! YouTube link.

12:44 pm:

Before any news organization breaks the story, an e-mail arrives letting me know about the double-bubble problem for nonpartisan and Independent voters. In fact, these folks represent 20 percent of voters in LA. Their votes, along with mine, may not be counted. Why did I vote provisionally? Damn!

233 pm:

E-mail from a Kabbalah/Secret practitioner now traveling with her llama. It’s the Yes We Can! YouTube link.

2:45-2:55 pm:

I lose twenty minutes of my day trying to come up a witty retort, but all I can come up with is e-mailing back, “No I Can’t” watch this video again.

3:42 pm:

A lesbian thirtysomething forwarding Joan Walsh’s column on why to vote for Hillary, plus an invite to a Hillary rave at 10 pm in West Hollywood.

3:43 pm:

“Thought you might want to read this too,” same woman for Hillary writes, with an attachment titled “Barack Obama Is Not Jesus.

5:50 pm:

E-mail from The Nation–Who’s Greener: Obama or Hillary? Too late, Nation! I’ve voted. Didn’t read it to find out.

Finally it was time to pick up my kid from school. “Who won, Mom?” “We don’t know yet, Ezra.” It was still too close to call by his bedtime. My son blamed me. “Mom, it’s your fault! Dad, Mom’s vote won’t be counted for forty days!”

As I tucked my son into bed, he asked me one of those questions every parent struggles with: “Why is the sky blue?” “Where do we go when we die?” And then, “Mom, what is a superdelegate?”

I dare you, go ahead and try to explain that one to a kid. “But who are they mom, why do they get to decide? And why, mom, why, why, did you vote provisionally?” (Hmm, a 9-year-old uses the word “provisionally”–perhaps it was worth it.) Maybe by the time he’s old enough to vote I’ll be able to explain who the superdelegates are and why this year they looked to cast the deciding votes for the Democratic Party. This morning, once again, my son asked me if we knew won the primaries. “No, Ezra,” I said, “we’re not there yet.”

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