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The Golden Age of Spam

Will the Real Renaissance Please Stand Up?

My Life of Crime

My Life of Crime, Pt. 2: The War of the Dandelions

Black (and Blue) Friday

Going Home

How Not to Celebrate a Holiday

Traffic Report Fall Down
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O, Holy Weekend

You Mean My Vote Actually Means Something?

Side Disorders

Lessons for Hurricane Preparedness as Taught By Example in Raleigh, North Carolina

You Mean My Vote Actually Means Something?, Pt. 2: Are They Gone Yet?

The Last Reality Show

It Builds Character

Sink the Flu

WTF (in C Major)

Intruder Alert

Kneel before Za

I Got Your Breaking News Right Here, Pal

Christmas in July...or April...or maybe even December


Why I Hate "The Little Drummer Boy"

You Mean My Vote Actually Means Something?, Part 2: Are They Gone Yet?

For the past couple of months, my house has been under siege. It's not that it's unsafe to go out. Quite the opposite: Going out is the safest thing we can do.

If you stay home, it's like an Edgar Allan Poe poem. I'm not exaggerating. To be specific, it's like his poem "The Bells": every night, we (along with every other North Carolinian) have been suffering from the swelling in the anger of the bells - of the bells - of the bells, bells, bells, bells, Bells, bells, bells - In the clamor and the clanging of the bells!

I am speaking, of course, of phone calls from politicians.

At first, it was novel. After all, the has only supported one Democrat for president since 1970, so we generally get ignored in the general elections for president as much as we do in the primaries (see my earlier article regarding the primaries). But this year, thanks to a series of unfortunate-for-the-Republican-Party events, North Carolina was in play this year for the presidential election. We also were electing a governor and a senator, and both of these races were more competitive than usual, too. (The race for governor is, incidentally, almost always won by a Democrat despite the fact that the state usually goes Republican for the presidential election. I still haven't figured that one out.) So whereas most years we would get a handful of negative TV and radio ads and that would be it, this year it was the Perfect Storm, only with bullshit instead of water.

Even the state cabinet races were running in full force. Yes, we actually vote for them separately in North Carolina. Somewhere along the way, some genius decided that every single office in the state should be a separate election. We elect the lieutenant governor, the state treasurer, the commissioner of insurance, the commissioner of labor, and even the justices on the state supreme court. No, I'm not kidding. Some days I'm surprised we don't have an election for the damn janitors in the Legislative Building. In any case, these elections just added to the onslaught.

My wife and I learned not to answer the phone before 9 p.m. on weekdays and not at all on weekends. We got used to erasing half a dozen messages from politicians informing us that their opponents would raise taxes, their opponents would spend like there was no tomorrow, and in one instance that their opponent was (I am not making this up) part of the atheist agenda.* (This member of the atheist agenda is, incidentally, a Sunday school teacher.) My wife quit watching the news in the morning because she was tired of hearing about it (she started watching again Wednesday morning after the election). We even fled to the hills of Kentucky for a week. We didn't completely escape politics there, but not knowing who most of the candidates were made it a little easier to ignore. The fact that we were in the heart of Bourbon Country and went on some trips to bourbon distilleries (complete with samples!) made it a lot easier to ignore. The only downside was that when we got back home, the number of messages on our answering machine was staggering.

Now, thankfully, the election has ended. Normalcy, or at least what passes for it in my house, has returned. We can answer the phone again, watch TV again, read a section of the newspaper other than the comics again.

Mind you, it wasn't all bad. When you know which candidate is going to carry your state, it's hard to think there's any point in voting even if people aren't certain who would win on a national level. This year, it felt like it actually mattered that I voted. I look forward to it being that way again. But rest assured: Any candidate, for any office, who says he supports amending the "Do Not Call List" laws so that political campaigns are no longer exempt will have my vote.

* You may notice that most of these claims sound like something a Republican would say about a Democratic opponent. According to a newspaper article, this is because the Democrats generally didn't leave messages if a live human didn't answer. I can't help but think that explains why the Democrats did so well in our state.

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