Democracy Vs. Pumpkin Pie: In Overbrook, Pumpkin Pie Is Winning
On Tuesday morning, around 10:30 a.m., I dragged myself out of bed to make my way to my local polling place, which I found courtesy of Where’s My F**king Polling Place.
Normally, I get a little thing in the mail telling me where to vote, and the location seems to bounce around each year. There are also normally signs in the neighborhood giving people bad information on where to vote, a common dirty campaign trick. But this year, I didn’t see a single sign, and I also never got that little thing in the mail.
What was also abnormal about this particular Election Day was that I was dragging myself out of bed at 10:30 a.m.
Not to indulge all those people who like to accuse me of always figuring out a way to bring my whiny self into each story, but I was rushed to the E.R. on Sunday night in excruciating pain. Turns out I have kidney stones, and so I am currently enjoying a prescription for Percocet and an 800mg Ibuprofren horse pill. So you will excuse me if I digress.
I had been up since 5:30 a.m. when the painkillers wore off, and by 10:30 a.m., I had made my way through so much terrible TV that I had to get up and move.
Shamefully, I don’t vote in every single election, but I do vote in most, which I’m pretty sure makes me an exception in Philadelphia, where voter turnout can be abysmally low unless you’re electing the country’s first black president.
It’s possible that had I not been rushed to the hospital on Sunday, I wouldn’t have voted. I probably would have been running late in the morning, told myself that I would go after work, and then I would get tied up after work. And I probably would have only felt bad about that had the election been decided by just one vote. Hey, it happens.
Anyway, I slowly made my way to Esteem Barber Shop at 6546 Lebanon Avenue in the Overbrook section of Philadelphia, where I have lived relatively harmoniously since John Street was in office. It’s a little scary leaving the house when you have stones swirling around inside your body, since you’re never quite sure when said stones are going to decide to vacate the premises.
Remember Kramer’s kidney stones on Seinfeld?
Anyhoo, once I got to the barber shop-cum-polling place, I realized that I’ve been so disengaged from local politics — other than writing about political ads and one candidate with a secret daughter — that I wasn’t entirely sure what races I’d be considering. Again, it’s always nice to get that paper in the mail that tells you where to vote and what races there are. Who is responsible for that, anyway? One neighbor told me she didn’t get one either.
There was no line, so I stepped right into the voting booth.
It turns out that I had three choices to make as far as races were concerned. Well, actually two.
The first choice was between the two Toms — Corbett and Wolf — for governor. Although their race — at least what little I’d seen of it — has been weird and entertaining at times, I can’t say that I wanted to vote for either guy.
It’s like in 2012. I was an enthusiastic Obama voter in 2008. But by the time his term was up, I was ready for a change from the “Change We Can Believe In.” But Romney? Please.
If you think that we would have somehow been better off with Mitt Romney in the Oval Office, then you are about as delirious as I was after my second dose of Percocet. I reluctantly pulled the handle for Obama, just as I reluctantly pulled the handle for Wolf today. (Yes, I realize that it’s really “pushing the button,” but “pulling the handle” just sounds better.) Could anyone be worse than Tom Corbett? Let’s hope not.
Then I moved down the polling booth to the next section. Congressman Bob Brady versus challenger Megan Rath. Who the hell is Megan Rath? I don’t know, but what I did know is that she and the Republican party didn’t do a very good job of letting me know.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Bob Brady in that he’s-a-regular-Philly-guy way, and he does seem to have a knack for fixing problems. But this will be his tenth term in Washington, and I just can’t help but think that we could use some new blood. Of course, Brady got my vote.
And then there was the section for State Representative in the 192nd Legislative District. But only one candidate: incumbent Louise Bishop. First of all, why is anyone running for state rep unopposed? Seriously, Republicans, you need to get your act together. And second, why do we even bother putting unopposed candidates on the ballot?
I don’t know much about Louise Bishop, other than that her name popped up in that sting operation shut down by Attorney General Kathleen Kane, and so I just skipped that one. Again, it’s not like my choice mattered, since there was no choice.
But I wasn’t done yet. No, I still had the dreaded charter change questions to answer.
Thankfully, my colleague Joel Mathis put together a handy guide to Decoding The Three City Charter Questions on Tuesday’s Ballot, in Plain English, and so I whipped out my iPhone in the booth (is that even allowed?) and consulted it. No one had walked in after me, so it’s not like I was holding up the line. I thoughtfully considered each question for about a minute and landed on no, no and no.
I pressed the big green vote button, and the lights next to my choices went out. There seemed to be no indication other than that that my vote was recorded, so hopefully there’s not a tie or I am going to be really upset.
On the way out, I pointed out to one of the poll workers that there was a Tom Wolf campaign ad hanging prominently in the room, which I’m pretty sure is a serious no-no. “Yeah, I don’t know where that came from,” he told me. “It’s been there all morning.” Missing the point, he just left it where it was.
As I walked from the polling place (which had no one heading in) to my car, I noticed a big sign out in front of our local Italian bakery, Orlando’s, which has, like most neighborhood Italian bakeries, been around for several decades. The sign reads: “Pumpkin Pie: $3.99.” That’s a great deal, and Orlando’s is a great bakery. And a lot of people seem to agree with me, because there was a line extending out the door.
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