Off the road and into the blast furnace: Electoral Process Blues II
My worst fears were confirmed. The car was about half-unloaded and there she was with a full head of steam. Eyes like lasers. I felt the two red dots on my back. As I turned, she charged.
My wife's presence is a most wonderful calmer of distraught spirits. Mine as well as my attacker. "A cup of tea," and she gestured to the porch swing and rockers. "Earl Grey or English Breakfast?"
Our aggressive friend actually helped me finish unloading the car while the tea was prepared. The combination of restraint and helpfulness would have been disarming had I not caught her eyes as we set the last of the luggage in the front hall. The fires were marginally banked.
So as we settled into the rockers, I offered the opening gambit. "Thanks for calling me on the road Thursday. I was struggling with a couple of marginal ideas and you gave me a much better topic." I sipped and smiled.
She slurped and snarled, "You bookish academic, fuzzy-headed liberal, pseudointellectual twit, trying to run a double standard by those two or three readers who waste their time trying to understand your rambling.
She was almost smug. Had that I'm about to shoot a quail on the ground look.'
Forthrightness is a virtue, especially when one is caught red-handed. "Good question. Guilty as charged. I do support direct election of our governor and indirect choice of a president."
I stepped into the buzz saw. "Voting does not seem to moderate your aggressiveness." I should have known better. It was like charging a furnace with oxygen.
Go with the crowd'
Her manner seemed to cool, so I stirred. "Don't you suspect just a bit of spin from the founding fathers? I know some folks who argue the electoral college was a compromise to keep slave holding states in line."
Wave the flag'
She was serious and it seemed time to wave the flag. The one with the 50 stars, that is. "All that contains some grains of truth, but the larger reality is our system has worked. And for over 200 years. The current Bush/Gore entertainment notwithstanding, it is the best system in recorded history."
And one more time, I confessed, "Of course I am. You can trust those large states if you choose. As for me, I'll go with Mississippians. And if you want pure motives from people or from systems designed by human beings I suggest looking well beyond the political or governing process."
Bill Scaggs is president emeritus at Meridian Community College and a senior consulting editor for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.