Well, thank God that’s over. Until next time. Now let’s see how long it takes to trash all those loser signs left blowing in the wind like broken dreams. The political robocalls that disrupted meals, afternoon naps and Netflix – they’re gone. Until next time. Yeah, next time.
The 2020 elections will be here before we know it. Coming months will ricochet like those little steel balls in predigital-era pinball machines. It’s time to go to work to correct the mechanics of how elections are conducted in South Carolina, particularly in fast-growing places like Greater Charleston. It’s obscene to keep voters standing in line for two, three, or even four hours to do their civic duty to throw out some of the political rascals so that others can take their place. Or maybe reward others who are yet to be caught.
OK, this is cynical and unkind. I’m sure that some I voted for are honest people who volunteered to serve, sometimes at great personal cost to themselves. Blame my bad manners on an old man’s sore feet after spending too much time standing in line.
In 2020 we will go to the polls again to choose a president. If nothing’s done before then, lines are going to be much longer. More would-be voters are going to give up and just go home. We must not let this happen.
It took me almost two and a half hours to vote at my polling place Tuesday. Yes, I know I could have voted days earlier if I’d wanted to. But I’m one of those stubborn people who don’t believe in early voting if you are not handicapped or otherwise unable to go to the polls on Election Day.
Sometimes you do meet interesting people when you’re standing in line for hours together. Some of those I saw had brought young children with them. Parents were constantly racing after them when the kids tried to escape. Some kind souls put out pizzas and cold drinks for them. A nice thought. A nicer one would have been if adult beverages had been furnished for old geezers like me.
My voting place was in a new elementary school. As I shuffled my way along what seemed to be miles of hallways (after an hour’s wait to get inside the school building itself) I had time to peruse the children’s art work displayed on the walls. I have great-grandsons attending this school.
The thought crossed my mind that maybe I had died while standing in line and that I was actually in purgatory, and that before I came to the end of the line my great-grands had grown up, married and had children of their own. That meant that instead of being a great-grandfather, I’d then be a great-great-grand. Oh hell, I thought. That would make me really old.
But enough about my afternoon at the polls.
The next day, Wednesday, I watched President Trump’s hour and a half press briefing on Fox channel television. After opening remarks, when he tried to explain how losing the House was not such a bad thing after all, he got into an extended shouting match with reporters, both men and women, reporters who repeatedly interrupted him, and while doing so made complete asses of themselves.
If you want to know why mainstream media currently are held in such low esteem (along with those reported on), I suggest this briefing is exhibit A.
I have a suggestion: End the mob scenes. Restore some civility. The White House press corps should select, by lottery, no more than 12 reporters to attend each White House briefing. Those selected should be urged to be respectful, as reporters once were presumed to be. This does not mean they should refrain from asking tough questions, when called upon, questions that the president or those speaking for him might find challenging and painful to answer. That is the reporter’s job.
It his not a reporter’s job to mimic the behavior of the shouters and shriekers who disrupted the recent Kavanaugh hearings, behavior that well may have cost the Democratic Party any chance it had to take control of the Senate as well as the House.
R.L. Schreadley is a former Post and Courier executive editor.