Fretting over things I can’t control

Many months and well over a billion campaign dollars later, November 2nd is finally upon us. This time, I’m not planning to stay up following the news until I hear a definitive result (as you could guess, this plan didn’t result in much sleep in 2000). Instead, I’m going to a concert, which promises to be good enough that I’ll forget about all of this, if only for a few hours.

Unlike last time, nobody seems to expect to wake up Wednesday morning knowing the final results; we know it’ll like be decided in some courtroom in the upcoming months. As preparation, the Democratic party claims to have an 10,000 lawyers waiting with pencils sharpened, patent leather shoes buffed, and yellow legal pads fully loaded. This, of course, is just asking for trouble. Fully one-tenth of these are stationed in Florida, and as CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin noted, “Sending that many lawyers is almost a self-fulfilling prophecy. You can’t send 1,000 lawyers and say ‘see if there’s anything to do’. They will find something to do.”

I could recount any number of crazy stories about this election: the electronic polling machines which in early voting really did register some votes for Kerry as being for Bush, the parole officers who have falsely told their charges that they aren’t eligible to vote in their state, international observers who have been banned from coming within 50 feet of polling stations in some Florida counties, and so on, and so on. If you’re a fellow news junkie you already know all of this, and if you’re more sane than that, you could have guessed it on your own. Oh, the inanity… Any day now my rational left brain is going to seize up and stop trying to make sense of it all. Stories like this don’t help:

So weird have the attempts to hasten the End Time become that a group of ultra-Christian Texas ranchers recently helped fundamentalist Israeli Jews breed a pure red heifer, a genetically rare beast that must be sacrificed to fulfil an apocalyptic prophecy found in the biblical Book of Numbers. (The beast will be ready for sacrifice by 2005, according to The National Review.) It can be difficult for environmentalists, many of whom cut their teeth on peer-reviewed science, to fathom how anyone could believe that a rust-colored calf could bring about the end of the world, or how anyone could make a coherent End-Time story (let alone national policy) out of the poetic symbolism of the Book of Revelation. But there are millions of such people in America today -- including 231 U.S. legislators who either believe [this] doctrine or, for political expediency, are happy to align themselves with those who do. ("The Godly Must Be Crazy", Grist magazine)

Finally, as a followup to the rhetorical question of how the US election would go if everyone got to vote, has announced that of their ~110,000 voters, a decisive 9.0% chose Bush.