I am a registered Independent. I registered this way when I first moved to Santa Barbara almost thirty-five years ago, partially because I knew nothing about California politics.
“Who’s this Moonbeam guy?”
“He’s the new eccentric Governor, Jerry Brown.”
“Is he an astronaut?”
“Exactly. Can’t believe he replaced Ronald Regan.”
“The host of Death Valley Days?”
“Yup he’ll probably be president some day.”
“Well, that should help the sales of 20 Mule Team Borax.”
Another reason I chose Independent was a purely guy thing. I didn’t know if all those “California Girls” the Beach Boys sang about were republican or democrat and I wanted them to know I go both ways – so to speak.
But I guess the main reason I became an Independent is because I’ve always been a middle-of-the-road kind of guy.
“Hey moron, get out of the street!”
“Okay. Should I go left or right?”
“Where you should go is straight to the funny farm.”
“Thank you.” He must know I’m a humor writer.
Over the years, this middle-of-the-road stance has cost me sometimes. For instance, I was terrible on the debating team: “Yes, I see your point. Oh, good response. Wow, you are so well informed.”
I’ve also always been bad when it comes to giving directions.
“Excuse me, how do I get to State Street from here?”
“Well, you could take the freeway or you could take the frontage road. The freeway is probably fastest, but the frontage road is more scenic, though it might be congested this time of day. Of course there is construction on the freeway so that might offset the slowness of the scenic route. I guess you could bypass it all by going over the hills and then approach from the north, unless of course you want to go to lower State Street, whereby you’d be better of going the beach route, through there are a lot of bicyclists to watch for, not to mention tourists like yourself.”
“I should have known better than to ask someone standing on the median strip.”
Nor have I ever been all that great at making big decisions.
“Paper or plastic?”
“Soup or salad?”
“White or red?”
“Ah... Rose! Ha!”
I probably owe all this to my English heritage. Not wanting to say the wrong thing and lose face or make a statement that causes ridicule. Looking back I guess if I had one of those British Royal names that they shout out as you arrive at the event of the season, like:
“Duke Highwaterpants of Squirrel-in-the-Pond.” Or...
“M’Lady BouncyBottom of Abundant Shire.” Or...
“Sir Tipsy of Alehouse Manor.”
Then I would be introduced as...
“Count Don’tAskMe of Doubtin’ Abbey.”
So who knew, that over the years, my vote would become a crucial one? If I would have known that was going to happen I probably would have chosen “other” as my party. But like it or not as a “swing voter” both sides are now wooing me.
“What do you think about the economy?”
“Ah... I think we need one?”
“Where do you stand on bailouts?”
“Hey that was just one time, okay?”
“How do you feel about medical marijuana?”
“Hey that was just one time, okay?”
“Domestic oil is black gold!”
“Really, then why isn’t your wife wearing a petroleum necklace?”
“We need more nuclear energy.”
“If you wait a few more months some should be washing up on the west coast.”
“What are your thoughts concerning wind power?”
“Don’t wear a loose-fitting hat?”
“We should make government smaller so we can create more jobs.”
“But what about all those government folks who will lose their jobs?”
“We should take from the rich and give to the poor.”
“Will we have to hide in Sherwood Forest?”
“Where do you stand on immigration?”
“Well out of the way, so I don’t get run over.”
“What are your views on Chinese imports?”
“Excuse me for a minute I have a call on my iPhone.”
“If you could tell all the politicians what you want most out of your government, what would it be?”
“Ah... Less hate. More love. World peace. Compromise, compromise, compromise. And, if they want to throw in legalizing marijuana a lot of us soon-to-be retirees will learn to live off the land again.