An undecided decides how to decide


I heard about some sort of presidential election that was supposed to happen in November. You may have heard about it too. The Republican and Democratic parties nominated some candidates—what were their names? I might have seen a couple of news stories about it.

OK, I really do know the names of the candidates, and there were more than a couple of news stories. Maybe there were five or six. Anyway, you who are reading this already know the names of the new president and vice-president taking office in January. But I don’t know yet because I’m writing this before the election.

And from where I sit (the midnight blue sofa in the living room) it’s hard to tell who’s going to win. Or even for whom I’m going to vote.One day the Republican nominees say something good and I think I’m going to vote for them. The next day the Democrats say something sensible and my vote starts leaning that way. The day after that there are goofy statements from both sides my vote starts to feel wary and skittish.

I suppose that makes me one of those undecided folks. And I’m not even sure if I’ve decided how to decide to quit being undecided. Or something like that. If I count up the things I like and don’t like about the opposing candidates, the tally comes out even. How do I break the tie? I’m running out of time to figure out which way my vote will go (easy now, little vote, easy).

Maybe I should try looking past the issues of the day and delve more deeply into the character and integrity of the nominees. I could do research into their public service backgrounds and observe their relationship skills and decision-making techniques and—oh never mind. That sounds like too much work. Instead I’ll just award the candidates points based on snap judgments, shallow public perceptions and random news bytes. You know, the same thing everyone else does these days.

For example, I read that vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin wears cool eyeglasses. Demand for her designer frames has increased so much that the manufacturer can’t keep up. And also, the “red peep-toe 3-inch heels” she wears (which I think are shoes) have jumped 50 percent in sales. Since fashion trendsetting is critical for getting mentioned in prominent political publications such as People Magazine, Palin gets one point.

I also noticed that Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama made a little blunder when mentioning his wedding anniversary. During a speech he mistakenly said he would be celebrating his 15th anniversary, which was one year short. I guess you could argue that’s a good gaffe. “Honey, our marriage is so exciting it feels like we’ve been married only 15 years rather than 16!” But I’m still giving Obama minus one point for his shaky memory. What if he’d forget where he put the remote for launching a nuclear missile or something?

But forgetting your anniversary number isn’t as big a booboo as bringing down the entire global economy. That’s what people believe the Republicans did, according to polls. I hadn’t realized that only Republicans abused their credit, defaulted on their mortgages, approved risky bank loans and took ridiculous severance pay. But there you go. So for being an economy-wrecking Republican, presidential nominee John McCain gets minus one point.

Obama gets a point back, though, for being the candidate parents would prefer to be their child’s schoolteacher. An actual poll was conducted to figure that out. You may wonder why. Well, it’s obvious that such a poll would help Americans discern that…. OK, I have no idea why. Personally, I’d prefer to have my kids’ real teachers teach their classes rather than some boring politician. Still, Obama gets one point for being, um, teacherly.

Let's check the point totals so far. Crud, still tied. Using random information might not be so great for making an important decision after all. I guess I’ll have to figure out another way to decide how to vote.

Of course, I could listen to all the people yelling that if I were halfway intelligent, or a real American, or a true Christian, or whatever, I would vote THIS way and couldn’t possibly make any other choice. Sorry, yellers, that won’t help. Unless you want me to vote exactly the opposite of you out of annoyance.

But none of this matters to you readers, because for you the election is over. So I offer one more decision. If you don’t like how things turned out, you can (1) complain, criticize and forward nasty e-mails about the new heads of state or (2) respect the new leaders, pray for them and stop the gossip when it comes your way. Only one of these choices comes straight from the Bible. I’m just saying.


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