I usually avoid discussing politics in my columns, mainly because I would rather not be disowned by family members, unfriended by friends, or doused with milkshakes and other beverages by complete strangers at the local Whataburger.
This time, though, I just can’t help getting out my big ol’ stir-up-sumpin’ stick.
I’ll begin by announcing that I recently cast (as in chucked, lobbed or hurled) my vote for President of the United States of ‘Merica. I decided to vote early so I could avoid the airborne particles of other humans on Election Day – I thought. To my dismay, when I arrived at my early-voting location, a shabby community center built during the make-every-structure-look-like-a-doctor’s-office period of architecture, the line of voters wound around the inside of the building as if I was awaiting my turn to discombobulate my innards on the Space Mountain ride at Disney World.
Unfortunately, my innards still felt discombobulated, but not because of a thrilling roller coaster ride. Instead, the building had no air conditioning and smelled like a massive, well-used cat litter box. (And since my three teen daughters are philosophically opposed to caring for their own pets, I would know.)
Rather than filter out the odor, my COVID-19 face mask trapped it in my defenseless nostrils. By the time I reached the voting kiosk, I was so overcome by the heat and stench that I feared I might face-plant on the touch screen and accidentally place a write-in vote for the late Wilford Brimley – which might not be such a bad option.
Speaking of my three daughters, even though none of them are old enough to vote, I felt like it was important to engage them in the vital subject of national politics during an election year so that they, too, could make an informed argument about which presidential candidate has the most humiliating dance moves.
On a recent evening while we were digesting our tacos around the dinner table, I asked each of my daughters to offer their opinions about President Trump and Joe Biden.
My eldest and most expensive daughter replied that both of the candidates are too “creepy” for her. She longs for a viable third-party candidate who would pledge to place a cap on the price of a Venti Double-Shot Espresso on ice with two pumps of caramel-classic syrup and almond milk at Starbucks.
My middle daughter had to admit that she knows very little about the candidates, and she doesn’t care much about politics. She did declare that both leading candidates seem “old and crusty,” and she wishes she could find a way to get her current boyfriend on the ballot.
My youngest daughter didn’t hear the question because she was too engrossed in her iPhone – watching a YouTube star explain how to dress up your pet as a Russian babushka . (You think I’m kidding.)
After this initial round of discussion, we proceeded to take an online political survey designed to determine which presidential candidate would most closely match our values and beliefs as a family. We chose answers to questions ranging from our views on immigration to our feelings about eating our Thanksgiving dinner via slingshot due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We were only slightly disappointed to discover that we would be most satisfied with Baby Yoda as President.
On another evening, we all gathered in the living room to watch the musical “Hamilton” on Disney+. In today’s divisive political atmosphere, it was refreshing to revisit the time of our Founding Fathers – when politics were more harmonious, everyone knew how to rap, and political disagreements could be settled with an old-fashioned shooting.
Whatever the outcome of this year’s election, it’s important to remember that we are all Americans, and our devotion to our country should overcome our political differences. Most of all, when disagreements do arise, we should resist the temptation to douse one another with our favorite fast-food beverages.