Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Voting Machines Story

My one time inside The Old Weird Harold, on a tour with my eldest son Scott, we were ushered into a room and spoken at by "a real reporter" and, at the end, asked if we had any questions "about current news items or topics".

At the time, replacing paper ballots with electronic voting machines was a big topic of discussion, and I raised my hand and asked, "What do you think about replacing paper ballots with voting machines?"

You would have thought I had accused him of sucking the Pope's cock during high mass. It was incredible. The guy became livid instantly, and called me a crackpot and a conspiracy theorist and so on. He raved, literally. And during the rant he let slip the fact that he KNEW FOR SURE the machines were ABSOLUTELY TRUSTWORTHY because he'd reported on them extensively AND, it just so happened, his brother-in-law and others in his family owned a company that MADE them...

Well, I stood then and calmly said, "You said you reported extensively on the machines, but just said you were related to someone who makes them; isn't that a conflict of interest?"

He glared at me, opened his mouth, shut it, then strode out of the room, leaving everyone in the group floored.

And of course they all then shot ME dirty looks for "ruining" their tour and for being such a crazy liberal trouble-maker... As they stood and wandered from the room, some muttered what a jackass I was, and yet, all I'd done is ask a question and a sensible follow up question.

I was astounded, still am. I'm also now more cynical about how people prefer conformity and orthodoxy to facts, truth, or even to probing for such things. Better not to make waves, better not to rock the boat, than to find out useful, important, and interesting facts, is how they live. They being society, the collective group. The hive mind, the herd, call it what you are taught to call it, what's familiar to you. Better that way. Won't upset you if you reduce it to cliché.

They want answers, regardless if they're lies, and detest questions, regardless if they're revealing, insightful, or trenchant.

Later, I laughed about it, and said, "You know, it fucking figures. I can't even ask ONE innocent question without being buzz-sawed by the right."

The right, meaning the approved, the sanctioned, and the allowed.

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1 comment:

Valerie said...

Oh, Gene, everyone is polarized. I got hammered the other day on a liberal site because they were making nasty comments re: Cheney's heart attack. Now he's by no means my best friend but I don't wish him ill either. I hoped we were above that kind of juvenile meanness, but we're not, not even close.