Nov. 7: A day that will live in indifference
AH, NOV. 7. Election Day. A day that for Hawaii voters will live, if not in infamy, then extreme indifference. Early polls predicted that island voters would be staying away from the voting machines in droves. A new record in low turnout was expected. The island record for poor voter turnout, I believe, is 4 out of 10. But I know we can do better. If you are reading this now and the polls are still open, you still have time to not vote. Be part of Hawaii history. Stay home. Go to the beach. Take a nap. A 30 percent turn out of eligible voters would be fantastic, but 20 percent would put us on the map. That would be the map of the brain dead electorate. (Some might wonder how I can be so bold as to call the Hawaii electorate brain dead. Won't they get angry? Won't they come after me? No. Because they're brain dead. And they don't know what "electorate" means.)
Now, I'm having to write this a day ahead of Election Day, so I may be wrong. Maybe more residents will turn out to vote than at any time in the history of Hawaii. Maybe they'll line up for hours, braving sun, rain, wind and, at the single polling station atop Mauna Kea, perhaps even snow.
Maybe, but I doubt it. The main races in the Hawaii election involve a popular governor with token opposition, a popular U.S. senator with token opposition and a bunch of fairly confusing state constitutional and city charter amendments. The amendments really aren't that confusing unless you are brain dead. But voting on them involves having to actually read something and that's such a bother. And if you are brain dead, it's more than a bother, it's impossible.
Mainland voters are expected to go to the polls in huge numbers because this mid-term election is seen as a referendum on President Bush. Bush is like mayonnaise, you either like him or you hate him. And like mayo, Bush gets slathered on every issue: global warming, solar cooling, tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, a slight drizzle, crop failure, E. coli in Spam musubi, the infield fly rule, gravity, term life insurance versus whatever that other kind is, growing humans on farms for their body parts, extinction of the dinosaurs ... you name it. Bush lovers and haters are using the ballot boxes to thrash each other soundly today, which is weird, since Bush isn't even running.
Most Hawaii residents don't waste a lot of time hating somebody 5,000 miles away, even Bush. So, with no hot local contests, no real pro- or anti-Bush sentiment (at least not enough to get people to leave their beach chairs) and all of those confusing amendments, I really think we could be looking at a massive, massive lack of voters today. Chicken skin, brah.
Department of Shameless Plugs:
I know, seems like I've been doing a lot of this lately. But if there are things to be shamelessly plugged, this is the place to plug them. Today's is a new play, "The Night Talkers," making its world debut Friday at The Arts at Mark's Garage. It is written and directed by Frank South, who happens to be the guy who hired me as a staff writer on "Baywatch Hawaii." Frank was head writer and co-producer, part of the Baywatch franchise, the longest running show in the history of television that was canceled about three months after I was hired to write for it. I think it was a coincidence, but others aren't so sure. And still others think the death of "Baywatch" was George Bush's fault.
Frank and his wife, Margaret, a fine writer, producer and artist, settled in Hawaii after the "Baywatch" circus left town. Frank has been steadily working on bringing "The Night Talkers" to the stage.
The characters can trace their lineage back to a series of celebrated one-act plays Frank wrote, which were produced and directed by Robert Altman. That was before Frank sold his soul and began writing for TV. Just kidding. I don't think he sold his soul, he just let TV borrow it for a while. (I have tried like mad to sell my soul to TV but, alas, there have been no takers.) Starring with Frank in "Night Talkers" is Margaret Jones, a veteran stage and film actor. The play will run for two weekends. Call 550-TIKS or visit www.honoluluboxoffice.com. See it or George Bush will do something bad to you.
, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists' 2004 First Place Award winner for humor writing, appears Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org