The Hard Truth About “Undecided” Voters

Okay, it has to be said. This business of “undecided voters” needs to be addressed. We need to stop coddling these people and treating the issue like the old man who has spinach in his beard but we are too worried about coming off like insensitive boobs to say anything even though every fiber in our being is screaming out, “You have f!#&ing spinach in your beard, you slob!”

For all intents and purposes, the election season started two years ago. Two years ago, people! And it isn’t like the candidates are churning out new messages every week! No, what we hear today is nothing more than louder, more commercially hacked versions of the same thing each has been saying for twenty-four months. Hell, we know the message so well by now that anyone of us could step in a campaign press secretaries on a moment’s notice. Truth be told, the message for each camp hasn’t really changed in decades, so why is it that we keep hearing about this wide swath of “undecideds?” Either these people are so completely A.D.D., or they are so tone deaf that they can’t discern the difference between a campaign stump speech and the ingredients on a box of shredded wheat.

I suspect neither is true. It’s time to call it for what it really is. These “undecideds” are not undecided, but rather nothing more than a sampling of the most ego-centric, narcissistic bloc of voters who, if truth be told, are probably too attention starved to be allowed within a country mile of a voting booth. Hell, I’d wager they aren’t going to vote anyway. For them, elections are not about validating a politician. It’s about seeking validation for their own miserable, lonely selves. For them, elections aren’t about ideas and platforms. Elections are simply an opportunity for them to run out into the streets in their birthday suits screaming, “Love me! Love me! Won’t someone love me.” They are the social equivalent of your batty Aunt Mary who lives alone with her herd of smelly cats. She thinks she’s coolly eccentric and secretly desirable, but she lives alone with a herd of smelly cats! And she always will.

Undecided voters are the restaurant patron who arrives as soon as the doors open and keep sending the waiter away when he comes to take their order with a polite, “do you need a few more moments?” Yes, they demur. And this goes on until five minutes before closing when they finally ask, “What were the specials, again?” It isn’t about the food. Hell, they aren’t hungry anyway. It’s about someone showing up every fifteen minutes to fawn over them and “take their order.” It’s about controlling the affections of others.

We treat the “undecideds” like the crown jewel in the Triple Crown. If only we can convince them, we will break away in the stretch of the longest, most boring race imaginable and trot off with the prize of being the next elected this or that. What we should be doing is ignoring this self-adoring conflagration of attention starved lunatics and getting on with our miserable, pathetic voting lives.

The only way to deal with these “undecideds” is to completely ignore them. You weren’t going to get their votes anyway, because it was never about the vote. It was always about them. Send them home to their herd of smelly cats and for God’s sake, old man…you have freakin’ spinach in your freakin’ beard!

Writing for Ghosts

It is 4 a.m. and once again I am planted before the keyboard attempting to craft words into clever sentences…and there you go, failure in the first keystrokes. The good news, based upon my dearth of hits on WordPress, is that no one will read this anyway.

I once envisioned myself a budding writer, but now I am thoroughly convinced that feeling was nothing more than insomnia in the early morning hours combined with a pot of cheap coffee flushing out last night’s indigestion (don’t worry, that’s as graphic as I am capable of writing!)

I know I could be a good writer, if it wasn’t for all that grammar and words and things. But who am I kidding? It’s all about the words…the fucking words! (Hey, I used “dearth” in my second sentence…doesn’t that count for anything?) Well, I don’t have words or ideas or pesky plots, but what I do have is way too much time on my hands, so here you go.

When I write, I don’t have a particular audience in mind. Well, sort of, I guess…I have the ghosts of Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Hemingway, and Plath. Sweet Sylvia Plath. Lots of dead people who, while not necessarily helpful critics, at least show up in my head and watch the circus of confusion unfold. Sometimes I can hear the occasional clicking of the tongue, a sure sign to lay on the backspace and come at a line from a new direction. Or maybe the clicking is the melting cubes in Ernest’s posthumous cocktail. The revolver of his pistol being locked into place? Who knows? The point is, I’m often guided by the whispers of spirits.

It feels as though when I write it has less to do with me having something to say than something that has to be said having me to write it. (Wow, I just plagiarized myself..that last line was something I wrote a year ago!) But it’s true, nonetheless. I often find that it is sufficient for me to just press the keys, and somehow the story will tell itself. Don’t believe me? I just wrote everything above without a thought in my head.

The key to being a great writer, I’m convinced, is to be a great reader. There is nothing I can say now, or will ever write, that hasn’t been said or written before. But a studious reader understands that there are a million ways to say the same thing, and that’s the beauty, and salvation, of writing. You don’t have to be original. You just have to have a unique dialect. In my case, it also helps to have a really poor opinion of most of today’s writing. I continually lie to myself and say, “I can do better!” And sometimes…I do. Then I pull down a worn copy of Pushkin and think, “shit..fuck this!! I can’t write!” And again, I am right.

So I continue my early morning ritual and if it’s true what they say, that if you give 1,000 monkeys 1,000 typewriters, in a thousand years, one of them will bang out the complete works of William Shakespeare, then surely, if this continues for a thousand mornings, I can bang out something worth reading.