Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Columns

October 26, 2012

Time to make a choice: Undecided voters are clearly in the wrong

It is good to have a pet peeve, because peeves don’t require much feeding and you can take them on vacation with you. My pet peeve is people who can’t make up their minds on life’s various issues, including the political.

It is easy to imagine them right now: Should we continue to read this column or brush our teeth? Should we wear our hair up or down? Or, concerning those with hair like mine, should we comb it over or use our scalps as solar panels, the better to power our political thoughts?

Both men and women are prone to being of two minds. In the delicate matter of family politics, husbands will ask themselves: Should I have a nap on the sofa now or later?

For their part, women have been indecisive since before the invention of sofas. Why, some of the finest men in the archeology business believe that the first cavewoman asked the first caveman the classic question: Does this saber-tooth tiger skin make me look fat? Or not?

Speaking of people who live in caves, I think this is the only charitable explanation for the existence of undecided voters, who every four years come out of their dark seclusion before presidential elections to make life a vexation for the rest of us.

Make a choice, for goodness sake, and stop using your brains as a pendulum. The rest of us have made a choice while you undecided people have been wandering around in circles looking confused.

For me, this vacillation ranks on the irritation meter somewhere between very and astronomical. My intolerance is rooted in the many years I have worked in the newspaper industry, where making snap decisions on deadline is essential to production.

A seasoned journalist such as myself cannot sit around pondering what stale cliché to use or what absurd metaphor to employ. Considerations of fairness, ethics and national security loom over my every sentence, demanding urgent answers to such vital questions as: Should I finish this column now or go to the tavern for lunch?

Even before lunch, a part of me says the cave habitation theory of election confusion is totally implausible. Even caves have Wi-Fi service now, and it would be impossible to remain completely unknowing for months on end, not with great fountains of information and misinformation gushing from spigots right and left.

Undecided voters, what do the politicians have to do to wake you from your civic swoon? Would it help if I explained the issues? Soon our long national nightmare of ridiculous TV advertising will be over. Decide already, so that honest reporters can ignore you and go back to sitting in taverns.

Of course, it’s not for me to suggest whom you should decide to vote for — it is enough that you stop your indecisive nonsense.

The choice is simple. You can vote for the challenger who has changed his views so much that he doesn’t appear to believe anything, or the incumbent who believes things not to your taste if you make more than $250,000 a year.

You can vote for the president who has presided over a poor economy or the challenger representing the party on whose watch the economic disaster began and which has done its best to keep it disastrous at least until this election.

Do you want to vote for the president who gave millions of people the chance of health insurance coverage or the challenger who thinks those malingerers should be sick without bothering the rest of us (although the rest of us end up paying for them)?

If you like, you can vote for the one whose stimulus spending swelled the deficit in a conventional attempt to revive the economy. Or you can vote for the one who plans to cut taxes but leave the bloated defense budget off limits to cutting — a scheme that will guarantee a bigger deficit, unless you believe that the Deficit Fairy will come with her magic wand and make the arithmetic add up.

Just make up your darn mind. What’s that you say? You have made up your mind, but you just like all the media attention?

I knew it. Look, when the rest of us see you being interviewed on TV as an alleged undecided voter, or making up the crowd of same at the second presidential debate, we can see the tiger skin of false pretenses covering your nakedness. This doesn’t make you look fat — just ridiculous.

Reg Henry is a columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.

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