November 14, 2008

First Person:

Electronic Voting Vato Loco

By Al Carlos Hernandez

This is the first year I used an electronic voting machine and it was frustrating. Spin the dial one way then turn, scroll down then push. It was too early, and this election too serious for me to roll stupid at the last minute. Should have stuck to the old school paper ballot. I’m a low tech homie in a high tech homeland, and the electorate endorsed this as true.

The day didn’t start out well. We were accosted in the parking lot by a lumberjack looking woman in comfortable shoes who kept yelling, “No on 8!” Which I heard as, “Can’t get a date.” In her case it wasn’t a gender or civil issue, it was an atheistic one. She was so ugly she hurt my feelings. No doubt the opinion was mutual. She was grimacing while looking at my morning mug.

Standing in the white tented booth, colors glaring up, never in a life of political and social militancy could I have conceptualized that I would pay 4 bucks for a gallon of gas only to be accosted by a gay marriage advocate. To vote for a Black man president or a white woman VP, during a stock market crash, while GM and Ford threaten to go out of business.

Back in the day there was a tune by Gil Scott Heron entitled The Revolution will not be Televised. That pre post modern rap, rap tune, told about a coming social revolution that would be chronicled yet not inspired by popular television, which at the time consisted of the big 3 networks.

This revolution of November 4, 2008 was emailed, blogged, text messaged, My spaced, and Face booked. My thoughts as I struggled with my reading glasses squinting at my Wila-kite sized piece of note paper, went back to my fallen Home Boys and Home Girls, “Raza Si, Guerra No!” compatriots who yearned to see the day of ethnic authenticity. I was privileged to be there on the paradigm shift, tipping my hat and my heart to those who fought the good fight of freedom but was selected to go home early.

Never thought I would live to see the day when a Black man was elected president, I have always been too politically cynical, experienced too much socio-political exclusion, to believe that a man of color could get a fair shot at running the county. Always thought that the powers at be, the Shot Callers of Shot Callers, were a suited billionaire boys club of WWF referees. Maybe they still are. But a man of the people and by the people has emerged.

Can’t say that I agree with Obama’s entire agenda. I tend to swing conservative. Big on traditional family values. From working class stock. Inspired to know that the smack spoken to ethnic school kids by well meaning (often times socialistic) career counselors throughout the years has finally rung true. You can grow up to be president. By the same token, who would want the job now? Given the tsunami of problems that the 44th will inherit from an overindulgent nation, who now may have to lose a couple of pounds, in order to get back on tract.

Although the sitting regime is much to blame for our economic meltdown, we have to take responsibility as a people. Why would you buy an interest only house when you knew you couldn’t afford it? Why do you buy porqeria with high interest credit cards when you can only make the minimum payment?

Incumbent upon us, if we are to help the new president fix this country and get on tract, we have to stop sniveling. Pay our bills. Roll up our sleeves and keep it positive. Realistically, everything cannot be George Bush’s fault. We cannot and should not defer blame. Deal with the real. It is a new dawn.

When I was done voting, the computer laser printed out a receipt. It ironically looked like something you get from the ATM at the gas pump. My wife was already outside saying “hello” to neighbors. I walked out actually smiling. They gave me a little sticker and for some reason. Was happy to get it. Like when a dentist gives you a sucker.

I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again
Don’t get fooled again
No, no!

-The Who

Al Carlos Hernandez writes from Hollywood.

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