Marijuana is spelled with a "j" |

Marijuana is spelled with a "j"

Randy Wyrick
Kira Horvath/Vail DailyCounty Commissioner Arn Menconi walks his 1A wagon through the parking lot at the Donovan Pavillion polling place on Election Day.

EAGLE COUNTY ” It took me about 20 minutes Tuesday to perform My American Duty, about the same amount of time as it takes the average married couple to get a small tattoos, although with voting the results are much less permanent than either of those.

One line, very little waiting.

The little flag waves on the electronic voting machine when you’re finished doing your patriotic duty.

Technology is democracy’s friend, except when you’re in the voting booth and your cell phone goes off and you hit the silencer button and it immediately rings again from the same person and you’re stupid enough to answer it and it’s the last political activist of this political season asking for your support on the marijuana initiative and you say, “You moron, you spelled ‘marijuana’ wrong,” and she says she’s seen it spelled with an “h” instead of a “j”and you say you have, too, but only when you’re stoned.

And besides, aren’t you supposed to wait until after we’ve actually exited the voting booth before you start your exit polling?

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So you hang up and, reasoning that dope really is for dopes, you vote against it, but you vote to give libraries and schools anything they want because you’re a recovering liberal and you still believe even stoners can learn to spell, even if they’re just spelling “Wow!”

And then you take a breath and look around the room at the other civic-minded registered voters sharing the American Miracle ” the peaceful transition of power.

Sometimes the political process brings out the artist in us. One guy waiting in line started singing ” to the tune of “The Streets of Laredo” ” “I see by your sticker that you have just voted, my exit poll asks who you just voted for …”

Sometimes it brings out the judge in us. We make sweeping value judgments about neighbors we really like because of the yard signs someone else stuck in their crabgrass. But by the time the polls closed last night we had all gone back to our mortgage payments and casseroles and the yard signs had been bent into hot dog-roasting sticks.

Sometimes it brings out the taxidermist in us. A couple guys dressed in blaze orange waited patiently in line after they came in from hunting Election Day morning. They hadn’t had much luck, but decided the 100-foot limit made a sporting shot and they’d be willing to glue some antlers on a politician’s head so you can mount it over your mantle, and that it would probably better serve the Body Politic than letting them actually take office, they opined.

Candidates were out doing the last honk-and-wave, where they stand in a roundabout with a sign and smile warmly at registered voters driving by. They didn’t seem nostalgic that it was their last time and none said they’d be out there today or tomorrow. It’d be a little like trick-or-treating on Thanksgiving.

Sometimes the registered voters flash the honk-and-wavers a heartfelt Colorado Howdy ” five fingers fully displaying an open palm and good intentions. Sometimes the registered voters flash the California Howdy ” an abbreviated version made popular on the West Coast by people on the go who simply do not have time to get all five fingers in the air, so they only raise one finger.

That’s more civilized than the guy in northern Kentucky. A UAW poll worker in Louisville choked someone trying to vote. He landed in the Crossbar Hotel where there are no voting machines.

Winston Churchill pointed out that “Democracy is the worst possible form of government, except for all the others,” an opinion shared by Tim Quealy of Gypsum, who’s glad to be part of the process. “It may not be perfect, but it’s our process and we love it,” Quealy said.

Bob Branden, pastor of Eagle Bible Church is proud to mix politics and religion, and to have his say in these matters.

“You get to do something this easy and we still have license to complain about it. We have everything,” Branden said.

When asked about campaign financing and the money candidates and committees spend to try to convince people to see things their way, Branden trotted out a C.S. Lewis story, illustrating that people waste money in all sorts of creative ways.

Once upon a time Lewis was walking across a college campus when a drunk asked him for some money. Lewis gave him a pretty serious chunk of change, which raised the ire of a friend walking along with him. “You know he’s just going to use that money to buy a drink,” his friend chided.

“That’s fine,” replied Lewis. “That’s what I was going to do.”

One man said it was his civic duty to vote in such a way that it would cancel his wife’s ballot. If that’s true, it’s my job to vote so it cancels Matt Zalaznick’s.

Our buddie Cassie hurried to her precinct to cancel mine … It’s the American way.

Randy Wyrick can be reached at 748-2977 or

Vail, Colorado

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