Al Batt: The polls aren’t saying what we are saying

Published 9:43 am Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Al Batt’s columns appear every Wednesday and Sunday.

I watched a dog raise a leg on a lawn sign.

Dogs love being a part of the election process.

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We’ve had some windy days. I don’t mind the wind when it blows the leaves from my yard. Some people blame the wind on the Norwegian ancestry of area residents. Others claim that the wind turbines actually produce wind, but most blame the presidential debates. We pause in our complaining about the weather to complain about the election.

Election signs waved in the wind as if they were a field of brightly colored grain. I count campaign signs to see how accurate their numbers are in predicting election outcomes.

I was enjoying the voting canine when my cellphone introduced a caller. It was a pollster. Polls take my temperature to see how I will feel in a month. There are too many polls. How useful can they be? A TV game show poll found that 25 percent of people think Vin Diesel invented the diesel engine.

The pollster asked, “If you disagree with everything a candidate has ever said, if he said bad things about your mother and spit into your chili, would you still vote for him?”

Every candidate has ideas. Some of them might work, but most won’t. I can say that because I probably won’t be offered a cabinet position. Politicians pander to underpaid and unappreciated creatures like us in the hopes of getting elected. I’d vote for anyone who promised to put an end to robo-calls and push polls.

The presidential election is similar to an annual physical or a semi-annual dental appointment in that it comes around every few weeks. Election campaigns never end. They spend too much money on free speech. Candidates promise more promises. Promises made without intention of keeping. Some candidates fib more often than a 10-day weather forecast. They battle to see which one is the worst person. This makes us uneasy. George Carlin said, “In America, anyone can be president. That’s the problem.”

Jessica Mitford wrote, “Things on the whole are much faster in America; people don’t ‘stand for election,’ they ‘run for office.’”

I love this country, and I’m proud to vote. We’re different here. Sweden automatically registers voters, and voting is compulsory in Australia. In Germany, TV ads are restricted severely. The longest election campaign in Canada was 78 days. We hold pernicious, pie-in-the-face debates and spend silly amounts of money on campaigns.

I heard a candidate claim that rural folks had made the country what it is today. It’s just like a politician to blame others.

I try to find humor in things. It’s not always easy. I become fatigued. Politicians dig up dirt on their opponents while burying theirs. At least they won’t be handling our food. Years ago, I asked a veteran campaigner if it bothered him that his opponent told lies about him. He replied, “Not really. It could be worse. He could be telling the truth.”

I listened to the radio, but strident voices drove me away. Iron tonsils bellowed in outrage, “I’m right. You’re wrong.” We must remember that left wing and right wing are on the same bird. The criticisms required no reason. Just because you’re offended, it doesn’t mean you’re right. It means you’re biased, just like all of us.

I enjoy watching baseball. I watched bits of the World Series in 2014. I had no horse in the race, but was pleased to observe anyway. I saw the beginning of Game 5 in San Francisco. Aaron Lewis sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the game. I wasn’t familiar with him other than reading that Lewis had criticized Christina Aguilera when she’d messed up the anthem prior to the 2011 Super Bowl. Lewis said that she was a self-absorbed performer who had commandeered the hallowed national anthem for her own personal use. How did Lewis do when he had the opportunity to sing the anthem? Lewis botched the words. It was like criticizing an incumbent.

When you’re wrong, admit it. When you’re right, don’t say anything. There’s little point in us arguing about religion or politics. It’s akin to trying to convince someone who detests kale that he should eat it three times a day.

Political rants are a waste of energy unless we can find a way to turn them into electricity.

Zhuangzi said, “We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.”

It’s all fun and games until someone gets elected.

Al Batt’s columns appear every Wednesday and Sunday.