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Kent Conwell: Voter Ignorance


Last updated 1/18/2012 at Noon

If you’re like me, an ex-English teacher from the Neanderthal days when kids learned not only literature, but the dreaded grammar, then you’ll understand when I say I am bombarded daily by evidence of a growing lack of basic and practical knowledge of those around me.

Now, I said basic and practical, not technological. How well I know that twenty- and thirty-somethings on down can make an iPad dance, a Smart Phone sing, and a Nook howl at the moon, but many are still lacking in various fundamentals. Me, I congratulate myself for being able to turn one on.

How many times have you heard about the dumb cluck behind the cash register that is stumped when a customer gives him a ten-dollar bill and eleven cents to pay for a snack that costs four eleven?

What really bothers me is that a certain percentage of these individuals actually go to the polls and elect others to lead our cities, state, and country. Maybe I’m way off base, but we’d better off if they’d just stay behind the cash register.

I take that back. We don’t need them where the money is. Brooms and mops are their forte.

Think I’m joking? In 2008, the city council of Chico, California issued a ban on setting off nuclear bombs in town. Anyone convicted of it would be fined $500.00.

Only idiot voters could elect idiot councilmen to make an idiot decision like that.

What prompted this harangue of mine was when I inquired of various veterinarians in regard to spaying a stray cat that has adopted us. Truth is, if it were left up to me, I wouldn’t spay her. I’d take her over to my brother-in-law Jim’s neighborhood and drop her off.

But if I did that, my wife wouldn’t forgive me, so I’m stuck with spaying or neutering strays that come along.

But, back to the call to the vet. I called several. Since this was just a neighborhood feline, I wasn’t interested in anything except preventing more felines, the tiny ones if you know what I mean.

Of the seven (vets, not felines) I called for prices, upon my asking if they spayed cats, four of the receptionists responded with “is it a female?”

Whoa there, partner. I’d pay a bundle to see the expression on someone’s face when they tried to spay an old ragged-ear tom cat.

Over the years, I’ve grown used to such mindless responses. They’ve become both understandable and humorous just like the story that came from a company that supplies goods for missionaries. Now, according to the article, one particular church requires all of its missionaries to carry a ministerial certificate showing they are authorized representatives of the church.

So the supply salesman was stunned when a woman from the church stated that the one last item on her list of needs was a menstrual certificate.

When questioned, she explained that “one of their elders had lost his menstrual certificate and needed a new one.”

The salesman rolled with laughter for five minutes before he managed to stammer out “ma’am, I think you mean a ministerial certificate.”

That’s as laughable as the young couple asking for a fecal heart monitor and explaining that it was to be used to hear the baby while it was still in the womb.

What they wanted was a fetal heart monitor.

These are voters, folks. Just what kind of intelligent decision can they make at the polls? They might as well eeeny-meeny-miney-moe at the various buttons or levers.

On the other hand, perhaps it is unfair to be so critical of their decisions. We’ve all make questionable, even dubious judgment calls.

Like the director of the Charlton Public Library in Massachusetts who sent the police to collect overdue library books from a five-year-old girl.

Oh, they collected the books and left, leaving behind a five-year-old in tears.

According to her mother, sending the police was like pounding a ten-penny nail with a sledgehammer.

In all fairness to the police, the department felt uneasy about going to the home, but the library insisted. (like the idiots they are)

Most folks suppose individuals in positions of influence render wise decisions. Not so. Not at all. There was a judge in Louisville who believed the jury went too far in sentencing the defendant to 5005 years.

He would show them the right way, the humane way.

So what kind of Solomon-like decision did this wiser-than-thou jurist hand down? He lowered the sentence to 1001 years.

Wow! Now the guy can ask for parole in only 600 years.

One of my classmates on my old high school chat group sent me a story concerning a conceited judge proud of his unusual sentences.

Once when a teacher came before him, he made her write 500 times, “I will not speed through a red light.”

But then his sentencing fancies caught up with him when a sharp (real sharp) attorney defending an accused burglar stated, “My client merely inserted his arm into the window and removed a few articles. His arm is not himself, and I can’t see you punishing the whole individual for an offense committed by his limb.”

The smug judge agreed, and replied “Using your logic, I sentence his arm to one year in prison. He can accompany it or not, as he chooses.”

The judge leaned back and grinned, but the grin suddenly vanished when the defendant rose, smiled, rolled up his sleeve, and detached his artificial limb. He laid it on the bench and walked out.

Now, this country is a republic, which means everyone has a say in the way it is governed. That’s good on the one hand, but on the other, when those voters are not informed, not educated, or fail to think problems through, then we end up with what we have today, an administration intent on redistribution.

Vote however you wish, but do yourself and the rest of us a favor, and stay informed-or stay home.

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