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“The most interesting incident Tuesday morning was my walking to a building on Thirty-fourth Street to enter a booth and push levers on a voting machine. I have never understood why anybody passes up that bargain. It doesn’t cost a cent, and for that couple of minutes, you’re the star of the show, with top billing. It’s the only way that really counts for you to say I’m it, I’m the one that decides what’s going to happen and who’s going to make it happen. It’s the only time I really feel important and know I have a right to.” — Rex Stout, A Family Affair
Do I have to remind anyone that Tuesday is election day, and it is (as it always seems to be lately) the most important vote of our lifetimes? On Ricochet, probably not.
Rex Stout, who wrote the Nero Wolfe stories, was an old-style liberal. He was patriotic, pro-defense, and anti-communist. He believed in the American Constitution to the core of his being. He often showed that in the words he had Nero Wolfe, a naturalized US citizen, and Archie Goodwin, born a US citizen speak. In this quote, the words are spoken by Archie, a man who is both a cynic and an idealist.
Every vote is important. Sometimes elections come down to one or two votes. I have participated in two such elections in my lifetime, once as a voter and once as a candidate.
As a voter, my wife and I skipped voting in an Ann Arbor mayoral election. We had bad colds, and although the local Democratic Party called and offered to drive us to the polls (we were two Republicans living in the student ghetto, students at the time) we passed on the opportunity. The Democrat candidate won by one vote.
As a candidate I ran in a contested race for Republican precinct chair. Why someone who moved into the neighborhood that year wanted to replace me as precinct chair is complicated. When the votes were counted on election day we were tied — until the sole absentee ballot was counted. It was for me, and I won by one vote out of over 700 ballots cast. (The absentee voter was out of town on business, but cared enough about his vote to get an absentee ballot for the Republican primary.)
I am 67 and have been voting for nearly 50 of those years. Over that period, there were still two elections in which I participated where one vote would have changed the outcome. One vote. Next time that one vote could be your vote. So, if you have not voted yet, please vote this Tuesday.
Unless you are planning to vote for the Democrats. In that case? Feel free to stay home.Published in