Well, you won't find me complaining about a little bit of a drizzly afternoon. Now, if it keeps up for a couple of days and the driveway gets flooded and the garden is drowned and the house starts sinking and we never see the sun again and the earth opens up and swallows everything — then I might start to get upset. But so far, it's not having any effect on me.
The rain began about 3:30 this afternoon. I know this only because I looked out and saw that the paving stones were starting to get wet. So I pulled on my new Florida Marlins jacket and walked out to get the mail before it got any worse. By the time I made it back to my front door, the stones were soaked and so was I. And so was the mail, but it was just a wad of advertisements. For the first time in weeks, there weren't any political lies in the mailbox.
I suppose we'll use this little shower as our excuse for not voting this time. The experts said the turnout would be light, about 36%. I'd say that was shameful if I thought there was any compelling reason to rush out and cast a ballot. I do it out of habit as much as obligation, and I do it by mail so it's easier than standing in line and punching a machine. But I can see how someone could be uninspired by the list of candidates and measures we're being asked to vote on the first week in March.
With luck, this will be the last time California votes this early. People are already talking about moving the primary back to June, where it always used to be, or even later. September sounds good. That's only two months before the general election. Two months of overblown rhetoric and insidious accusations. That sounds like about enough to me.
This one got pretty nasty, even though no one had time to really rev things up. The problem is, it works. Negative campaigning, as much as we claim to hate it, is effective. It brought Bill Simon from a distant third to the Republican nomination for governor. Obviously, things aren't going to change as long as we respond to attacks on character more than we do to discussion of issues.
With a later primary, we could get to know the candidates better and dig a little deeper, maybe even uncovering the truth beneath all the innuendo. It would give new people a chance to get better known and might rattle a few political cages. Only the voters would really benefit, though, and no one on the inside is much interested in that.
If this year's primary had been in June or September, maybe someone would have stepped up to run against Gray Davis for the Democratic nomination. There were three other Democrats on the ballot for governor, but nobody had time to find out who they were. They were names and mission statements, and I had to pick one on that flimsy basis. That's no way to run an election. But I'm proud to say my guy came in second, with 7% of the votes.