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Wednesday, April 19, 2006 04:20 pm

When nothing “really” matters

The American Way of voting, as described by participant in last month’s primary

Yanks (“American”) Avatar (“embodiment of a concept”) is, by definition, the essence of American thought, the quintessential American. Were it not so, he’d have a different name. Here is his story. Yanks worked for 50 years, and he labored well. He took pride in doing his jobs as best he could. He’s retired now; the adjustment to doing nothing took a while, but eventually he overcame the problem, and now he does “nothing” well. That’s the American way — if we’re going to do it at all, we’re going to do it well. A few weeks ago: Illinois would not be a factor in this year’s NCAA basketball tournament, and baseball had yet to start its season; consequently, Yanks’ to-do list showed two weeks of blank space. Americans don’t stand idle, so Yanks was looking for “nothing” to fill in the blank when “political pundit” came to mind. Pundit training? Not necessary — Yanks was already accomplished at nothing. Nonetheless, he decided to pay token attention to the game for a couple of empty weeks. He’d start by voting. He’d never really voted before. He’d registered to vote. He was well intended, but he never cared for the given choices and the write-in process was cumbersome, so he harbingered his retirement by not voting — by doing “nothing.” March 21: Yanks votes. Much to his surprise, it’s a primary election. A friendly lady asks, “Democrat or Republican?” As usual, not appealing, “given the choices.” “I’m new to this,” he explains. “Can I be both?” “Democrat or Republication!” says the lady, a bit less friendly. The decision takes a while, but Yanks finally decides to be a Democrat, because once, in a romantic fantasy, he’d included Hillary Clinton and excluded Barbara Bush. The lady, neither friendly nor unfriendly, explains the new “automated” write-in process. Yanks is disappointed that no president or senators are to be considered, but he is a first-time voter and feels it best to blindly follow the form. Governor. Rod Blagojevich? On the plus side, Blagojevich is rumored to live day to day in Chicago rather than here in Springfield — the more distance between Yanks and politicians, the better. On the negative side, anyone who doesn’t know that The Daily Show is a comedy is way out of touch with Yanks’ values. Yanks votes for a guy called Edwin Eisendrath. He does not know Edwin, but because Edwin would be new to the job of governor, perhaps it’d be awhile before Edwin felt comfortable enough to steal Yanks’ money — and maybe two, three years before Edwin was indicted. Treasurer. Not a clue; never heard of either candidate. So Yanks splits his vote by writing in the first name of one candidate and the last name of the other. If they win, Yanks reasons, they’ll audit each other so that neither one of ’em steals too much of Yanks’ money before they’re indicted. U.S. Congress, 19th District. Yanks had been hoping for a higher district number, but if he lives in District 19, so be it. Once more, not a clue; never heard of either candidate. Yanks uses his newfound write-in prowess to vote for Barbara Bush because he owes her something for the fantasy (sexual?) exclusion and because her son seems always “confused” — a mother’s burden. Maybe her congressional work will take her mind off her yoke. Finally, she gets his vote because she reminds him of his grandmother who never stole too much of Yanks’ money before she was indicted. Illinois House, 99th District. Still not a district number as high as he’d like, but at least it’s more than 19. He’s about to vote for a guy named Chuck Redpath when he remembers that a Redpath wrote a letter to the editor contending that the Illinois basketball team would have won the national championship in 2005 had they recruited Andre Iguodala — when everyone breathing air knows that Andre had already left college and turned professional by 2005. This isn’t about the mundane matters such as taxes, crime, and education . . . this is serious business! There’s simply no place in government for someone so uniformed. Yanks votes for the other guy and prays that the other guy is so rich that he doesn’t need to steal too much of Yank’s money before he’s indicted. County clerk. No candidates listed, so Yanks writes in a vote for himself, being reasonably sure that he won’t steal too much of his own money before he’s indicted. And then Yanks is done voting, because he has to concentrate on his campaign. Yanks’ first press release: “I would appreciate your vote in the general election. As you know, I do nothing very well, and I promise to do nothing better than my opponent when I’m elected. Thank you.” He gets my vote. I always vote American.
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