Stoke the Vote 

Think about whom you can cancel out this election

Think about whom you can cancel out this election

By Liz Murray Garrigan

There’s nothing more satisfying to diehard civic-duty moralists than having to wait in line during early voting. And it’s happening. It’s just one more concrete measurement to support the record-turnout predictions for this election.

But for all that, we are nevertheless surrounded by masses of apolitical ignorants and hopeless contrarians who, for one reason or another, don’t plan to exercise their democratic right. The most popular refrain from those types seems to be the woefully ill-informed, “There’s no difference between Al Gore and George Bush.” What network news broadcast are these people watching, anyway?

One candidate would stack the U.S. Supreme Court with hush-puppy-wearing liberals; the other with black-lace-up, Brooks Brothers conservatives. One candidate would beef up an anemic U.S. Defense Department; the other thinks it’s doing just fine as it is. One candidate would drill for oil on precious land reserves; the other wouldn’t.

But if those and other differences don’t get the blood pumping, consider using this motivational tool: If you don’t care about voting for a particular candidate, how about at least voting against an ideological nemesis? So if you’re one of those apolitical types who can’t seem to figure out which way to cast your vote, read on:

Hank Williams Jr.—If “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight” just doesn’t do it for you, vote Gore. Williams is climbing aboard U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson’s pickup truck next week for a statewide push for Bush.

Ned McWherter—We don’t know who you are or what cave you’re living in, but if you’re one of those half-dozen McWherter critics, vote Bush. The former Tennessee governor is conducting his own statewide tour, this one for Gore.

Michael Gilstrap—Actually, the leader of the Tennessee Institute for Public Policy is a pretty good guy, but his brand of know-it-all, moralizing ultra-conservatism can be as off-putting as a 24-hour marathon of Hannity & Colmes. For example, Gilstrap rails against Tennessee’s heavy spending, via TennCare, on people who otherwise could not afford health care. We’re going out on a limb and guessing that he will push that flashing button beside Bush’s name. Vote Gore to cancel him out.

Hedy Weinberg—It can’t be easy defending child pornographers and law-abiding but nevertheless gut-wrenchingly offensive hate mongers. The executive director of the ACLU of Tennessee is an infinitely reasonable personality peddling what can be terribly unpopular views. We happen to appreciate her, but she has her share of detractors. Just a guess: Vote Bush to cancel her out.

Harry Browne—The Libertarian Party’s candidate for president, who lives in Franklin, will probably be voting for the Libertarian Party’s candidate for president. Since Browne would wipe out most of the federal government, the Defense Department excepted, vote for the candidate who would most expand the federal government (the Defense Department excepted): Gore.

Tim Chavez—Even if he does favor vouchers, we can’t imagine the Brentwood-living, liberal-talking Tennessean columnist voting for the Texas governor. If Chavez’s prose—dripping with self-righteous political correctness—keeps your morning coffee from staying down, vote Bush.

Bill Purcell—This diehard, partisan Democrat led Clinton/Gore’s 1996 campaign in Tennessee. But even the mayor only gets one vote. Pick Bush to wash out Purcell.

Bill Phillips—Interestingly, Purcell’s deputy mayor is a big-time Republican who worked in daddy Bush’s administration. If you don’t like his politics, or the fact that he got a $22,000 pay raise recently for his snappy new title, or that he’s the heavy for the people who get on Purcell’s bad side, vote for his boss’s man.

Al Gore—Since Gore votes in Tennessee, even he can be canceled out. Vote Nader.

Message from the GOP

The following attempt at humor comes, via e-mail, from Dave Backs, the Republican state House candidate challenging Democrat state Rep. Ben West:

“It has become apparent that voter turnout is going to be unusually high, and there is a likelihood of very long lines at most polls. In an effort to alleviate long lines and accommodate all voters, the election commission is setting up the following voting schedule:

“Republicans are requested to vote on Tuesday, Nov. 7, and Democrats on Wednesday, Nov. 8. Please pass this message along and help us make sure that nobody gets left out.”

Message from the Dems

On a more sobering note, this e-mail, which ranks right up there on the over-the-top scale with the anti-Bush TV ad reenacting the James Byrd killing, is making its rounds in Democratic circles:

“For those in need of a reason to vote on Nov. 7, here are two:

1. Because Matthew Shepard cannot.

2. Because Dr. Laura can.”

To reach Liz, call 244-7989, ext. 406, or e-mail her at


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