Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election 2012: Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen...

Once upon a time old Saint Nick brought me a Parker Brothers board game called “Landslide.” It was Christmas Eve 1973, I believe. And, as I recall, Landslide was a truly exhilarating game—second only to Monopoly in strategy, suspense, and the sheer joy of victory. The game’s goal was to amass 270 electoral votes and win the presidency—the whole enchilada. It was a board game with civic lessons intertwined with the rolling of the dice and myriad rules in amassing votes and winning states.

In the early 1970s, California was the premier booty with forty-five electoral votes followed by my home state of New York, coming in a close second at forty-one. Pennsylvania’s twenty-seven was number three, while—interestingly enough—Florida’s electoral heft stood at a mere seventeen. Yes, the times have certainly changed. While California is still the top prize—by an even larger margin with fifty-five electoral votes—New York, alas, has fallen behind Texas, which controls thirty-eight, and Florida is now tied with the Empire State at twenty-nine. I don't know, but New York no better than the Sunshine State just doesn’t seem right. When I was playing Landslide, Florida was nothing more than Flipper to me.

I still have the Landslide playing board in my possession, but not the complete game. Since I don’t have anyone to play with anymore, it’s not a big deal. Recently, I checked out eBay and noticed that a winning bid on the board game—heavily used—came in at $22. It’s worth a whole lot more than that, I thought. For Landslide was a genuinely smart game—American to its core—from a more intelligent, thoughtful, and genteel time, before blowhards (of all political bents) ruled the roost on 24/7 cable, social media, and the Internet. Really, before I was eligible to vote, the Electoral College and electoral process seemed almost cool and even classy. Now, all these years later, voting here in old New York is more often than not akin to casting a ballot in the old Soviet Union—there's rarely any competitive races. The idealist in me nonetheless continues to exercise my civic duty as if I resided in Florida, where so many New Yorkers have ended up. Thank God it’s over...but then it never really is anymore.

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