Sat, Jan 20, 2018 09:24 AM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
Smile Awhile
And the winner is...
In case you didn't notice (and about 80% of us failed to), Tuesday before last there was a gubernatorial election held in Kentucky. Usually, the primary elections are held on the fourth Tuesday after the fourth Monday in May, but this year, just to further confuse the constituency, somebody decided to push it up a week. This was a grave mistake because not only did people forget to vote, the election coincided with a much more popular and interesting election that was being conducted on national television.

On that particular Tuesday, television viewers were busy dialing an 800 number so that they could cast their vote for Fox Television's "American Idol." At last count, approximately 24 million viewers cast their votes for singers Clay Aiken or Ruben Studdard. Ironically, a little more than 200,000 Kentuckians cast their ballots for one of the five major gubernatorial candidates.

What a statement. This could mean two things: voters don't care who wins for governor, or voters did care who won for American Idol. I found the answer that night at a meeting I attended.

"Sara!" a friend exclaimed. "Did you vote?"

"I almost forgot, but I voted at 5:55," I replied, sheepishly.

"Were they taking votes that late in the evening?" another lady asked.

"The polls always stay open until six," I remarked.

"Whom did you vote for?" a woman cooed. "I just love that deep voice. He sounds just like Barry White."

"Who?" I questioned.

"Well, I like the little guy with the big voice," somebody piped in. "He's soooooooo cute."

I didn't say anything for a few minutes because I was confused (a state I perpetually live in). I didn't know any of the gubernatorial candidates had a distinctive voice, let alone sounded like Barry White, but I assumed they were talking about them, so I added my two-cents worth.

"You're talking about Ernie Fletcher being the little guy with the big voice, aren't you?" I queried.

"Who?" about four women asked in unison.

"Oh, I mean Ben Chandler. You're talking about Ben Chandler, right?" I said, nervously.

"What election are you talking about?" someone asked.

"Today's election," I murmured under my breath.

"Oh, my Lord!" came a voice from the other side of the room. "I forgot to vote today."

"Vote for what?" I heard someone ask.

"For governor! Today was Kentucky's gubernatorial primary, and I forgot to vote. I was just so fixated on Clay and Ruben I couldn't think straight," she said, apologetically.

I was dumbfounded. These women were talking about two different things, and I was out of the loop.

"Who are Clay and Ruben?" I asked.

A hush swept over the room. Sets of eyes were glaring at me as if I had just committed a major social faux pas. And I had. Then, the whispering was rampant.

"Did you hear what she said?" a woman stammered.

"She doesn't know who Clay and Ruben are," another stated.

"She must live in a cave," I overheard another one remark.

"I just thought she had a sight problem, but her mind must be going, too," a lady from across the room blurted out loudly. "I thought she was much more in touch with the public's pulse."

These people were making me feel as if I were an idiot, and I was obviously the only one who had voted in a legitimate election. They were talking about two male singers who were vying for a recording contract, and I was talking about the person who was going to govern our state for the next four years.

The following evening, I watched the final episode of American Idol and finally saw what the hullabaloo was all about. In the final analysis, Ruben won. The votes were tallied by state, and, in Florida, Ruben won without worrying about hanging chads.

Maybe the next time we hold an election, we should let the candidates sing. That would be more enjoyable than listening to them discuss their platforms.

Appalachian Regaional
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