This morning, while standing in line at the post office, I reduced an American woman to tears, and destroyed her faith in the democratic option of Absentee voting.
She had come to the post office in a panic, afraid that if she mailed her Absentee ballot today, it would not arrive in time for the American Presidential elections on November 4th. She had just spoken to the teller and decided to mail her ballot Express, in the vain hope - and considering how the current set of Jewish holidays slows down all the mail - that it would reach its destination within a week.
I politely tapped her on the shoulder and gave her a brief but succinct lesson in political science (may major in college); I spoke about the blue states and the red states, about the fact that Absentee ballots can arrive within a week after the election takes place officially, about the fact that these votes are only counted when the results are too close to call. I didn't even get into a discussion of the Electoral Colllege. I further pointed out that the both of us being absentee voters in Massachusetts, we could vote for G-d himself on the ballot and Barack Obama would still take the state.
She stamped her feet, shook her head violently, and tears welled up in her eyes. She started shouting idealistic statements like, "but I filled out all the boxes," and "you don't know what you are talking about," and "my vote counts, I know it does!" She called me a liar and refused to accept that all I was trying to do was save her some postage, as I stood there holding in my incredulous laughter.
This woman did indeed mail her ballot first class, Express mail, and firmly believes that her vote will make the difference in the American Presidential elections.
She also firmly maintains that I am mean and stupid and am the Judas of Democracy and all that is good in the world. Whatever helps her get through the day, though I personally hope that the results of the elections for Mayor of Jerusalem on November 11 have a better result than the American elections, with Nir Barkat coming out on top.