Monday, November 5, 2012

Thoughts On The Eve

Election Day is almost upon us. Thank God and all the saints and angels.

The most recent polls indicate a narrow lead for Mitt Romney over Barack Hussein Obama in the most populous contested states. That would appear to be good news. But those states share a characteristic that might yet undo the trend in popular sentiment: the unions are strong there.

There have already been reports of union members massed at the polls, taking note of cars with Romney / Ryan stickers, and blocking those persons' access to the polls. There's no chance that anyone could explain this away; it's pure New-Black-Panthers-style thuggery aimed at stealing the election. So far, when the police have been called on to dissolve such a blockade, the union thugs have moved aside without protest...but the police don't hang around long afterward. Whether the blockades reassemble once the police have departed has not yet been reported.

Keep your cell phone fully charged, and keep it with you. Use its camera to record such incidents. Whether such evidence could prove valuable after the election, I cannot say, but it's far better to have it.

By now, all Gentle Readers have undoubtedly read about the "mischievous machines" found in six of the contested states: electronic voting machines that transform a voter's choice of Romney / Ryan into a vote for Obama / Biden. There's been some talk about "calibration errors" in such machines, which I, a computer professional, find disingenuous -- especially since no voter has yet complained that his vote for Obama / Biden has been transformed into one for Romney / Ryan.

These are digital devices. "Calibration" is no more applicable a concept to a digital voting machine than it would be to an abacus. Buried in those machines' software is an algorithm that deliberately steals one out of every N Romney / Ryan votes, where N was chosen to maximize the gain for Obama / Biden while minimizing the probability of discovery. That the fraud was discovered is the most remarkable part; had the implementer been really clever, he'd have done a more thorough job of concealing the theft.

We cannot blindly trust the electoral system. Use whatever means you have to confirm that your vote goes where you intend it to go.

Romney has exhorted us to vote "for love of country." It's a good round phrase, and one whose implied sentiments will draw little dissent. But "love of country" deserves a few moments' more thought than we usually give it.

What is our "country," and what does it mean to "love" it?

There are as many interpretations of each of those words as there are voters. Virtually anyone minded to do so could justify his vote as "for love of country," no matter for whom or what he'd cast it. In a sense, that's at the heart of the problem we face today.

I'm a freedom-minded voter. I see freedom -- the right to do as you damned well please with what's rightfully yours, without having to ask anyone's permission or fear any variety of punishment -- as the essence of America. I contend that if we are truly an exceptional nation, it's because over the centuries, Americans and would-be Americans have overwhelmingly accepted the burden of freedom, and its reverse face, responsibility, and have carried them to unprecedented success.

Not all voters are freedom-minded. Some vote for subsidies or subventions for their particular interests. Some vote for racial, ethnic, or religious advantage. Some vote for "compassion." Some vote for the more glamorous candidate, or the one more heavily touted by glamorous celebrities. No doubt others have other reasons.

It does no good to ask such voters how they could possibly see their aim as "love of country." Yet if I could ask every such voter a single question, it would be this one:

Why are you pleased to be an American citizen?

I have no idea what answers I'd get, but I'd lay a pretty penny that few of them would be "freedom." Even the dullest voter should be aware that "freedom" and "the vote" are far from synonymous. But if they sincerely believe that they love this country, what do they love about it and how would they articulate it?

In this regard, there's much to be done...and absolutely no clear way to do it.

That's all for now. No doubt I'll be back on Wednesday with a what-it-all-means piece, but for the next two days I'll be concentrating on other things, prayer most conspicuous among them. In closing:

  • Stay calm and alert, especially at the polls.
  • Record all unpleasant incidents with photos or video.
  • Protect yourself: there are a lot of people who believe that "the end justifies the means."
  • As in all things, let your conscience be your guide.

May God forever guide and guard these United States of America.


Mutant Swarm said...

Regarding those rigged digital voting machines- if you have a cell phone capable of recording video, record yourself pressing Romney and seeing an Obama vote appear on the screen.

Matthew Wennerlund said...

Just FYI, If the machines are touch screens, they do have to be calibrated. A company I had worked for made digital signage with touch screens for building directory signs and many other usages, and we had to calibrate all of the touch screens because they were separate devices from the display screens.

We would also occasionally have to re-calibrate if something changed, but I do not recall how often that had to be done.

It has been three years since I worked for them, and perhaps calibration is not necessary any more, but it certainly was.

Matt Wennerlund

Francis W. Porretto said...

Hm. Good point, Matt. A touch screen does have some analog properties subject to calibration. Which suggests that we ought to be leery of employing such devices for electoral purposes.

I continue to be mystified that no would-be Obama / Biden voter has reported that his vote was switched to some other candidate, though.

Dana said...

It is a sad statement about Americans when they allow the unions to interrupt the vote. It however is an even sadder statement of Americans when those interrupted haven't put bullets in the heads of those union scumbags. America has forgotten this country was founded on blood and death, not weakness.

Weetabix said...

Pleased to be an American citizen? I don't know any more. I feel fortunate to have been born in a country where freedom used to be the rule and where that rule has not fully fallen away as quickly as in other countries.

Honestly, I'm kind of ashamed of what we've done to throw away the freedom that we had prior to, say, 1850.

This question would be better with a) thought, b) discussion, c) beer.

Matthew Wennerlund said...

I would be leery of a touch screen device for voting as well. I like the idea of a paper backup for your vote.

Having been a programmer for 20 plus years I am leery of most computer controls/devices for important situations. Airbus flight controls, Google self driving cars and the like... Humans are fallible. Even those who have been doing it for a while.