Weekly Comments Archive
Archived Issue
Sunday, March 16, 2014
ISSUE #793
Voting in Ireland and Ukraine

Every year at this time I take a trip to Ireland. No, not the one next door to England. This one is in West Virginia. For more than 30 years the little community has been holding an Irish Spring Festival. Naturally, it’s centered around St. Patrick’s Day, and it ends officially the first day of spring.

Every year they elect a King and Queen of the Festival. And here’s the way they do it: every vote costs a penny. It ain’t much different than the way we hold our Presidential elections because the one with the most money raised nearly always wins. But in this Ireland election, it’s absolute. No arguments over photo ids or registration requirements or hanging chads. If you’ve got a penny to spare, your vote counts. And if you want to invest a million dollars to support a candidate, no problem. They use the money to fund various community programs and a million dollars would probably fund ‘em for the next hundred years.

The oldest royalty ever elected in Ireland was a 99-year old King. This year they broke that record; the Queen is 102.  Nobody ever asked the age of the queens before, but this one not only admitted to being 102, she’s quite proud of it. They asked her what her goal as Queen is and she said, “To be here to crown the next one.” I bet she makes it.

Over in Ukraine, they held an election today in Crimea. They elected a new King named Vladimir. Remarkably, with only a couple of weeks to campaign and one day to vote, somehow they got 85 percent of the registered voters out to vote. (Here in Ohio they campaign for two years, give ‘em thirty days to vote, and still only get half of ‘em to the polls.)

After the election, President Obama called Vladimir Putin. As you know, the US refuses to recognize that election. It was illegal, the same as if northern Colorado voted to secede and join Wyoming. At first our President scolded Putin for conducting such an election. Then he mellowed and asked, “How did you get 95 percent of the people to vote for you?”  Putin said, “Three things. First, armed guards at every polling place to ‘protect’ the voters. Second, I bussed in 50,000 Russian ‘observers.’ And third is a trick I learned from America: no photo IDs.”

Of course, our President is as perplexed by Putin as the rest of us. Borders in Europe have been in constant turmoil for a thousand years. But it is clear that Putin is determined to resurrect the old Soviet Union borders as he remembers them before Reagan. In fact he wants to go back even farther in time. But he was a bit overconfident when he offered to write President Obama a check for $7,200,000. Our President asked, “What for?” Putin said, “Alaska.”

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“We used to have a rule that our government wouldn’t recognize any new government that had come into power by force and revolution. Then, somebody that had accidentally read our history happened to ask, ‘Well, how did our government come into power?’ So now we recognize ‘em no matter who they shot to get in… If Russia will just shave, and buy some tractors, we will recognize them.” DT #1296, Sept. 19, 1930

 “We think (the Russians) are running their country cockeyed, and I guess it’s mutual.” WA #447, July 19, 1931

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