Basic living instructions for Palm Beach County Democrats

By Shelley McKinney
web posted November 13, 2000

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Democratic residents of Palm Beach County, Florida, I would never want to alienate you right from the start of this article by reminding you that I am a Republican, and a Republican who thinks you're all a bunch of feckless dimwits, to boot. I just want to be kindly and helpful and give you a few hints that might smooth your paths as your trudge and toil through the complex maze of modern living that all of us experience.

1. When preparing to eat a Twinkie, take off the wrapper first.

2. To open a can of soda pop, it is not necessary to bite a hole in the side of the can with your teeth and consequently cough, choke and splutter as your beverage cascades out over your shirt.

3. When making a peanut butter sandwich, do not place the jar of peanut butter between two slices of bread and attempt to chew it up; it will only damage your teeth. Unscrew the lid of the jar, remove some peanut butter with a (blunt) knife and carefully spread the peanut butter on the bread.

4. To moisten the mucilage on an envelope, it is not necessary to draw the envelope's flap across the surface of your eyeballs: allow your tongue to protrude slightly from your mouth and glide the flap across it. Better get into practice before it's time to mail out those holiday greetings!

5. To don a pair of trousers, use twisty-ties to secure two side belt-loops to two chairs (I recommend a Windsor comb-back style for this.) When the trousers are affixed in an upright position, move across the room and take a flying leap in the manner of a person leaping over a track-and-field hurdle. Attempt to insert both of your legs into the trouser legs simultaneously. Repeat this exercise as often as needed until you are adequately attired, if somewhat bruised. Don't forget to dis-attach the twisty-ties on your belt loops from the chairs, because dragging around two Windsor comb-back side chairs could prove cumbersome.

6. When voting in an election, as is both your right and your duty as a citizen of the United States of America, peruse your ballot slip and the template carefully before you just start merrily jabbing away with the provided stylus. Voting is a serious and somber business and shouldn't be attempted by anyone who can't visually follow an arrow from the candidate's name to the correct hole. Anybody who can't figure this out deserves to have voted for Pat Buchanan.

I feel justified in being somewhat stern with all of you about this, since this is the second time you've muffed up these ballots. Jim Smith, the former Florida Secretary of State, reported to CNN that in the 1996 election, 15,000 ballots had to be trashed because of people who got that stylus gripped in their sweaty little palms and went temporarily insane. The idea here is not to make your little ballot sheet look like an antique pierced-tin lantern.

I also have some room for disdain because my voting district uses a similar type of ballot that is nearly identical to yours, and I've never heard one peep about people being confused and people wailing and weeping and screaming in the parking lots of polling places and people filing lawsuits in the circuit court because of something that happened due to their own execrable stupidity. Of course, I come from a small state that has only a few paltry electoral votes and a tradition of going Republican, so that largely cancels out the stupid factor: our Democrats know that it would be useless to raise such a fuss, and I'd like to think that enough of them are imbued with a sense of personal dignity that would not allow them to appear on national television, with their faces all be-smeared from crying and whining something about how ha-a-ard it was to understa-a-and that ba-a-allot and it isn't fa-a-air so there needs to be a new vo-o-ote.

New vote, my eye. You live and learn, and this seems to me to be a great opportunity to get your acts together. I bet the next time an election rolls around, you Palm Beach County Democrats will make darned certain that you check out the sample ballot you got in the mail. It has been reported that a sample ballot was even published in the local newspaper, for heaven's sake. As the old saying goes, lack of preparation on your part does not constitute an emergency on our -- the Republican party's -- part. Besides, in 1996, when the vote wasn't so close, there weren't any reports of parking lot meltdowns. So the idea of your vote's being negated is only upsetting when the race is close, is that it?

I sincerely hope not, because I was just assuring a friend yesterday that the unbelievably corrupt Clinton/Gore administration is not indicative of the majority of Democrats. The media shills and the Hollywood limousine liberals aside, I believe that the basic Democrat is much the same as a basic Republican, with a different belief system. I refuse to entertain the notion that every Democrat is a cheat, a liar and a knave, just as I refuse to believe that every Republican is filled brimful with every godly virtue.

Please don't make me regret making that statement. Deal with your error like people with principles and integrity and stop giving the likes of Jesse Jackson a reason to be in Florida, polluting your beautiful state with his noxious and bigoted presence. (Jesse Jackson's voting district used that same ballot, by the way. Don't you think that seems a bit fishy? Why isn't he trumpeting his racial angst up North?)

One last instruction:

7. To breathe, suck air in...blow it back out. Suck air in...blow it back out. Suck air in...blow it back out...

Shelley McKinney is a senior writer for Enter Stage Right. Readers can reach her at

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