Abraham Lincoln famously said that baseball was America’s favorite pastime, right before he sat down and wrote the screenplay for Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. He was wrong, of course, about everything. We all know that Star Wars turned out to be a silly franchise, which the communists piggybacked on to make people comfortable with the idea of dressing alike and also to promote their freeze-dried tauntaun empire.
And baseball isn’t America’s favorite pastime; complaining is. But I can see how Lincoln might have gotten confused, since we generally do our whining while sitting on our asses and tossing back a mega-sized root beer and handful of chili cheese dogs smothered in the works.
But as of the June 3 primary election, 59.8 percent of you living in San Luis Obispo County forfeited your right to complain. And statewide it’s something like 80 percent of you have to give up on your favorite pastime, freeing the airwaves for loud, hot gusts of Shredder rage.
For those of you who happen to be dense as well as apathetic, I’ll spell it out: That’s the number of people who didn’t bother to vote. Somehow you can find an hour every week to watch someone get raped on Game of Thrones, but taking 10 minutes to fill out a form and put that form in the mailbox was simply too much of a strain. You don’t even have to leave your house to vote anymore. The powers that be can mail you a ballot. In fact, you can fill your ballot out while you’re gaping at Emilia Clarke’s boobs and no one will be the wiser.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m letting everyone who voted off the hook. This is not a children’s soccer tournament, meaning that we’re not all winners here. In fact, everyone seems to enjoy pinning our many political, social, and economic issues on our elected officials, but what does that say about those of us who elected them?
Case in point: Our elected officials have successfully hijacked what ought to be a universal ambition—making kids healthier by increasing their access to healthy food in schools—and turned it into yet another excuse to bicker along partisan lines until no one can remember how the fight started in the first place.
President Obama signed the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act way back in 2010. Because complaining about how America’s kids are fat and diabetic isn’t enough. We ought to do something if that’s really the case. The question is: Are Republicans capable of agreeing with anything the president does, even if it’s something as simple as increasing kids’ access to fruits and vegetables? Not on their freedom-lovin’, Muslim-president-hatin’ watch.
So now we’ve got Republicans Steve King and Tim Huelskamp of Iowa and Kansas, respectively—and in the pockets of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and National Pork Producers Council, respectively—introducing counter legislation that removed the word “healthy” from the bill’s title, despite the fact that most schools are reporting that kids are becoming healthier under the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. It’s impossible to say what will come of their efforts, but we’re in for yet another long, ridiculous partisan battle.
Maybe the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and National Pork Producers Council could throw their support behind this Forever Never Land shindig I keep hearing so much about. Sure, everyone over the age of 50 is quaking in their orthopedic flip-flops, filled with horror at the specter of young people gathered together enjoying themselves and—gasp—possibly even drinking! Of course, thanks to a bold vote from the county supervisors, sending a strong message that there is no place for youth and revelry in our happy county, no siree bob, the festival will have a cap of 3,000 attendees rather than the 10,000 originally hoped for. Sure, the event has all of the elements you would expect at a major douchefest, but so does anything that involves wine tasting or golf, and you don’t see anyone complaining about those.
Come back when you’ve got a tasteful proposal for a giant-ass wine festival where baby boomers can swill and spit and feel superior and then drive home at the end of a long day of drinking. Seriously. That proposal would pass in a heartbeat, and all the supervisors and NIMBYs who gnashed their teeth at the idea of giving people a place to go to revel in their youth will be first in line to buy tickets.
And yeah, I feel a little dirty agreeing with Debbie Arnold, who was the only supervisor to vote on behalf of the event at its full capacity, but I don’t choose my opinions based on the company. Maybe Debbie and I will share a youthful tandem bicycle ride along the Bob Jones bike trail before enjoying a day of ziplines and bounce houses. Yeah, we’ll probably get sunburned and sleepy, but it beats sitting back at home with the rest of the whiny old fogies.
And Debbie—laser tag loser buys the beer?
Shredder knows there ain’t no use in complaining when that’s all you do. Send action to firstname.lastname@example.org.