22 January 2008

You keep talking, but aren't saying much

My friend/colleague and I go to lunch together most days. I find that at different companies I fall into different lunchtime rhythms. At my last job, where I also worked with my current lunchmate, I took an early lunch by myself most every day. Went to the same restaurant on average four of every five days, and sat quietly reading. The job before that was a lot of large group lunches, mixed pairings, and the very rare solo outing. Here, it's me and my friend.

He and I are compatible companions for a number of reasons, primary amongst them that we have broad interests and deep knowledge of many of them. We can discuss sports, politics, software, philosophy, or life in general. We're also compatible because we can sit quietly and not talk at all for long spans.

Yesterday we were joined by our company's 20something web designer [2SWD]. He's joined us for lunch before, at which time we had a frightening discussion about religion and belief. 2SWD is an atheist/agnostic. Okay, I've no problem with that, so am I. Unfortunately, 2SWD isn't a *thoughtful* atheist/agnostic. He has a belief (which he doesn't recognize as a belief) yet understands none of the prior study and analysis on the topics of theism, atheism, and agnosticism. Basically, he picked a side and stuck with it.

That's fine, I suppose. Not everyone is predisposed to read or even self-analyze. But he debated with us.

Yesterday, he bemoaned the fact that he can't vote in the upcoming primaries because he has no party affiliation. This led to his assertion that Presidential voting should be one-man, one-vote without regard for the slippery slope of nationalism that entails. Do I recognize the merits of the arguments put forth by thoughtful people who advocate abandoning the Electoral College? Sure. I don't support people who want to get rid of it because it doesn't seem "fair".

He kept asserting that as we're a democracy (we repeatedly pointed out that we're a democratic republic, a distinction he failed to recognize,) we should just get to vote on everything. Hell, let's get rid of the sovereignty of states, while we're at it.

I am no states rights fanatic, let's get that straight. My friend is, far more than I. However, I recognize the perils that would befall large swaths of our nation if we were not a federal republic. For example, I would no longer be able to live in this desert, as the national government would sensibly divert *all* the water in the Colorado River basin to the verdant farmland of California. Bye-bye PHX. Bye-bye Vegas. Bye-bye most of the southwest.

Suffice it to say it was a tiring lunch break, especially coming on the heels of a shite morning at the office (though I did get a little break of Schadenfreude right before heading out to eat.)

After lunch, when discussing the pain we'd endured, my friend told me what he'd been thinking about 2SWD during the "debate": "this is the reason we have an electoral college; to keep people like you from voting directly."


Brian B. said...

The voting age really ought to be raised to at least 21, preferably 30.

R.A. Porter said...

Wouldn't help. He's more like 27. He's one of those who'll never get it.