Sunday, October 26, 2008

Guys and Dolls into Fall . . . October

Last night we saw the best production of Guys and Dolls at the Portland Center Stage with Dan and Myrna. Imagine Prohibition era street guys with crazy names (Nicely Nicely Johnson) and Italian accents pursuing a floating crap game and wooing pretty young strippers from Brooklyn. Our hero, Skye Masterson, loses his heart to a misisonary, Sister Sarah Brown, and entices her to dine at a hot night club in Havana.

Drawn from a story by Damon Runyon, the dancing and the singing ("Luck be a Lady," "Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat," and "Sue Me") made us laugh and cry. What an era of innocence and love in a gritty city setting.

Afterward, we walked out into the Pearl District in Portland, the warm October night around us, after theater drinks at Palomino's, though a happy hour that began at 9 pm was new to me.

Every distraction seems good to me as we move to November 4, Election Day. It's not just the economy, though the extreme slides of the market make grown men and women cry. I'm seeing profound uncertainty about the outcome of this election -- and the credibility of our electoral process. Both Democrats and Republicans are crying "Foul!" for reported irregularities in robo-counting the vote. Will we once again question the election process itself?

On the left, Rolling Stone's article, "Block the Vote" summarizes liberal fears. Even Fox News reports results of a poll that 60% of voters believe some level of fraud will occur. And last spring, the New York Times ran a story highlighting state laws that require voters to prove they are citizens before they vote.

This article from the British Guardian seems to counter accusations with facts.

So is the issue of voter fraud a real one? I can still remember trying to vote in Philadelphia about 20 years ago. The levers on my voting machine would only work if I pressed Republican. When I protested, a big 6-footer offered to come into the booth to "help me" vote. I said, "No," and at my complaint, my voting machine was taken out of service, making the lines longer. Does voter fraud matter? Until this election is over, I think we will be watching, waiting, hoping, and doubting.

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