, Salem, MA


October 26, 2012

Henry: Undecided voters clearly in the wrong

It is good to have a pet peeve, because peeves don’t require much feeding and you can take them on vacation with you. My pet peeve is people who can’t make up their minds on life’s various issues, including the political.

It is easy to imagine them right now: Should we continue to read this column or brush our teeth? Should we wear our hair up or down? Or, concerning those with hair like mine, should we comb it over or use our scalps as solar panels, the better to power our political thoughts?

Both men and women are prone to being of two minds. In the delicate matter of family politics, husbands will ask themselves: Should I have a nap on the sofa now or later?

For their part, women have been indecisive since before the invention of sofas. Why, some of the finest men in the archaeology business believe that the first cavewoman asked the first caveman the classic question: Does this saber-tooth tiger skin make me look fat? Or not?

Speaking of people who live in caves, I think this is the only charitable explanation for the existence of undecided voters, who every four years come out of their dark seclusion before presidential elections to make life a vexation for the rest of us.

Make a choice, for goodness’ sake, and stop using your brains as a pendulum. The rest of us have made a choice while you undecided people have been wandering around in circles looking confused.

For me, this vacillation ranks on the irritation meter somewhere between very and astronomical. My intolerance is rooted in the many years I have worked in the newspaper industry, where making snap decisions on deadline is essential to production.

A seasoned journalist such as myself cannot sit around pondering what stale cliche to use or what absurd metaphor to employ. Considerations of fairness, ethics and national security loom over my every sentence, demanding urgent answers to such vital questions as: Should I finish this column now or go to the tavern for lunch?

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