For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal.
Groping in the dark for 2016
As an officially affiliated Republican voter (you could look it up), I was privileged to receive an IDAHO VOTER EXPLORATORY REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL PREFERENCE POLLING BALLOT that was Authorized and Conducted by the Republican National Committee. It's CONFIDENTIAL | NOT TRANSFERRABLE with my name preprinted upon it, by which I guess they mean I'm supposed to keep mum, but they're going to tuck my preferences into their big database in the sky and use it for fundraising and advertising and whatever. All my base are belong to them.
I'm asked to "indicate my views" regarding a long list of people they refer to as "Republican leaders as potential Republican nominees for the presidency of the United States." And where by "my views" they want me to carefully blacken a small box on a 5-box scale scale from "strongly favorable" to "strongly unfavorable." There are 32 people listed, plus "WRITE-IN CANDIDATE" (just one?), with smaller print identifying snippets, alphabetic order by surname, from KELLY AYOTTE (New Hampshire Senator) to ALLEN WEST (former Florida Congressman).
All of the "2012 Presidential Candidates" are on it, except the one they nominated. Sarah Palin is on it, John McCain is not. Chris Christie still, Nikki Haley, Bobby Jindal, Herman "999" Cain, Huckabee, T-Paw, Rick Perry, both Pauls unbelievably, Ryan, Santorum, Walker. I gave it a shot. Nine of them rose as far as "unclear/no opinion" for me, maybe two reflecting some knowledge and no gag reflex, but mostly don't actually know enough about. Seven "unfavorable," and mostly (16) "strongly unfavorable." It's enough to make me question my Republican bona fides.
At the bottom, in the "poll confirmation and authorization/release section" which it's IMPORTANT that I complete before submitting poll, I can say "Yes, these are my personal preferences as a voter and I authorize you to make my opinions available to the National Republican Leadership," or YES, I FULLY SUPPORT and send money, or No, but I'll send $15 "to help process my poll." ($15, really? How much more help do they need to feed a piece of paper through an optical scanner?)