Spare the Divining Rod

Originally published: June 9, 2009

Three democrats at the school bus stop, three strong candidates in today’s Virginia primaries for governor, three opinions about who to vote for, none of them very adamant. As our kids climb onto the bus, we shrug our shoulders. Whatever.

I still don’t know who to vote for. I’ve been trying for the last few weeks to find a clear winner, but they all seem to have equally good and bad points. Why couldn’t we have had this embarrassment of riches a few years ago, guys? All we had then were pale tumble weeds.

The morning had dawned under the weight of a massive electrical storm and there is evidence of its violence everywhere. But it has blown past, so I decide I’ll vote early – lest I forget later in the day. Perhaps, I muse, as I put on my raincoat, something will happen along the walk to my polling place. Maybe I’ll be shown a sign. 

McAuliffe, Moran or Deeds. Terry McAuliffe was the belle of the ball, with Bill Clinton’s endorsement, but Creigh Deeds recently bagged the Washington Post’s, so he’s shoving past Terry. Also Deeds is the only candidate not from northern Virginia, which might help when it comes time to go up against that McDonnell fellow. But what was the gun thing? Did he really vote to allow guns to be carried around in DC? Like, into bars and such? I can’t find anything intelligent on the subject by anyone I’ve heard of (sorry NoVaMomma26). Even Politico is sketchy. But could that make Deeds more likely to beat McDonnell in the general election? Virginia is for Gun Lovers, after all. Brian Moran garnered local endorsements in Arlington, but has a rather confrontational brother (Rep. Jim) who has turned a lot of people off. I can’t find Jim mentioned anywhere on Brian’s website... guess family only goes so far. And Moran is buried, spending-wise. 

I walk across Williamsburg Blvd and up the hill. McAuliffe, Moran, Deeds. The storm has left a clear trail of debris. I find myself wishing for a large clap of thunder to punctuate my thoughts and maybe give me direction. I am not superstitious, but I’d really like anything that’d nudge me one way or the other. 

Passing a neat little rambler just over the crest of the hill, I almost step on a dead bird. In dodging it, I almost step on another. This one is still alive, its soaked feathers barely moving as its thin legs spasm. Then I see a third dead bird lying in the grass nearby. They are all the same species – sparrows I think. I stop and look up at the beautiful plum tree above their corpses. No obvious sign of lightening strike, but what else could have killed all three in one blow? There is a Deeds banner in front of the house. Could I ask for a more direct sign? I mentally cross him off my list.

The rest of the way I see nothing to help me with the final decision. No candidates banners skewered by charred fence posts, no burning cars with melting bumper stickers, no bolts from the blue. As I near the doors of the school where I vote, a cluster of pamphleteers crests towards me with names and smiles upon their lips, but none displays the Sign of the Beast or anything else that might dissuade me from their candidate. 

In the end, I vote for the man who has the endorsement of local leaders I respect. I vote for Brian Moran. I don’t break a nail or get electrocuted when I pressed the “vote” button, so I guess that’s as good a sign as any. Chagrined, however, I realize that I must also vote for Lieutenant Governor... OK, there’s a Jody Wagner here at the top of the list. Oh well – vote for the woman, right? Yes, my gut tells me so. 

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