TALKING NEW PATRIOTISM BLUES

I went out to vote on voting day
Headed down the strip to the polling place
And all along the way I was stepping over flags,
  stooping under flags, side-stepping flags, and dodging flags.  
And in the deluge of red, white, and blue's
I must have got confused
  ... 'Cause I turned in to vote at the wrong flag.



This place had beer kegs with flags, booze with flags
Pool tables with flags, and five tv's -- each had a flag.
I'd walked into a sports bar ... full of patriots.  
And they was eating and drinking and watching and talking and rooting
And some folks were rooting for some teams
Other folks were rooting for other teams
Some folks wanted the rooting folks to keep it down
And some of the folks weren't happy with any of the teams
    ... wanted to change channels.
Well, I went around and asked the various patrons if they had
    any information about the location of the polling place
And some folks thought it was up the street
Some folks thought it was down the street
Some folks thought it was 'cross the street
Some folks thought it was on a whole 'nother street. 
Seemed no one in the place agreed on much of anything
  ... 'Cept maybe all the flags.



So I walked back out and looked around
'Cross the street and 'bout a half-block down
    (don't know why I hadn't seen it before)
Was a huge flag, a monstrous flag, a flag so big it covered a building!
And the flag was covering what had been windows
And the setting sun was shining through the flag
And when I stepped inside
The place was drenched in reds, blues and whites ... and it was truly beautiful. 
And they had flags on every counter, flags on every rack and shelf
Flags layed out ceiling to floor
  ... at first I thought I'd found me the flag store.
But the price tags weren't posted on the flags
But rather, on the knick-knacks and do-dads between the flags
Which made all the knick-knacks and do-dads
   and the folks in the store seem pretty patriotic. 
And I said, Hello
And they said, Can I help you? 
And I said, Yeah, Im just trying to find the voting place 
And they said, Aah ... Voting?



So I turned around and went back outside
Took a long look left, and a long look right
Never seen so many flags in all my life
  ... 'cept maybe some footage from Nuremberg. 
Well, the hour was getting late
And I figured I wasnt going to find the place just asking 'round 
So I went back home
Picked up my official voter's guide with the actual address
And headed back out, down the strip, past all the flags
Until I finally arrived at my official neighborhood polling place
Where a citizen of this great nation can vote
On ballots of plain green card stock printed with plain black ink
Bearing choices, explanations, and expositions
For candidates, initiatives, bond measures, and propositions
For a government Of The People, By The People, and For The People
  ... Just like in a democracy.

But when I looked around
I saw that all those plain green card-stock ballots were still stacked up high
And they told me that all the ballot boxes were still pretty much empty
And across the room I saw four polling booths
And those four booths were empty, empty, empty ... 
          Empty.


And so, what I would like to know is: 
Where exactly were you, John Q. Flag-Waving Public?
Voting for your flag?





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(c) 2002 Jack Chernos




Jack Chernos and the Department of Justice
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