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Satanists, squabbles, signs and showing up to vote , by John McGauley

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A number of stories hit my radar recently.

First, it doesn’t matter to me at all that she’s transgender. It doesn’t bother me that she’s an anarchist. I’d describe some of my friends as such and I have a few tendencies toward that political philosophy, although the conventions are somewhat, well, what would you say, chaotic?

Although I’m not quite on board with the Satanist thing, when Aria DiMezzo won the GOP nomination for Cheshire County Sheriff, I thought she made a good point. By the way, I think her name sounds like an Italian opera.

(She was the only candidate on the Republican ballot and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, that’s your fault. Come out from under your rock and read a newspaper.)

She says her victory proves “the system is utterly and hopelessly broken.”

Although I believe she overstated that, her intention was that she opposes a system that allowed thousands of people to walk into a voting booth and vote “despite knowing absolutely nothing about the person they were nominating to the most powerful law enforcement position in the county.”

The lesson here is that if you don’t recognize the name on the ballot, don’t vote for them. Got that? And, don’t vote the straight ticket all the way down the list, OK?

Point made, Aria. Let’s see how many votes you get in the general election. One other question, too, before I move onto other subjects. Does the Church of Satan (with headquarters in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., of all places) hold bake sales? Devil’s food cakes?

The other news from Cheshire County that made national headlines was the killing of the young man from Keene in what could only be described as a hideous murder. Again, if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you don’t need to know. For the defense attorneys, their work is cut out for them. And, it wouldn’t surprise me if they ask for a change of venue outside of the county.

In other news, both Joe Biden and Donald Trump signs have been vandalized in the county. Par for the course in this election cycle. What’s the point of this? I don’t think election signs matter much, but based upon my driving up and down the roads in the county, I’d say the Biden people have planted more of them than Trump fans. I’ve said this a million times, and I’ll do it again: There are no people on the fence in this election. If they say they are, they’re either a moron or a liar; everyone made their mind up long ago.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Democrats and Republicans are trashing their own signs, knowing that the media will pounce at that catnip, spurring their voters to grow more indignant, thus helping turnout. Stranger things have happened (see: Aria DiMezzo).

The Swanzey selectboard (doesn’t that sound awkward — selectboard?) decided to keep the town’s polling place at the Christian Life Fellowship Church, after some squabbling about its pastor posting some stuff on the web that some found objectionable. A few people raised the point that maybe we shouldn’t vote in churches, as it may represent a violation of our church and state separation. I vote at Ward 5 in Keene, at the Monadnock Covenant Church, and it really doesn’t bother me too much. I noticed, though, that on election day, officials put up a screen, hiding the altar and cross. I think that’s a little overkill; everyone knows it’s a church. Just to be a wise guy, on primary day I asked one of the election officials who I knew what was behind the curtain. She told me I was an idiot.

I wonder if Poughkeepsie has ever considered the Church of Satan as a polling venue?

I’m trying to decide what time of day on Tuesday, Nov. 3, to vote. My hunch is the lines will be very long, so I’m going to avoid 7-9 in the morning and 4-6 in the afternoon. Maybe mid-morning, when all the old people have either gone home to have their porridge or left for Hannaford’s. Don’t forget, too, that the lines will be especially long because of the 6-foot rule. Even if it’s sleeting, turnout will be the highest ever.

As an aside, don’t you think it’s absurd that supporters of both parties stand outside the polls in the parking lot, holding signs, jumping up and down and shouting at you?

“Gee, those Biden people have a little more pep in their step, maybe I’ll vote for Joe. But then again, the Trump folks smile a little bit more, so maybe I’ll go for The Donald.”

These cheerleaders always make me feel a little embarrassed for them, and I make sure to avoid eye contact, even if I know them.

And so it goes around here, as we wait for the winter to bear down and — hopefully — the year 2020 quiets down and goes away.

John McGauley, an author and local radio talk-show host, writes from Keene. He can be reached at

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