All right, this is supposed to be a blog about life with Parkinson’s, but I am writing on a seemingly unrelated topic, the 2016 election. No, not that election. Yes, of course it’s important who gets elected President, but way too much ink has been spilled about the race at the top of the ballot. And I doubt that either Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Trump have much direct impact on those critical NIH (National Institute of Health) grants for Parkinson’s research.
No, my focus is at the other end of the ballot. UPDATE ON 11/9: IT PASSED!
The very last item on my voluminous 19-inch-long two-page ballot is a capital school bond issue for the Highline School District, a large suburban district just south of Seattle, with a school population so diverse, its website is in five languages. The bond is on its third try in as many years. Here in the state of Washington, we inexplicably require a 60% majority for school capital bonds, and getting 60% of the electorate to agree on anything is a tall order. Two of the schools to be replaced date from the 1920s; I went on a tour of one, and the wiring looked like it was put in by Charles Dickens. Especially scary were the unsecured kids’ restrooms accessible from outside, and the big black oil furnace with the small sign warning about asbestos.
I wish that Parkinson’s was going to be cured tomorrow, but I realize that a cure could be decades away — which means that the future scientists and doctors are in grade school now. Wouldn’t it help them focus on their lessons when they don’t need to worry about the ceiling tiles falling on their desk? And they have current technology?
Gosh, I hope voters have the patience to make it through to this last item. On my ballot, the count was:
2 Advisory votes
1 State constitution amendment
2 County charter amendments
3 Federal offices
11 State offices
11 Judicial positions
1 Mass transit expansion
and finally…..the school bond
Here in Washington, all elections have been by mail for several years. I spent over two hours tonight consulting endorsements on the computer, and the two voters’ guides we received. Tomorrow, I’ll take the ballot to the free election drop box. I don’t know how people in other states manage who have to stand in line and then stand at a polling booth. I hope my fellow Parkis at least are able to get a permanent absentee ballot. It’s a privilege to vote, and I am deeply grateful to all those people before me who fought for my right to vote.