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Independents who felt entitled to vote in the presidential primary are bad Americans

OK, so a kid walks into one of my basketball practices. She doesn't go to our school, doesn't like our mascot and hates our uniforms. She knows how to play basketball, but she doesn't like playing man-to-man defense (which is all we play). Our practice schedule doesn't match her free time and, besides, she doesn't really like being part of a team. She doesn't like to be coached in any way and lets it be known that she will do what she wants, when she wants. But she insists on playing, and if she is denied, she will scream that she has been disenfranchised.

The next time we have a game, she can show up and demand a provisional basketball.

My son and I went to vote in the primary election last week. We entered the building, and much to my pleasant surprise, there was a long line. We went to the back of the line and noticed that there were two signs hanging above the table, one saying "A-H," the other "I-Z." One would initially find that split rather odd, but what was really weird was that the entire line was in the "A-H" section. It was like an alphabetical version of Benford's Law (which, as discussed in a previous column, states that in a random grouping of multi-digit numbers, nearly one-third of them will begin with 1, while nearly 20 percent will begin with 2, on down to where only 5 percent will begin with 9).

There was probably a 10-minute wait, which is fine. Having to stand in line to vote is a cool thing. To me, that means that people are taking their duties as American citizens seriously, and they're voting in large numbers. I guarantee you'll never catch me using an absentee ballot (unless somebody starts a professional basketball league for overweight older white guys, and I get drafted in the third round by Albania).

I have a friend who lives in Benson, and he had to stand outside in the cold night air for two hours (!) just to get in the building to vote. He told me that while people weren't happy that there was only one place to vote for the entire town and surrounding area (as opposed to the usual four), nobody left the line. That's cool, too.

Anyway, Alexander and I were in line, and people were making the predictable jokes about changing their last names to Zumwalt, when this guy walked in and audibly sighed. First off, the guy had a ponytail, which I was happy to see. I now know who the last person was to have one after Don Henley finally cut his off. He walked around the end of the line and went to the "I-Z" spot on the table. The woman asked his name; it started with a "B." She showed him the line, but he said that he was not on the list, because he was an independent. But he was there, demanding to vote.

She very calmly gave him a provisional (which, in this instance, meant "worthless") ballot and directed him to the dunce's booth. He asked what was going to happen with the ballot. I told Alexander that they were going to be used to paper the bathroom at Democratic headquarters.

The guy got real pissy when he found out that his vote wouldn't be counted. Those of us in line took up a collection, but between the 12 of us, we couldn't come up with an ounce of sympathy.

Shame on all of you--including, sadly, Gov. Janet Napolitano--who think that it's OK for independents to vote in party primaries. You're a sorry bunch of whiny, cloying, have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too brats. Voting is for adults, and adults are supposed to realize that life involves choices--some easy, some hard.

You can't have it both ways. You can't have sex and still be a virgin. You can't have the bulk of your little kid's time taken up by nannies, day care and baby sitters and still consider yourself a great parent. And you definitely can't declare to the world that you want nothing to do with political parties and then want ... expect! ... DEMAND! to vote in their primaries. Didn't your mamas teach you anything?

Try to set aside your me!-me!-me! sentiments for just a moment, and I'll ignore the fact that what you're trying to do is even worse than home-schooled kids trying to play high school sports. I mean, they're kids, which means they don't have a lick of sense, and they're being home-schooled, which means that all they know is when The Rapture is coming.

Let's assume that you want to haughtily step away from the parties while somehow reserving the "right" to participate in their internal activities. How long would it be before that is used to distort the democratic process? In this Internet era of instant communication, how hard would it be for a party with a numerical edge in a district to have a handful of people vote for their incumbent and have huge numbers cross over to sabotage the candidacy of the person who has the best chance of beating that incumbent in the general? Can you say "Democrats for Joe Sweeney?"

You people who think you're too good for political parties but then want to vote in their primaries are simply despicable. Your selfishness is bad for democracy and bad for America.

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