I have often promoted the idea that everyone should get out and vote in local, state and national elections. I now must qualify my position.

Yes, I believe that we must participate in the democratic process for it to remain strong. I believe we are incredibly hypocritical to uphold our system as the best way for nations to operate when in fact we have such poor turnouts at the polls.

But, I think one ought to inform himself to some degree on the issues and candidates so that the choice is an "educated" one.

Now let me explain. I believe there are some people who should not be out there voting. Actually, I'm concerned that some of them are out driving on public roads and using public toilets.

Let me make my case:

There was this person who called me up recently to ask what day it was. And then he argued with what I told him. Now I realize that there are times when I look at the calendar to make sure. And in my profession we've even managed to transpose the wrong date on a newspaper or two. But when it was discovered, it did not become a matter of debate. A Wednesday can easily be confirmed.

Then we have that guy in the news a few days ago who kept a tiger and a large alligator in his New York apartment. I'm not sure this person could help perpetuate democracy no matter how hard he tried. And no, I don't think it is everyone's right to have a tiger and an alligator in his apartment. Somehow I don't think this ever came across the minds of our forefathers. There were other pressing issues at that time, like keeping British soldiers out of their apartments.

Certainly I thought this guy was crazy and belonged in a classification all by himself. Then I read about another fellow in New York who tried to get a stain out of his pants by putting the pants in the washing machine along with a gallon of gasoline. He blew up his house. But, for those who like to crunch data, he established how far a house can go on a gallon of gas.

And what about that guy (I think it was in California, which may give the proper connotation to this issue) who robbed a store and was caught shortly afterward as he walked down the street still wearing his mask. Remember that movie "Dumb and Dumber?" Well, this was "Dumbest."

Occasionally I like to watch Jay Leno's "Jaywalking" segment on The Tonight Show. When I say I like to watch it, I mean from a pragmatic view. There are some people you need to watch out for. And Leno somehow finds the poster children for this cause. Remember, they are issued drivers licenses.

There was the college student who thought that the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria were the components of a new rock group.

In a related question, a fellow with his hair sticking straight up on his head and more chrome in his eyebrows than on the grill of a 1957 Buick thought Christopher Columbus discovered Columbus, Ohio. It should have seemed obvious to him that Columbus would first have discovered New Orleans as he set sail up the Mississippi.

I wonder what he thought Grover Cleveland discovered? And I wonder if he knows Vasco da Gama did not vaporize pirates with gamma rays?

One fellow seemed surprised to learn that Chevron Island is not a protectorate of Standard Oil Co. and, in fact, is not seeking statehood.

Not all of these people in question are the village idiots who need to be kept warm and dry during winter rain storms. There is at least one scientist who has proposed an elevator to reach into outer space. Can you imagine listening to Don Ho sing "Tiny Bubbles" all the way from Houston, Texas, to a space station?

I still maintain that people should get out and vote, but only if they know it wasn't curds that got in Saddam's whey.

Dwain Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer, 985-4545. E-mail: dwain.walden@gaflnews.com.

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