It's the second week of October. When I was a kid it would sometimes snow and always be cold by now. I'm typing this on my laptop sitting outdoors in the warm sun with no sweater or jacket on the downtown mall, a pedestrian street in Charlottesville, Va. Flowers are blooming, and butterflies and hummingbirds are hanging out, several states out of their old territory. We haven't had the heat or the air conditioning on in our house for months. The weather is perfect and we're saving money. Global warming is making it easy for us to take steps to reverse global warming. So why does the perfect summer breeze on the back of my neck scare the hell out of me?

Because I'm not a fundamentalist hoping for the end of the world, a raving lunatic unclear on the concept of science, or a certified moron who claims to read every newspaper in the country but reads and knows essentially nothing. In other words, I'm not Sarah Palin. The entire damn planet is in danger, ecosystems are collapsing, the mild warming is getting dangerously close to entering a vicious cycle that nobody will be able to reverse, species are vanishing at an ever faster pace, and the town I live in, no matter how pleasant it may be at the moment, is not an island. If it were, it would be in danger of going under, as real islands are.

So, it comes to this: Are we a nation of complete and utter imbeciles? It's been the better part of a century since H.L. Mencken predicted this danger with these words:

"The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their hearts' desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."

I'd be the last to question the moronicity of George W. Bush, but Sarah Palin is substantially dumber, bizarrely crazier, and dangerously and arrogantly less aware of her own shortcomings.

At the moment, polls that are conducted in ways that tend to favor McCain and Palin (including polling disproportionate numbers of Republicans, not polling cell phone users, not polling newly registered voters, etc.) are forecasting a decisive victory for Obama and Biden. That gap is likely to expand of its own dumb momentum, as people prefer to vote for the winners. But there are two things that could change it.

The first possibility is that something could happen or be made to happen to SCARE everybody. It could be terrorism or war or economic collapse or martial law or assassinations. Americans are not actually morons when they're not scared. But when they are scared, they make lemmings look like heroes. So, in this moment of clarity prior to the possible BIG SCARY THING that could happen during the next few weeks, I would like to urge all Americans to vote early, vote absentee, and/or swear on whatever we hold dear not to alter our votes because we've been caused to pee in our pants.

The second possibility is that we will all try to elect the candidates who are less like Bush and Cheney, but that our votes will be blocked, suppressed, erased, stolen, miscounted, and lost. The elimination of thousands of names from voting rolls is in process all over the country. The propagation of false rumors regarding voter eligibility, voter rights, and the date of the election (it's November 4th, Tuesday!) is underway. Completely unverifiable electronic voting machines are in place and ready to miscount your votes. This is a much bigger issue than a single election, and any irregularities must be challenged even if we think the official outcome turns out to be accurate. To get involved in this now go to and To join in a massive protest to reclaim our democratic republic immediately upon and in the event of a fraudulent election, sign the pledge right now at:

Don't be an idiot!