“I think I’m going to be sick,” I said to my friend as we sat down to eat. It was the early 2000’s and I was part of the first generation of online daters. Back then there was no Tinder or Bumble. We used AOL and talked to girls through instant messages. I looked over at the girl behind the counter. Her name tag matched the girl to whom I had been talking. Her voice matched what I had heard on the phone, but it wasn’t the same girl. I had seen a picture of her. She was a thin brunette with large breasts and a seductive look on her face. The girl who had given us our food was about 5 feet tall and had to be over 200 pounds. I didn’t want to accept it, but I knew the truth. The girl had pretended to be somebody she was not. This phenomenon has become so common that there is even a word for it now – catfishing. I learned an important lesson that day. You have no idea that a person is who they claim to be until you verify it.
I once again have that sick feeling and this time it is far more important. President Trump finished election night with massive leads in almost all of the swing states. Unfortunately, many states allow votes to be counted that we have less verification of who they are coming from than I had with that girl. These mail-in ballots could have been sent in by anybody. In fact, I pick up the mail from the mailbox at my apartment, so I easily could have taken my roommate’s ballot, filled it out, and sent it in to be counted. I looked at the ballot. There is no verification process that would have prevented me from doing that. Most states have made catfishing the ballot box easier than catfishing a naïve, girl-crazed boy.
We have to fix our voting system so that we know who we are dealing with. I got better at it when it came to online dating, so we can use some of the same concepts. Generally, some sort of visual proof is necessary to figure out if a person is who they say they are. They didn’t have reverse web searches back then, and even now those do not always find the picture you’re looking for. Some guys would just assume that if a girl sent pictures that were too attractive she was fake, but that is not always the case, and you don’t want to miss out on a girl who really is the hot girl in the pictures. I’m looking at you, Minnesota Megan.
The first verification method I experimented with was to get multiple pictures instead of trusting just one. It has the benefit of preventing a girl (or maybe even a guy) from grabbing any old photo off the internet and saying it is them. It is an improvement, but you can find multiple pictures of the same girl all over the web, so it is also an easily beatable system. What you have to do is ask the person to send you real-time, spontaneously posed pictures. For example, you would tell the girl to send you a picture of her posing with her pinky to her mouth like Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers movies. Then tell her to send a picture of her balancing a book on her head. Generally, if she can send you those pictures immediately, she is really the girl photographed.
We can use that method to verify voters, but it poses many logistical problems. We need to trust the people doing the verification, so each voting precinct would have to have people supporting both candidates there for the verification process. It would be a tedious and lengthy undertaking, as every single mail-in voter would need to be contacted, one at a time, to confirm their identity matches the name on the ballot, pose for the random pictures and text or email them in, and confirm that the vote on the ballot is the correct vote that they sent in. As you can see, the randomly posed picture solution would be very difficult to pull off without it taking years.
Fortunately, I eventually figured out the one foolproof way to know that you are speaking to the person in the pictures. The only way to be sure is to physically meet the girl in person and match the picture to the actual human being. I know it’s a crazy concept, but I haven’t looked directly at a girl and been fooled into thinking she was someone else since Hayley Mills. How can we put this approach into practice in our elections? Easy. All we have to do is require people to vote in person on Election Day so that we can match them to the photo identification that they provide.
A very smart lawyer that I know basically told me that because Democrats made fraudulent votes nearly impossible to prove, those votes are legal and we shouldn’t say that they are fraudulent. Fine. Let’s just say that the Democrats are catfishing us. He also implied that the only thing we can do is try to get the Democrats who are in power to change the fraudulent system that got them into power in the first place. Good luck with that. I say we need to fight and fight now. If we don’t we may end up in a four-year relationship with Joe Biden, which would certainly be the end of our love affair with liberty.
2 thoughts on “Voting and Online Dating Similarities”
I’m not a pessimistic as you are about ending our love affair with liberty, as long as Republicans hold the Senate and pass a constitutional amendment to hold the Supreme Court to 9 justices. I was pessimistic before election day because I thought that the “ends justifies the means” party would corrupt the system. I believe in the checks and balances of the United States Constitution. Congress legislates, the President controls the military, and has veto and enforcement power, and the Supreme Court insures that the laws passed and judicial decisions decided are in keeping with the Constitution. This has been corrupted. Whatever your thoughts about abortion, Roe v. Wade was legislation based on old science, not a court decision interpreting law. That politicized the Court, which is not supposed to be political. That’s why they serve lifetime terms. Their role is to enforce the Constitution, not please the electorate. It is the job of Congress to pass laws about abortion or any other issue, but they have failed to do that. Instead they attack judicial candidates that they fear will reverse Roe v. Wade, even though they have the power to use the system the way it was designed. Now they are saying they will expand the Supreme Court to 13 members to get their way. The ends justifies the means. They are trying to break the system of checks and balances.
When watching election returns I saw all of the red states and red counties in blue states, and I realized there is more red real estate in the U.S. than blue. It’s just that the people in urban areas are closer together and more easily manipulated and delivered in voting blocks. That is why we have the electoral college–so that the urban areas with a lot of people can’t disenfranchise the people in all of that red real estate. There are fewer people but their issues are different and they should be represented.
The system works if it is not allowed to be corrupted, and Congress is the center of the corruption. It’s easier to blame the President because he’s the figurehead, but in today’s time it is the politicians who are forced into constant fundraising to get elected. Trump turned that system on its ear because he isn’t a career politician and doesn’t want to be. Yes, he’s often tacky. He tweets whatever pops into his head. He isn’t as dignified as we picture a president. However, he has accomplished a lot that Congress won’t tackle because he cares about the people and not the special interest groups that donate to campaigns. He has done more for minorities, Jews and the middle class than any politician from either party for a long time. I understand the people who won’t support him based on style, but I vote substance. Unlike 2016, I bucked the system this time. I didn’t vote the way middle aged suburban white 4th generation American were supposed to be delivered in the block. I voted Trump. I thought the cheating talk on election night was an overreaction, but I see from the improbable turnout that there is likely some cheating. It’s hard to believe Biden garnered more enthusiasm than Obama, or even that Trump is more hated than Obama was loved. Just sayin’.