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OPINION

Rivenbark: So this is what it feels like to be popular?

By CELIA RIVENBARK

Big news, y’all. “The New York Times” just named the 10 counties in the United States that will decide the outcome of the presidential election and I live in one of them!

It’s like being a pageant finalist! There are 3,007 counties in this country and here in New Hanover County, N.C., we’ve blown right by Miss Congeniality and gone straight to the part involving opera “sanging” and pithy statements about world peace.

David Wasserman writes in the “Times,” these bellwether counties in battleground states hold the key to the vote, concluding “Their votes will matter a lot.” Which means more than yours. Ha! Where’s my dang evening gown?

Sadly, my fellow citizens seem less excited than irritated about being in the national spotlight, perhaps because of the mostly hateful ads coming in quick succession on TV, radio, our phones and social media. I can barely watch Kellyanne Conway and her admittedly bratty teenage daughter over on Twitter without a pop-up opinion poll.

It’s usually pretty easy to tell which candidate has commissioned these polls.

“Hey, Celia! Do you support Joe Biden even though he plans to defund the police and melt all their guns down to create a statue of Rachel Maddow?”

If not for COVID, there’s no doubt I would open my fridge one morning to find Joe Biden crouched inside, flashing those snowy choppers as he thoughtfully extends half and half for my coffee.

Trump was here for a campaign stop at our local battleship memorial, the USS North Carolina. I hung sheets on my clothesline while a black helicopter hovered overhead for nearly an hour. As in directly overhead, low and unmoving, over my clothesline. Huh.

Here in New Hanover County, we have a population of 234,473 folks living in a geographically tiny county bordered by the river and the ocean. As the “Times” noted, we are - up to now - best known as the home of Michael Jordan and a flourishing film/TV industry. (The “Times” generously left out the part where the industry left town because Republicans passed an exceedingly cruel and stupid “bathroom bill” targeted at transgender folk.)

The article cheekily describes New Hanover County as the state’s “swingiest” county.

Here in the South, we’d say “swingingnest,” but whatever. If you doubt my county’s ability to go blue for president for the first time since 1976 (dammit), the “Times” reminds readers Whole Foods opened a store here in 2012.

Apparently one of the leading predictors of how a county leans politically is proximity to a vegan hot bar. Whatever that is. The tone was admittedly a tad smug. As if to say: “We know you think they’re just hicks, but they are hicks who understand the importance of criminally overpriced hamburger meat and a slice-your-own soap kiosk.”

If our county goes blue, we will accept bouquets and say “you’re welcome” to a grateful nation. If not, well, there’s always Miss Canada.

Celia Rivenbark’s oven, hot water heater, car AC and DVR all died this week. Oh, 2020, you saucy imp. Visit http://celiarivenbark.com.