Part of the malcontent majority
30-Oct-06. I cast my ballot this morning. I wasn't happy doing it. Frankly, the best thing that could happen to American politics would be for every single incumbent to be voted out of office, regardless of party. I think the situation has deteriorated to the extent that about the only way to fix the system would be to start over from scratch. That won't happen, of course, but I can sleep well knowing I did my part.
Political offices. I voted against every incumbent by voting for the Democrat if the incumbent is a Republican or voting for the Green candidate if the incumbent is a Democrat. Mind you, I want the Democrat incumbents to win, but I want their margin to be as slim as possible. The Republicans who have done much to destroy our government through rampant corruption, cronyism, and selfish shenanigans have committed high crimes and misdemeanors in my view and deserve to be shown the door. Even the "moderate" Republicans deserve to be thrown out, because they aided and abetted the right-wing extremists by allowing them to go unchallenged when it counted. I regard the Democrats as accessories to the crime. For too long they sat back and failed to even put up a fight, and by doing so they, too, have done grave harm to our democracy.
Judges. The ballot offered me the choice of voting "yes" or "no" for each candidate. I voted "no" for all of them. It's the closest thing on the ballot to the opportunity to say "none of the above." Whereas W goes around the country railing against "activist judges" I rail because they have not been activist enough.
Ballot initiatives. The initiative process in California has run amok. This time there were thirteen (13!) propositions on the ballot. True, some seemed worthy on their face. I am thinking here of ones like 1C Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund Act of 2006. Others were simply born of irrational fear, 83 Sex Offenders, Sexually Violent Predators, Punishment, Residence Restrictions and Monitoring Initiative Statute, for example. I hold no brief for sexual predators, but come on, GPS monitoring of every one of them!
I went through the information booklet and added up the cost that would be incurred if all of the initiatives were to pass, and it came to nearly $50 billion. Now of course they wouldn't all pass, but that's beside the point. The point is that we elect representatives to make the hard decisions about how to juggle priorities and meet the needs of our citizens. It's my job to choose my representative; it's not my job to do their job. Relying on ballot initiatives and associated dedicated funding leaves the legislature and governor with diminished ability to set priorities and allocate resources.
Another important consideration is that ballot initiatives get on the ballot largely through the efforts of some special interest, and you can count on that special interest to make sure they are well taken care of. As the saying goes, the devil is in the details, and citizens — even reasonably well-informed citizens — do not have the time nor expertise to ferret out all the details and assess their consequences, both intended and unintended.
By voting no on all propositions, I hope to strike a blow for the principle that ballot initiatives should be the exception, not the rule, and when a proposition is submitted to the citizenry for approval, it should be short and sweet and perfectly transparent. If it's not, I say a "no" vote is always in order.
In elections past we had the "silent majority," the "soccer moms," the "security moms," the "values voters." My sense and fervent hope is that this election will be dominated by the "mad-as-hell-and-not-going-to-take-it-anymore voters."
Remember: you are entitled to your own opinion, which may differ from mine. That does not, however, take away my right to my opinion.