Turn off the TV, and read your voter guide
© Bryan Zepp Jamieson
November 3rd 2012
There’s an election next week. You may have heard mention of it on your TV. Obama versus Romney, which is mediocre versus horrible. Neville Chamberlain versus Hitler.
OK, Romney probably doesn’t deserve to be compared to Hitler, although the comparison might be apt with some of the people supporting him. You have the teabagger crowd looking for ways to legitimize rape. Others want to toss the American people to the tender mercies of large multinational corporations. His own VP candidate champions a libertarian dystopia where the existence of every working American is at the whim of his boss, and if you don’t work, you can’t expect much in the way of an existence. One Republican candidate even called for executing children who disobey their children.
Four years ago, we made “Hey you kids get off my lawn!” jokes about McCain. I don’t think it occurred to anyone that there might be a candidate crazy enough to suggest that it would be alright for McCain to enforce the sanctity of his lawn with an AK-47. That was then. This is now.
The two party system sucks. The electoral college sucks, as anyone trapped in the avalanche of ads in any of the “battlefield states” can attest. I’m guessing most of my readers don’t feel represented in any meaningful way by either party, or either candidate, and are basing your votes on the one least likely to turn your life to shit.
If you live in a “safe” state, red or blue, where one candidate or the other has a solid 10 point lead, vote for someone who DOES reflect your views. Gary Johnson is the closest thing to a decent libertarian I’ve seen—most are like Paul Ryan. He actually seems to recognize that if you really do try to run a society like a business, you end up killing the unproductive. Jill Stein of the Green Party has run as courageous a campaign as America has seen since the days of the Wobblies, and was arrested twice for the “crime” of wanting to speak to the American people. She would, I believe, make a fine president, and I have no qualms about recommending her to anyone who is looking at Barack Obama and wondering if we would get what we saw in the first term (and first debate) or something more like what we saw in the second debate. At some point, the man has to stop weakly parrying Republican savagery and start asserting his own values and principles.
That includes his dismal record on human rights. Of all the American presidents, only George W. Bush was worse. Oh, he is for gay marriage and supports women’s rights, but those don’t look nearly so impressive when he continues to feel free to slaughter people abroad with drones, and asserts a non-existent right to assassinate Americans abroad. The man used to be a Constitutional scholar, for krissakes. What became of him?
He’ll probably win this election. For all the money and dirty tricks and efforts to steal or block votes, the Republicans just can’t overcome the fact that they have a shit candidate representing an even shittier party. I would love to see them get slaughtered at the polls Tuesday, but I’m not holding my breath. If Obama won by ten points in the popular vote, and the GOP lost seats in the Senate and lost the House, the madhatters of the far right would be finished for a generation.
But that won’t happen. Not much will happen. The polls suggest that even if the Republicans manage to steal Ohio, Romney still hasn’t got the electoral votes. Nate Silver thinks Obama will end up with about 308 electoral votes, and he might even do better than that if he takes Virginia, which is possible. The Dems will hold their own in the Senate, and might pick up a dozen seats in the House. And the GOP have already promised nothing but gridlock because they absolutely refuse to accept any role other than as rulers of America.
There is good news, though on the state front. California will probably pass an initiative that mandates labeling of genetically modified foods, and that will begin a move in all the other states. It’s terrifying to realize that these genetic manipulators are playing with genes that can sterilize or upset the process of puberty. They don’t really know what they’re doing, and a lot can go wrong.
Several states are poised to legalize marijuana. This is an idea long overdue. Marijuana is harmless compared to nearly every other drug, illegal, legal, and prescription. It’s probably less dangerous than corn developed by Monsanto. Here in California, where it has been quasi-legal, it’s the main cash crop in many of the rural areas, and crime rates have dropped. I bet that over time, drug abuse problems will drop, because it’s not even remotely a gateway drug (alcohol, on the other hand, is). As an added bonus, if all four states voting to legalize it are successful, then it’s a billion dollar blow to the Mexican drug cartels. Hikers could once again enjoy the trails through the National Forests and Parks without a fear that they might stumble on someone’s ‘grow patch,’ hoping against hope that nobody saw that they’d seen it.
California has several other interesting propositions. Prop 32 seeks to ban corporate and union contributions to state and local candidates. Prop 34 seeks to end the death penalty. Prop 36 looks to make the “Three strikes law” a bit more rational. Under existing law, ANY felony is a ‘third strike’ and so we have people getting life sentences for stealing bicycles. It would be amended to apply only to violent felonies. Prop 30 would add a quarter percent to the state sales and, and sharply raise taxes for millionaires. This would bring in at least $6.8 billion. Prop 35 stiffens penalties for human trafficking and sex slavery. I wish it wasn’t needed, but until Americans stop tolerating worker abuse for cheap goods, it will be. Finally, Prop 39 would raise taxes on income generated within the state by business bases outside of California to the same level as businesses based in California. It’s insane to award businesses for being somewhere ELSE.
They’re all good propositions. I hope they pass.
And an excellent website for tracking them, and all other state and local elections nationwide, at ballotpedia.org. I’ll be using it Tuesday night.
When you do your duty and vote, vote your heart. Vote for what you think is right, rather than the least of two evils. Your country can only benefit from that.