Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Democracy Run Amuck

I have it all arranged here with me. There's the 143 page California General Election Official Voter Information Guide, the 15 page supplemental California General Election Official Voter Information Guide, the 32 page City of Los Angeles Voter Information Pamphlet and last, but never least, the 48 page Official Sample Ballot and Voter Instructions.

Ah, so this is democracy.

I don't care for it.

We are supposed to live in a representative democracy. In theory, this form of government allows us to choose a couple people that we think share our values and our general ideology and then we trust them to take care of the details. In conducting this work for us that may not live up to our expectations and we vote them out of office. It's a nice system. It's nice because it doesn't require me to read over 200 pages of voter information.

California has a notoriously incompetent legislature backed by a weak governor. To make up for this, the good people of California and the legislature put everything up for public vote. I get the opportunity to be heard on 12 state initiatives, 3 county measures and 2 city issues. This includes 13.2 billion dollars in state bonds and 7 billion dollars in LA Unified School District bonds. I also get to voice my feelings on crating animals in industrial farming, parental notification for abortion, renewable energy, same-sex marriage, victim's rights, redistricting, mass transit, gang prevention, and low rent housing.

There's 63 pages of statutes with italics, strikethroughs and all the things that make lawyers get all giddy.

I say again, I don't like it.

The safest bet is to just vote NO across the board. With the exception of Proposition 11, that puts redistricting in the hands of a group of unelected registered voters plucked from anonymity (because the Assembly is too busy putting initiatives on the ballot), I will vote no on everything.

The weather's nice here. If the schools crumble, the kids can just sit outside with books on their laps.

Confined animals are cheap food. Parents that didn't know their kids were having sex shouldn't care if they know the same kids is having an abortion. If we let the gangs get big enough maybe they'll just wipe each other out.

I'm not going to use the 9 billion dollar high speed rail, nonviolent offenders can rehabilitate on their own dime, renewable energy should be market driven, the police can increase their funding by stopping more people speeding on the freeways and the California veterans can just be happy with the money the federal government gives them.

If I've left anything out, I apologize...I can't remember everything. Besides, I have to save some brain power for picking a president.

My ballot is six pages long because government has stopped functioning in California. It's the same thing in Washington, we just don't have federal initiatives, but give it time and who knows? Maybe we can all sit around the table staring at 4 thick pamphlets of point and counterpoint. Then we can all go to the voting booth and say yes to a bunch of things we cannot afford because we really don't have a clue what the budget looks like, we just know that a high speed rail between Los Angeles and San Francisco sounds cool.

Next year I'm going to push for my own ballot initiative. It will ask that for every public office on the ballot there be included, in addition to the candidates names, a choice of "No, thanks." If "No, thanks" gets the most votes, the seat remains unfilled. What law is passed by the people through proposition is made by the judges these days anyway. Why waste the money with a legislature?

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