The following column appeared in SP #6. While the mass media suddenly discovered flaws in the system following the Bush/Gore dead heat, SP was well ahead of the game with all 3 of our columnists delivering a strong rebuke to America's electoral process in SP #6 in April '00. The following was written by SP editor Mel C after returning home from voting in the California primary in March.
I just got back from the polls, and all I can say is it's great to live in a democracy. Of course I say that knowing that not a single federal official is actually elected by a popular vote of the American people, but I'm sure that technicality will be corrected in another 200 or 300 years. Meantime I can bask in the joy of knowing that my state, California, with 30 million people has just as much clout in the nation's Senate as Mississippi. Well, almost as much, if not for the Senate's seniority system. The only thing about our great democracy that concerns me is that the elderly women who run the polls where I vote get two years older every election, and at some point they'll die off, and since no one else seems to want the job, democracy may be near the end.
By the way, the polling place where I vote is in a church. Is that someone's idea of separation of church and state? I'm not complaining though. I think that if you are going to pray, doing so before you vote is probably perfect timing. One ballot proposition I had to vote on today clearly required prayer. It was worded as follows. PROPOSITION 30 - "Yes" vote approves, "No" vote rejects legislation restoring right to sue another person's insurer for unfair claims settlement practices following judgement or award against other person.
I know what you're saying; "That could be less clear." Good point, and some of the ballot initiatives actually were. One ballot measure called for a 50¢ per pack reduction in the cigarette tax! I wonder how that got on the ballot. My guess is that it was put on by school kids whose meager allowance doesn't presently allow them the opportunity to get hooked on tobacco. I don't really think we should tax smoker's at all, after all, they don't have that much longer to live. (Hey, there's a ballot idea for next time.) In California one of the big issues is always Indian gaming casinos. This year they had one initiative where the tribes get to determine the minimum age to gamble in their casinos. No, I'm not kidding. Reading from my voter handbook yet again, PROPOSITION 18 - This one makes a second degree murder conviction punishable by life inprisonment without the possibility of parole if the victim is a peace officer employed by the state university system, or Bay Area Rapid Transit. Why didn't someone think of this years ago? Most people think it's perfectly legal to kill a transit cop. How about PROPOSITION 22, which outlaws same sex marriages. Yeah, same sex marriage sure is a big problem, isn't it. The irony of course, is that the idiots who vote for garbage like that are the same assholes who claim to be against BIG government, and for less government interference in peoples lives. "CONSERVATIVES" - if we had any more of them we'd be living in fucking China.
I'm not sure what I hate most about election years, but the junk mail sure is annoying. I don't know what it's like where you live, but in Northern California they mail it by the ton. (Thanks to a special low rate from the U.S. Postal Service as part of their "Keep America's Waste Baskets Full" program.) I don't read it, but as I toss it in the garbage I sometimes catch a slogan. I recently tossed one where the candidate said they were committed to finding a cure for breast cancer. Shouldn't they have gone into biochemistry rather than politics? It's like if someone told you their greatest priority in life was discovering the highest prime number, so they're running for Mayor. One brochure I tossed said "Protect the Enviornment". I can't imagine a real enviornmentalist chopping down trees for a junk mail campaign, and delivering it to your home with gasoline imported from the Middle East.
Another thing that bugs me about election years is the "Rock The Vote" ads. Talk about retarded. Yeah, let's pretend that non-voters are the source of all society's ills. Here are people who have gotten rich off rock n' roll, and instead of doing something worthwhile to change the system, they instead use their power and position to guilt trip innocent people. Why can't those phonies use their immense resources to try to get better candidates, or constitutional change allowing Americans to elect the President by popular vote. I suspect that if they could do that, more people would be willing to vote. I'm sick of all these asshole celebrities who make their stupid little preachy TV ads to promote themselves, instead of getting off their butts, and doing something really useful for society.
I know you don't care who I'm going to vote for between Bush and Gore, but I'm going to tell you. I'm not voting for either of them unless they do something about getting Ellian Gonzales back to his father in Cuba. I don't care how much anyone hates Castro, using a six year old kid as a political pawn is sick.