To Vote or Not to Vote

image It would be easy for me not to vote here in the California elections.   I live in an enclave of conservatism in a state that is resoundingly Democratic.  Our electorate continues to send an assortment of clowns to Sacramento, our state capital, where they continue to drive this once prosperous state toward bankruptcy.  My vote is like straw in the wind.  It is absolutely certain where our electoral votes will go in any presidential election regardless of how I vote, and congressional elections are pretty much predetermined, too.   The barrage of soundbite political ads on TV, one-liner political mail and phone calls at the dinner hour do nothing to increase the likelihood that I’ll vote.  The initiative system, which supposedly gives anyone an opportunity to put an issue on the ballot in recent years has been about bond issues (which always seem to pass, regardless of how much and how ridiculous the cause given the state of the State) and initiatives hiding under organizational names like Citizens Against Medical Abuse.  If I just dig a bit and see who’s paying for the process of getting the initiative on the ballot, I can figure out which special interest group has co-opted the initiative process.

It was mid-morning before I officially decided I would vote yesterday, which sent me scrambling around the house, looking for this year’s election brochure.  As usual, there were an assortment of major elections whose outcome was in no doubt, a variety of local elections with candidates I didn’t know and several initiatives whose origins smelled of lawyers and unions, not citizenry.  Oh, yes, and a mind-numbing list of people running for the  non-partisan judgeships.  I drove to our local polling place, where I had six poll-volunteers to myself.  I signed my name and was handed an I VOTED sticker and my code for the incredibly archaic voting machines.  Yes, they are electronic but they seem designed to provide maximum confusion to those without computer skills.    I cast a Curmudgeon vote, against all bond issues (except one for schools), along party lines (you get to guess which) for all offices except judges (since they are non-partisan, at least on paper, how would I choose?), and against any initiative that favored lawyers or increased regulation.  Then I came home and clicked the I VOTED button on Facebook.  And felt better about myself.

My Mom used to say, If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.   As an old curmudgeon, I certainly don’t want to give up that right.  Besides, in spite of the fact this country does not seem like quite the democracy it once was, it’s what we’ve got.  And it is as close to the real thing as there is in the world, so I’m going to keep voting until a leader comes along that can lead, that can bring the parties together like our current president said he would.  Compromise.  What a concept.  Maybe gridlock will force the issue.

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