Betcha didn’t see that coming. I’m the contracted “kitchen curmudgeon”. I don’t often do unicorns and rainbows, to say the least. But there IS an upbeat message here. Gotta be patient. You’re undoubtedly sick of seeing Dem triumphalism in post-election posts as you browse. You won’t get that here. You’ll also get no respect at all for the Reps. You’ve learned that by now. Let’s get the Captain Obvious stuff out of the way. First, Steven Hill wrote a pretty good editorial here: https://web.archive.org/web/20121214001232/http://www.sacbee.com/2012/11/16/4990045/california-electoral-reform-fails.html that bears out what I’ve been saying about the Prop 14, “top two” primary. The short version: (1) Was supposed to make “more moderate” office holders. We now have a two-thirds Dem legislature in both houses. (Historically, this consistently leads to the Dems becoming more “moderate”, i.e., Republican. Just what everybody wanted, right? For more on this, see The Ratchet Effect: http://stopmebeforeivoteagain.org/stopme/chapter02.html) (2) Was supposed to lead to “more choice” on the ballot in some way as yet unexplained. (3) Has led, as predicted, to vote-splitting, making bizarre, random results in the primaries. If there are any Prop 14 believers left out there, you have my unqualified contempt. . For the second bit of obvious, click over to Ian Welsh’s bit here: http://www.ianwelsh.net/some-personal-thoughts/ The short version:
The people who sadden me are left-wingers who carried Obama’s water, who I know know better. I know they know his record. I know they know where this is all leading.
In Welsh’s essay and the comments that follow, there is a nice expression of disgust with single-issue mercenaries and assorted other sellouts that I can parphrase thus: “As long as His Majesty mouths the right words about gay rights, women’s health, or immigration, he can prosecute as many whistleblowers and kill as many civilians in Pakistan as He pleases. I’ll be happy in Guantanamo, as long as abortion is legal.” I’ll just leave this here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=4BYyDusJYJo#! I’ve covered a lot of obvious here before, and it doesn’t take much to get me sympathizing with people who don’t vote at all, considering it hopeless. But here’s the but…. at the risk of, oh just a BIT of exaggeration, I HAVE BEEN TO THE MOUNTAINTOP, AND I HAVE SEEN THE PROMISED LAND! This vision didn’t come in the presidential election, that’s for sure. It didn’t come in any reform to our laughable body of election laws. It didn’t even come in anything that won on the ballot. It certainly didn’t come in anything that I voted on myself. It came with seeing the result, in the vote count, in an election that I worked on myself. I didn’t do a lot of work, and there weren’t a whole lot of votes produced. On the face of it, my candidate’s tally was unimpressive. But if you know the story behind it, it’s something different. My candidate came in sixth out of twelve candidates, running for three seats. Now most of you know who I’m talking about. If you look at that list of twelve candidates, and remove all the ones who were bankrolled by either Chevron, the police union, or a couple of deep-pocketed developers, my candidate finished first. As it happened, she wasn’t a whole lot behind the winners, considering how many votes per dollar she got versus the others. It means that something is within reach. You won’t get there from just voting (Voting is irrational, anyway. See: http://warisacrime.org/content/case-irrational-voting) You won’t get there from watching the media or just reading about candidates who are already campaigning. You won’t get there by just donating to what sounds like a good cause. You get there by acting like a citizen. You step away from the keyboard and go to SOME kind of community meeting with SOME kind of regularity. You get acquainted with the people who might care about what you care about. You get to know the candidates years before they emerge as candidates. “The world is run by those who show up.” If you’re active in your community, you’ll eventually see candidates for local office emerge from among the people you know. Some will be ignorable, so ignore them. Once in a while, a good one comes along. Your job is to encourage that occasional good one. You’ll know a candidate because you know the person. There won’t be anything magical, or much that’s “charismatic” about the person. That’s generally true of honest people. It might make you do something crazy, like give up an afternoon walking along a street handing out paper. Money can buy commercials on tv, and thereby bribe the media. It can produce glossy mailers. It can buy flashy web sites, and analysts to slice & dice every issue to choose the most popular angle to take on it. But it can’t buy people who’ve been inspired, disillusioned, impressed and jaded so many times, back & forth, up & down, that they’ve found a balance and just trudge along, doing some little job to the end of the next block, but doing it right. That’s me, and that’s not for sale. Sure, they can hire people to do it, but the ones they hire won’t care. They might put the flyers on mailboxes and get the campaign in trouble. They might dump the flyers in the trash and just tell their handlers they distributed them. They might leave paper flying around on the ground as loose litter. They can’t hire people who will believe, without any hyperbolic nonsense, that this candidate is the best they’ve seen for a long time, and deserving the best from every little bit of work they can do, and then will just do the work, without doing anything embarrassing.. You don’t always win. Far from it, but you’ll see results in your work. If nothing else, that not-too-impressive vote total will remind those who bought their offices that somebody is watching while they’re up on the dais. It just gains a little respect for your cause, and that’s the beginning. . .
Continuing is up to all of us.