Elections 2012: boredom and terror in California Politics 041112
A Fringe Political Analysis
Your Fringe Editor has been stuffing political blah blah emails into a mailbox which is threatening to rupture like an old cow with bloat. Even though reading all that hyperbole and propaganda makes me feel like having a lie down, this building up means it’s time to take a look at the political landscape in the June 5, 2012 election cycle.
As readers likely know, this year we have an open “top two” system for state offices. This will change some things in politics, in some predictable ways and in some ways we’ll have to wait to watch develop.
Most predictably, Democrats in the rural cow counties are freaking out at the prospect of not having a candidate for some offices in November. There are more Republicans than Democrats in most rural counties, and it is in some instances possible for the Democrat to lose votes to a popular local Republican so that two Repubs face each other in November. Somehow not having a candidate in the general election bothers some Democrats more than having a candidate who is inevitably going to lose in November. My advice: get it over early and lose in June, you’ll save money and have time to spend with family and friends.
The two entrenched political parties continue to create a false dichotomy, and cleverly continue to divide our freedoms between them. As a result, we have candidates who vote on dogma and so force us to choose between freedoms. La Malfa, for example, is a sterling supporter of Second Amendment rights, but would be happy if the Ten Commandments were posted in schools, and to hell with Americans who are Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Agnostic or Atheist (or a variety of other less common but still quite viable belief systems. You have to take your pick of freedoms with La Malfa and candidates like him. Do you want the right to protect yourself, or the right to be free of other people’s religion? Do we want a candidate who, following the secular religion of Humanism, wants to see the government intrude into families and take away guns for our own good? Likewise, do we want the episodic, bearable, escapable terror of those who want to violently turn the helm of the nation, or the ubiquitous, agonizing, unavoidable terror of a police state which follows all of us, even across the invisible universe of the internet?
The tragedy of our day is the climate of fear in which we live, and fear breeds repression. Too often sinister threats to the bill of rights, to freedom of the mind, are concealed under the patriotic cloak, of anti-communism. Adlai Stevenson II warning about the terror of the day in August, 1952.
It doesn’t help that some voters nearly force candidates to take extremist, divisive stances on issues of liberty. Typically, though, many voters fall into two general categories: vote with their wallet self-servers and vote with their butt affiliation voters. Neither of these voters value the freedom of others, and neither very well understand the consequences of choosing comfort or a sense of security for liberties, particularly the liberties of others.
We talk a great deal about patriotism. What do we mean by patriotism in the context of our times? I venture to suggest that what we mean is a sense of national responsibility which will enable America to remain master of her power — to walk with it in serenity and wisdom, with self-respect and the respect of all mankind; a patriotism that puts country ahead of self; a patriotism which is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime. The dedication of a lifetime — these are words that are easy to utter, but this is a mighty assignment. For it is often easier to fight for principles than to live up to them. Adlai Stevenson II, August 1952
If we were better citizens and patriots, we would take the simple step of putting ourselves in the place of those whose freedoms we were trying to curtail, we could demand better candidates; instead we have the candidates we deserve.
Likewise we are often forced to choose between the environment or the economy. That kind of dichotomy is not necessary, does not exist in other places as it does here. In many countries, people work to increase efficiency and expend green energy and benefit business and the environment. That’s simply not often a choice here, where rural people have to pay a heavier price to protect the environment than those who ultimately enjoy the benefits of clean water, clean air and a diverse biological ecology.
Let's face it. Let's talk sense to the American people. Let's tell them the truth, that there are no gains without pains, that we are now on the eve of great decisions, not easy decisions, like resistance when you're attacked, but a long, patient, costly struggle which alone can assure triumph over the great enemies of man — war, poverty, and tyranny — and the assaults upon human dignity which are the most grievous consequences of each. Adlai Stevenson II, July 1952
But, we live where and when we do, and again we are faced with a narrow range of political thought, burdened with two political parties which bicker constantly like a couple in a bad marriage but like such a couple agree in principle on almost everything.
Good voters do on-line research instead of just finding the candidate who says the most of what they want to hear. Still, it’s tough, reading through the information provided by viable candidates, to separate ore from oratory. If you’re willing going in, you can believe in almost any candidate. Your Fringe Editor, when considering a candidate, asks himself “what liberties is he or she most likely to chip away at?” Even that is not always clear.
So, let’s get down to trying to divine the lessor of the evils.
Voters are encouraged to consult Vote Smart at votesmart.org
This week we’ll consider the race of U.S. Representative District 1. The contenders are (from HERE).
NATHAN ARROWSMITH Democratic
15125 MCCOY RD
JIM REED Democratic
SAM AANESTAD Republican
GREGORY CHEADLE Republican
MICHAEL DACQUISTO Republican
DOUG LA MALFA Republican
PETE STIGLICH Republican
Retired Colonel, USAF
GARY ALLEN OXLEY No Party Preference
Emergency Room Nurse
You can get more information from the above Secretary of State site, including address and phone numbers. Personally, I can hardly consider a candidate without a website and email address very seriously, simply because they can’t do business in a modern environment.
Obviously, most of these candidates don’t stand a chance. I’ll hazard a guess that Gary Oxley doesn’t have a chance, even though he has a nice smile and seems to be generally not a bad candidate, believes in God and Country and Kitties and such. I couldn’t vote for him simply because he misconstrues “values” to be the kind of information you need to make an informed decision. It’s a simplified approach to the very dicey, very complicated decisions politicians should be able to make. Most of the other candidates don’t have much of a chance, either.
Not A Chance: Gary Oxley, nice guy
Indeed, most wise old prognosticators I know think La Malfa, currently a state senator, is the hands down candidate. I’ve already discussed why La Malfa won’t do: I consider freedom of religion to be more important than my 2nd Amendment right, which La Malfa himself can’t save in California, anyway.
Another likely Republican candidate, is Sam Aanestad. Aanestad has been blessed by Tom McClintock, has been a state senator and state assemblyman and so has a voting record to review. He voted against the suction dredge moratorium, and against the Delta Conservancy. That’s the good news, the bad news is he mostly votes “no” on everything. He has a dismal record of not supporting a score of bills which might have allowed someone more liberty, like allowing sexual diversity in education, and voted yes to send non-violent drug offenders to jail. Aanestad is clearly regressive, and is no improvement over La Malfa.
The likely Democrat is Jim Reed, an attorney from Fall River Mills. Reed has not filled out his questionnaire for Vote Smart, so we don’t have first hand answers, but a review of his past statements indicates he is a moderate Democrat, generally supporting gun ownership, generally supporting the north counties, generally supporting individual rights.
He’s a tax and spend Dem, which is OK by me and beats giving unreasonable profits to the 1%.
Reed is good at being middle of the road. Here’s an example:
GUN CONTROL: I am a strong proponent of the right to bear arms. Living in a small community with some people who violently dislike some of the legal cases I have handled for clients over the years, I have come to realize I need to be able to protect myself. If I called 911 from my house in the middle of the night, it is unlikely that any help would arrive for more than an hour. I have a shot gun that I keep handy. At the same time I also realize that there are people who should not be allowed to have guns such as convicted felons and others who have been legally found to have violent tendencies.
THE RIGHT OF A WOMAN TO CHOOSE: I firmly believe in the quote by Bill Clinton, “Abortion should be safe and legal, but rare.” I dislike abortions and if a woman came to me for advice, I would recommend any of a number of good alternatives to an abortion. But women have had a constitutional right to choose for many years, and I do not want to see any right taken away from a group of people, especially those who have not abused the right. I believe that a good education is the best way of avoiding unwanted pregnancies.
Likely, your Fringe Editor will vote for Reed. He’s the best educated and most moderate of the viable candidates.
I'm not an old, experienced hand at politics. But I am now seasoned enough to have learned that the hardest thing about any political campaign is how to win without proving that you are unworthy of winning.
Adlai Stevenson II, a man too intelligent to be elected president. More of his quotes are HERE
Next week: State Assembly.
Good Luck to us all.