This weekend, I opened my ballot booklet. I wanted to try to make a few decisions on candidates for office and the various propositions. Yet none of the propositions seemed all that clear to me. There was only one statewide proposition, one which would empower California legislators to punish their fellow members. The city propositions seemed geared toward refining processes and procedures rather than actually creating something new, or fixing something that was broken.
Similarly, the candidates up for election were all for positions that don't leap out at me as being terribly important. At a glance, I'm guessing I'd need to invest 30-40 hours to research most of these people, and the positions they're running for, to make an informed decision. In the meantime, the most important position of all, that of President of the United States, seems already decided, at least in terms of Primary Voting. As a registered Republican, Donald Trump is the only candidate left. All the others, however promising, have dropped out.
On his blog, author Steven Brust claims that the Democrat and Republican parties are both facing unprecedented levels of acrimony. This is due to the clash between the people, who theoretically "govern" our nation, and the multinational corporations and other big money concerns that fund the major candidates. I don't know if that's literally true or not, but everyone needs a paradigm through which to interpret the world. For Steven Brust, it's the utter failure of capitalism to meet the people's needs.
In a representative democracy, we supposedly elect people to make decisions on our behalf. Yet we supposedly hold power to make a few important decisions as well, such as through propositions. I'm sure you could argue that all these little people, and little issues on my ballot, are really terribly important. I'm sure, if you made your argument well, I'd agree with you. But right now, voting in the California Primary seems a lot less important, and relevant to my life, than it should.
I wish I felt differently.
Related Internet Links
Steven Brust's Election Ponderings