Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm a proud American, I think that it's fantastic that we get to choose our leaders, and that I'm allowed to wear pants, go to school and move around with my head uncovered. I am by no means trashing our nations. I am however trashing the political system that I believe would disgrace the founding fathers.
3 things that are wrong with elections
1 - They are a giant waste of money
2 - They inspire politicians to lie
3 - Mudslinging
1 - The money.
It seems today, that elections can be bought. As pointed out by a friend of my recently, Mayor Bloomberg spent $100 million to his opponent Bill Thompson's $10 million. It won him the election. By a mere 5 points. I'll leave alone the fact that he probably should not have been allowed to run at all, due to previously law regarding term limits, and even leave alone his comments about the term limits when they concerned his predecessor. $100 MILLION dollars? I don't think I could spend that much money in my lifetime. Do you know how many starving babies could be fed with that much money? How many dv clinics could be funded? How much could be put toward curing cancer? $100 MILLION on an election you should not have even have been allowed to run in? You're not FDR, Mr. Bloomberg, and you kind of make me a little ill in my stomach. Which is not to let Mr. Thompson off the hook, $10 million would feed an awful lot of babies to.
However, I should mention that Bloomberg is not even my favorite. My favorite is Jon Corzine (who has FINALLY been voted out of office). Corzine bought a Senate seat in New Jersey in 2000 with $62 MILLION of his own dollars (and Lord only know how many more millions of other people's dollars) and then purchased the governor's seat for a mere $38 million in 2005. (the $3 million he outspent Doug Forrester by in that election really seemed to do the trick). This year he only spent around $26 million, which could be why he lost. Or it could be that Jersey is sick of him. Or all the bad press concerning the Jersey officials and their myriad wrongdoings lately.
Is a political office really worth that kind of cash? I mean, with that kind of money, you could be a savior to humanity? You would really rather be know as a political schmuck than the next Mother Teresa? You WANT to be the governor of Jersey? The armpit of America? Really? I'm disgusted... so let's move on
2 - The lying.
Elections cause politicians to lie. They will say ANYTHING to get elected. There apparently must really be some kind of super high that comes along with being a political schmuck. I'm going to run down Obama's promises. Bear in mind here, I'm not ripping apart just Dems, I realize Republicans lie too, it's just Obama is the biggest and most recent. And GW part deux, (while one of the loves of my life) would just be too easy.
Let's see now. Obama promises.
a - CHANGE - My favorite... Now, on a day to day basis, has that much changed for you individually since Obama took office? Other than the Today Show and the Colbert Report not having as many president jokes because this one's a decent speaker. The problem with promising CHANGE is that until you sit in the chair, you don't realize how little you can actually change. There are still people who can tell you what to do, even when you're the boss man. (e.g. Alan Greenspan)
b - Bringing the troops home. Shucks, as far as I can see... we're still shipping 'em out. Even my baby brother, signing up in this democratic administration, due to my mother's insistence he not sign up under GW, may still have to ship out under Obama.
c - repealing the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy as well as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) ... hmmmmm, it appears that we are still discriminatin' with the best of them.
d - "End income tax for seniors making less than $50,000" ... HA! lies! Grandmas are still paying taxes.
e - "Double the Peace Corps" - ambitious. Yet not done. I guess he does still have some time on this though. He only has to find 16,000 more volunteers before 2011.
f - Getting GITMO closed - now granted, he did put in a good faith effort he, he was just shown up by the courts and the Senate. Another example of not being able to CHANGE as much as you promised.
And there are other promises... but I'm done hating on 'bama for awhile.
3 - The Mudslinging
Let's use a local one for this one. I live in the North County. And Marc and I's favorite race to watch was the Washington County District Attorney race. Now, you think two men running to uphold a county's laws would want to watch those laws concerning libel and slander. Or at least help each other maintain good reputations so that they could appear as models to their community and state; whose laws they are running to uphold after all.
Not. So. Much. ... Incumbent Kevin Kortwright disclosed an e-mail sent by Robert Winn (also a former Washington County DA) inviting the Granville police to an open bar party (following his 1997 win) and asking the police to "lay low" as a professional courtesy. Winn claimed it was a (poor attempt at a) joke, and that Kortwright broke the law by obtaining the e-mail from a sealed court case. Kortwright stated that it was a crime that Winn planned on driving drunk and letting others drive drunk that night. He also stated he did not get the e-mail from the sealed court case, but from a grieving mother, whose son was killed in a car accident in 2003. However, one does have to wonder how he located said grieving mother and his willingness to exploit her.
The other sad fact. These gentlemen are both Republican and both incumbents. And as far as I'm concerned, both fuck-ups. Dear Democratic Party, where were you? You got Gillibrand elected up here. Put in some more freaking effort. Maybe hand out free rabies vaccines or something.
But it seems libel is the way to go up here. In nearby Essex county, two republicans were again running for the D.A. position. Debra Whitson accused Julie Garcia of doing cocaine and living with a convicted cocaine dealer. Now, first of all Ms. Whitson, doing cocaine never kept anyone out of office, and second of all, make sure you get all of you facts straight, because now Ms. Garcia has hired Lake Placid attorney Jim Brooks to sue you. Again, Dems... just rolling over and playing dead at this point? Seriously, I kinda think you guys could have ran a well groomed monkey in either of these races and taken them.
(side note, the mudslinging in the Corzine/Christie race WAS entertaining, as Christie is kinda heavy and was accused of "throwing his WEIGHT around to get out of parking tickets" ... there were commercials of Christie moving slowly and you could see him tummy go thump-thump this was an that ... that did make me giggle. and also want to move to Jersey and vote for the guy, because who wouldn't try to get out of parking tickets?)
The nicest elections I ever saw were sadly enough, at Albany Law School. Where Lord knows, people will say all sorts of shit behind your back. However, in the elections for student government, each student was always careful to speak about themselves and what they hoped to accomplish instead of trashing their opponent. Possibly because it was a small environment, and you would have less friends if you were openly an ass. However, the north country has proved the same is not true of small communities on the whole. Goodness knows it's not true of all collegiate environments either. In SUNY Oswego, the mudslinging was fierce. And even if you won, the runner up just sued you for breaking some minisciunal election rule and get your ass thrown out of the election and take your place. (3 years in a row Oswego... you're a sad, sad, student gov't)
Ways to fix the problems.
1 - Spending caps.
2 - Polygraphs while speaking. At all times.
3 - You're only allowed to talk about yourself and your ideas. Period.
I'd start feeling like my vote mattered again.