Jan 11 2009

What Price Victory #2

Category: corruption,election 2008,politicsamuzikman @ 10:06 am

Or perhaps this blog could be more accurately entitled, “To The Victor Goes The Spoils’.  In either case there are immediate and profound consequences of this last election, and in my opinion troubling consequences as well.

As a result of the recent election three U.S. Senate seats are now vacant; one each in Delaware, New York and Illinois. Current law allows for the governors of those states to appoint individuals who will fill the seats being vacated by Obama, Clinton, and Biden.  For a moment, if you can, set aside your political affiliation and think about this. This means that 32,578,952 citizens of the United States are about to be represented by individuals who were not elected but rather selected for them by one person.

I seem to remember a lot of people were very upset after the 2000 presidential race when the Supreme Court had to intervene in the tallying of election results in Florida.  Even today you can find many of the liberal persuasion who claim President Bush was “selected, not elected”.  This has been one of the cornerstones of the “Hate Bush” crowd for eight years.  While the circumstances of 2000 are clearly subject to interpretation depending on your political leaning, this current situation is not.  Yet the silence is deafening.  Why don’t those same accusers raise their voices of protest in this case when “selection” is indisputable?  The answer, of course, is obvious.

What’s tragic for our country is that the selection process in each of the 3 current cases has shown itself to be entirely corrupt.  Apparently the seat in Illinois was up for the highest bidder, The Delaware selection process seems to be nepotism at it’s best and the New York seat is about to become a coronation more reminiscent of the British House of Lords than anything resembling our democratic process.  And in all three cases the issue of qualification is given little more than lip service.  Does ANYONE want to try and make the case that Carolyn Kennedy Schlossberg is actually qualified to be a U.S. senator?

Watching the way theses 3 senate seats are being filled should make us all demand a change in the law requiring a special election to fill all vacated seats.  Instead watching the news recently has made me feel like I’m watching “The Fall Of The Roman Empire“.  In case you are unfamiliar with the admittedly mediocre 1964 film, it ends with the hero, Livius, (Stephen Boyd), besting the evil Caesar Commodus in gladiator combat.  Immediately afterward he is offered the throne by the recently-deceased leader’s hirelings.  His (excellent) reply is, “You would not find me very suitable, because my first official act would be to have you all crucified.”  He then walks away with his true love on his arm while in the background a spontaneous auction begins for the throne of Rome.

I hope it does not need to be said that I do not advocate for crucifixion of political enemies.  But I do think there are many qualified men and women who simply refuse to participate in our political process either as candidates or even voters because they see the degree to which our political process has become corrupted.  Much of the corruption, not surprisingly, is tied to money.  Influence and access to political office has become the domain of the wealthy.  As more highly qualified, moral, intelligent, and knowledgeable individuals abdicate the election process, and as more political positions are gained by means other than that process, more of us will continue to ask:

Why bother to vote?

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Jan 07 2009

What Price Victory?

Category: freedom,gay marriage,judges,libertyamuzikman @ 11:34 am

In California, the passage of Proposition 8, defining marriage as between a man and a woman, is being challenged and is now before the California Supreme Court.  This is the very same court that struck down the first protection of traditional marriage, Proposition 22, passed in 2000.  In that case four members of the court overruled a 61.4% voting majority and declared the proposition unconstitutional.  In my opinion there is very little reason to think it won’t happen again.  What is of great concern to me is the outcry, the lobbying and the expectation of so many in this state seeking to obtain through the court system what they couldn’t get through the ballot box.  Both the California Governor and Lieutenant Governor have joined the chorus of those expressing hope that Prop 8 will be overturned by the court.  It has become common and sadly acceptable for the losers in a election to plan and execute a reversal of results by means of the court system and sympathetic judges.

I know this is a very hot-button issue.  But regardless of your opinion about gay marriage step back and think about this for a moment.  Is there any more precious right we have as citizens of this country than to vote?  Is liberty and freedom better expressed anywhere than in the voting booth?  Yet we seem to be perfectly fine with giving the most undemocratic, the most unaccountable and the most unrepresentative branch of government broad sweeping powers to make and change the Constitution as they see fit, taking the right away from us, the voters, We the People.

The people of California have spoken clearly twice in the last decade.  The voting majority want marriage to be defined as one man and one woman. Every vote by definition has a winner and a loser.  But if the loser can manipulate a system whereby they become the winner then does it not make the voting process a sham?

If Prop 8 is overturned the political left, the gay lobby, their sympathizers and supporters will be dancing in the streets. But if you look very closely you’ll see their dancing feet are trampling one of our most cherished and basic rights. And if that does happen then I will have one question…

Why bother to vote?

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Oct 26 2008

Evidence That Demands A Verdict

Category: politicsamuzikman @ 11:58 pm

This, the title of a very good book by author Josh McDowell.  First released in 1972, the book deals with the subject of Christian apologetics and it was written to help Christians defend their faith in everything from casual conversation to doctoral dissertations.  I think the book has been updated since it’s first date of publication and is still a very credible source related to the historical evidence of the Christian faith.

If I may I’d like to borrow this book title as a challenge and a plea to voters.  A volume of credible and verifiable evidence now exists relating to both major candidates for president.  Though there have been various attempts to mask and otherwise obfuscate the histories and governance philosophies of both men, there is now no excuse.  It is not a difficult task to investigate the candidates, to learn about their past, their plans, their guiding principles, their hopes and desires, their successes and their failures.  The evidence is plentiful.

All this evidence is meaningless, however, if it is not taken into account when deciding a verdict.  Just as a jury should never convict a defendant without examination of the evidence, I believe a voter should never cast a ballot without a thorough examination of the candidates.  Just as criminal conviction of a defendant based on their race would be a terrible injustice, so would election of an African American to the highest office in the land without examination of that person’s resume’.  Just as a defendant is innocent until proven guilty a political candidate must be given the benefit of the doubt about the veracity of their statements until such time as the reliability of those statements can be verified – and they MUST be verified.

Now the prosecution and defense of both candidates is about to rest.  You, the voter are the jury, and your vote is your finding, your final judgment.  What will be the basis on which you cast your vote? Age? Dress? Speaking ability? Eloquence? Skin color? Warm fuzzy feelings? A simple belief in the candidate? Or will it be based on examination of the evidence?  Evidence that does indeed demand a verdict.

If you cannot be bothered to examine the evidence then you have no business voting any more than you would to serve on a jury.  If you have not and will not examine the evidence then maybe you should sit this one out. Consider yourself recused.  The stakes are too high and the possible wrong verdict could punish ALL of us for a very long time.

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Aug 13 2008

Not a voter “literacy” test: a civics test instead

Category: Congress,constitution,election 2008,White Househarmonicminer @ 9:09 am

So, here is a civics test for prospective voters. The test’s author, Doug Patton, has devised a 27 question test that 8th graders would once easily have passed. He thinks you should be able to score at least 18 in order to vote. That’s 66.6%, a “D” when I was in school.  Patton’s introduction to his test:

I have never been an advocate of the popular notion that “everyone should vote.” Some people look at me as if I am somehow un-American when I say that I am not in favor of encouraging people to vote who would otherwise never darken the door of a polling place. I really don’t want someone on the streets of Hollywood, who just failed to identify the vice president of the United States on one of Jay Leno’s “Jay-Walking” segments, helping to select the person who will lead my government for the next four years.

Take the test here.

I have to report, sadly, that enormous numbers of high school graduates cannot pass this test (that is, get a score of 66.6%). More college graduates than I would wish are similarly unprepared. Yet this test is not hard, for anyone who has the vaguest notion of how our government functions, and the barest minimum of knowledge about current events. I know it is politically impossible that a test such as this will ever be adopted. But if you can’t pass it, you should be embarrassed to be voting. And in all honesty, I think the author of the test was too generous. In my opinion, if you can’t score about 24 out of 27, you should go out to lunch on election day (since you’re already there…), and then go home, and read a book or something.

Continue reading “Not a voter “literacy” test: a civics test instead”

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