Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Day

Today is the day. The day that (unless we have a repeat of the ungodly limbo of 2000) that all the noise will be over. So maybe tomorrow we can all be friends again.

I apologize to anyone who I have hurt by my words and opinions through this election season. It was never my intent. I think that it was very easy to get caught up in the fervor of the moment and cast broad aspersions that hit closer to home than I intended, and for that I'm sorry.

I hope you get out and vote. I don't care for who. If you wanna vote for the old white guy, go for it. If you wanna vote for the less old black dude, go for it. If you wanna vote for Bob Barr, then go for it.

I stood in line for over 6 hours on Saturday to vote, and would do it again. I saw people that were inspired by politics for the first time in their life. I saw people who were re-energized about what role they could play in deciding the leadership of our country, and all that was very heartening. I hope they paid as much attention to the local races as to the national one.

That's what unfortunately gets lost in the hype of a presidential election - the races where your vote not only counts, but is critical. The county council races, the state senate races, the gubernatorial races. Those are the races where you can affect real change, and the ones where you should pay the most, not the least, attention.

I had a moment to chat in line with the chairman of the Mecklenburg County Commission. She was out campaigning on Saturday and pushing for the bond referendum. I told her that while she still had my vote, I was unlikely to vote for the bond package because I thought that this would be a terrible time for the county to borrow money. She then explained that the bond package was merely asking permission to borrow money at a later date, and that the county manager had already told the commission, who agreed, that they shouldn't borrow any money until 2010 at the earliest. I then told her what a crap job they had all done selling the bonds and that given that information, and the fact that I like the greenways we have for me to ride my bike on, I could vote for the bonds at that point.

We also chatted briefly about her compatriots on the Democratic At-Large ticket, and she expressed high hopes that these new folks would be elected. I told her I would likely be voting a split ticket, as I think Dan Ramirez does a good job on the County Commission, and that a lot of people would likely do the same. But that got me thinking - why do people vote a straight ticket? I have actually never voted a straight-party ticket and always felt like it was the province of the true believer (or the truly brainwashed) within a party. Since I think 99 44/100% of all politicians are assholes, I can't really be considered a true believer in either party.

But I realized something today that I hadn't really thought of (and feel free to respond with a "DUH!") - it's also the province of the lazy. People that don't want to take the time to think about individual candidates can vote a straight-party ticket and not have to do all that troublesome reading. You can decide whether you want to be an ass or an elephant, blue or red, and just vote that way. To me, it's a copout. If you're true believer that's one thing (but there's probably a little copout there, too), but if you're not a dyed-in-the-wool whatever, isn't part of your job to study the candidates for office, or not vote for that office?

I admit to not voting for judges in this election because I hadn't researched them. T gave me a list of Republican judges so I could vote the other way if I wanted. but all the flyers people were passing out in line talked about judges who were for "change." Well, call me crazy, but I don't want a district court judge who's looking for change. I want a judge that's looking to uphold. As in, uphold the laws that other people write. I know, what kind of liberal am I if I don't want activist judges? But I don't.

There was probably a point there somewhere, and if you find it, let me know. Anyway - go vote. It's your job.

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