Today I exercised the right of every American citizen to have an uninformed voice in the course of action of our government.
I’m always left feeling guilty and ignorant every voting period, because of my policy of spending 30 minutes reading the for & against arguments about the propositions, then going to the poll and voting straight Democrat. I’ve done more research into buying mouthwash than I usually do for voting. (And yeah, I do use mouthwash. Shut the hell up.) And at the moment, I’m more up to speed with the politics of Damalsca and the Archadean Empire than of the state I live in. In my defense, water supply improvement bonds and Arnold Schwarzeneggar’s Hummer aren’t 1% as cool as nethicite deposits and big-ass airships.
My main goals were to vote against Leland Yee and to vote No on Proposition 86. Turns out Yee wasn’t on my ballot, so his anti-videogame political grandstanding will have to continue unchecked until I move to a different district. And it’s no surprise that I voted against 86 (it’s the one that would introduce an additional $2.60 tax on each pack of cigarettes sold in CA) — I wanted to ask if they had a blacker pen so I could vote more against it — but it may be surprising that I’m against it for more than just the obvious altruistic reasons. It offends me as exactly the kind of intrusive, moralizing legislation that turns people to the dark side of Republicanism or even worse, libertarianism. I want to find the people who came up with the proposition and just breathe on them.
And when you vote in San Francisco, you’re constantly reminded that you’re voting in San Francisco. There’s the good way — the ballot’s in three languages and the names you’re voting for are of the widest multicultural demographic you’re going to see outside of Sesame Street. And then the bad way — last year, the Stupid City Proposition was something along the lines of “Should it be the policy of the city of San Francisco to call for an end to the Iraq War?” This year, it’s “Should it be City policy to call for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney?”
Which is one of those can’t-win questions like “How long have you been beating your wife?” It’s all in the wording. Should Bush & Cheney be impeached? Boy howdy. If the politics of Washington are such that getting blown by an intern is grounds for impeachment, then manipulating a terrorist attack and deceiving your constituency about it are most definitely grounds. But should it be City policy to call for the impeachment? No. It should be City policy to figure out why the water coming from my tap has the color and consistency of Goldschlager, or why it takes an hour and a half or $20 to get from any one part of the city to any other, or why the city has almost as many homeless people as it does iPods. So how are you supposed to distill all that down to “yes” or “no?”