Vote! Oh my god - I am so tired of the incessant emails, offensive advertising and then the guilting - vote, call voters, give money . . .
It’s a sign that our politics is broken. We took a big hit to our collective voices in Citizens United but there’s really only one way to fix it. That’s to engage, to vote, and though it’s hard work, we have to think through the issues and cut through the b.s. on our representatives and make that decision. The giant amounts of cash trying to influence us makes it harder to cut through all this noise, and it always feels like the lesser of two evils. But when you think about it, that’s the nature of compromise. And that’s what we are doing today, settling a big national compromise.
Oregon has had Vote By Mail since 1998. And it is a pleasure to just receive your ballot in the mail, sit down and fill it out carefully (while enjoying some coffee and pie as you can see left!) I frankly think the tradition of heading out to the polling station, waiting in line, operating some machine, or filling out your ballot - it feels totally antiquated and kind of primitive. I highly recommend arranging to vote by mail even if you don’t live in a progressive freedom-loving state like Oregon. When I lived in California I maintained an absentee ballot, ostensibly because I was on the road so much, but really just because it’s a more convenient and thoughtful way to conduct our Democracy.
You see I have voted in every election, wherever I lived, since I was 18. Rhode Island, Boston, Bay Area San Francisco and here in Portland. And I remember my disappointment in every one. Especially Clinton - what a sellout. But now that I’m old, I can see that even though it is very slow, we are making incremental progress. That’s one of the few pleasures of age, you can start to see the “ark of history” and it bending ever so slightly to the people.
Today we will probably be legalizing weed, spending more on education and formally granting rights to half the population, while reelecting all our ‘liberals’ who are only a little corrupt. Hopefully we can give drivers licenses to undocumented residents and label GM foods, though these two measures are a little tough for the agribusiness-influenced ‘conservative’ rural voters.
Another measure I voted for was an open-primaries measure. It probably won’t pass, it’s a tough one because the actual results of open primaries in other states have been unimpressive at best. People are afraid of letting go of the Democratic party's lock on the politics out here. But I think that the risk is worth it because the two party system needs to be dismantled.
Anyhow, I dropped my ballot at the library yesterday, so I don’t have to listen to all that jibber-jabber any more. I could go off on how terrible the two party system is - it’s only half better that a one party system. And maybe someday I will hip you to my new concept of a citizen legislature. But first get out there and make your voice heard - it’s your duty.
Portland, cloudy, rain is coming.