Thursday, November 6, 2008

"Isn't it Great that Prop 1 Won?" or "Don't H8te, Elevate"

I wanted to write another post about the election two days ago. Given all of the mixed emotions that I've been feeling over the past 2 days there is so much I want to talk about. I figured yesterday I'd give Barack the spotlight, cause he earned it. So today I'd like to talk about my first major election as a ""Californian"" (yes, double-quotes). 

I've always been impressed with the way California runs. While I hate the extreme taxes, I must say I am fairly convinced they all go towards something beneficial because the state (for the most part) is extremely efficient. An example of this was the manner in which their election was run. Weeks before the election I was given information in the form of multiple pamphlets. On the pamphlets they described each "proposition", an argument for, a rebuttal to the argument for, an argument against, and a rebuttal to the argument against. On top of all that the supporters (or those against) were shown underneath. Overall a very efficient system, and I like that they give the information out to all of he voters so that they are informed. 

Talking to someone at an election party the night of, I learned that propositions are actually a Western state creation. The voters of CA and numerous other states place votes into these propositions which dictate how taxes are used, the increase of taxes for certain actions, or the placement of new state regulations. Overall I like this idea. It gives more power to the people, and it [should] make the population want to pay closer attention to the movements of their government, given that their vote can drastically change the actions made by their state. 

An argument against could say that this enables large corporations or other specialty interest groups to invest money into advertising swaying popular opinion towards propositions that they've already paid lobbyists help get on the ballot. An example of this was the "Yes On Prop 10" campaign, a part of the Pickens plan. A plan created from a wealthy Texas Oil Man who spent millions of dollars to try to get rebates to create natural gas vehicles on the road. Natural gas vehicles that were created by his company. It was ultimately voted "no", fear of helping fund an oil tycoon. (Although I actually voted "yes", I like the idea of immediate action on removing diesel trucks from the road and putting more money towards wind power. Even if we are lining the pockets of a billionaire. But I digress...)

Another argument against this can be seen on the "yes" vote seen on Prop 8. Churches and many conservative groups pumped tons of money into the "Protect Marriage" campaign, supporting a vote for Prop 8 (They even paid for a sky writer). Even the fact that the Proposition was worded so that a "yes" vote means "no" is wacky. I think it should have been called "The Marriage Civil Rights Act", and a vote "yes" would open marriage to everyone as a civil right. Duh. 

But in closing I argue that ultimately the ability for citizens to vote for these propositions is a good thing. People/corporations/religious groups may funnel money into campaigns to support their interests, but I have faith in the voters to make a right and just decision. We should blame an uneducated population for unfortunate outcomes. If a vote "yes" on Proposition 8 has taught me anything it's that the peoples mindsets need to change, not the system. We still live in a world with ignorance, and it's up to us to shed light on injustice. Obama was a great first step, but it's clear we still have a long way to go until America truly becomes the "land of the free". 

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