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26 October 2010 @ 02:26 pm
Life in these Untidy States: Reality Chex, part of this complete breakfast!  
Due to recent events, I haven't been as politically vocal in this forum as I once was. So It Goes.

We've got an election coming up in this country next week, though, and The Big Picture matters, especially with Big Media so happily wedded to Big Stupidity these days.

Let's lead off with Senator Al "won by 312 votes" Franken's reminder that every vote counts. Even yours. That's right, you. He also opines:

The month Barack Obama was sworn in we lost 750,000 jobs in this country. With all due respect to the President, I think his analogy that the economy was a car in a ditch when he took office is just a little too static. Here's my analogy, which, in my opinion, is both more kinetic and, frankly, far more accurate.

When the President took office, not only had the car gone into a ditch, the car had flipped over and was rolling down a steep embankment. We, the American people, were in the back seat, and the Bush Administration had removed all the seat belts, so we were all flying around the interior of this car as it was rolling and flipping and careening down this steep embankment, headed to a 2,000 foot cliff. And at the bottom of that cliff were jagged rocks. And alligators.

Now, at noon on January 20th, 2009, as the car was careening toward the cliff, George W. Bush jumped out of the car.

President Obama somehow managed to dive in through the window, take the wheel and get control of the thing just inches before it went over the precipice. Then, he and Congress starting pushing this wreck back up the embankment. Now you can't push a car up an embankment as fast as it careens down the embankment, especially if some people are trying to push against you. But we got it going in the right direction. And slowly we've gotten ourselves up the embankment, out of the ditch and onto the shoulder of the road.

[Italics mine ... and I confess I'm not quite as optimistic as Sen. Franken that we're quite "up the embankment" yet. Then again, I count things like "war without end" and "condoning torture" as part of the mud on the slippery slope.]

To expand the "every vote counts" theme into one of Solidarity, velvetpage gives a concrete example from this week's Canadian elections:

Toronto: the vote on the left was split several ways, while the vote on the right was concentrated on one right-wing ideologue who got the ear of the suburbs by promising an end to corruption and a drastic reduction in social services that the suburbs use less anyway. Want to know how it is that a country where most people lean to the left of centre manages to keep electing these clowns? Here's how: there are so many good ideas and decent people on the left that people can't settle on just one, and with a first-past-the-post system, it means the right-wing guy with less than a majority often comes up from behind.

And with the preliminaries out of the way, some Quick Links:

Thanks to Mark Evanier, velvetpage, and most especially pseudomanitou for links and leads. Seriously, folks, pseudomanitou's LJ is the best Progressive News Aggregator I've encountered. I have a lot of news feeds, but PM's news posts put all the best stuff in one place.
Tombfyretombfyre on October 26th, 2010 09:47 pm (UTC)
Some of the votes up here have been irking me lately. For starters, I wish more people would get out there and vote. When less than half the eligible population votes for something, it shouldn't mean squat. Especially when some guy wins the vote with only 25% of the majority, out of that slim minority that even voted in the first place.

Perhaps if they tallied non-votes as abstaining, the numbers would mean more. If more than 50% of the population feels that none of the candidates are worth voting for, there's something wrong. I've been hearing a lot of people in Toronto complaining about the right wing fellow that got in with a very low number of votes. And over here in Edmonton, we re-elected the same idiot who's been mayor here for a while now. And again, he got in with a minority vote. Doesn't make any sense to me!
Arcaton: jackassr_caton on October 26th, 2010 11:26 pm (UTC)
I've always regretted the absence of a "none of the above" option in first past the post races....
If the winner had less than the "screw the lot of them" total - rerun the poll.
pseudo manitoupseudomanitou on October 27th, 2010 03:09 am (UTC)
"won by 312 votes"

Funny thing about that vote count -- the votes that were not counted, were from areas of the state where the GOP made voter registration and ballot counting more difficult -- in order to, you know, 'protect' against voter fraud by illegal immigrants.

The end result is that the GOP disenfranchised their own voters by making it so the courts had to rule in favor of local precinct laws to NOT count those ballots for various reasons -- votes that were actually for Norm Coleman.