Friday, October 31, 2008

Vote Against All Initiatives

Just a short little political message. I generally vote against all initiatives and propositions. The spirit of our government is rooted in compromise. We don't all agree, but by discussing our disagreements and reaching a compromise that we can all live with, we move forward in the best way for everyone. Voter initiatives fly in the face of that compromise. It's winner take all -- and almost every initiative takes advantage of that, pushing the limits of what's acceptable and distorting the truth to imply that the solution proposed is the only possible solution to the problem.

I'd love to see a split system, in which every initiative gets two votes: "I agree with the problem" and "I agree with the solution." I think we'd find that far more people would vote for the first statement than the second -- and maybe then we voters would have the opportunity to direct our legislatures without tying their hands with poorly designed laws. After all, we elect them to solve complex problems for us.

This year, I might actually vote for an initiative or two. For example, I'll probably vote for I-1000 ("Death with Dignity"), which is an example of a law that could never pass the legislature -- they're all too scared that the "moral minority" will campaign against them if they support it, so it's up to us voters. I certainly hope that I never have to avail myself of I-1000's provisions, but I know that just the fact that it's available could be of great comfort to some people. I'll look at the rest of the initiatives, but my default vote is always No.

I'm Roy Leban and I approved this message.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Listening to ... the Homeless

One of the albums I've been listening to in the car lately is Give Us Your Poor from Appleseed Recordings, a fundraising CD of music featuring Bruce Springsteen, Pete Seeger, Bon Von Jovi, Natalie Merchant, Bonnie Raitt, plus actors Tim Robbins and Danny Glover and many others. I would enjoy this album even if it were just a regular album, but here the proceeds benefit the homeless.

It's great music, including some from artists I would not normally choose to listen to. There are a couple of spoken pieces in addition to the music, but they fit in very well and are informative. I'm glad I've heard them and I don't skip over them while playing the whole CD (if I had created the CD, though, I would not have made one of the spoken pieces the very first track).

Friday, October 3, 2008

It's Not McCain's Turn

I don't get what it is about politicians where they think that it's "their turn" to be President. McCain's been around long enough, he's been a senior member of the US Senate, he's chaired committees, he's brought home pork barrel spending to Arizona, and now he thinks it's his turn to be President.

Let's compare McCain with Elizabeth Dole. Now, I happen to completely disagree with Senator Dole's politics, but she is far more qualified than McCain to be President. In addition to being a senator, she served in the Executive Branch, including as Secretary of Transportation under Ronald Reagan and Secretary of Labor under George Bush. She was president of the American Red Cross for 8 years. And, she's a former Presidential candidate herself. I'd take Elizabeth Dole on temperament any day over John McCain. But McCain didn't even consider Dole for the VP slot. Instead, he picked Sarah Palin, who is even more unqualified than he is.

Dole isn't the only potential candidate either. The Republicans had many candidates they could have picked from who are far more qualified than McCain, but I guess it's not their turn. It's McCain's.

The problem isn't unique to this year or the Republican party. Look at John Kerry in 2004, Bob Dole in 1996, George Bush in 1988 (oops, he actually won), and Walter Mondale in 1984. I'll admit that I actually liked Walter Mondale and I certainly voted for Kerry over Bush. But, in each case, the parties had better candidates they could have put forth, but it was as if the party leadership had anointed somebody instead.

I just hope the American people do the right thing this time around, and tell John McCain that it's not his turn.