11.07.2016

How 'bout That Election?

I'm a mail voter, so my ballot bumped around the house and my purse for a few weeks while I pondered my selections.  I figure, what is good for my job is probably going to be good for me, so I normally follow my employer union recommendations on state propositions, education boards, and city officials unless I have reason to do otherwise.  I started with that, but there were  still quite a few empty bubbles.

I read through the remaining propositions in the voter information guide and got overwhelmed.  Some of them are clear cut.  I am either for repealing the death penalty or I'm against it.  I understand what the death penalty is and have a generally clear grasp of implications on both sides.  I either believe that marijuana should be legalized or not.   I have strong opinions on background checks for ammunition sales.  I've heard enough information and am familiar enough with these hot button issues to make informed decisions. 

Others are more complicated.  Should elected officials use their authority to propose and ratify an amendment to the federal constitution overturning the the US Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v Federal Election Commission? Um.  I don't know.  And still others are just...well let's just call it a head scratcher for lack of a better word.  Prop 60 is about pornography.  Should adult performers be required to use condoms during the filming of sexual intercourse and require producers to pay for performer vaccinations, testing, and medical examinations?  My union did not take a stand on this one!!  Um. So, how do I approach this?  I know that condoms help prevent diseases and unwanted pregnancy.  I don't know too much about the porn industry, but I've heard that performers are required to test to make sure that they are clean.  The condom requirement makes things safer, and if testing is required perhaps it is fair to place the burden of expense on the producers.  See, I'm inclined to vote yes, because condoms are good, but what do the performers want? Maybe they are okay with relying on routine testing.  Am I really the best person to be in charge of helping to regulate the porn industry?

How can I, the average, not super in the know on politics voter be trusted to make such big decisions on anything?  

I have heard so many sad stories of ill and elderly who can't afford the hundreds of thousands of dollars in prescription costs that keep them well, so proposition 61 to lower Rx expenses sounds good.  Then I hear a radio commercial claiming that only 12% would end up with lower costs and they would increase for everyone else.  The voter guide breaks it down for you alright.  Argument in favor of Proposition 61, rebuttal to argument in favor of proposition 61, argument against proposition 61, and rebuttal to argument against proposition 61.  There is a pro and a con for each side and for every action a consequence.  Some commercials claim that veterans are for it, others claim they are against it, and I still didn't know what bubble to fill in.  So now what?  There were 18 propositions to decipher.

Don't even get me started on the presidency.  It was the last bubble I filled in, but I had to make a decision.  I was running out of time.  Clinton and Trump are both embroiled in some pretty serious scandals.  Hilary Clinton lied, but so did Donald Trump, plus he's kind of a nut job, and isn't it kind of a given that politicians lie?  I hate to give them a pass, because if they want the highest position in all the land they should be better than that, but the idea that we can truly hold the president to a higher moral standard seems to have flown out the window a looooong time ago.  It almost comes down to who is the least immoral.  Our elected officials are humans after all, and humans are flawed.  They make mistakes, and they don't always do the right thing.  I don't always do the right thing, but then again...I'm not running for president.  I knew what my decision would be all along, but the constant mud slinging made me second guess my instincts.   I realize that I am totally revealing my political ignorance by admitting I didn't know until I checked out my ballot, but did everyone else already know that Jill Stein, Gloria Estela La Riva and Gary Johnson were running for president?  I actually do recall hearing the name Jill Stein, but her name got lost in the Clinton/Trump storm and I guess I forgot.  How crazy is it that we already know they have no chance whatsoever, but stranger things have happened, like Trump making the ballot in the first place.

Anyway. 

I am only one person.  I don't know all the facts, I don't have all the information, and I certainly don't understand all the issues, but but my vote counts.  It is my right, and it is my privilege so I make the best educated decisions I can and hope for the best.  This election is so ugly, divisive, and terrifying all at the same time. It's tearing people apart.  I think most of us just want it to be over.

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