Sunday, June 6, 2010

Political madness

The primaries are Tuesday and there has been mud-slinging on the airwaves for months. TH and I are so sick of political commercials that we have taken to finding excuses to leaving the room when they come on. On the plus side, this means more exercise. On the minus side, most of our excuses involve getting ice cream or other snacks.

Sadly, it seems that it is not enough to discuss positions on issues. No - if one is running for office, one must dig up dirt on one's opponent and spread it around as much as possible, then use polls to see if one must actually flip flop on issues in order to gain points. One must also spend money. Lots of money. Obscene amounts of money. By some accounts, candidate Meg Whitman has spent $90 million so far. $90 million is a lot of moolah. By contrast, when I worked for the state of California in an early intervention program, our total budget was $15 million. We served approximately 125 programs statewide, had a staff of 6 professionals and 15 consultants, and served hundreds of kids, thereby keeping many of them out of trouble and out of more costly programs and services.

Instead of buying elections, what this state really needs is for some of that $90 mill to help fill the gaps. Instead of spreading the bullshit, what the people of California really need is a politician who cares about them by putting the money where it will do the most good - back into community programs and services, education, and support. How far would $90 million go to helping kids in our state? Towards helping people find employment? Towards easing budget cuts to education? Towards easing budget cuts to animal shelters?

"The idea that you can merchandise candidates for high office like breakfast cereal - that you can gather votes like box tops - is... the ultimate indignity to the democratic process." ~Adlai Stevenson, speech, Democratic National Convention, 18 August 1956

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