Okay, so far I've managed to keep working, and also not piss off the government so as to be snatched from my home and sent to Guantanamo (Why is the place still open, again?). Not bad for a recession and apocolitical (apocalypse and political, pushed together. Brilliant.) landscape.
It would have been nice when Obama was campaigning if when he said he'd pull our troops out of Iraq, he mentioned that he'd merely be moving most of them to Afghanistan. So far he hasn't lied to our faces, which is a refreshing step away from our last administration, but there have been lots and lots of "oh, by the way" addendums that make me feel the American people are still being misled by the Hidey-Hos in power.
Congress is still as ineffectual as ever. Everyone made a big deal about Arlen Specter defecting to the democrats, which would make them filibuster proof (not that anything filibuster worthy has been proposed). But I think the big lesson to be learned is that the folks in Congress will do anything to keep their seat.
I'm thinking I'll send some letters to my congressfolk, letting them know I can't vote for a congressperson who votes to increase troop presence in the Middle East. That I can't vote for someone who would allow the torture of any person, from any country. That I can't vote for someone who would place the economic health of a corporate entity over the economic health of the American public.
If getting votes is all that matters to these people, then maybe we should make them earn it, rather than voting down the party line. Especially since Specter showed us exactly what party loyalty means.
I am increasingly convinced that the only way to bail out the political dungheap in Washington DC is by a massive immersion by a third political party into the government system.
On a local level, California's budget is a clusterfuck, and the latest round of voting was nothing but a stirring of the shit pot.
Whoever writes these Propositions is one of the smartest fools I can imagine. Every proposition is an issue that immediately divides people into Yes's and No's over the issue itself. What I don't hear people asking is whether we need the proposition in the first place.
Such as that Proposition guaranteeing a certain amount of the budget goes towards the maintainence of our roads. Now, I think our roads are important, and I certainly think that a certain amount of the state budget should go towards their upkeep. Unless of course, something happens where it'd be more important to put that money elsewhere (ahem, like our current budget crisis). That is why I voted no on it. But people were stuck on the debate over whether money should be given to roads or not. Like the budget wasn't already giving money to roads.
All these pet project propositions locked money into their own containers, prohibiting the mobility necessary to deal with a fluid economy that shifts constantly, and often to great extremes. There's no longview in the minds of most voters.
And what you don't hear is any politicians trying to get people to see the longview. It's as if they've abdicated the running of the state government to voters.
And so during the last election, I voted no on all the propositions except the raise increase one (though I almost voted no on that one, since the language seemed to guarantee wage increases in years where there wasn't a deficit).
A proposition I would love to have seen was one unlocking all of the money previously locked into those pet projects of previous propositions (alliteration rocks!). Basically, it would roll back every previous budget prop to where it was if they never happened. I would have voted for that one. We need to hit a hard reset on our budget, start from scratch, and begin by establishing a budget that deals with what is truly necessary, and allocating excess towards pet projects.
The only way that'll happen is by making enough noise to get it on a ballot. So start clamoring.