Sorry I haven't updated in awhile, it's campaign season and everything has been crazy, both personally for me as well as in recent news. Nothing of any substance is happening, just more of the usual mudslinging, fear mongering, and horrific journalism that made our country what it is today.
I simply can't believe what I'm seeing in this general election campaign--I guess I knew it was coming all along but it just happened so fast. The average Californian voters (and Americans in general, I think) have finally proven without a doubt that they are no longer capable of making informed decisions. I know this because the percentage points in favor of every campaign have been swinging from week to week with no actual event to drive the fluctuation besides new ad campaigns. These people are not only relying on television for entertainment anymore, no--they now rely on it for all their information and personal decision-making processes. Apparently people these days have no problem succumbing to a life of sitting on the couch and letting the press and corporate America soak their mind in "opinions" (FYI: it's not your "opinion" if you heard it on TV, that's someone else's opinion). I don't watch TV (except ESPN, mind you), and I think that's what has helped me form such an objective perspective on law and politics. When debating or discussing politics with others, I can tell just by the word choice and arguing style of a person whether or not they are speaking for themselves or quoting a commercial back to me. It's very difficult to reason with these people because they usually feel compelled to stand firm on issues favored specifically by their political party--issues made known, of course, through partisan news networks and commercials. The biggest problem with this mentality is that our politicians are not making it any better...corrupt governments + braindead voters = chaos on the horizon.
First example, the governor race in California. To the educated, TV-less, moderate-minded observer, Meg Whitman is obviously an idiot. She still hasn't revealed any political skill to the voters, but she has already run the most expensive gubernatorial campaign of all time, and we're still 4 months away from the election. Too bad she has completely flip-flopped on a major issue that Republicans seem to feel very strongly about: immigration. In June, she tried to buddy up with Pete Wilson, a strong supporter of the controversial Arizona law. She promised the Reps that she'd be "tough on immigration" and even included photos of the border fence and statements about her distaste for the notion of amnesty for illegals in her 30-second TV commercials. This caused many Latino voters to shy away from her. Now, she has broken off contact with Wilson and launched a SPANISH ad campaign, complete with billboards saying "NO a la Proposicion 187 y NO a la ley de Arizona." Since the start of this particular project she has gained significant support from Latinos and is even catching up to Jerry Brown in that respect. Race issues aside (because I literally do not care what race a person is--it's what's going on inside the mind, and everyone is guilty in this case), these people believed a billboard and a few commercials rather than all the things Whitman said publicly back in June. Furthermore, even her Mexico-hating Republican supporters haven't noticed the flip-flop! The commercials they're getting on mainstream TV are making them happy enough I guess. But it just goes to show how people are making decisions these days, and it's quite scary. As far as Brown's campaign goes, I'm convinced he's going to lose simply because he hasn't represented himself solely in 30-second snippets. Which is fine by me, because I will not be voting for him either. I probably won't even vote for governor at all, as there are no qualified options. I'm almost clinging to Arnold for dear life.
The second problem I'm seeing is the press's selective distortion of facts regarding Prop 19, the marijuana initiative. As soon as the opposition came out with their lame attempt at a campaign, newspapers jumped all over it and are now publishing daily articles regarding the "dangers" of legalization, sometimes even 2 articles a day. Today they're reporting a miniscule drop in the polls that we already knew was going to happen (now 48% against, 44% for), but of course they are acting like legalization is done and the initiative will never pass now. Are you kidding me?! How do these people find any honor in that kind of speculation? As the opposition came out several months after the proponents, it's expected that their initial campaigning would slightly impact our poll results. It's common sense. It does not mean we can't bring that number back up in the next 4 months. This wouldn't be so upsetting if I didn't know that most people are going to believe everything they read and never listen to a single fact again. It's almost like the newspapers are being blackmailed by law enforcement to say these things and turn people against the initiative...I seriously wouldn't doubt it. On top of this, everyone seems to be literally ignoring the facts about marijuana. They say there are too many health risks involved (although they can't name a single health risk) and are afraid that stoned driving fatalities will come down upon us like a plague of locusts (even though millions have used the herb since cars were invented and we have never had widespread problems). I guess none of it matters because logic is dead for most Californians.
The biggest indicator of the downfall of our government system for me is the Oakland verdict yesterday regarding the BART station shooting of 22 year old Oscar Grant, an unarmed black man, by Johannes Mehserle, a white police officer. When Mehserle's "involuntary manslaughter" sentence was read yesterday at 4 PM, Oakland's worst fears were realized as protestors looted, rioted, and essentially wreaked havoc across the town. I hope no one will chide me for siding with these rioters, as I am a young and fairly revolutionary-minded individual who believes that if that many people are angry, it's something to take seriously. While many are calling the rioters out for being "unnecessarily destructive", I would suggest a bit of rhetoric on the Social Contract Theory.
We, the people, hand over some of our civil liberties in order to be protected and provided for by our government. The point here is that our governments, including their law enforcement agencies, have not held up their end of the bargain. We have paid income taxes and sales taxes into the system and helped develop California, and what have they done for us? Bankrupted their treasured "social programs" and plunged us into billions of dollars of debt that we will never be able to repay, and STILL begged us for more, while trying to control our actions in the name of "morality" and "tradition". They have prohibited, regulated, and taxed everything from businesses to bike helmets to our home appliances to the very food that we eat, and people are fed up. When a police officer can kill you simply for acting silly in the BART station and essentially get away with it in a court of law, people are going to get pissed off. And they are. And it's going to get worse. What happens when voters are literally too dumbed down to salvage what's left of the system? Maybe democracy is dying. Hopefully what comes after it is better.
If I didn't have such a compelling interest in saving this country from itself, I would give up on the whole thing. No rest for the weary...