the day after

6 11 2008

Nov 4th was spent mostly obsessing about how the Republicans will try to game the election. For instance, we did not know that counties were giving out completely different “I Voted” stickers. We just had 2 sample stickers – one from a Republican and the other from a Democrat – who had voted on election day (everyone else did the absentee ballot thing). Were the polling stations segregating voters and putting their ballots in different boxes? Will the Democratic vote count? (Really, we shouldn’t be worrying in CA – since nobody seems to care anyway…).

There was also the calling up of neighbouring states to get more blue votes and Bill Clinton’s recorded message to many iPhone users.

But today, I have realized something – we may have gotten the old John McCain back, but we have gotten the old Democratic cynicism back as well. For a while it seemed like that cynicism was too old-school for this new cult built on Hope and Change. Well, it is not. And thank god for that.

What is the other side up to?

The one Republican I met quotes Austin Powers in his status message :

“Finally those capitalist pigs will pay for their crimes, eh? Eh comrades?”

Now to talk about the state ballot measures and propositions. I am undecided about the whole idea. In theory, they lend a real grassroots quality to democracy. People choose how they want to spend their money, run their society etc. But in reality, it is all about giving keyhole perspectives on issues without any broader context. Just yesterday people decided, among many other things, if they wanted high speed trains, more rights for victims of violent crimes, more money for sick children, ban gay marriage, better farm animal rights and whether a sewage treatment plant in San Francisco would be named after George W. Bush (prop R, failed).

It is a fascinating ideal to have all the citizens (at least the registered voters) go through each of these ballot measures, read and understand them in the larger context and make the right decisions. But really, most people did not even get through the first page of the actual ballot measure or proposition. Because it is really hard to figure out what the documents are talking about. Most liberals relied on the Sierra Club to tell them what the environmental measures were or the Women’s League to tell them about social issues. I am sure the conservatives have their equivalents for these. Some just voted along party lines or cut out a published cheat-sheet and took it along to the polling station. Who is controlling the votes then? Good old campaign money and super ambitious politicians who will take on any hot-button issue that makes their campaign stand out.

Moving on. While some go through the pangs of withdrawal after weeks of being glued to their favourite source of election news and statistics… others have moved on to create nanotube rendering of Obama and trace down Michelle Obama’s designer.

Oh, as the president-elect begins to pick his team, there is talk of brown paper bag tests. Will it work the other way round now? What can I say, there is Hope for a Change. :)

And to end on a completely positive note, as the day deserves. We can still have some faith in the Judicial system and the Supreme Court.

And the Chandrayaan is still on track for Lunar Orbit. :)





5 responses

6 11 2008
tabula rasa

nice post. there’s so much to think about — there’s a small chance the status quo will change, and that itself is unsettling.

pity about the sewage plant.

6 11 2008

Ah, that brown paper bag test. I thought it involved guessing what kind of lunch was contained in one, which ain’t so hard for us, uh, desis.

6 11 2008

Will the Democratic vote count?

Ya well. They definitely count. More that they should. Illinois. 1960. Don’t think the Republicans ever matched that.

6 11 2008

I’m not sure why anyone needs to read through the propositions. It seems to me that the core issues are basic enough so that a 1 or 2 sentence summary doesn’t substantially misrepresent the decision involved. On Prop 8, for instance, I have no reason to believe that anyone voting either for or against it was confused or unclear about what they were voting for – whether they got that information from a liberal or a conservative source.

6 11 2008

Falstaff: Yes, this issue is as basic as it can get. But the money and politics behind this campaign are a whole another story.

Gavin Newsom‘s sound byte, “Its going to happen, whether you like it or not” was helpful to him, but not for the issue at hand.

Nobody in a democracy really likes to be told something will happen no matter what they think. Especially, when they will have the option to vote against it in the next couple of years.

You win by consensus, not by alienating your opponents.

The campaign for a Yes on Prop 8, or the conservative spin, also cleverly managed to deflect attention from the fact that we are talking about basic rights and made this all about public school children getting indoctrinated into accepting gay marriage against their parents’ wishes, churches being sanctioned for not performing same-sex weddings etc.

Veena, heh, yes yes. Maybe they learnt a thing or two from that campaign.

km: that is a good test too. If you brown bag smells bland or not at all – no job for you. :)

TR: yes, we are all kind of hoping to make that a tourist spot. ah well. you can’t have it all.

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