Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Electile Dysfunction

Yesterday in the US was Election Day, a day that seems to slap most Americans with a sense of utter bewilderment (as it also does many Japanese people since they have tendency to pronounce their “L”s like “R”s). Like many of my fellow countrymen, I have been subjected to a seemingly endless barrage of political advertising since the end of summer promising the dawning of a new era of peace and prosperity if we vote for one candidate and warning of chaos, debauchery, irresponsibility and an imminent apocalypse if we vote for the other. Generally, I prefer to cast my vote for the latter since in my travels I have discovered that there is nothing like civil war, insurrection and economic collapse to bring out the party animal in people. The problem is that with the US’s two party system, we only have two candidates and either one could be the candidate guaranteeing political doom, depending upon which special interest group funded the commercial you are forced to watch.

Historically, I have always voted Republican but this year I was fed up and refused to vote among party lines. So instead of coloring in the box next to the line that said “Vote Straight Republican Ticket”, I went through the ballot and vowed to pick who I believed to be the best candidate for each office, regardless of party affiliation and vowed that I would vote for at least one Democrat to consummate my new status as an Independent voter. After leaving the “Straight Party” portion of my ballot unchecked, I scrolled down to the top portion to choose who I wanted to be Michigan’s next governor. It was a decision I have been wrestling with for weeks and even as I sat down to cast my vote, I had yet to make up my mind.

The incumbent governor, Democrat Jennifer Granholm, has presided over what has probably been the biggest hemorrhaging of manufacturing jobs in this state since The Great Depression. Our economy is in the dump, as manufacturing is the lifeblood of the state that I reside in, and having gone through several layoffs in my company over the past four years as our jobs relocate to the Far East, I have seen how difficult it has been for my former colleagues to find comparable employment. Granted, I can not blame all of this on the current governor but we need a super-governor to turn this situation around and it is painfully obvious that she is just not that. Her opponent, Republican Dick DeVos, is not either and as the head of Amway (a company whose name makes my skin crawl) he has added to the problem by outsourcing jobs to China. Electing him in my opinion is putting the proverbial wolf in charge of guarding the henhouse. So in this, the greatest issue influencing my gubernatorial vote, I have two greatly different candidates from greatly different parties with different ideologies promising to tackle the issue with two different strategies. Tragically, my gut tells me that both will end up with the same result. After ten minutes, I eventually voted for the Republican because he “promised” to institute limits on receiving welfare benefits, which the current governor vetoed. I’m all for stopping checks to able-bodied people who choose not to work. We’re going to need the money for the unemployment benefits we’ll be dishing out to those who got laid off.

Next I chose my congressman. I voted Republican again. We’re at war and I have still heard nothing from the Democratic side on how they propose to win it. I will concede that the Republican strategy has been a miserable failure but at least they are trying. When the DNC decides to quit undermining the military and intelligence services and starts exploring alternative solutions that do not consist of surrender, I will take them seriously on the national stage. When they come around, I have a vote waiting for them.

After that came a bunch of people running for local offices that you have probably never heard of. I know I certainly had not and I actually follow politics. I ended up voting Republican again in all these, since there were a couple of proposals on the ballot that I was in favor of that I knew Democratic legislators would never get behind.

I finally voted for my first Democrat when it came to the University of Michigan’s Board of Regents. I can’t for the life of me remember who it was but I do know that her name sounded really hot. Heaven help her if she messes up my favorite football team.

Finally came the proposals. These were much easier since I had done a lot of research on them. I voted for keeping conservation and recreation money dedicated to conservation. Anything to keep the trees standing since I need them for cover when I’m shooting animals. I voted for repealing affirmative action programs in Michigan. People should be accepted for employment based solely upon their qualifications and character, not gender, race or religion. After thirty years of special considerations, government programs and reverse discrimination, if a candidate lacks qualifications and character, its their problem, not his potential employer’s. I also voted for hunting mourning doves. Mainly because they have a habit of shitting on my car.

When I woke up this morning, I found that nothing I voted for, with the exception of the affirmative action repeal, actually won. Strangely, I was not very upset about it. Republicans lost the house and my gut is telling me that they’ll probably lose the Senate. Frankly, they deserved to so it’s hard to be bothered by it. Unfortunately, the Democrats do not deserve to win it and I am bothered by that. I think I am going to change the direction of The JEP Report back to political commentary as a result and focus upon exposing the incompetent arrogance of incumbent politicians and supporting those politicians using common sense in legislation. Besides it would give me more things to write about.

Anyway, hope you all had a good election and got what you wanted. I pray that next year we’ll have candidates that we want to vote FOR instead of being stuck with two choices that leave a taste in our mouths reminiscent of a midnight snack liberated from the cat’s litter box.
I would be interested in hearing your thoughts about how the election went in your part of the country, or, if you are not from the US, what your thoughts are on how things went.


Blogger Caretaker Matt said...

Wait, there was an election last week. You're kidding. Oh...that's what all of those boring commercials bashing one person or another were all about. I just thought that there were some millionaires who just didn't like each other very much and wanted everyone to know. I have to say, I had the same problem you did with choosing who to vote for. Unfortunately, I don't follow politics as much as you do, but I do the best I can. Next year, do like I do when you have a question about who to vote for. Through the electoral season, save all of the fliers that you are sent in the mail by the candidates. Then if you stll have a question about who you're going to vote for, just look at all of the fliers and whoever sent the most, don't vote for that person. Also, look at how many of those are trashing their opponent as compared to talking about what they actually did. It was pretty funny, I got a ton of fliers from Laura Toy and not one of them talked about anything that she did. They were only attacking her candidate Glen Anderson. The way I see it, if a candidate has not done anything to brag about, then they probably didn't do anything at all.

If after all of that, you still don't know who to vote for, just use that tried and true method, Eenie Meenie Miney MOE!

Tell me though, were you as amazed as I was that prop 2 passed? I thought that Michigan would be the last state in the union to pass that law. I've been listening to talk radio over the last week or so and it's amazing the arguments against that I've heard. The common thread is that we (pick your minority) will never get another job and will never advance in my career. To me, as someone who has been responsible for hireing people for several years now, I find that hilarious. Neither I, nor any of my co-workers have ever taken race or sex into consideration. It is strictly a matter of who is most qualified and has the best attitude. The only time that it has come into consideration at my work is when we are writing someone up for not performing. Personally, I find the arguments against Prop 2 to be quite sad. Think about it, do these people who are protesting have such insecurity, or such an inferiority complex that they don't feel that they can make it in this world on their own merits? Maybe this is the area of their own personalities that the people protesting need to look at. I know that sitting across a table from someone who is insecure or unsure of themselves will definately keep me from hireing them. Then again, I'm just a raging racist, sexist jerk, unlike the wonderfull, self proclaimed hip-hop mayor of Detroit who is publically stating that he is looking for ways to subvert this new law in defiance of what the majority has voted for. Gotta love Detroit.

Hope you're doing well

12:43 PM  
Anonymous Lee said...

"In Japan we are vely interested in your national erection coverage. Dis was beeg erection in America." -- Sum Yun Guy

Anyway, we went through the same nightmare in Alabama that you went through in Michigan -- with one exception. Here the Democrats and the Republicans are practically the same party. Hell three quarters of the candidates supported by the NRA were Dems (look it up). I hate the two party system but a one party system is even worse and the only discernable difference between our two gubernatorial candidates this last time was that one (though the test results aren't back yet) was female.
To top it off every amendment in this state is written with double negatives, and every one (even the good ones) have to have something ridiculous added to the end of them.
Here's an example:
To not not not not not take away funding from education while allowing current funds to be redistributed to better serve state districting. And to allow for monkeys to serve beer at frat parties.

Anyway, sorry to unload on you. All I really wanted to say was, in the words of another not not not great politician, "I feel your pain."

7:34 PM  
Blogger JEP said...

“The way I see it, if a candidate has not done anything to brag about, then they probably didn't do anything at all.”
That about sums it up, Matt. Of course if you are not an incumbent, you’re going to have no track record, thus nothing to really brag about. If that’s the case, the candidate should be coming to the table with a plan telling us how he is going to succeed instead of why his opponent failed. That’s what the Democrats did on the national stage and the Republican goober-natorial candidate did here in Michigan. Some say trash-talking is an effective campaign technique. I disagree. I think its just what happens when neither candidate is worth a warthog’s jock cheese and has not taken any time to consider the issues they will face once elected.

And then there’s Lee! Welcome to The JEP Report! It’s great to hear from you! The way I see it, we’ve got it pretty bad up here with candidates that ideological opposites but equally corrupt, self serving and completely out of touch with their constituents. Still, we at least have a choice. Your situation is another problem altogether but equally, if not more, destructive. The one party system didn’t work in Russia and is unlikely to do any better in Alabama. On the bright side, the NRA practically IS a third party down there from what I hear. As one who has faced a horde of twenty-four empty beer cans in combat with a .45 after emptying said aluminum containers, I appreciate any organization who will support my right to participate in unforgivably irresponsible (though highly entertaining) gunplay while terminally intoxicated…

…and yes, I am a disciple of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.

4:56 PM  
Anonymous Mother said...

OK JEP. Label me a delinquent, but, I finally have made it through the election rhetoric, past all the say yes/no to a proposal/candidate of your choice, dug my way out of the pile of election fliers in the mail, and have tried to return every single political message left on my answering machine.

You can imagine the issues that were brought up when Jenny from the block left a rather detailed message for yours truly. I'm not sure which got me into more trouble from my wife, the fact that another woman was leaving a message for me or that is was a Democrat who left the message. The fact that the governor even had my number is amazing in itself. I guess it does pay to advertise, even if it is on the bathroom wall.

As far as the election goes, I have come to the conclusion that the difference between Republicans and Democrats is like hitting the wall at Daytona doing 175 or 185 mph. You still end up like a bug on the windshield with only a skid mark to remind everyone you were there. They both spend like drunken sailors-wouldn't you say JEP?

Our ballots were very similar JEP, although I avoided voting for the hot sounding U of M Regent only because I couldn't afford to get a phone call from her too. As far as the results go, well let's just say that even the morning doves left behind a parting gift on my ballot. It wasn't worth a thing. The only fun I had was supporting the Dove season and pointing out to misguided voters that they could love them all they wanted, but it still wouldn't mean the darn birds would live to long enough to fly any further south than Toledo! They are going to meet more AA south of the border than the 8th Air Force did during both missions over Schweinfurt.

Is it too late to vote Libertarian??

9:29 PM  
Blogger JEP said...

If we weren't at war, the Libertarians would DEFINATELY be getting my vote.

6:41 AM  

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