I Voted Today

I was careful to deposit my ballot in a drop box that was not a fake. It seems the Republican Party in California has admitted to putting out drop boxes falsely marked as “official”.

That… appalls me. Sure, voter suppression has long been a favorite tactic of the aging-out Republican minority to stay relevant, but to literally steal ballots is another level entirely. If no one spends serious jail time over that, I will not vote for a Republican for the rest of my life. (I had previously vowed that no Republican would get my vote until they got rid of Trump. Later in this rather muddled episode I will also introduce other ways Republicans can lose my vote. It comes down to “run honest campaigns and stop lying.”)

For fifty years the Republican Party has leaned more and more heavily on dirty tricks to stay in power. And the corruption has worked itself deep into the courts, as well. Take Texas. There’s a rule there right now that there can only be one ballot drop box per county. That means one drop box in Houston, a city of you-look-it-up millions of people. A judge ruled that this was a silly rule that had no justification other than voter suppression. Then other “conservative” judges overruled that rational decision.

They said pretty much, “you’re lucky to have drop boxes at all!” while ignoring the fact that in some (traditionally Republican) places there’s a drop box for every few thousand people, while in traditionally Democratic places, there’s a drop box for hundreds of thousands or even millions of voters. It’s just ridiculous.

But even that’s not stealing votes. And yes, in Pennsylvania seven Trump votes and two others were stolen and the election officials in charge immediately did the right thing and there was no cover-up and we can all talk honestly about it.

The California GOP says these “official” drop boxes are a “service”, but it undermines the provenance of the votes placed in them. I put my ballot in a box with a seal on it, and it will be recovered by an election official, and will never be “off the reservation.” I put my signature on the envelope, I put it in the box, and it is not touched again until it is in the hands of election officials. If someone else drops off my ballot in an official box, it requires another pair of signatures on the envelope. So, legally, none of those ballots in the GOP boxes should count. Thanks for your service, Republican Party!

Rambling on, I am encouraged by the huge turnout of early voters. Many of those motivated to vote early are those who have reason to believe that shenanigans are afoot, and before intimidation and suppression can really ratchet up in urban communities they are getting their votes in. Getting votes counted on Election Day will also affect the inevitable rants our current Presidential Embarrassment spews out.

January 20: the day Twitter can suspend Donnie’s account.

Meanwhile, the Senate might flip. Mitch will still be there, barring a miracle, and I wouldn’t bet against Lindsey, for all I hate them both. But they will be hoping that the populace forgives the Republicans for the last few years of criminal looting of our nation.

They will find no forgiveness from me. I will vote for no Republican at any level of government until Mitch and Lindsey are purged from the Republican roster. Oh, yeah, and Tom Cotton, too. He’s worse than all of them. No party with those people will ever get my vote. Ever.

Someday I will be an issues and governance voter again, I hope. I just need there to be more than one party playing that game.

My best-case scenario, which I genuinely think is possible, is that the Republican Party implodes and in that void the Democratic Party schisms. I’ve mentioned it before; already the best, most honest debates about the future of our nation occur within the Democratic Party. I would love to watch a throw-down between Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Joe Biden, when they didn’t have to be nice because the Republicans were watching.

Take away the dinosaur party, and the Democrats split in a nanosecond. Somewhat less likely is that Actual Conservatives form a meaningful party, or take over the Libertarians or the smoking remains of the Republican Party, and offer their voice to the discussion. I would have no problem with that, either. I just want to hear debate with substance, honest disagreement between parties who want a better nation but disagree on how to get there. That’s what politics is supposed to be.

We can disagree. We should disagree. That’s the thing people don’t seem to get. But it has to be honest. Stealing votes is not debate; it is oppression.

And dang, I got so caught up in the national stuff that I’m having to amend this post to talk about local issues. First: Uber can’t just spend money to counter a law it doesn’t like. Second: although it will destroy an entire genre of fiction, cash bail is evil, and I hope it ends in my state.

I voted for a couple of bonds (now is a favorable time to take out a loan) for long-term projects, but not bonds for spendy-money, and I voted for open space. The idea that protecting open space affects homelessness is disingenuous, pretty much a lie, which is when I stopped reading the “against” arguments. In generaI I voted against tinkering – “yeah the law says this, but this is better!” And of course I followed the money. The money doesn’t lie. When prison guards ask you to make laws that put more people in prison, it’s time to step back.

I voted today. If you disagree with me, you better get your ass to the polls.

2

What Makes Me a Liberal

I am against hunger. I am appalled that in this land where obesity is a major problem, we have smart kids getting washed out because they can’t concentrate because they haven’t had food since yesterday. It hurts all of us when this happens, and it wouldn’t be that hard to stop, except the rich people only want their children shaping the future.

I think we should take care of each other. Sometimes I am ashamed to be a citizen of this country when that simple precept is disputed. We should take care of each other. If your neighbor needs help, you offer help. This is not some giant socialist scheme, this is just a simple rule that Jesus (among others) made a point of emphasizing. We should take care of each other. That is all.

I believe in freedom. I believe that it is patriotic to speak the truth, and that the citizens of this country are obligated to speak up against injustice. Obligated. Ob-li-ga-ted. We crucify people for speaking up, when the real sin is keeping silent.

I believe a code of ethics applies to everyone who would choose to lead us, but morals cannot be legislated.

I am in favor of wealth redistribution. Workers are more productive now than they ever have been, yet none of the benefit of that productivity goes to the worker. Jane the Magnificent Spot Welder produces more, and the boss gets richer, while her wage stagnates. When Trump appeals to blue-collar voters about the good ol’ days, when a MAN could go to work at the FACTORY and make enough to have a house and a car and to send his ingrate kids to COLLEGE, Trump forgets that those good days were the product of labor unions.

I am against dynasties. If a kid can’t make it with the best education money can buy (“education”, in this context, actually means “making connections”), and with only $50 million of the family estate, rather than $150 million, I don’t think that kid should succeed. Inherited wealth has been the backbone of a ruling class since money existed. Let’s break that. Sorry, Kennedys and Roosevelts, liberalism has left you behind.

If the Bill of Rights were to be written today, it would include a right to privacy. What’s amazing is that right now privacy is a liberal cause, when it should be a cornerstone of conservative politics. This is the obvious indicator that in this country “conservative” is actually a code word for “authoritarian”. There are no conservatives left in mainstream politics, and that’s a shame.

And that’s what really brings me to being a liberal. There is no longer a conservative voice. You are either liberal or a supporter of the state.

4