First, for some proper mood music, click on this link and listen to “Do you hear the people sing” from the tenth anniversary concert of Les Miserables.
One thing is certain about Tuesday’s election. After its over, some combination of Republicans and Democrats will rule in Washington, D.C., and if that doesn’t fill you with fear and dread, then you aren’t paying attention.
And that’s about all I’m going to say about the federal elections. There is no hope in sight from the feds — none, nada, zilch. The feds will not get a clue. Whoever gets elected — whether the Democrats continue to control both Houses of Congress, or the Republicans manage to grab one or both — we will get more of the same old same old. They will continue to take from the poor and working and middle classes in order to give to the wealthy and powerful. They will continue their efforts to create a New Feudalism, where all of us are locked in deep and dark servitude and bondage to the crooks, fools, thieves, and parasites in the Wall Street FIRE (Finance, Insurance Real Estate) corporations. The federal election is a quarrel between the elites for looting rights for the population.
As the situation continues to devolve and the ash heap of history gets ever closer, our local and state governments will become more and more important. So I have a few things to rant about the upcoming state elections, in particular, the various initiatives and referendums on the ballot this year.
I haven’t voted in a gubernatorial election in many many years. I generally didn’t vote in the governor’s elections when I lived in Utah 1977-1993, and I haven’t voted for any of the candidates in the Oklahoma gubernatorial races since I moved back home in 1994. This year, however, is an exception.
I am voting for Jerri Askins.
Actually, I am not so much “for” Jerri as I am against Mary Fallin. While Ms. Fallin has been the “fair haired woman” for a long time in Oklahoma politics, her ascent to the governor’s office would be a great disaster for the state. She is not running to be governor of Oklahoma, she is running as the leader of a gaggle of special interests who want to make sure they do their part to cement their position as our local Dukes and Lords in the looming FIRE Feudal Ascendancy. If we elect Mary, we might as well give them titles to our houses and the PIN numbers to our accounts as the ordinary people of this state will become the personal ATMs of her gang of political cronies.
Fallin is a candidate of hate. She hates the Mexicans. She hates Obama. She hates health care reform. She hates the bank bailout– even though the bank bailout was enacted by a Congress controlled by “conservative” Republicans, signed into law by a “conservative” Republican president, and Mary Fallin herself herself voted for it. No substance, just strident emotional appeals to the crudest and most base natures of people.
So I’m voting for Jerri Askins, and hoping for the best, while I continue to prepare for the worst.
I’m voting for the Independent candidate, Richard Prawdzienski. I’ve met him a view times, read his letters to the editor. He’s a libertarian, as was I for many year, he even offered to pay my filing fee if I would run for governor this year as a libertarian. I declined, in part because I am too busy to run for governor, but also because I felt I could not honestly describe myself as a libertarian anymore, although I continue to hold to some libertarian ideas.
I think that in races with independents, unless the independent or minor party candidate is a sociopath, the most effective vote is for the independent/minor party. Our only political hope is to break the two-party monopoly, and the more votes independent candidates get, the more hope there is of something better in the future.
I don’t live in state legislative district 85, but if I did I would certainly vote for Dr. Edward Shadid, who has run an active campaign for an independent and has done quite a bit of print advertising in the alternative press.
US Congress District 5
I’m voting for the independent candidate, Clark Duffe. I’ve met him, seems like a reasonable fellow for a libertarian ;). Certainly better than the Republican candidate, James Lankford, who like the Pharisees of old has been making a great show of his piety, but also like the Pharisees of old, is filled with scorn for those not of his ilk. Like Ms. Fallin, he hates dem Mexicans too. For someone who is such a Southern Baptist, and thus claims to love and respect the Bible, he seems to not know much about it. He should read Matthew 25, where we find the little detail that those who reject foreigners are condemned to hell. And the Greek word used in that passage of Scripture is “xenos,” and there is no doubt that it means foreigner. It’s not ambiguous. I studied New Testament Greek for a year, any Greek lexicon of the New Testament will show this. The fifth district is a Republican stronghold, and the Democrat is unlikely to prevail, so I am sticking with principle here and voting for the Independent candidate.
Senate District 46
This is my state senate district, and I am voting for the incumbant, Senator Andrew Rice. He is a member of the Oklahoma Food Coop, and has been extraordinarily responsive to my letters and emails. He is working on legislation to force ODOT to fairly compensate businesses impacted by ODOT eminent domain projects (this was sparked by the situation with ODOT trying to put April Harrington out of business with a road-building project).
State House District 88
This is my State House district, presently held by Al Mcaffrey, a Democrat. He’s not much. He’s not very responsive to citizen concerns, and seems overly impressed by ODOT and isn’t willing to do anything to curb their many abuses of power. So I’m voting for the Republican, Dominique Block, who describes himself as a “hip hop Republican”. He’s African American, don’t know much more about him except that he’s not Al, and that works for me. He’s young, and thus maybe he’s not quite as corrupt as the older Republicans in the legislature. Maybe he’ll understand the colossal misallocation of resources going on at ODOT. That one’s a long shot as this is a pretty safe Democratic district. Someone hopefully will come along and challenge Al in the Democratic primary in a future election.
STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION
I am not fond of the state central education bureaucracy. Indeed, in my common good platform I advocate abolishing it in its entirety. Even so, I’m voting for the independent candidate, Richard Cooper. He’s he’s a classroom teacher. No doubt a long shot, but I think its past time that we stood up to the two-party monopoly and started supporting independents.
STATE CONSTITUTIONAL REFERENDA AND INITIATIVES
744 Education. This will mandate that Oklahoma spend an amount on education each year equal to the average amounts spent by the surrounding states. I’m voting NO on this one. Its proponents have yet to explain how it will be funded. Their ads claim that there are $2/billion/year in tax credits for business that could be repealed, and no doubt this is true. But their proposal does not mandate this, it would be up to the Legislature to fund it. And anyone who thinks that a Republican-dominated legislature is going to take money away from these corporate welfare programs is smoking some kind of mind-altering drugs. Republicans make their money by selling tax credits to corporations. (Their campaign money, that is.) If this passes, what will happen is that social services, human services, corrections and all other aspects of state government will be severely slashed with the money shifted to education.
Further, I am not persuaded that the problem with Oklahoma education is lack of money. Since we have a high school teenager in house this year, I’ve had an opportunity to see just a bit of the system up close and personal, and I’m not impressed. I know many wonderful teachers, but I suspect that they are being stifled by the bureaucracy.
746 Voting. This proposal would require that voters show ID before getting a ballot. I’m voting NO on this one. I know showing an ID is a fetish these days, but voting is a right, not a privilege, and it should not be contingent upon a person’s ability to get their goobermint papers in order. Since no one has ever demonstrated that voter fraud is an issue in Oklahoma, this is clearly an attempt to disenfranchise lower income voters, who are more likely to have problems producing identification than others.
747 Term Limits. This imposes term limits on our various state-wide officers, and I’m voting YES on this one. The statewide offices are dominated by the Republicans and Democrats, and y’all know how I feel about those political gangs.
748 Redistricting. This fiddles with the way the state does its decennial reapportionment. I’m voting against it. It enshrines the appointment of Democrats and Republicans into law, and I’m hoping the day soon comes when those political gangs are banished to the ash heap of history.
750 Initiatives. The effect of this law will be to lower the number of signatures required for initiative and referendum petitions, and I am SO FOR THIS ONE, so obviously I am voting YES. The initiative and referendum process remains an important safety valve for our system of governance, and it might save our bacon one of these days.
751 English. This is a bozo cornpone nazi law and I am SO NOT FOR THIS ONE so I am voting NO.
752 Judicial. This fiddles with the process of appointing judges, and I suspect its effect will be to further politicize the process, so I am voting NO.
754 Education. This allows the legislature to continue to determine education funding by its own criteria, so it is an attempt to overturn 744. Since I’m opposed to 744, I am voting for this one.
755 Sharia Law. This forbids the use of Sharia Law in Oklahoma courts. To be fair, this one should have been religiously neutral. Jews and Catholics, for example, have their own religious law codes, and even as a devout Catholic, I am opposed to implementing canon law in the secular courts. So I am not sure how I’m voting on this one. It’s obviously a corn pone nazi political scam, so I may just not vote on this one at all.
756 Health Care. This is another corn pone nazi political gimmick. I’m not particularly fond of the health care reform, but I am also not fond of the hypocritical Republican campaign against it, so I am votin’ agin’ this one.
757 Budgeting. This increases the amount of money we put in our state rainy day fund in “good” years. I am voting FOR this one, although I am not sure we will ever see another good year that would permit us to save some money, being as how I am such a pessimist about the economy going forward. This would should have been passed 50 years ago.
VOTE WITH YOUR BODY
Cue this music — Encore from Les Miserables.
Whatever you do with your ballot on election day, we should all remember that the most important vote is to “vote with your body” — not just on election day, but every day. What you do with your time and resources is more important than all of the electoral votes you will cast in your time. If you don’t know where to begin, start here — 20 resilient responses for troubled times. Got food storage? Got a local food system? Got a local economic and financial system?
If you pray, here is a prayer I wrote for Election Day back in 1998. It’s a Catholic prayer, but feel free to adapt it for your own spiritual tradition and share with others.
+ Lord God of all creation,
You rule and judge all nations,
You scatter the arrogant of mind and heart,
You cast down rulers from their thrones and raise up the lowly.
Today we elect those who will serve in our government:
the voices that call us to go this way or that way are confusing,
the signs of these times that we must discern are tragic and unjust,
the culture of death that afflicts all people is powerful.
Open our eyes to see your Reign in history,
our hearts to share your love with all people,
our ears to hear the cry of the widow, the orphan, and the stranger among us.
Send your Holy Spirit upon the people of this land:
Teach us to make wise and prudent decisions.
Increase our faith and hope.
Help us to live the Gospel we profess.
May all who are elected this day:
and walk humbly before You and all people.
We ask for these blessings,
confident in your providence through all time,
calling upon Mary our Mother
and all the saints who have served the cause of justice,
through your Son, Jesus Christ, Redeemer and Savior, Amen.