I've been getting some surprising reactions from folks regarding the whole California special election. Now, I'm going to say a few inflammatory things here (*gasp* Effie no! Not you!), so it's important that no one here thinks I'm talking about them specifically. I was originally going to write this as a response to feyandstrange
but I didn't want to send the message that I thought all the things I'm about to say apply to her. My general opinion of humans is that they're generally gullible, selfish, and ignorant. That doesn't mean I think *you* are. That said...
There seems to be a disconnect among the American electorate in general, not just California. There's a false syllogism at play:
Thesis: People who don't do any work don't get much done.
Antithesis: The government doesn't seem to me to get much done.
Synthesis: Therefore, people in government don't do any work.
Like I said, this is not a strictly Californian problem. The fact that Californians can vote their emotions on stuff like this is, though.
It's funny, people seem to think that the California State Assembly didn't reach a budget because it's so easy that they couldn't be bothered. Actually, the truth is, it really *could* be that easy; all they need to do is slash the budget of all those wonderful social services agencies that lefties love so much. It would be a lot easier politically than trying to raise taxes, and it's frankly more sustainable into the future. Apparently, there are enough people in the Assembly think those programs are important enough to fight for that they refuse to give way and have the numbers to stand their ground. Similarly, those on the right are joined by enough people reasonably concerned about the thought of raising taxes during a recession that they aren't going to give way easily either. It's gonna be tough and messy, with political concessions forced on both sides. Whatever they end up with, unions will get involved, political futures will be flushed, and the world will keep on rolling. To call this process a thankless task would be the epitome of understatement.
But hey, what am I saying? Fuck 'em. They're being paid for results, not excuses, right? The tougher work they're doing, the more they deserve to be reminded of the utter scorn that their constituents feel toward them. Ask 'em to fix your busted streets, keep your parks and museums running, teach your apathetic kids, fight crime, keep your air and water clean (and clean it if it isn't), all while adhering to a state code made completely ridiculous from 30 years of dumb schmucks off the street getting to vote into law any hare-brained idea with a lawyer and 10,000 idiots' signatures behind it, and then for good measure, kick 'em good and hard in the ass when they fail to solve all your own damn problems in to the way you honestly never really
expected them to.
A ballot measure against pay raises for all state officials based on a perception of the legislature performing poorly was fucking petty. Mind you, I'm not above being petty myself. Sometimes it feels pretty damn good. But let's do call a spade a spade, and not try to couch it in pathetic political rationalizations. Demagoguery rarely has a logical rationale behind it.
I'm not saying that I think the guys in California's government do
deserve a raise. Honestly, it's not my call to make. I don't live in California, so I have no horse in this race, and I thank goodness for that. But I sure as hell know that the last person qualified to make that call is some cranky mouth breather whose only reason for even going to the polls at all that day is to take their frustrations out on someone just because he could.