Remember, rembember the 4th of November!!!!
Tuesday, November 4th! Get out and vote! Here I lay down more and more examples about how Republicans and Democrats are both bad examples for politics, and TV media doesn't make anything easier. Happy Columbus Day to no one, and I present you audio from my visit to OKTOBERFEST in MUNICH!
Heading Out to the Polls
If you haven’t already voted by mail, you will remember once you are there. The judges. Oh man, the judges. State supreme court justices, court of appeals judges, district judges, county judges - “Shall judge John D. Pickadilleroo III be retained in office? Yes or no.” To those of you who live in states where you don’t have judge retention on the ballot, sigh a deep sigh of relief for us that do. Please. It may be one of the most confusing things you will ever see, and you never are very sure how to vote for something like this, because you don’t know any of the names! So unless Justice Pickadilleroo III is your grandfather, you’re taking an absolute shot in the dark.
This may be about the point where you start feeling guilty. If you are like me, then you have looked up from the tiny booth and frantically searched around to make some type of educated guess whether or not you really are the least-informed voter in the room. You’re not. Or maybe you are – but that’s not the point. A quick google search regarding judge retention displays an article titled, “Skip ‘em or Guess.” When I tried to search my judges names... all ten of them, I discovered two interesting, if not useless, facts. Fact 1 – trying to find out whether or not you agree with a judge’s values is like trying to find out whether or not your Aunt Claudia wears pantyhose to Sunday church... The answer is out there, but you may hate yourself for the time and effort spent trying to find out. Fact 2 – In Colorado, no judge has actually lost retention from “no” votes – at least in Colorado, insofar as I could find anything… and that means it’s meaningless to vote on it or the process is so milked in bureaucracy that it is rigged to appear like actual Democracy. Either way, you hate yourself for trying.
Then there are the offices you didn’t even know existed, the party names you thought were a joke when your neighbor told you he was a card-carrying member, and the endless propositions that seem like word-puzzles or excerpts of the already-existing “How to Govern for Dummies in – (Your state name and district number here)”. You came for the big show – those who appeared in TV spots, but what about the rest?? What the hell are you supposed to do??
If you thought I was going to tell you the answer you were dead wrong. Instead, I have a thought exercise. This is going to sound very partisan and one-sided when I begin, but hang with me until the end, ok?
This time last year, Republicans shut down the government in protest to Obamacare not being repealed (after it had been voted on in some 40+ unsuccessful repeal attempts). It was a bluff by Republicans that they would rather let almost every single federal employee go without work, and most-all government offices close by not allowing the US government to pay its bills. All because Democrats would not cave in to the one demand - to undue the Affordable Care Act. Democrats called the bluff, and Republicans being the very wise and genial people they are let the government close anyway. The month-long shut down was Republicans’ fault. 100%. I’m sorry, it is what it is.
The lingering ramifications of said shutdown was that congress’ approval rating of the 535 people to whom we have entrusted every major aspect of the law-making process of our great nation, plummeted to something in the 6-8% range. That means on a good day, no more than 1 in every 10 people we talk to actually think that our famous “do-nothing congress” is actually doing a very good job, or any job for that matter.
Here is the real danger though. There is a very unhealthy ideological divide that Democrats love government and that Republicans hate government, no matter what/why/how things play out. SO, if the government is not working correctly and has a less than 10% approval rating (which for arguments sake, we will just assume is NOT GOOD), then even if it were tied to Republicans obstructing progress, they still look good! Because, when Republicans in congress make shit out of everything and all of Washington looks bad, people say, “I guess the Republicans were right! Government is bad!”
The kicker though is that’s not really our fault. We are low-information voters, not because we lack interest, which sometimes is true, but that we lack un-biased information. Our media and news networks have failed in the very medium for which journalism is supposed to stand.
And you would be a damned fool to believe that Democrats do not play this stupid, and coincidentally quite costly game. Have you ever met a “yellow-dog Democrat”? Somebody that would actually vote for a yellow-dog instead of ANY OTHER HUMAN, as long as that dog was running on the Democratic ticket. Sure that’s a “joke”, but the very notion doesn’t inspire very many visions of national pride as much as it inspires visions of jackasses.
But I digress, because what we really lack is not a shortage of Democrats or Republicans, but a shortage of Democratic Power – Voices. Instead of voting for Tweedle Dee or Tweedle Dum, and then putting them on a pedestal as if they were Ali Baba or King Henry the VI, giving them the keys to the cities, our hearts, and our bank accounts – while we wash ourselves in Patriotism, sleep in our terrorist-free beds, and have sweet dreams of diluted consciousness, while we eat our Cheerios and wait 2 or 4 more years in a dark hole of complacency…
I just voted in Colorado Weld County’s 4th District. From Germany. But at this point, you’re probably wondering, “Greg, why the hell would anybody want to vote after these inspiring words?” And I don’t blame you, but my intention is not to make you feel disillusioned about voting or about any real power you have, or to convince you to vote one way or another. Not at all, not in the least. My goal is to demonstrate as often as possible that we need to vote more than ever, but that more importantly – whoever you vote for is somebody you should hold accountable later. Make them do what they said they were going to do – and we will tackle the issue of representative accountability in future shows. But, if you don’t know in any rough details what your preferred candidate actually specifically intends to do, you’ve got some homework to do. But remember: educated voting is not effort lost in vain. In fact quite the opposite, you are now a part of a long fought-for history of those who risked and/or gave it all so that you could stand and make your voice heard. That’s not a waste. That’s god damned national pride.
What we could do is cast off all of these romantic ideas and actually work to engage our Democracy in a very tangible and ongoing way – by getting involved at the local level, holding leaders and media networks accountable, learning how the system has done us and others wrong, and then voting for the people who are going to really put more power into the common people’s hands.
Above and beyond all that, we need to drop the desire to identify as one group over another, only for the sake of being in the “in” crowd. What I mean is you Democrats shouldn’t think that your party is the all-perfect answer, because we see time and time again how flawed you really are. And Republicans shouldn’t fear every aspect of government, because we need government whether you like to admit it or not, whether it’s roads, fire departments, schools, national parks…
…If you really hate government, you should fix it.
…If you really love government, then you should save it.
Columbus Day was this last week, and as we celebrated once again the slave-operating, people-stealing, India-losing Italian (no offense to the Italians) I thought it would be nice to give the man some homage.. homage like the way my friend Brant gave when he said in remembrance, “Happy Columbus Day! I’m going to celebrate by taking a wrong, turn, ending up where I don’t belong, and being a dick to everyone who lives there.” Well, in honor of that sentiment, I would like to share a treasure I have. I once found a book of little-known Christopher Columbus quotes tucked away in a shoebox in a library just outside Boston, MA, which is another place just like the country of India, where he never actually visited. I thought you may enjoy hearing some of them so here they are…
Hey, look! Free people!My hat. It has 3 corners.I’m civilizing you, why is everybody so sad?Say hello to my little friends! *cough*I’m going on vacation, and I’m bringing a……… an American!I’m not stopping for directions.Girl acted like she never seen a Spanish Marvedi before. No seriously, she never seen a Spanish Marvedi before.That’s what I said… “India-genious”.
But beyond just illustrating what a dick Columbus really was, I took it upon myself to (minus the whole slavery thing) also infiltrate a foreign culture, drink a lot, and act like an ass. And that friends, was my experience this year at Oktoberfest.