Wednesday, April 2, 2008


I take voting seriously. I've voted in every election since I turned 18, from major presidential contests right on down to local races. I do this because I was raised to believe that voting is a right (not a privilege, as some would have you believe) afforded to me by the great struggles of the men and women who came before me. It's important. I don't get to whine about the state of things if I don't, at the very least, vote.

That said, it has been a very difficult near decade of voting for me. I realize I haven't been around the block quite so many times as some, and I have no intention to stop being involved in the political process, but damn it can be disappointing.

Take the first election I ever voted in: 2000. That pretty much sums up my voting experience up to the present day. Twice I've voted for presidential candidates that didn't win (granted, neither were particularly compelling, but I firmly believe either would have been a thousand times better than what we ended up with). I voted against the state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages. Disappointment with how that turned out would be an understatement. There have been several other disappointing votes, too. And yesterday, I added one more when I voted for Louis Butler.

I am disappointed in the people who voted for Gableman, an ill-qualified candidate whose campaign preyed on people's fears and misunderstandings about what the title of Supreme Court Justice actually entails. But I'm angry, physically angry, at the Gableman campaign, and those shady special interests that ran dirty, wildly inaccurate and downright fallacious advertisements.

And now Gableman has the audacity to claim he ran a "positive campaign"? You've got to be fucking kidding me. Not only is this guy unqualified for the job he just bought, but he's apparently also completely delusional.

At this point, I'm not even sure what should happen next. We seem to be slowly but surely giving away our system of checks and balances in this state, allowing businesses to shape the laws in their favor, and limiting the ability of wronged parties to seek justice and redress. We've acted against our own self-interests, and when the time comes (and it will) that we need to seek legal recourse to right the wrongs committed against us, we'll hit a wall of our own making.

This isn't just because of this one vote, or any one vote. I won't give Gableman that much credit. It is, however, symptomatic of a much larger trend and problem--one we've been fighting since the beginning of time: money makes the rules. And if you don't got money, you're screwed.


ellie said...

"If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good."
Thomas J. Watson

Sucks, doesn't it, when the greedheads and rethuglicans rove themselves into power?
Hopefully he'll screw up and get tossed out.
I started voting when I turned 18.It really stung a few years later when Jimmy Carter got screwed by Saint Ronnie doing back door deals during the Iranian Hostage crisis.
Now I'm almost nostalgic for the lower intensity Nixon/Reagan levels evil and stupid.
I just keep hoping things swing back to a more progressive streak in our state. After getting that slap in the face from a lot of voters, at least one in my own family on the marriage amendment, it's been feeling rather grim.

John A said...

You get kudos for having the conviction to get angry. The thing that's been missing more than anything in the last 20 years is serious anger about politics, and politicians reacting to that anger.
I'm guilty of that myself... I can count on one hand the times I've vote for a winning candidate in any race in any election. (Though part of that is a dogged insistence on voting for third parties...) But I benefit enough from the status quo that I don't get angry.
The nation really needs a big Howard Beale moment.

Emily said...

John, you're right, but the real trick will be getting enough people to actually take action after they've yelled "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take it anymore!" - satisfying as that is on its own. :)

Real Debate said...

While wallowing in your pity you should really take a serious look at the actions of the "progressive" movement in this race.

WEAC put out flat lies against Gableman as did Progressive Majority Wisconsin and One Wisconsin Now. All "progressive" organizations.

This was a nasty race all the way around, you should see it a bit more honestly.

Leftisit special interest put as much cash into this thing as the right leaning one does.

If you are to ever win an election, you should honestly assess the aftermath instead of just making excuses and blaming the other guy.

Emily said...

I'm still trying to figure out what "lies" those organizations put out about Gableman (honestly, I want to know, because that kind of thing shouldn't be acceptable from any end of the political spectrum). Are there any vaguely neutral news sources on them? I've found several about misleading anti-Butler ads, but that's it.

Palmer said...

Be prepared for more disappointments, Emily. Ask some non-elite Americans who voted for Bill Clinton and got in return NAFTA, welfare "reform", and missiles lobbed at a pharmaceutical factory. The left needs to fight fire with fire instead of trying to reason and argue the issues. The neo-cons, Chrisitian Right, and establishment Republicans fight dirty and all the Left can do is sit around while it gets swift-boated.

It's a nice quote from Watson but I can't help remember that he was the man who sought to profit from the Holocaust as much as he could and found it much easier to get up again by being friends with FDR and having connections in the State Dept.

-Deb- said...

Why the hell are we electing judges in the first place? It's absurd... votes are currency too, and we don't need judges that are indebted.

The Lost Albatross