Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Get Out The Vote

by Robison Wells

(Warning: I’m going to attempt to write an article about election day and politics without ever saying what issues or candidates I agree with. Why? Because if I were to say: “I’m voting for candidate X!” and you were to be voting for candidate Y, then you’d never buy my books. You are so petty that way.)

Today is Election Day, which I am doing my darn hardest to get excited about.

For those of you who don’t know my background, let me tell you a little about myself. I was a political science major. I love the stuff. When people ask me what my favorite non-fiction book is, I often answer Political Ideologies and The Democratic Ideal, by Terence Ball and Richard Dagger. One of the reasons I began writing my first book was because it was endless fun for me to imagine a fantasy political system. When I was in the third grade I wrote a letter to Ronald Reagan, and he wrote me back (well, one of his form-letter secretaries did). In other words, I like politics.

But for the life of me, I just cannot get worked up about local elections. Yes, I’m interested in the Senate race, and there are a couple initiatives that are intriguing, but when it comes to crap like County Recorder and County Clerk, I so very much don’t care. Because of this, I emailed Micah, a friend of mine who is very involved in local politics, and I asked him who I should vote for. He emailed back a long impassioned letter about who was corrupt and who was partisan and who was looking out for the little guy, and it sounded like it would make for a very compelling political thriller if, I don’t know, it wasn’t about the County Recorder!

My wife and I have recently acquired the first season of The A-Team on DVD, and we spend our evenings watching Mr. T build cabbage launchers. But one of the funniest things about The A-Team is that they’re a group of highly-trained Vietnam vets, and yet the only bad guys they ever fight are good-old-boys and crooked sheriffs. I could totally see The A-Team battling the County Recorder. Man, it’s getting me all giddy just to think of it. Maybe if the local candidates spent more time dressing up like Chinese launderers and welding stuff I’d care more. Attention fanfic writers: you have your next assignment!

But think of all the great political films out there: Dr. Strangelove, The Manchurian Candidate, Wag the Dog, All the President’s Men, The Candidate. Heck, even Dave. They all have one thing in common: they have nothing to do with the County Recorder. That’s just it. The senate race I can get interested in, because you can really imagine crooked senators in a serious, Oscar-worthy film. County Recorders are just silly.

Now, granted, I realize that the local politicians have a great deal of effect on my life, and the decisions they make should be important to me. I mean, I complain all the time about traffic, yet here I am mocking the local officials who could fix it. Even so, when you boil the issues down to The War (on the national politics side) versus Speed Bumps (on the local side) it’s just not much of a comparison.

Anyway, I think I’ve done a fairly good job of writing an entire blog about politics in which I never once state what I think politically. Well, all except for this last part:

In conclusion: Libertarians are idiots.


At 11/07/2006 2:56 PM, Blogger RobisonWells said...

So, I just returned from voting and, all joking aside, I have a legitimate gripe.

In addition to County Recorder and County Clerk, we also voted for County Assessor and County Surveyor. Would someone please explain to me (1) how I'm supposed to know who's going to do a better job as surveyor (2) why is it a partisan race? (3) Given the more technical nature of the jobs, wouldn't it make more sense just to hire someone based on merit?

Really, in every single one of these races, the only thing that matters is that the candidate is honest. The worry is that a Republican clerk would favor Republicans while he or she is clerking; that there may be some kind of voting fraud based on party. Why not remove all that bias by making the office hired instead of elected?

And, for the love, why do we vote on County Auditor? By their very job description, isn't an auditor supposed to be completely impartial? And yet we have to choose between a Republican and a Democrat?

I would imagine that a lot of voter apathy can be chalked up to these stupid little races.

(Now someone will post and tell me why it's desperately important to have a partisan auditor. In fact, please do, because I'd love to hear the reasoning.)

At 11/07/2006 3:16 PM, Blogger Mean Aunt said...

Write in Rob Wells for County Recorder!

At 11/07/2006 7:05 PM, Blogger Evil HR Lady said...

Not on your life, Mean Aunt.

This Libertarian is highly offended. I'm going to spend my entire LDS fiction budget on Kerry Blair now.

At 11/08/2006 8:27 AM, Blogger RobisonWells said...

Well good. The last thing I want is a Libertarian reading my books. They'll get their cooties all over it.

At 11/08/2006 11:14 AM, Blogger Matthew Buckley said...

I've found something very interesting about the libertarian party (and yes, I consider myself a libertarian) When you talk to the local libertarians, there is a good chance they are the local nut jobs. And it's very unfortunate, because if you read their ideals, particularly the stuff that comes from the national folks, they actually make a lot of sense, cooties and all.

Although it does take a superior intellect to come to this conclusion, so Rob, I won't hold it against you...


At 11/08/2006 11:28 AM, Blogger RobisonWells said...

Well, you know, it was a humor column, and I generally don't mean everything I say. Libertarians do have cooties, though.

No, my gripe with Libertarians is that they're too idealistic: it's a great idea, but a libertarian government would require that all citizens are responsible, honest, and concerned about others. Otherwise, it would pretty quickly turn into anarchy. (And maybe I'm just a cynic, but I just don't believe people are responsible enough to make it work.) (And I don't like the if-they're-not-responsible-then-too-bad-for-them sentiment.)

At 11/08/2006 11:32 AM, Blogger Evil HR Lady said...

Well, I'll keep my Libertarian cooties to myself, then. But don't come crying to be when your fancy new salary that your MBA commands is taxed to the hilt.

At 11/08/2006 12:41 PM, Blogger Matthew Buckley said...

You are right, Rob. If we flipped a switch and went to a libertarian government, there would be a whole lot of hurt, and a whole lot of screaming. :) But I think we could (and should) at least be moving in that direction. And as we slowly move toward the ideal, people would again learn those handy traits like self-sufficiency, personal responsibility, and an 'I can do it if I try' attitude.

It's not going to happen over night, but in my opinion it should happen sometime. :)

Share the cooties.

At 11/08/2006 4:10 PM, Anonymous Anura Ranidae said...

I agree with the Libertarians are nut jobs part.


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