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Have Some Linguica, Baby

Posted by Rick · September 14th, 2003 · No Comments

I said previously that I was leaning somewhat in the direction of voting for Arnold S. in the California recall election. Personally, I think the recall is wrong-headed anyway. I’d think this even if I were totally opposed to Gray Davis. If we have a recall every time someone wants to complain about government officials, we’ll have elections daily. I don’t have time for that; despite rising unemployment, I still have a job. In the absence of grievous (e.g., illegal) wrong-doing, I think we should stick with the normal election schedules.

But reality is reality and Californians are determined to hold a recall because we believe it’s Davis’ fault that our government is running in the red. The costs of things like unanticipated recalls, of course, don’t factor into the budget at all. The millions spent on the election are surely to be found growing on a tree somewhere. Unanticipated rip-offs by Enron—now being sheltered by the closed-door hearings of which the Bush administration is so fond—are another story. For those, we hang the Governor.

I began to change my mind about Schwarzenegger when I realized that he wasn’t going to actually tell us anything—on the contrary, he refuses to debate anyone, even other members of his own party (McClintock tried to get him to debate just him and he refused).

The problem, as I see it, is that Ah-nuld thinks he can win—and, sadly, he may be right—just by refusing to say anything he hasn’t already said in one of his movies. He believes the voters don’t care about the issues. He thinks they won’t pay attention to the fact that his campaign is built on a platform of platitudes.

Consequently, he runs around refusing to debate and, instead, just keeps repeating, “Let’s terminate them. Let’s say, ‘Hasta la vista, baby,’ to those guys.” (CNN.com, Inside Politics, “Clinton stumps for Davis: Former president says California recall ‘not funny anymore,’” September 14, 2003.) He—and the rest of California—apparently believes this is all that’s necessary to solve our problems.

If all he’s going to do is spout tired lines from old movies and otherwise refuse to tell us what he plans to do besides “audit” (which, as I’ve pointed out previously, is already done; it’s a requirement of governments and corporations), then it’s time we, the people, asked for a more perfect government instead of a more perfect politico.

Isn’t failing in our duty as voters to know what it is we’re voting for just one of the things that has gotten us into this mess? We keep blaming the politicians for screwing up. Yet while they’re running for office, we demand nothing of them more than that they look good on T.V. and that they know how to handle a one-liner. If they manage to string together two one-liners, as Schwarzenegger does, that’s all the better.

Yet, although we may actually elect an entertainer, shouldn’t we realize that it isn’t an entertainer, but rather a governor, that we need? Wouldn’t it be better if we asked for something substantive from the candidates? And then, if they don’t deliver on their substantive promises once in office, we make sure they don’t get another chance to lie to us.

We get the government we deserve. We get nothing more. That’s what the “by the people” meant when Abraham Lincoln called ours a “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” (Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address speech.)

Lincoln also said, “Lets have faith that right makes might; and in that faith let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.” (Abraham Lincoln, at Cooper Union, found [of all places] on FreeRepublic.com.)

We, the voters, have a duty to hold those we elect to serve us (yes, let’s not forget that they are “public servants”) to high standards. They should tell us what they’re going to do and leave the snappy one-liners to the actors and comedians.

Unless he can tell us why it should be different—unless he can tell us what he actually plans to do to change things—I say Ah-nuld’s bid for Governor should be annulled.

Categories: Politics-In-General


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