So as we all know by now Barack Obama has become the President elect of the United States and pretty much every blog has sounded off on this with varying degrees of celebration, but I’m going to put a damper on the mood here and mention that despite the candidate I picked getting chosen to be the next leader of the worlds only remaining super power, that several unfortunate things happened during the election that still hint at a continued division and conflict of ideals within the country.
One Is That This Convicted Felon Got Re-Elected
Yes, Ted Stevens, the President Pro Tempore Emeritus of the senate and so-called gentleman from Alaska, despite being found guily on all seven of the corruption charges he was facing has been re-elected to serve as Alaska’s delegate to Washington for the 7th time. Now of course he is currently under a lot of pressure from Republicans and Democrats alike to step down or face expulsion from the senate and while it’s looking possible that this might happen, what does all of this say about the state of things in the country. Is incumbency so powerful, that even when everyone knows, including the felon himself, that he should by all rights be serving time in prison, that said felon can still have the gall to run for public office and worse yet be supported by a state to serve time in Congress as a national leader instead?
If this seems as absurd to you as it does to me then perhaps we should all be asking some questions about possible electoral reform. Something like, IF YOU ARE A CONVICTED CRIMINAL YOU SHOULD NOT BE ELLIGIBLE TO RUN FOR OFFICE IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! Okay, that’s not actually a question, but I mean good god, it shouldn’t matter how long he’s served, is it not an option, that if Alaska absolutely has to have a Republican in Congress representing the state that they run someone else instead once the corruption charges come through. Or perhaps, and I know this might sound absurd (lol), start voting for the person instead of the party…..I mean I know the announcement of his conviction was close to election day and that there probably wasn’t any way to replace him on the Republican ticket in time, but the message it sends….
Next on the, in my opinion, shitty things that happened during the election list….
No This Isn’t Me Pledging My Support For The Measure, It Is The Unfortunate Reality Of The Matter
Proposition 8 passed in California, meaning that the state saw fit somehow to give gays and lesbians the right to marry and then take it away. Somehow that doesn’t seem entirely fair to me. Aside from my belief that no person should have the right to impose upon another a restriction against formal marriage based on sex, the decision had already been made by the Supreme Court that marriage was between two people regardless of sex. Not to mention the fact that this was so close in terms of the yes and no vote and yet still apparently passed because it was beyond 50%. That also says something about the state of things in the country when 50% on a constitutional amendment, even at the state level is considered a pass. Shouldn’t something as significant as a restriction on gay marriage that requires an amendment to the text of the California Constituation have to pass a certain quota of “yes” votes, like say 66% or else it fails by default. For something this close I don’t see how it can be counted as a pass. Clearly if 48% of the voting population doesn’t support an amendment to the constitution of California then I think the status quo should be maintained as per the Supreme Court’s decision in In re Marriage Cases
Hey though, I’m not one to dictate the way things should be in a country that isn’t my own and this is only my opinion, but I’m suggesting that there are clearly still many issues on which American’s are divided and where reform could likely be introduced in the coming years even as of the very day when people want to believe change is on the way. I want to suggest that despite the fact that Barack Obama was elected last night, that as he too suggested, change will not come overnight and that people are going to have to come together and set aside partisianship to make real change happen. And I think that what that means among other issues, and again this is just my opinion, is the will to say no to a corrupt candidate despite your support for their party and to recognize that 52% versus 48% is not a clear and unanimous agreement on how a state constitution should read. A mandate for change does not come at 51% of the population agreeing on something, it probably doesn’t even come at 66% as I suggested earlier, it comes at something much closer to 100% and that is why I really hope that Barack Obama will be able to truly unite the people under one common banner of the United States of America in the years to come. Otherwise I don’t see how change can really come about.