Thursday, April 23, 2009


Recently I received an Official Voter Information Guide for a Special Statewide Election to be held in California next month. Yesterday I received an absentee voter packet.

The above mentioned events disturbed some still tender and probably self-inflicted psychic wounds. Wounds inflicted over half a century.

I had been a voter in local, state, and federal elections and sometimes a worker on campaigns or issues during those decades. I felt an increasing ignorance and lack of awareness among my fellows and a carelessness of these changes among what I considered any kind of leadership. After the second election of our previous president I had quit voting and quit registering to to vote. So receiving these voting materials is a bit of a surprise.

When I quit voting I felt a great loss and a great sadness. It was as though I had lost my father, mother, and spouse all at once. I felt like a man without a country. I have read the novel of that name, but haven't been able to recall it.

I guess I could say that politics and governance in the land had not been meeting my expectations. I had been a little 'd' democrat and had expected us as a people to move in that direction, but what I was seeing was the erosion of our republic. I did not understand the economics of of why after WWII government at all levels kept issuing bonds. What was wrong with cash? I did not understand our foreign policy. I had had hopes that our foreign policy would be well in the hands of the Senate well overseen by an informed public by the 1970s. My hopes were irrational because i could not see how interfering in a foreign civil war served our democratic values. Why we took sides in a civil war in the sovereign nation of Korea I did not understand. Why we started 'a police action' in Korea with such disrespect for our constitutional covenant seemed incomprehensible. From there my disillusionment grew and deepened.

At the same time I felt a growing shame that the ongoing despoiling of our constitution was in my name and paid for with my work. Probably too much of my shame was for the ignorance and laziness of my fellow citizens and not enough of it was for my ignorance, fear, and lack of action.

I have this Voter Information Guide before me now. I do not understand it. I'm not sure why not. And am not sure how to thing about not understanding it. I am sure that I am not ashamed of not understanding it. I am beginning to feel a bit of shame and maybe a it of irritation at not knowing why I don't understand it. I am old and my powers are declining but perhaps I can make some effort to discover why I do not understand.

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