Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Jun 30th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Voting. It’s Not For Everybody

Sven_DavisI stood in line to vote behind a 30-ish couple who appeared to be on a first date, judging by the small talk: “I’m more of a dog person.” “Middle children, yeah! High five!” “I’ve never seen a baby pelican either! Weird!”

I didn’t want to eavesdrop, but she had a tag sticking up from the back of her shirt and I’ve always found that to be really distracting. When is it OK to tell a stranger her tag’s up? To me it’s like a little flag that says, “Help! I have trouble with details!” Can’t I just reach out and ...

“So how do you pick your peeps?” she asked. A cagey way to get some insight into his politics, I thought.

“Throw the bums out. Fresh start.”

“Really? Your plan is to just keep voting in new people until somebody comes along who solves everything in a few years with some sort of totalitarian powers and unicorns that poop money?”

Damn, tough date! He backpedalled:  “In reality, I just go with the guys who seem most like me.”

“So, someone like you would make a good politician?”

“Oh hell no.”

Her look said, “And therefore ...?”

He said, “But I’d be happy to get in there to vote on the 420 stuff.”

Date over. Uncomfortable silence.

“Hey,” I said. “Your tag is up.”

This was the election that would bring Dubya a second term and thereby compel me to look at voting Americans in a whole new light. The kind of light they shine on hotel room bedspreads to reveal scary stains.

I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t always pulled my weight, citizen-wise. I have a terrible voting record. Judging by the low voter turnout numbers over the years, most of us do. I looked up my history (as anybody in the county can, at the characteristically unfriendly government URL of http://sccounty01.co.santa-cruz.ca.us/CLK/EIMSLtd/), and saw not only my poor record, but the poor record of some of my friends who always berate me for failing to vote. Ha! Gotcha. I suspect they’ve been using the same smug “I voted” sticker for years. No wonder they were laminated.

Voting is easy. Voting well is not. A lot of money, and I mean a lot of money, is spent spinning information to get us voting a particular way. That money buys a lot of votes through advertisements and media manipulation and fact distortion. Heck, if you had enough money, you could get people to vote against oxygen (“It makes your car rust!” “It’s a major contributor to fires that kill children! And kittens!” “There was oxygen present at every terrorist event of the past 40 years.” “Hitler used it!”).

High-priced companies are hired to run polls to figure out what pushes our emotional buttons, and then they push them. They are not dumb. They know that it’s easier to tear down the opposition than to build their own argument, because who or what is perfect? They chuckle and twist their long moustaches as they place ads in New Parent magazine that say, “We all know that breast milk helps children develop physically and mentally. Sadly, John Kenner’s mother refused to nurse him. Is this the sort of man we want in our state senate?”

Oh hell no.

Since these companies rely on polls to guide their moves, I think we can bring the system to its knees if we all band together to do one simple thing: Lie to the pollsters. If they call you at home or accost you outside your local market, just smile and answer all the questions, but answer them randomly. Have some fun with it—claim you’re voting alphabetically, or astrologically. Say you’ll vote for the person with the biggest hair.

When I don’t vote, it’s usually because I’ve been too lazy to do research.  They spell it out in high school, but everybody forgets: Vote as if you were the tie-breaker. Review candidates like you would an applicant to any other job: weigh their qualifications and experience and track record against the requirements of the position. As long as the winner doesn’t have a tag sticking up, that’s who you vote for. Sure it’s a lot of work, but if you like complaining or saying “I told you so,” voting is the price you pay for that privilege.

It can be overwhelming, with so many things on the ballot, but a friend recently reminded me that I didn’t have to vote on everything. I can pick and choose. Even if I only get as far as deciding how to vote on Measure X (which taxes panhandlers to fund a study determining whether there is a link between slow local restaurant service and recent stabbings), so be it.

I still get my sticker.


Nobody has been able to prove that Sven is not a Muslim. Just saying. He’s at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Comments (1)Add Comment
...
written by A fan, October 30, 2010
A much missed sardonic voice! Keep 'em coming Mssr. Davis...

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

I Was a Teenage Deadhead

Memories of life on tour, plus the truth about that legendary Santa Cruz Acid Test

 

I Build a Lighted House and Therein Dwell

Wednesday, June 24, Chiron turns stationary retrograde (we turn inward) at 21.33 degrees Pisces. We usually speak of “retrograde” when referring to Mercury. But all planets retrograde. Next month in July, Venus retrogrades. What is Chiron retrograde? Chiron represents the wound within all of us. Wounds have purpose. They sensitize us; make us aware of pain and suffering. Through our wounds we develop compassion. Through compassion we become whole (holy) again. Chiron helps develop these states of consciousness. Everyone carries a wound. Everyone carries family wounds (family astrology tracks the astrological “DNA” through generations). Chiron wounds are deep within. We’re often not aware of them until Chiron retrogrades. Then the wounds (through pain, hurt, sadness, suffering) become apparent. They seem to break us open emotionally, psychologically. Painful events from the past are remembered. They are brought to the present for healing. Through experiencing, talking about and deeply feeling what is hurting us, healing takes place. We begin to understand and bring healing to others. All week, Jupiter and Venus move closer together in the sky. They meet in Leo at the full moon, Cancer solar festival, on Wednesday, July 1. The Cancer keynote is, “I build a lighted house and therein dwell.” The soul’s light has finally penetrated the “womb” of matter. The New Group of World Servers is to radiate this light. At the end of each sign are keywords to use and remember during the Chiron retrograde.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of June 26

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Kickin' Chicken

Local kitchen alchemist Justin Williams is fast becoming a cult flavor master. His late-night wizardry, which began last fall delivering mainly to starving UCSC students, is catching on with taste buds beyond campus. Kickin’ Chicken delivers its spicy-sweet fried chicken and waffles to Westside residents between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. nightly. Or you can catch him and his brother and sister, Candice and Danny Mendoza, serving it up at their “Sunday Mass” at the Santa Cruz Food Lounge at 1001 Center St. in Santa Cruz. Using sous vide, a French method of cooking chicken in a water bath at a tightly controlled temperature, they then flash fry it for an amazingly crispy coat. Candice Mendoza spoke to GT about Kickin’ Chicken’s rise.

 

What’s a creative new approach to addressing summer beach litter?

Robotic dogs, with duct tape on their paws, that walk around picking up litter wherever they go. Joaquin Heinz, Santa Cruz, Barista

 

Pelican Ranch Winery

The most popular red wines found on store shelves are also those most commonly known, such as Pinot, Zinfandel and Merlot. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Pelican Ranch Winery’s Cinsault ($19), it opens up a whole new world. Cinsault is a grape that can tolerate heat, so it is found in countries with warmer climes such as Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, and France. It’s rare in California but grows well in places like Lodi—Silvaspoons Vineyard in this particular case—where it’s hot and dry. Often used as a blending grape, the silky Cinsault is just fine on its own.

 

Open Wide

Soif’s soft reboot leads to expanded menu, plus the ‘thinking woman’s ketchup’