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Tuning In To "Who Wants To Be Governor?"
Sep 1, 2003 - 11:20:00 PM
SACRAMENTO—As the little man from the draft board once famously asked, "Is this trip really necessary?" The California recall election is quickly shattering my confidence in serious political discourse, and I feel like I'm at a strip show in a Marx Brothers' movie!
To begin with, we The People elected Gray Davis, and he has three more years to serve. Political coups are the instruments of banana republics. Affecting a lynch mob mentality against the governor just because we can't seem to corral the real culprits (gridlocked partisan legislators, runaway growth and illegal energy collusion by out-of-state distributors) only compounds the state's problems. We have more important things to do these days than take out our frustrations with life's unpleasant realities on Gray Davis. And anyone who thinks that just about anyone can become a successful chief executive for 30 million Californians should be automatically disenfranchised. It reminds me of how many guitar players it takes to change a light bulb: One hundred. One to screw in the bulb, and ninety-nine to say they could do it better.
Photo courtesy of www.gray-davis.com
The rest of the country is laughing at us. Fortunately I couldn't care less about that since most Californians know that the "Lower 49" suffer from a collective form of geographic penis envy. But it appears undignified all the same. Arnold, Cruz and Larry. It's Saturday Night Live! The only good thing about this election is that the campaign may bring back Vaudeville. In the meantime serious issues go unaddressed as the entire state is preoccupied with the real-time reality show "Who Wants To Be Governor?" Some of us are shaking our heads and wondering how we stumbled into this.
Gray Davis inherited this mess, he didn't cause it. A dead-locked intransigent legislature demonstrates the folly of term limits, as inexperienced "citizen politicians" seem to be clueless as to how to perform the jobs they are elected and paid to perform. Pity anyone having to deal with that. Current immigration policy is an unfunded Federal mandate imposed on the governor, subsequently fueling uncontrolled explosive growth, the consequence of which is the overloading of the state health care and public educational systems, as well as unprecedented debt and widespread crime and poverty. Immigration is sinking this ship, and the governor's hands are tied. The energy crisis was a direct result of the duping of our bumbling state legislators (under the previous administration) into de-regulating the energy industry at the heavy-handed behest of that very industry. This led to collusion in gaming the system by predominately Texas energy companies, causing significantly higher prices for consumers and less certainty regarding power supply. And though the governor entered into hasty energy contracts at the time, his intent was to first stop the hemorrhaging so as to stabilize a serious, and potentially dangerous, situation as illegal corporate manipulation of the electricity market interjected domestic terrorism into the affairs of California. Court rulings since that time bear this out.
You don't like Gray's personality? Sorry, but that's not reason enough to turn him out of office. An uninspiring leader? Gee, Pete Wilson was left alone and I can't think of many people less inspiring than he was. A lap-dog to special interest fundraising? What successful politician isn't in this era of war chest politics? No, I think in reality the governor is a scapegoat for the cracking and crumbling of our mindless value system, including the dot-com meltdown, leaving us thrashing about forlornly, as well as the malaise setting in over the realization that our culture, and our lives, seem to be less meaningful, not more. We blame Gray Davis when we look in the mirror and don't like what we see. We want everything to be perfect and we want it now, and when the governor reminds us that that's not possible, we blame him. We are the cell phone civilization casting aspersions upon discovery of our own shallowness, as if a gaggle of characters straight out of Zap Comics will produce a leader capable of tackling this state's entrenched problems. I don't think any of them can, and they could make things worse.
California is being highjacked by misguided manipulators of the peculiarities and technicalities of the state constitution in an overt attempt to recall not the governor, but rather the election that he won. This is inherently unfair and will set a bad precedent if successful. For that reason I'm voting "No" on the recall, and trust that my fellow Californians will display thoughtfulness and dignity in doing the same.
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