Thursday, March 22 , 2018, 7:05 am | Light Rain Fog/Mist 59º


Randy Alcorn: Voting, a Compromise of Conscience — Especially This Year

In a few days Americans will know who their new president will be. For many, that revelation will bring little relief and even less joy — whichever candidate wins.

The list of candidates on the ballot is a depressing confirmation that the American political system is indeed unwell. For president our choices are an unscrupulous venal woman; an unethical narcissistic plutocrat; a geopolitical dunce; and two zealous ladies going nowhere.

Since America’s political system is contrived to favor the established duopoly, we will likely be stuck with either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump — both slimier than a barrel of snails and incapable of uniting our fractious nation.

There is much wrong with the American political system, beginning with the duopoly that fosters career politicians, serves as a convenient vehicle for special interest influence and is easily corruptible.

Given that reality and my beliefs that liberty is the essence of American democracy; that elected office should be about patriotic public service and not personal financial enrichment; and that fixed ideologies are no substitute for objective analysis and logical thinking, voting for me is usually an exercise in resignation and a compromise of conscience.

Making voting even more challenging this election are the 17 propositions that bloat the Official Voter Information Guide into a tome. Seventeen propositions are a lot of direct democracy and quite a bit to wade through.

California’s ballot initiative process can clutter up the ballot, especially with whacky or selfish proposals, but it does allow Californians to address issues that craven politicians might rather avoid or that should not be subjected to Sacramento’s sausage-making process.

I won’t cover the entire lengthy ballot in this column, only those choices I find most important.

Starting with president, I have to go with Gary Johnson. What he lacks in geopolitical knowledge is offset by his devotion to liberty and his integrity relative to Clinton and Trump.

For U.S. senator the choice is no choice. Both candidates are career politicians from the same party. It’s like choosing between twins. So just flip a coin. 

The choice for House of Representatives is limited to the dreadful duopoly — a veteran politician from the local Democratic Party machine, Salud Carbajal, and a young, swaggering, Republican challenger, Justin Fareed.

If ego were moxie, Fareed would be full of it. Maybe he is, but I grudgingly go with Carbajal — the duopoly devil I know.

The state Senate choice is between incumbent Hannah-Beth Jackson, the busiest body in Sacramento, a lady who churns out legislative bills like Keebler churns out cookies, and Colin Walch, a guy I never heard of but whom I suspect would be less of a busybody in Sacramento.

Busybodies bother me. Their love of regulation translates into less personal freedom and more bureaucratic micromanagement of society. They criminalize liberty, making decent folks guilty of something.

The Assembly choice is between a Democrat and an independent. Here I can vote against the duopoly. I select the independent, Edward Fuller.

Considering the propositions and measures on the ballot, I vote No on any that raise taxes or add bond obligations. California has about the highest taxes in the nation, and is plagued by profligate government at all levels.

The latter is why I vote Yes on Prop 53 that requires voter approval before state government can issue certain bonds and further indebt California.

No surprise that elected officials and government employees are pushing hard for a No vote on 53. Government takes enough of our money already and must learn to deploy it efficiently and effectively.

Too much of it now goes to compensation and exorbitant pensions for government employees and elected officials rather than for things most voters need and want — like infrastructure maintenance.

I vote Yes on Prop 64 legalizing marijuana use. In a nation founded on liberty and pursuit of happiness, government should not be prohibiting victimless personal choices. The War on Drugs has been a profound failure benefiting only the law-enforcement industry and criminal cartels.

The same logic yields a No vote on Prop 60, which would require condom use in the adult film industry — another attempt by busybodies to prohibit the victimless personal choice of other adults.

Yes on Prop 62 abolishing the death penalty. I am not comfortable with the state executing people. Too many prosecutors are more interested in convictions than in justice, and mistakes have condemned innocent people to death.

Besides, as we continue to see, law enforcement is already executing people in the streets. No need to add to the death count via due process?

No on Prop 63 restricting firearm and ammo sales. It would erode another liberty while not solving the real problem. Two-thirds of the roughly 30,000 deaths annually by firearms are suicides. So, what’s next, a law prohibiting suicide?

If busybodies are so concerned about saving lives, they would do better to address health-care issues in this country, especially mental health issues. The latter are more to blame for gun violence than are guns.

Yes on Prop 54, which requires the Legislature to post proposed legislation online before it can become law. It would also expose the sausage-making process in Sacramento. With newsrooms shrinking, passing this proposition makes sense for keeping watchdogs on government.

Prop 59 is unnecessary. No need to amend the Constitution to limit campaign finance. Only gullible voters are persuaded by political propaganda, and the ideological zombies are already convinced. Most Americans are skeptical, intelligent voters who are insulted rather than convinced by hyperbolic, misleading and mendacious campaign ads.

I vote No on Prop 61. As much as I would like to restrain the predatory gluttony of Big Pharma, this proposition isn’t sharp enough to cut that fat hog.

State government might possibly get lower drug prices under this measure, but don’t bet on the drug companies giving up any profits. Others would have to pay more for drugs.

Props 65 and 67 combine to confuse voters about carryout bag legislation. It’s not a simple question of paper or plastic. I love wildlife and hate bureaucracy, so I vote Yes on 67 and No on 65.

That’s it.

— Randy Alcorn is a Santa Barbara political observer. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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