Are hair-brained and scary to wade through. A heated debate between a very close friend and I resulted my
researching the California proposals. The problem? The two sides of the "indian gaming props" have been waging a fierce and, typical, media-campaigns. Her problem is that every election, we are inundated with this media blitz of "he says she says" of the two opposing sides. Will California propositions 94 through 97 make the rich tribes richer, the poor tribes unchanged? Or will it bring peace and money to ALL indian tribes, regardless of their size, the salaries of their lobbyists, or gaming status?
In California, we are mailed, and presented at the ballot, with a ballot guide. The ballot guide presents us with the proposition number, its name, its summary,
and the two opposing arguments
. We are directed to the legal text of the proposition at the back of the guide.
She rails for a third party, "some watch group", that will tell us what really will happen if you vote yes or no on each proposition. If i vote Yes on proposition 97, will ALL indian tribes get money, or as the "vote no" side says, it will only give money to the small handful of large, fiscally "rich" tribes? True, we all could read the legal text and decide for ourselves.... assuming we all had experience in interpreting legal text, and had the time to research court precedents on similar laws and the related articles tha each measure is updating. We can't accept a glib answer of "a responsible citizen would research and openly debate each law before voting on it".
In truth, the state of california already has a non partisan group of suits and lawyers that gives recommendations of exactly what each ballot will do. The Legislative Analyst's Office
of California. The analysis of each ballot, which i've been reading, is done in plain text, and uses the word "may" for bits of the text that are fuzzy and up for the courts and legislators to interpret.
The LOA isn't good enough for many, whose disillusionment of politics replaces patriotism with a deep incertitude of anything dot-gov.
I responded with "What about wading through the blogosphere?", vituperating
a disgusted laugh. "Bloggers are more bias and braindead than those commercials".
Which brought back a memory of debates with Deepak, Lola, Margaret, and other friends in Arizona, researching the laws and the pros and cons and sifting through legalise, the ad hominem attacks, and media campaigns, in order to answer the deceptively simple question, "whats your vote on ... ? "
In the end, we aren't
smart enough to fully understand the ramifications of our vote on our own. At the end of the day, we need our social groups to help us understand the ballots before us, without using our social network to simply affirm
our own analysis. After we've done all the things a "responsible citizen" would do in preparing for the ballot elections, who do we trust? Who do we turn to for advice? Why would i trust a "special watch group" over the SF Chronicle's analysis? If i'm not trusting the Legislative Analyst's Office, why would i trust the group or person that you
turn to? Some will turn to their priests...some will turn to their head-of-family, and others will look to some special third party (who, public or not, will never be as OPEN as a governmental body) to give them a "trustworthy" analysis in a 30 second commercial. Or is it all futile, with the extra minutes i spend at the grocery store to be an "informed, more sustainable consumer" with each visit, holding down a full-time job (gotta have that insurance), loving the people i love, we are mired in too much information from non authoritative sources? With too much technologies and too many voices, what do you do if there are no longer any sources that i trust, if i'm not trusting in the open process of the government? (ya, bitch that it's a fallacy to believe in such things....but an open government doesn't equate to a fair government, just one in which allows watch groups like the EEF to exists).