Vital Information

In Matt, Vital Information on October 20, 2010 by Two Barbers Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Ballot

On Monday night, the New York gubernatorial debates were held at Hofstra University.

The foremost headlines and majority of attention from news broadcasts are on Jimmy McMillan of The Rent is Too Damn High Party whose slogan is “The rent is too damn high”; And whose platform is “The rent is too damn high”; And whose base is “…you get the idea. No need to complete the joke since you have undoubtedly, if you’ve looked at any coverage of the debates at all, already heard that one.

Matter of fact, the main theme of the collective assembly of reporting was ‘political circus’ and the sub-text was ‘Albany in an extended state of chaos’ (with foreshadowing of further applications to the world of the federal government and international affairs) emphasized by secondary characters like Jimmy McMillan and Kristen Davis, Anti-Prohibition Party candidate who spent four months at Rikers Island for marketing prostitution through her escort agency, Wicked Models, after the federal investigation into Eliot Spitzer that revealed he was a client.

McMillan doesn’t come off as the crazy, pants on the ground-type of figure that he is portrayed to be by the media, with all of their “and then there’s THIS man. That’s Jimmy McMillan of the, well, he’s got a simple message”-cue sound clip quote “The rent…” dog and pony bullshit. His platform, laid out on his website (which is completely disorganized and in places illegible, with grammar and spelling on the level of [roughly] a failing sixth grade student and that blunt, amateur website format appearance that makes it feel like trying to read a brick, but is really funny in ways that seem creative and intentional if you force yourself to read through it anyway) is actually absurd. His very first proposals are to “waive” all State taxes (while deducting from all ‘Travel Taxes’ somehow) and put an eight year freeze on rent for businesses and tenants; then, farther down the list, all college tuition fees, while also guaranteeing to maintain education and senior programs, all through a promised six trillion-dollar surplus generated from six million jobs created, somehow, by the removal of rent and taxes. But watching him, and how he woos the room, you can tell he’s not crazy. He’s either trying to get a message across or trying to make a profit by selling tee-shirts, or both, or just loves attention, or all, but he’s not crazy.

But the effect of the coverage was to make Paladino seem mainstream and reinforce Cuomo as the only candidate with the temperament acceptable for governorship.

So you’ve probably already asked yourself, maybe just slightly subconsciously, what makes any of this information vital, as well as already answered for yourself: nothing. It’s just a regurgitation of the information I got distracted by and bogged down with while trying to find, at best, a feed to a recorded broadcast of the debate that I missed because I was at work. But debates aren’t really supposed to be something you watch to find out who the candidates or what the issues are. The only way they work is if you bring a working knowledge of the candidates and issues that most of us don’t exactly have, which is an argument that has been made ad nauseum and that is often, when iterated, taken only to the point of placation and, therefore, paradoxically reinforces the detachment (not totally since it is probably creates the potential needed for progress to at least establish it nominally in the public discourse and media as a problem) For most of us, good citizenship is a gym at which we sign up and work out every week day for a month in January or April before we give up altogether again for the year, although we continue to pay the fees. In the case of politics, November is our January.

So the vital information is twofold.

1. The candidates on the ballot.

Just figure out what your district is and go through the list. Find out what candidates you’ll be voting on and what parties support them. You don’t need a fully realized view on how each of them will govern in order to make an informed decision. Nobody knows how an elected official is going to govern until they are in office and holding ourselves to such impossible standards will only lead to overwhelming discouragement. You’re never going to get a perfect representative for the weird, multivalvular society we live in. Just find some reliable judgements about their politics that you can use toward a working knowledge of the issues and your choices.

2. Voting will be done on paper ballots this year.

Learn it before hand so you’re comfortable at the poll station.



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