Category Archives: Politics

An imagined conversation with an email petition

“Please sign this petition about X!”

“OK, I care about X, what’s the petition actually say?”

“It’s about X!”

“Right, but what’s the actual wording? Am I putting my name on supporting a specific action? ‘Cause I’d support some actions but not others.”

“It’s telling them to do something about X!”

“Yeah, I got that. What is it telling them to do?”

“Solve X!”

“Just look for solutions?”

“No, it’s telling them what we want them to do about X.”

“Which is…?”

“Fix it!”

“Sorry, but I’m not signing my name to a blank letter.”

“Why don’t you care about X?”

*sigh* *delete*

I’m totally willing to sign petitions when I can see the actual wording and it’s something I agree with.

But if the petition website doesn’t say what they’re actually delivering? I don’t want to put my name on something that might be advocating what that I consider to be a bad solution, even if I agree on the problem.

Ego-In-Chief

“Not loyal.” Two years in and the President still doesn’t understand (or more likely, doesn’t care) that officials owe their loyalty to the country, not to him personally.

I had a lot of problems with Bush, his policies and his priorities, but I never doubted he understood that the job was about the nation, not about him.

This guy? He’s never given me reason to doubt the opposite: that he thinks it’s all about himself.

The Skateboarder Analogy

You’re tired of skateboarders on your street, though there are a lot fewer of them these days than there used to be. Your city/housing association won’t build a barrier at the end of the block. A lot of people don’t think the skateboarders are as big a problem, or even a problem at all…

But this is an emergency! (Even though the numbers are already declining.) So you take your neighbors’ money and put spikes across the street and their yard. Nothing on wheels is going to get through!

Meanwhile, the skateboarders keep walking in on the sidewalks, carrying their skateboards, like they’ve always done.

You’ve misappropriated funds, violated your neighbors’ property rights, blocked traffic…and yet you haven’t actually addressed how the skateboarders are showing up in the first place.

Silent Conservation

“The Senate on Tuesday passed the most sweeping conservation legislation in a decade, protecting millions of acres of land and hundreds of miles of wild rivers across the country…”

It passed the Senate 92-8.

Weirdly, I’m on several environmental groups’ mailing lists and I’ve heard nothing about this bill from them except for one specific aspect of it: The Nature Conservancy has occasionally asked me to contact lawmakers in support of renewing the Land and Water Conservation Fund (both before and after it expired last year). On Wednesday they sent me a notice that the LWCF renewal had passed the Senate and asked me to contact my Representative when it goes to the House.

But they’ve said nothing about any other aspect of the over-600-page bill, which adds over a million new acres of wilderness, prohibits mining near Yellowstone, protects 620 miles of rivers, and expands and adds several national parks and monuments. And I’ve heard nothing at all — no news, no campaigns to support it, or reject it as a trojan horse, or amend it — from any of the other groups I follow.

I guess the fact that it’s non-controversial enough for a conservation bill to pass with over 90% bipartisan support even during this administration means it wasn’t a priority for activism. Especially with all the attacks on environmental protections from the executive branch to tackle on one side, and the Green New Deal to talk about on the other.

Busier Midterm Voting than Expected

The polling place was full this morning. I had to drive all the way around the block to find parking (notice the line of cars), which I can’t recall ever having to do at this location. (The 2016 election used a different polling place for this area.) I wondered if I should have walked there and back instead of stopping by on my way to work.

But they had just enough voting booths to handle everyone. There was literally one person ahead of me in line to sign in. While we waited for other voters to finish with their booths, someone came in to drop off his family’s mail-in ballots and then cast his own in person.

Then a booth opened up, I marked my ballot (on paper, fill-in-the-bubble style), and went over to feed it into the box.

I was in and out in about 10 minutes.