*(Explanation for Lady Gaga, who wants you to vote, at bottom)
Camp Connell, CA -- You know those post cards you get in the mail every election eve, indicating the "approved slate?"
Well, this is my version of the "LaMont Approved Slate," telling you why I will and won't vote for certain things and people in November.
You are not required to pay any attention to this, but please do not assume any party affiliation or political leanings based on my history as a journalist. I have been one of those "failure to declare" people for over 30 years.
I never picketed or carried a protest sign, though I should have. I served in the Army, went to church, and owned a gun or two. And I voted in every election since I was 21.
The candidates I voted for over the years include every conceivable party and non-party to get onto a ballot. My great-grandfather ran a Whig newspaper, but I am not a Whig.
And, I did NOT charge anyone to buy space on my election recommendations the way the post card people do.
I WILL vote for candidates that demonstrate they have these characteristics:
I know. I know. Nobody's perfect. But I think a candidate for public office should have demonstrated throughout his or her history consistent acquaintance with the truth, and a willingness to state it when necessary. I understand that everyone sees things through different eyes and experience, and I do not object to honest criticisms of opponents or issues. But a liar does not deserve to be elected;
-- Experience that will help in making public decisions about public money and policy.
My choices tend to be people who have some government experience at a lower level if they are trying to move up. Running a company is not the same thing, nor is owning a business, large or small. I was once an executive and have been a manager, so you should trust me I when I say that does not qualify me for public office;
-- I prefer candidates who have actually worked for a living. This pretty much excludes people who inherit money, made it in the stock market or banking business, or were otherwise subsidized by the federal or state governments(most doctors and lawyers) unless they admit it and paid back their student loans;
-- Knowledge of the government office which they seek.
I do not mean someone who took a class or read a position paper. I mean the kind of people who have attended those endless boring but necessary meetings that help government at all levels function. I hated those meetings as a newspaper reporter, but always understood that is how government really gets something done. It takes research and study to gain real knowledge;
-- I prefer someone intelligent, but I'd rather elect an honest average person than a sharp crook.
I will NOT vote for a candidate who does the following:
-- Runs against President Obama when running for county commission. It's not the same, folks;
-- An incumbent who claims he "led the fight" if he did not lead the fight, the fight was unsuccessful or unworthy in the first place, or if -- as is usually the case -- the result made no difference;
-- Attacks his or her opponent as a KoolAid drinker, liberal, Neanderthal, pinko. socialist, right-wing fanatic, Palin clone, Obama-ite, progressive, FDR lover or Beck sympathizer, words used to hide the speaker's lack of knowledge. I can handle someone calling an opponent an idiot because there are some out there running for office, but they had better be prepared to prove it;
-- Wants a return to the "Good Old Days," meaning the Reagan era. You know, the era that gave us inflation, deregulation of the oil drillers, polluters and Wall Street con men, and the subsequent destruction of my stock market account and 401k, but made rich people a whole lot richer;
-- Always allows a "highly paid spokesperson" to speak for them, answer questions for them or write meaningless position papers. Candidates need to face the public and the press in open forums, not hide;
-- Redirects criticism away from him or her self by blaming the media, the opponent, colleagues, friends, or best of all -- unidentified conspirators;
-- Refuses to answer questions about experience, events in the past, or ideas for making this a better world;
-- Claims global warming is hokum;
-- Uses the terms "envirofreaks" or "tree huggers" to avoid discussing serious issues. I am one, seriously;
-- Claims to have God on their side;
-- Offers only criticism of the other person or party, and has no suggestions for improvement.
My "for" and "against" list on ballot propositions is somewhat shorter.
I will NOT vote for a proposition if:
-- It was put on the ballot by big oil companies, auto manufacturers, the Koch brothers, or any corporation or political party who tries to hide their motives. Corporations are not our friends, and neither are the filthy rich;
-- The name of the ballot issue is an obvious false front, such as "The Good Government Incentive Act" which really gives lobbyist what they wanted but could not sneak through the legislature by bribing people;
-- It makes the lives of the poor and true middle class more difficult;
-- It makes the lives of the rich and corporations easier. Geeze, they already own the legislature and Congress, what more do they want?
-- The proposition is poorly written, which many are, and does nothing to reform California's broken government.
I WILL vote for a proposition if it:
-- Reduces the power of lobbyists, special interests, my Congressman, corporations, and the very wealthy;
-- Forces disclosure of every dollar, and every minute of every day of every elected official;
-- Fixes a real problem the legislature can't fix;
-- Punishes bad guys, like polluters and people who rip off the poor and underrepresented;
-- Protects natural resources from the exploiters;
-- Saves our state parks from a legislature unable to do anything meaningful. They can't even supply toilet paper for the public rears.
These lists are far too short, but i just realized I may have to vote "none of the above" in most elections if I stick to this. You don't really expect me to be that consistent do you?
* The New York Times reported that if a website or blog mentions Lady Gaga the number of hits will soar. Buy her records. Check her website. Lady Gaga wants you to vote.