24 May 2009

Weekend Discussion: Radicals vs Conservatives

NOTE: This post will stay here until Sunday night. Posts for Saturday and Sunday morning go below this post.

Dear Aguanauts,

Discussion posts allow you to discuss a topic among yourselves -- exchanging views, learning and teaching. (I only read the comments.)

If you are interested, take a moment to check out (and add to!) last week's discussion on real estate development and water. After that, please give us your thoughts on...

California has a fiscal crisis on top of a gay marriage crisis, water crisis, etc. Some are calling for the State to be spill in two or four. Others are calling for a constitutional convention. Which way should we go? (Non-Californian views welcomed!)

3 comments:

  1. Last week's issue of the Economist had a great article on what is wrong with California. It sounded like a magnification of what has been wrong with American politics generally. Redistricting and strong partisanship has led to elections that are decided during the primaries where you have to be an ideological zealot to prevail. This results in a state legislature that lacks the necessary centrists to actually accomplish anything that requires compromise - you know, what politics is supposed to be all about. Then because the legislature is unable to actually solve most of the problems faced by the state they wind up going to the voters as a referendum where the arts of obfuscation and double-speak are really on display. It's the ultimate perversion of representative democracy.
    What the state needs to do is radically change their local electoral practices (open primaries are a good start) so that they can elect legislators who are actually inclined to go to Sacramento and legislate rather than just engage in ideological posturing. Things like developing and approving budgets and establishing policy are intended to be done by the legislature, not the general public. Sorry for the rant, I just get so fed up with politicians sometimes.

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  2. @Chris

    I empathize with the frustration. It seems as if the problem comes down to moderate voters not coming out during the primaries. Without this moderate voice in the primaries, the zealots win by default and the rest of the Economist's scenario follows. So the real problem is voter apathy early in the process.

    It seems as if voters are becoming less apathetic because, like you, they are fed up with what is going on now.

    Remember that the legislators in Sacramento are the people whom the voters freely elected and re-elected. They chose, actively or by default, not to elect moderates.

    Thoughts?

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  3. Some "crises" are nothing more than silliness. Take your "gay marriage crisis". I live in Canada where gay marriage has been legal for several years now ( at least 5 ) . Thousands of gay couples are married here, and thousands others came here, married and returned to their jurisdictions. So far, this has led to no disasters, no disappearance of marriage, no nothing. Just lots more weddings. What some people call a crisis is often just something they can't imagine adjusting to, but something where the adjustment is not that difficult.

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