In case the observance escaped you, we had us an election just now.
Yeah, yeah, I know, late to the post. Since polling day and the endless trickle of mail-in ballots, a lotta plinge done gone over the dam. Between Syria, Palestine, Iran, North Korea and oh yeah the Budget Cliff (cue Wiley Coyote whistle-crunch), things have been plenty frisky. Probly not a whole lotta utility in rehashing old news.
The major forces of this election cycle weren't entirely different than previously, being o' course ideology driving money, money, money and more money. Look at it this way: it's a ginormous stimulus package for the advertising sector. Think of all the voiceover talent, the video editors, storyboarders and scripters, cameracritters and makeup jockettes that brought home the bacon for their dear starving hordes. In the uncertain persuasion industry, nothing says satisfaction like putting bread on the table and mortgage in the bank six months in a row. As far as they're concerned, the election cycle could start up again anytime. As it already has.
One Dollar One Vote has been practiced so long and so well that the hoary old slight-of-hand is practically undetectable. Certainly both parties were hard at work misdirecting and backpalming it up, to the tune of a bee-billion pazoozahs apiece (that's a lotta pazoozahs!), all bet on the ability of media manipulation to get heads wagging in unison. But this time around, there appeared to be a slight bobble in the bobblehead strategy. Instead of money money money, this time the action seemed to turn on money money money — and facts.
Despite abundant evidence to the contrary, people in general might just be getting a little smarter. Maybe not everywhere, maybe not everybody. But notably. And two of the most notable results came right here in good ol' Warshington The State, namely the passage of Referendums 502, legalizing and regulating cannabis consumption, and 74, legalizing Gay Marriage, both subjects near and dear to my heart.
That first one is probably the no-brainer of the bright new century. When it reaches the point that a public policy is being pointedly criticized by a good fat percentage of the personnel charged with carrying it out, it should be evident that some re-thinkage is in order. The measure that passed didn't please either the hard-core prohibitionists or the medicated partisans, but it by gad made smoking legal, which could definitely ease considerable strain on the courts. That several hundred pending possession cases were quietly dropped the week after the tally is justification enough for the bill. Plus there's likely some reimbursement for our state's sadly-depleted tax revenues to consider.
But my own interest is a little more personal, even though I don't smoke myself (anymore). In my former life as the spouse and caregiver of a seriously disabled woman, I distinctly recall the numerous conversations we had following her ingestion of a toke eliminating her back spasms more effectively than any of her Big Pharm prescriptions, generally centered around the general topic of THIS STUFF IS ILLEGAL AND TOBACCO GETS SOLD IN THE SAFEWAY???? and including language inappropriate for inclusion in a family-oriented publication. All I can say is, high damn time.
The gay marriage win is a bit more abstract for me, being as how I'm pretty hopelessly het. But the subject has always been a dear one for me, one that I've discussed on more than one occasion. And the reason is simple: justice is justice.
I've spent a disagreeable amount of time in the past nine or ten years watching appalled as the country was soured and scoured by the most ferocious flood of sublimated hatred and fear thinly disguised as argument on this subject that I've personally witnessed since the civil rights era. People I couldn't imagine harboring that kind of irrational rapacity erupted before my distraught eyes into monsters of their own ids. The politico creeps who unleashed this repulsive tide doubtless thought that they were very clever to trample their way to victory on the backs of such chaotic mounts, but the damage they did to the commons of civil discourse may take decades to heal. This election, Washington took the first step towards that healing.
Gay marriage isn't important just for gays, but for anyone who believes in the principle of equality under the law. That principle is the foundation of a tolerant and civil society, and any attempt to circumvent or deny it for any reason is a hammer blow aimed right at our common liberty. With the passage of Referendum 74, I can breathe a little easier in the fresh breeze of a better day coming.
It should be noted that neither of these refs were slam-dunks. A great many people in the state opposed them, and in any system but the winner-takes-the-cake one of democratic vote, there would be a certain degree of deference due. But as far as the law goes, 50%+1 is a done deal. And in this case it was more like 50% plus several hundred thousand. And lest we forget, one more datum to promote bragging rights: voter turnout in Washington this election was 81%, nearly the highest in the nation. That by itself is enough to bust the buttons right off this here democratic federalist's waistcoat.
But the proof of the pudding is always in boots on the ground (and if you think I'm going to explicate that mixed metaphor you've got Jello in your shoes). In my fiercely-independent job-creating self-employment, I have a client who comes back yearly to get his Holiday Jam CD duplicated. This year he decided he wanted a whole package, not just discs, and brought in his layout for approval. On the back of the insert was a portrait of him and his boyfriend, smiling sweetly and proudly flourishing their marriage certificate. Gawd were they cute.