It must be an election year because I just got an unexpected check from the state of California. Yes, even though it's been over a year since I was unemployed and receiving benefits (which I only did for a few weeks), yesterday's mail brought a nice healthy check from the Employment Development Department.
I knew they had voted to raise the maximum benefit amounts, but apparently they also decided to make it retroactive. And what a coincidence that the checks went out three weeks before a statewide election!
Unfortunately for Gray Davis, this check was not enough to buy my vote. I'll still be voting Green, and making my mark next to Peter Miguel Camejo's name.
The gubernatorial election has been so dirty and so off-putting, that I've actually been avoiding anything to do with this election at all. I've not read the propositions, or looked at any of the other issues that will be on the ballot, all because the choice at the top makes me so nauseous.
That I feel this way is not surprising. You all know that I've been fed up with the two major parties for some time now. What is surprising, and I think I may have said this here before as well, is that everybody else feels the same as I do. When I say I'm voting Green, people give me honestly positive reactions instead of the usual, "You idiot, you're throwing away your vote!"
Now, three weeks from the election, there's even rumors that each of the top candidates will pull out of the race and be replaced by write-in campaigns. It being California, the write-ins being proposed are not your typical politicians. It's Arnold Schwartzeneger for the Republicans and Rob Reiner for the Democrats.
Times have changed. It used to be that James Garner was the actor being courted by the Democrats to be the anti-Reagan. That was something I would have loved to have seen, but I guess old Jim's day has been and gone. It's the Meathead's turn now. (Off topic note: the spell check in MS Outlook accepts "Meathead.")
Reiner has been involved in several statewide issues campaigns, most notably Proposition 10, the tobacco tax initiative that passed a few years ago. The prop 10 money has been a great boost to education and children's health issues, and has actually earned Reiner a place at the progressive table. But I don't really think that qualifies him for governor yet (and that goes the same for Arnold).
Unfortunately, I have no faith in the abilities of our celebrity candidates to anything more than further polarize voters. Arnold and Rob are great citizen advocates, and I hope they each continue in those endeavors, but I won't be writing in either one on my ballot. I'll simply be putting on my surgical mask to block out the stench of this election, carefully entering the voting booth, marking my ballot for Camejo, and getting the hell out of there as quickly as possible.