Wednesday, October 08, 2003

The Happy Voter

Hannah Arendt once said that man is a political animal. In other words, we are happiest when making decisions, as directly as possible, that govern our lives. She would have been very happy about California.

Other bloggers have been very much excited about the Schwarzenegger candidacy, like Andrew Sullivan. Arnie's politics didn't excite me much.

The recall process has been fun in a carnival sideshow sort of way. (Come and laugh at the strong man, the midget, the lady with the double E implants).

It was also interesting for the sheer irony. The progressives, who at the turn of the century set up this system, would have swooned. They never intended the great unwashed to take advantage of the system. They intended to use the recall system to get around corrupt state legislatures, but they envisioned that business and community leaders would take the helm. Not sideshow freaks.

But last night, I got down right sentimental. I watched the news footage of hordes of people showing up to vote. Of activists on the phone and knocking on doors. People came to the polls for the first time. (OK, I'm a freak. Voting makes me misty.)

The Times has a good story today about the turnout.

Secretary of State Kevin Shelley estimated the turnout on Tuesday at 9.25 million voters, about 60 percent of the state's 15.4 million registered voters, compared with about 50 percent last November and 71 percent in the 2000 election. If the estimate proves accurate, it will be the state's highest voter participation in a nonpresidential election since 1982.

What brought people to the polls? Were they energized by Arnie? Did they detest Gray? Probably both. But I also think that people relished the fact that they had the power to quickly oust a stinker, that they had so many choices of candidates, that so many non-career politicians were running. It woke them up from their naps.

This sideshow recall can't happen every day. But a little revolution every once in a while is a good thing.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

< ? Redhead Blogs # >

< ? Blogging Mommies # >