I’m a resident of California, a great state to live in. California has about everything desired nature-wise with great weather and a wide range of mild climates along its length and breadth. But we have a legislature which often does not do its job. This election we have five state initiatives on our ballot. There are elections in which we have many more. Luckily we still have a strong federal government or we would be deciding upon far more of these initiatives if states had more legislative responsibilities.
Some of these initiatives are submitted by our legislature to voters to vote on and others by petitions. Often they are quite technically complex and beyond the ability of the average voter to understand and open for legal challenges later. When reading through most I simply fall asleep. My comprehension is often close to zero unless greatly simplified in which case I may miss subtle technicalities or be written with bias. That is why I vote for legislators whose job is to understand the language and subtitle implications of legislation. They have professional technical staff whose job is to understand such legal language and to advise their legislator to negotiate for better language or terms and to vote for or against it in the legislature.
Leaving such matter in the hands of ordinary voters who barely understand most of it leaves much to be desired. With all the deceptive political ads by special interest groups constantly bombarding voters with misinformation they are often thoroughly confused about what they are voting on. There are simply too many problems letting the public vote on legislation. This is largely a problem with legislators who are too lazy to take responsibility of doing their jobs of legislating. I hate voting on initiatives. It means that I have to read through legislation then research articles and obtain opinions which is a lot of work. Even then I will not understand legislation in-depth. So most of the time I depend upon campaign literature and the press to inform me which is often the wrong thing to do because it is usually quite biased and distorted. Many voters simply read the summaries in the election guide or the brief description at the polling booth before voting. Sound familiar? I sometimes did this when I was much younger and didn’t have that much time to study issues and candidates.
Democracy is all about being well informed voters. When voters are uninformed or make decisions based upon false or deceptive information then Democracy fails because government no longer represent the will of voters. That is why we elect legislative representatives to take such decision out of the hands of the ill-informed voter and place it into the hands of those who have the resources to understand legislation. So I question the validity of some of the issues we voters are forced to vote on. Legislators must stop dumping these decisions upon we poor voters. There are simply too many special interest groups who act as lobbies in convincing voters that their point of view represents the will of the voter by deceptive and manipulative advertisements from big money special interests groups and individuals.
I strive to be a responsible voter but am not immune to very cleaver deceptions. Super PACs hire people called spin doctors who spin a campaign to make their side look good and the opposition look very bad. These spin doctors are paid big bucks to spin the truth into whatever shape is desired. They are far more skilled than lawyers at spinning or distorting the truth. What a way to run a Democracy. Nothing is as it seems. Now the Supreme Court has declared money a free expression of speech (see Free Expression by Personal Wealth) so even more money can now be poured into political ads and campaigns. The Supreme Court should make deceptive advertising illegal but that would be taking away free speech. So I guess deception is the price we pay for free speech.
We claim to be a nation with relatively little bribery. In reality we have legalized big time bribery in terms of allowing lobbyist representing wealthy special interests to influence our legislators and big corporate and private free speech money, the root of all evil, to influence voters and elections. In either case laws and elections no longer represent the genuine will and benefit of citizens, instead legislation and legislators represent the interests of special interests. This puts in question whether we are really any longer a true Democracy.