Friday, April 19, 2024

political opinions

1. I already wrote about the California jungle primary, intended to provide two finalists of any party for the general election, and how two candidates tied for second place, leading to a decision to put them both in and have a three-candidate final.

But now they're doing a recount to see if they can establish if one or the other really got second place. I can't help feeling there's something wrong here. It's one thing for a final election, where one single candidate has to win, but in the jungle primary, picking one candidate over the other, in a vote so close, feels arbitrary and denying the voters of a choice they ought to have. It isn't my district (though it's geographically close enough that both the tied candidates have been my representative on one level or another at one time or another), but I'd be very anxious and concerned about expressing my choice if it were my district.

2. I wrote about this privately, but I'm dismayed at the defenses offered, in the latest news articles, for the protesters who blocked traffic on bridges and freeways here a few days ago and chained themselves in place to make it hard to remove them. The authorities want to throw the book at them, but I'd rather throw the concrete-filled barrels they chained themselves to.

The defenders speak of the arrests as an attempt to "chill the exercise of First Amendment rights." No, protesting is exercising your First Amendment rights. Blocking traffic is not.

They say it's "a nonviolent act of civil disobedience." No, civil disobedience is when you break the law. Forcing other people into complicity with your actions is not. Also, when you force people, it's hardly nonviolent. Not unless you think that pointing a gun at somebody's head isn't violent either.

They claim that Dr. King blocked roadways during the Civil Rights movement. I don't think he did - as far as I recall, he held pre-announced marches (these blockages were not announced, because they'd have been stopped if they were), which may have interfered with traffic like any parade might, but that's not the same thing as sitting down in the roadway and blocking traffic. Not least because they walked through and then got out of the way. And if he did sit down and block traffic, I'd oppose that too.

Most offensively, the defenders claim that these blockages are merely "inconvenient for drivers." Inconvenient?? If it were merely inconvenient, the protesters wouldn't do it. It wouldn't be worth the trouble from their apocalyptic point of view. Traffic congestion caused by protesters on the sidewalk yelling and waving signs, that's inconvenient. What was aimed at here, and achieved, is massive disruption.

3. The states of Maine and Iowa are responding quite differently to recent mass shootings. Maine is enacting new restrictions to attempt to keep guns out of the hands of certified nutballs. Iowa is authorizing school teachers to carry guns. I'd feel safer in Maine. It's a good thing Mythcon this year will be in Minnesota instead of Iowa where the organizers live. I don't want to go somewhere with elementary school teachers packing heat.

1 comment:

  1. As someone who, nowadays, has to show up at a clinic or hospital for appointments quite often, I immediately thought of people with medical needs and health conditions who were blocked by the protesters. The latter are privileging their desire for political performance over the health needs of an unknown number of people (and others). Look, I'll be more specific in order to make the point. For 33 days a guy I know had radiation treatments in the city that required a fairly full bladder on arrival. He came from a rural town about an hour away. By the time he reached the clinic, he was getting pretty needy. So if he'd had to reroute in order to get to the clinic by some other route -- you get my drift. Now he wouldn't have been the patient who most needed timely access to a mdeical facility. Somehow I doubt that the performance organizers who thought up these traffic obstructions thought of, or if they did gave a rip for, such folk.