Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What's a New York Vote Worth?

 There was a debate in New York last night. But it was not aimed at New Yorkers. They were written off months, if not years ago.

Since I first registered to vote, I've been a Democrat. I never voted against a Democrat until Governor 1% Cuomo showed up, peddling a brand of politics that looked to come straight out of the DFER playbook. I don't regret voting for Green candidate Howie Hawkins, since they've now got a regular spot on the NY State ballot as a result of people like me. Cuomo's opponent, what's his name, seemed such a vicious, frothing-at-the-mouth lunatic, that there didn't seem a whole lot of danger of his getting elected.

We live in a very funny country. When Jimmy Carter runs all over the world checking on free elections, you never see him establishing electoral colleges. That's because a widely accepted precept is the person who gets the most votes, wins. But that's not the case in these United States because of some insane rule the founding fathers made.  So when I tell a Republican friend I'm thinking of voting Green, he gets excited. "So that means you won't cancel me out!" he says, joyfully.

It's a nice thought. But the fact is, it doesn't matter who I vote for, who he votes for, or pretty much who anyone we know votes for. New York is already in Obama's column, and if there's a whisper of a doubt about that, we're looking at President Romney. A lot of my friends say they wouldn't want Romney to be President, even though he's got those binders full of women, and I agree with them. That's why I'm not voting for him. Some say that a vote for Green candidate Dr. Jill Stein is a vote for Romney. But it isn't. In fact, another Republican friend says, "If you really don't like Obama, you should vote for Romney." I find both arguments equally unpersuasive.

It might be different if I lived in Florida, or Ohio, or one of the handful of states that will actually decide the election. But it would be very tough for me to cast a ballot for the guy who made Arne Duncan Secretary of Education. I mean, has anyone ever seen him speak while Bill Gates drank a glass of water? How does a Democrat applaud the firing of an entire Rhode Island school staff? How does he get up in front of God and everybody and declare that Katrina was the best thing to happen to education in New Orleans? Would flooding Duncan's office be the best thing to happen to education in the United States?

I'd have to see it before making a decision. Would Obama still persist with this junk-science based Race to the Top? Would test scores continue to be the only thing determining whether neighborhood schools remained open? Would charter schools continue to be pushed as a silver bullet, even though it's pretty clear they aren't any better than public schools?

Things like that really upset me. A school kind of anchors the neighborhood, giving generations something in common, giving neighborhoods a meeting place that transcends religion and ethnicity. A good public school brings pride to a community. If there are problems, why not fix them instead of figuring out more efficient ways to put money into Eva Moskowitz' ample pockets?

These are the things I want answered before casting my largely useless vote for the likes of President Barack Obama. Romney is simply outlandish, beyond the pale. I watched him talk about "self-deportation" last night. How about those who ruin our economy practice "self-punishment" by jumping off tall buildings? That makes about as much sense as anything coming out of either side of Mitt's mouth.
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