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Friday, June 09, 2006

Can you imagine that a mere 26% of the electorate bothered to vote on Tuesday?

... and to think of how I agonized over my responsibility to not only vote, but to vote in a primary of such little concern to so many. I simply cannot fathom how anyone can believe that a democracy can be maintained under such conditions. Small wonder that our power to effect change has diminished so drastically. It now takes so few to control the fate of the most powerful nation on earth. Does this mean that my vote is therefore potent beyond measure? Or does it simply mean that -- without a free press and enough of a constituency to make a difference -- a handful of us are plying the Ship of State through a storm-tossed sea with only one oar?

When Dorian and I arrived at our polling place on Tuesday at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, we were the 188th and 189th voters on the register. A bad sign. This is the first year that I've not done Get Out the Vote work out of the central headquarters, so have experienced poll-watching and nose-counting on election day. I could judge about how many voters my precinct should have produced by that hour. It would be relatively fast count, though, so I found solace in the fact that it wouldn't be a late night watching the website for the Secretary of State where the statewide returns are constantly updated.

Can't imagine that Richard Pombo was overwhelmingly victorious, and that the only Republican I could have ever actually voted for, Pete McClosky, would finish so poorly. Was also surprised that former governor, Jerry Brown would have won so handily after his miserable performance as the mayor of the city of Oakland. Name recognition had worked for him while serving Pete McClosky not at all. But then McClosky has been out of the public eye for long enough to be forgotten by younger voters, and Brown has remained center stage for several decades now.

Watched Ron Dellums mesmerize his election night audience with his gift of oratory and felt warm and hopeful. As I write this the count (still going on) gives him less than 50 votes short of enough of a majority to avoid a runoff for the mayor's seat.

There were other victories and enough strong showings among the losers to give hope that Progressives will show up well against their conservative opponents in November. California must continue to point the way toward a renewal of the promise of a better nation and world. We can do so much better.

Now I can work with renewed vigor for the election of Phil Angelides in the general election.

... sure wish for a crowded polling place next time.





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