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Nov 07 2012

Presidents and Poppy Seeds

The U.S. election day for 2012 has come and gone. This is the first election since my eligibility to vote where I was not able to select one of the two major party candidates to vote for. I wrote in my choice. Many will consider that a vote wasted in a system where the Republicans or the Democrats always win. I look at it as a way to claim that I voted for the person I thought best fit for the office of President of the United States. Because it was extremely unlikely that person would win only underscores the problems we have with our electoral process.

Of all the issues that could be discussed regarding the election process and in particular this election, there are only a couple that I wish to comment on. The first is the matter of the Electoral College. I think the EC is an institution whose time has come and gone. There should not be disparities between the voting of state delegates and the popular vote. Not every vote for president has been counted at this time, but so far the EC voting and the popular voting line up. It doesn’t always happen this way. I don’t believe we should be subjected to a system where the popular vote can be overridden. If a majority of this country puts the time in and votes for a candidate, that candidate should win, full stop. I’ve had this discussion with numerous folks over the years and I’ve heard arguments on both sides of the issue, but I remain unswayed. Let’s get rid of the EC and let the people decide who runs the country. After all, it’s supposed to be “us” anyway, isn’t it?

The second and final issue I’d like to address is the one of legalizing marijuana. Two state ballot initiatives have passed (so far) during this election, one in Colorado and one in Washington. Both create some form of legalization of marijuana for personal use. Obviously there is some debate left about how state laws and federal laws will conflict, but that’s not the point of this. I believe our country’s war on drugs is ridiculous. We spend far too much time and energy on something that really doesn’t make any sense. Why are we so concerned about marijuana use when alcohol use is legal? All things being equal, those things should be equal. Let’s stop throwing money out when we could be bringing money in. Create an economy from legalizing drugs: tax them like alcohol, regulate them like alcohol and stop being hypocritical about the issue in general. Everybody wins. And in case you’re wondering: No, I don’t smoke pot. I just don’t understand the dichotomy of one vice being legal and another very similar one being banned.

I believe the trend is in the right direction re: drug legalization. I don’t know how much discussion is really being had about the Electoral College. I suspect that fundamental changes to our government structure are not soon coming. In the meantime, I hope reason prevails and we’re not subject to radical emotionalism while looking to find answers for some of our less critical social concerns.

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