Saturday, October 15, 2016

Throw The Monkey Wrench!

After talking to a number of my fellow townspeople as well as some of my co-workers, I think I have underestimated the dis-satisfaction with both Clinton and Trump. While I am not surprised that quite a few people are voicing their displeasure with them, I am surprised by the increasing number of them doing so.

One co-worker had said she doesn't want to vote for any of the presidential candidates, including Gary Johnson. I said to here that she didn't have to vote for any of them, either leaving that portion of the ballot blank or writing in another name. It was then that the proverbial light bulb (an ancient and less used lighting technology created over 100 years ago, for those who may not understand the reference) lit up over my head.

While I have advocated for making “None Of The Above” a valid selection during elections, this may be an opportunity to exercise it starting at the grass roots level.

I suggested to my coworker that of she really didn't like any of the candidates running for president that she write in None Of The Above. Were “None Of The Above” to receive the most votes, I have to wonder who would be declared the winner? Or would this create a constitutional crisis, leaving the Supreme Court and/or Congress to decide who will be the next president?

There is a certain appeal to throwing a so-called monkey wrench into the election works, seeing as the leadership of our two major political parties and our so-called political elite have failed us yet again, and this time spectacularly. They've left us with a choice of two equal evils, neither which is a good choice (for different reasons). Both Hillary and Donald are symptoms of a primary and electoral system that has been corrupted by too much money, too much greed, and a lot of hubris.

Perhaps “None Of The Above” as a write-in will send a message they have been ignoring for too long. So if you really don't like any of the candidates for the highest office in the land, write in “None Of The Above”!

(Cross-posted at Weekend Pundit)

Monday, October 10, 2016

None Of The Above - A Proposal

As the election grows closer and we all see that neither major candidate for President is fit to attain that high office, as well as there being no real viable third-party candidate, I feel I must once again bring forth an idea that I and a number of others have put forth more than once over the years.

While our present ballot system gives us a number of candidates to vote for (or against) for a number of offices small and great, it still leaves out a good portion of the electorate who feel they cannot in good conscience vote for any of the candidates listed on the ballot. While write-ins have at times won some elections, usually local elections, it isn't enough. The present system does not allow the electorate to truly show their displeasure at a slate of candidates. Since staying home and not voting signifies nothing and shows nobody our true feelings, it's time to make a long overdue change in our ballot system.

To what do I refer?

None Of The Above.

None Of The Above should be a valid selection in every election, local, state, or national. None Of The Above gives those who would otherwise be silent a true voice in our election system. None Of The Above allows the people a true means of voicing their displeasure.

This is how it would work:

In any election, if None Of the Above receives a plurality or majority of the votes, the election must be run again for the office or offices affected. The new election will be held in a specified time not to exceed two months from the original election date.

Here's the kicker: none of the candidates who ran during the first election will be eligible to run in the second election, period. After all, the people already kicked them to the curb because they didn't want them to represent them in the first place.

A new slate of candidates will file to run and a committee to choose new candidates will be selected by lot from the pool of registered voters. Democrats will select the Democrat candidate(s), Republicans will select the Republican candidates, Independents will select Independent candidate(s), and so on.

If the offices needing new candidates are for President and/or Vice President, the same process will be used at state level and the political parties will hold a national convention to choose their candidate for each office. The convention cannot last more than two days from the time it convenes. The candidates wishing to be considered will have three weeks to file for candidacy in each state for a small nominal fee. Use of properly vetted proxies or representatives to file the necessary paperwork in each state will be allowed.

While this can create chaos if not handled properly, it does give those who would otherwise not vote because of the poor quality of candidates a chance to let their opinions be known. If candidates are so awful that the electorate doesn't want to vote for them, this gives the people a chance to remove them from consideration and replace them with more acceptable candidates.

Is this plan perfect? Of course not. In fact I'm sure it needs major revisions. But we need to start somewhere.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Irony Writ Small

What's the definition of irony? I guess it depends upon the circumstances. Sometimes it can be profound and other times fanciful, or even foolish.

In this case I'm not talking about something with national or international implications. I'm not talking about something that will show up on YouTube (though I wish I was). This time around, it was something local and something to which those involved with the event I am about to relate will likely be living down for quite some time.

Our town hosts a fire training ground that is used by a number of fire departments here in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. In fact, our town had just handed the scheduling, maintenance, and upkeep of the training facility to our regions Fire Mutual Aid organization.

This past Tuesday one of our neighboring towns used the facility, and particularly what is called a burn house, for training. Once finished, the firefighters packed up and returned to their station.

A few hours later our fire department was called out to the training facility to extinguish a now fully involved structure fire. The facility was deemed a total loss.

Ironic, indeed – a fire department causes a fire that burns down a fire training facility.