Today is Election Day in southwest Missouri. It will be remembered for all time as the tea-partiest election in a tea party time (I hope).
1) Proposition C. The main referendum, popularly known as "Prop C" in a nod to both street cred and fruit punch, Prop C declares that Missouri will not prosecute anyone for violating the federal health insurance mandate. Which sounds great, except the whole point of the mandate is to enroll everyone so that costs fall due to the increased risk pool (and help will be available for the poorest among us). It would supposedly drive costs lower to the everyday taxpayer than our overpriced charity system now. And the doomsayers who think of this mandate as socialism redux should know that it's actually a boon for private insurance companies, who will receive plenty of new, healthy customers. It's not great, but it's a start toward the public option and/or socialized medicine of which the mandate is a pale shadow of compromise.
Also, Prop C is useless because state law cannot supersede federal law. Even its proponents know this, and consider it a symbolic statement against big gubmint. Because nothing calls for reduced government spending like the expensive lawsuit the federal government will file against Missouri if this thing is passed. So, really, there's no reason for anyone of any political persuasion to vote for this.
Still, there have been a lot of patriotic appeals over Prop C. Would you believe the word "freedom" pops up a lot? I can't wrap my mind around the idea that lacking health coverage is some kind of God-given freedom. Taking away all of the greedy (and any other) ulterior motives for this stance, there's only one genuine argument to be made for this: that people shouldn't be forced to buy something they don't want. OK. But there's one problem with that: when those people get sick and need care, the rest of us have to pay for it regardless. Which is a large-scale example of exactly the kind of thing they claim to be against. It's the same principle behind seat belts — you might think they restrict freedom, but they also restrict your freedom to be thrown out of a car and become a part of someone's now-recurring nightmare. Which is definitely a time when you'll wish you weren't free from health care.
2) It's a Republican primary in the age of tea. There is actually a commercial that ends with the candidate saying, "I not only approve this message, I approve of you being a patriot." The spot itself doesn't list any real campaign platform, other than that the troops are good guys. It reminds me, as politics so often does, of an old MAD magazine article: "You might be a wrestling fan if you chant, 'U-S-A! U-S-A!' in a match between a guy from Texas and a guy from Michigan!"
I've opined for years how ridiculous many Republican campaign ads are, with hilariously unsubtle appeals to the flag and family values, and how the word "conservative" is any combination of boasted and scrolling across the screen in 54-point font. But what really strikes me, even after all these years, is how conservatives have hijacked every American word there is. I used to find this amusing in the early Bush era — but in the age of Glenn Beck, it takes on a sinister new bent. These people seem absolutely convinced that their opponents are (or can be painted as) anti-American saboteurs, and that they're the only choice if you love your country. Think about that when you're pondering who should be your county's recorder of deeds.
3) Speaking of loving America and upholding the Constitution... All but one of the seven GOP candidates for the U.S. House seat in the 7th District support repeal of the 17th Amendment, which gave the people the right to vote for their senators. Seriously.
4) Career politicians baaaaad! The opposite extreme? Goooooood.
5) Very few Democrats are up for a primary vote today. That's either a sign of party unity or party apathy. Not sure which. Nevertheless, there are plenty of decent, well-intentioned people running on both sides who are worthy of consideration. They tend to buy fewer ads.
Let's have a super Tuesday, Missouri.