Beyond the Cusp

November 16, 2018

Challenges in the United States

 

Currently there are two regions of great challenges in the United States, one mostly physical the other completely manmade. The physical is in California where two massive and deadly forest fires that have raged beyond control destroying homes, communities and anything in their paths. Firefighters are battling around the clock to attempt to bring these disasters under control thus containing them, extinguishing the fires, and then hunting down the last of the hotspots, no small task of its own. Entire towns such as Paradise are going to require being completely rebuilt which will only come to be providing the inhabitants and commercial entities decide to return and not simply relocate elsewhere. One fire was presumably started by a campfire or may have been downed electrical wires sparking the exceedingly dry grasses and then, whipped by steady and strong winds, quickly spread and became an inferno. Being a former firefighter, when asked about forest fires such as what is consuming California in both the north and south, I slowly shake my head solemnly saying that despite training in structure and aircraft fires, I have never worked on fires such as these and considers myself to be extremely fortunate to have never faced such a fury. We cannot even imagine the furies loosed in California, hoping and praying that they manage to prevent any further losses of life. The death toll at the last count we have seen was approaching sixty while the numbers of missing topped one-hundred. The numbers of missing leaves fears that the number of fatalities attributed to the fires is not known and will likely rise. There is little one can add to the newswires coverage of the disasters in California which leaves hoping that things eventually come back to normalcy.

 

California Wildfires

California Wildfires

 

The other challenge is in counting ballots in numerous states including Maine, New Jersey, New York where two races remain, Texas and Utah which is just about the house of Representatives. Then there are the states where Senatorial races are still in doubt which include Florida and Mississippi. Lastly are the races for Governor in Florida and Georgia which are still in recount. Most of these have been resolved and have largely gone to the initial winner while in Maine there is an unusual means of voting where people cast tanked votes which are used in case no candidate reaches a majority rather than merely a plurality. This has led for the Republican incumbent Representative Bruce Poliquina to file a lawsuit in a federal court trying to block Maine from tabulating ranked-choice voting ballots. The governor’s race in Georgia appears to be an attempt to count sufficient votes such that neither candidate gets an outright majority and merely a plurality in order to force a runoff election which would usually favor the Democrat candidate, if voting profiles from the past would hold. The real contests, at least by the coverage, appears to be, where else, but in Florida and particularly in Broward County and West Palm Beach, OH MY!

 

If a recount hinging on Broward County and West Palm Beach, Florida sounds familiar, it should, as that was one of the focal counties in the 2000 Presidential recount in Florida between George W. Bush and Al Gore. The problems in West Palm Beach was presumably accepted ballots were mixed with some of the rejected ballots. The problems in Broward County are over which ballots require recounting and which should not even be acceptable for the recount. Needless to point out, everybody is getting involved and the accusations of voter fraud abound. The bright side have been the cartoon with Sesame Street figures mostly including the Count have been a feature in many places with the figures claiming they are headed to Florida to teach them how to count. Unfortunately, these recounts are of a far more serious nature than to which such cartoons allude. We very well may see a number of these recount races result in court battles where the result will be cries of, ‘Selected, not elected,” coming from the losing side, a standard set in the Bush-Gore recount and the Democrats protesting the Supreme Court ending the recount process leaving Bush the winner, by court selection, we are to presume. Whatever the results of these various recounts, hard feelings will remain and the winner may ultimately pay should they face the same opponent in their next election where that election will be cast as some form of recount of the former to determine the truly legitimate winner. Of course, that vindication will only count if your personally favored candidate wins in that election and without the necessity of a recount and definitely not needing going through a court battle. There have been claims, which we have attempted but been unable to verify, that in the recounts for Congressional and Gubernatorial elections since 2001 that, depending on which claim you run into, the Democrats have won the vast majority or the Republicans have won the vast majority. In the ever more important side where the initial winner resulted in having their victory overturned by recount, we again have competing claims which will depend on which echo chamber from which you get your news as to which one you will hear. We hope that whichever side you prefer is the only side whose victories you will read and none of the victories by that mean and horrible other party. Always remember, elections set up a temporary opportunity to get out next elections and try that much more to avoid the messy recounts and the vitriol they engender.

 

Voter Reality in Most of America

Voter Reality in Most of America

 

For those who are in the inconsolable department and are suffering election trauma, may we offer a solution. There are numerous places where one can move where such trauma inducing acts such as elections will never again invade your life. Such places as North Korea, Cuba, Russia, Eritrea, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Viet Nam, Angola and Iran, to name a few, where they have predictable election results or no elections, well no true elections where there is any doubt months before on who will win and are places one can move to be rid of election meltdowns. We would probably even advise against taking a vacation in most of these nations, but perhaps elections have become so fraught with anxiety that some might actually desire a more regimented governance where every day you know who the leadership is, well, until the other form of election occurs, the always fraught with danger popular uprising or its cousin the coup. Personally, we kind of prefer true and democratic elections, be they a pure democracy, republic, parliamentary or other more innovative form or representative governance and are happy that they turn out to sometimes be messy, it gives us things to comment on and proves that the people actually care about elections, well at least the forty to sixty percent of registered voters who vote in a population where often at best two-thirds actually bother to register. The only question we often want to ask, if in too many places you have a candidate win with sixty percent of the sixty percent of eligible voters voting who from a population where only sixty percent of eligible people register, does anyone realize that means they did not even get twenty-two percent of the people who are eligible for voting and they are declared the person the majority chose? Well, they do refer to these elections as a voluntary representative democratic process which kind of takes the fact that all too many people are anywhere from the most fanatical to somewhat ambivalent to completely unaware and uncaring to make a society. The one thing I do advise those who think that making voting mandatory is, do you really desire people who are currently too lazy to register along with those who do not care sufficiently to vote actually choosing who represents those who do care and actually make a point to vote? Personally, we would not mind if voters had to actually provide two things their candidate actually proposes to support in order for their vote to count, but that would be requiring people to actually take the elections as seriously as they should, and we know that such a requirement would drive the voting public down to next to nothing. As for if such would improve the system we will let you decide, in the meantime, we will continue to vote for those whose positions we prefer in the elections we are legally permitted to vote, and we promise to vote once and only one each.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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