Tuesday, November 30, 2004

corruption and politics

People always talk about corruption in politics as if the problem we need to solve reduces to some form of quid pro quo. Ian Ayres and Bruce Ackerman, for example, suggest an scheme to anonymize transactions to the point that quids can't be guaranteed, and suggest this will eliminate or greatly reduce quos.

Unfortunately, corruption of the political system (grand corruption, if you will) does not depend on individual corruption (petty corruption). There are no doubt dishonest politicians looking for handouts in return for favors, but there are plenty of true believers out there who would pursue the same policy goals honestly and sincerely, and as long as money speaks, the true believers who align with the interests of money will get the support of money. True believers may actually be worse representatives than corrupt opportunists. An opportunist, after all, will do anyone a favor for a price. True believers only represent those whose views match their own.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

It's not a big thing, but

We had a city council race on Tuesday. The pro-development candidates swept the last election due to some really shortsighted decisions by retiring members of the previous council. This time around, the slow growth candidates are ahead with some absentee and provisional ballots still to be counted. The pro-development candidates are sending out mail reassuring their supporters that they'll have a lawyer present during the counting of the ballots to protect their interests.

Apparently, they think the slow growth group that struggled to raise funds and mobilize volunteers in the shadows of the national race had enough of both to organize voter fraud. Or maybe they're just emulating their heroes on the national scene.

Friday, November 05, 2004

A stranger in a strange land

I grew up in Anaheim, Orange County, CA. I've always been a liberal. It never occurred to me that there was an alternative. Nothing else ever made sense. At one point, I realized that my entire extended family was Republican: my parents, my surviving grandparents, my aunts, uncles, and cousins; my sister, her husband and his entire family. A small epiphany of isolation, but one I never felt while growing up. I simply believed what I believed.

You might think that experience would have prepare me to live under Republican rule, but you would be wrong. For the last four years, I have watched the Bush administration lay waste to much that I hold dear, and now I have watched the voters of this country ratify those acts. I look at county voting maps and see a Red country with isolated pockets of Blue. I see hatred and intolerance triumphant. It is too much, but even after I close my eyes, it remains.