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Ron Kaye: You, the voter, must pay attention

May 20, 2012

Mail-in voting for the general election two weeks from now already is under way with reforms in place — open primaries and the end of gerrymandered legislative districts — that are supposed to end the stalemate in Sacramento.

The odds of any significant change occurring are about as great as the current crop of legislators actually solving California's fiscal crisis.

Better you should have gambled all your money buying stock in Facebook so you, too, can be a billionaire.

It isn't going to happen.

Somehow, in the 21 years since the fall of the Soviet Union and the constant threat of a nuclear holocaust under the policy of mutually assured destruction, we have internalized the policy into our political culture as mutually assured (self) destruction.

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Three governors now have succumbed to the MAD-ness: Gray Davis, because he was too weak to control his party; Arnold Schwarzenegger, because his party despised him; and now Jerry Brown, because neither party cares what he thinks.

It is madness, alright, to think that two decades of creating costly entitlements for public employees, the rich and the poor, while failing to invest in California's future, are going to be fixed without hard and painful decisions — and without both Democrats and Republicans putting aside their ideological insanity for the common good.

The goal of the open primary system, and of creating honest districts, was to give voters the chance to elect more moderate representatives who will force the ideologues to the center, where compromise is possible.

But that requires you, the voters, to pay attention, to know who you are voting for, and whether they have the courage and integrity to stand up for what’s right, and not just be obedient servants of their party and their personal advantages.

How many of you are going to vote any differently than you always have in the past: party affiliation, name recognition, vague sense that your representative is doing a good job?

The results will almost certainly be what they have been for so long: Democrats fighting against real cuts, Republicans opposing every form of tax increase, and both parties protecting the special interests who keep them in office.

Repeating the same thing over and over and expecting something to change makes us all complicit in the political insanity.

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