Thursday, October 09, 2003

Hey. It's me. Can't sleep. It's cool. I think about my friends; especially the two that came over, insisting on helping me pack. Anne came with boxes, and support and a little sadness about missing the Rancho. She's also encouraging about our willingness to try new things. Yesterday Janice came, with more of Anne's handy boxes. Janice is encouraging too, and she helped me pack all of our Christmas decorations, which is a lot. I thank them for helping me .

And I think about the election and all the views and gripes, accusations, generalizations...I am really not too worried about the results. I think there are too many misperceptions, and a bit too much bias. For instance, since the results I have heard quite few people say that there has been some kind of conspiracy against democracy, because of the recall. Well, most of the time we are functioning in what is more accurately described as a republic, and in this recall there was actually a very democratic opportunity for the will of the people to be heard. Californians were free to recall or not recall.

As for the "circus" and the long list of candidates; sure it was ridiculous, but the original election was worse, when we were faced with choosing between two career politicians. I distinctly recall feeling like the choice was between a rock and and a sack of gravel; neither candidate seemed right, inspiring or genuinely motivated to be representative of California first and foremost. And I longed to see a candidate with something different; something that would shake up the status quo.

He, he. Guess we have something different now. Arnold is governor of California, and it may be that he is not the best person for the job, but I can't seem to muster the absolute rage to completely polarize my views against him. I have heard arguments against him, but now that his presence in our government is a reality I want to hear him out. Can we agree that the media is not always unbiased, or fair? In the past I have been convinced that newspapers and television are most eager to report dirt and sensationalized hyperbole, and maybe there has been some of that in this case as well. For instance, why has so little about Governor Davis's temper made the newspaper covers? He has been known to rant and curse at his staff, and has physically attacked at least two women in his office. Apparently this is known by the LA Times, but they didn't find it newsworthy. Unlike Mr. Schwarzenegger, Mr. Davis has not explained his actions, publicly apologized or offered to reform. I don't condone bad behavior, but I do look favorably on a person that can show remorse and a willingness to change their ways.

Another allegation has been that Arnold is racist, and a Nazi. As a person that represents several minorities, this is an issue that catches my attention. I see the smoke, but where's the fire? Apparently if you take some quotes out of context you can construe that Arnold is a Nazi, but that seems, frankly, very weak as a constructive and rational argument for him being a hate mongering, Jew hating, fascist. And really, in Hollywood, how successful do you think he could be working in an industry that is well represented by people of the Jewish faith? I was fascinated to see that in other news articles, with smaller headlines, Schwarzenegger is admired for his contributions to Jewish organizations, he is known to have interfered with pro-Nazi demonstrations, and is admired by Jews from his birth place, and California. Incidentally, while Schwarzenegger denies being a racist, Cruz Bustamante frequently appeared with, and is in support of MEChA. The racist significance of this is found in MEChA's motto: "For the race everything. For those outside the race, nothing." Caramba! Personally, I express my racial pride with a lot more political and social inclusion.

We all know how to do the deep and monotone, "I'll be back," and we all know Arnold has made a lot of tough guy, monosyllabic movies, and that he started as a bodybuilder, not a scholar. But, in the spirit of fairness and cooperation I want to take a closer look, before I write off his intelligence. It is a racist generalization to equate an accent with ignorance; English is not his first language, but he has mastered it sufficiently to become a successful business man, to lobby for after school programs, to address legislatures and senators, to woo a Kennedy, to promote physical education, and support Special Olympics. His success in life is not pure dumb luck. I recognize his success as the classic dedication, and appreciation of opportunity, so often found in immigrants; I do believe he has been a hard working, and appreciative citizen. Optimistically, I would kind of enjoy seeing him apply his ambition and skill as effectively to California as he has to his bodybuilding, to his business, and movie career, family and personal causes. He has, in all honesty, a undeniable success rate and determination.

Change is so difficult that we often avoid it, but eventually things do change. You can see this in nature, and politics. I don't want to be embarrassed and apologetic for California and our governor. It isn't productive to behave as though we are witnessing a complete and tragic disaster. Schwarzenegger will have to work with a Democratic legislature and a staff of experienced politicians, in an established and heavily bureaucracy-ed government. He may be successful and find the charisma and inspiration to facilitate good change in our economy and policies. He may get mired in partisan stalemates and find he can't effect any significant changes. And if he sucks, and nothing improves, then very soon new candidates, with an appreciation for the will of the people, will come forward and the electorate will choose again.

Pass the popcorn, this is going to be interesting.

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