It would be easy to dismiss the Californian recall election with a laugh and a shake of the head, (at least for those of us who don’t live there.) After all, California is … well … Californian. Nothing out there makes sense.
But considering that the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights is on the line out there, that laugh would be a mistake. We looked at the same amendment the other day in discussing freedom of religion. It’s back again, this time in the right of the people to petition the government for a redress of grievances. The grievance in this instance being Gray Davis.
Here’s the amendment, as a reminder:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
And here’s the problem. The government (in the form of Gray Davis, and previously the 9th Circuit court) and the press have aligned to attempt to subvert the election via legal maneuvering, dirty tricks, and press coverage biased to the point of being criminal. Because they don’t think they have the majority that could win honestly, they’re doing everything they can to cheat (giving illegal aliens drivers’ licenses, mandating new health care laws, appointing wackaloon judges, lying left and right … at any moment, I expect Davis to grant a mass pardon to California felons and provide automatic voter registration for all of them as Democrats, plus buses to take them to the polls tomorrow.) — and the people they’re cheating are the people of California who, having had enough, have petitioned for a redress of their grievances.
I don’t doubt that Schwarzenegger is a poor choice for governor. I suspect he would be moderately better than Davis, but for my money, McClintock would be the guy who could actually make a difference. No matter who wins this fandango, though, the damage is already done. In the state of California, the citizens’ right to demand government redress and any expectation that the process will be either honest or fair is dead. And a whole lot of foolish people are out there merrily dancing on the corpse.