I don’t understand voters.
How do Republicans in Washington, D.C., continue to make gains and take control of the U.S. Senate even as they wrap up a year mostly marked by their unparalleled obstinacy?
Why did Democrats distance themselves from President Barack Obama in a futile bid for swing voters when all they really needed to do was get out the voter base from 2008 and 2012, which never seems to show up during midterm elections?
How does Obama’s approval rating continue to fall even as the American economy strengthens with each passing month?
And locally, how do all three incumbents win election in Atascadero with the specter of millions of dollars in unaccounted-for Wal-Mart roadwork costs hanging over their heads while the mayor in Arroyo Grande fights for his political life against a write-in candidate whose non-campaign was fueled by backlash over a frothy pseudo scandal?
We are a people wracked by phantom fears and manipulated by demagogues.
We ignore vital issues with universal impacts while succumbing to overhyped problems that pose very limited threats.
Gay marriage is not the unraveling of our social fabric as we know it.
Ebola is not the second coming of the Black Death.
The Islamic State is not landing on our beaches.
Water is a major challenge, but does the South County elect a supervisor who will help push forward thoughtful regulation of the Paso Robles groundwater basin?
No, they pick someone who doesn’t even believe the crisis exists. I guess it isn’t their problem.
All along the radio dial and across TV, right-wing pundits preach against a supposed excess of government regulation, as if the Great Recession just happened by a fluke, as if we should let corporations run amok and just trust them to do the right thing, as if environmental tragedies like the BP oil spill would be better prevented with less oversight.
Relying on the free market to balance things out doesn’t work on its own because a sense of social responsibility often can’t compete with the almighty dollar.
And yet at the same time, there were some silver linings laced into Tuesday’s election.
Voters countywide turned out in force to support Cuesta College, local schools and road repairs, all of which required them to pledge more of their own money toward the greater good.
Cuesta hadn’t passed a bond since 1974 – 40 years! – and there was a time when any pitch from schools for money was met with skepticism.
Like I said, I don’t understand it.
But I’ll take the positives from Tuesday’s vote with cheer and hope the negatives are reversed next time.