20 June 2009

Guns, Dogs, Gays, Voter Turnout & Accountability

Who’s against more guns on the streets, as well as in bars and on playgrounds? Only the governor of the state, some sane and otherwise funded legislators, the Metro Nashville Police chief and force, and a large number of business owners themselves. What really troubles me is that so many states, Tennessee included, get to vote about something as irrelevant to anybody else's lives as the validity of another couple's relationship (even though I haven't gotten to vote on some I thought were pretty foolish), but we do not get to vote on whether we are comfortable walking around in public with more people armed. Or having dogs in restaurants. And as a sidenote, I personally love both guns and dogs, but I do not believe, as long as I live here with other people, that I should just have the run of the place with any guns or dogs I happen to have in my possession, especially when both potentially directly affect everybody around me at any given time and neither are almost ever necessary for survival. It's similar, in my perception, to cigarettes.

People keep talking about dogs in relation to health codes. They also bite, usually when people least expect them to, because the very best ones in the world can be very territorial. Heck, people are unpredictable, but at least you can sit them down and explain the rules. Many, many people are also badly allergic to them. And why in the name of time, without even a vote, could just anybody take their guns and dogs to dinner with them whenever they please when we all got a say in deciding that I can't just sit here in my living room in any legally recognized commitment to my sweet baby whatsoever, which nobody would ever even know about unless we told them?

Some possible reasons why people don't vote (besides the present electoral college system and the number of times "our" choice has actually not won the presidency): inconsistency and deep discrimination in the legislative offerings; pacification (my theory of letting the electorate decide emotional and subjective issues so they feel involved and less victimized by the sometimes far more regulatory legislature that just gets passed and defeated without us ever having a say); and our own profound lack of accountability and deeply codependent relationship with our government caused by constant preemption of natural consequences. This, again in my perception, and granted, I do spend too much time in my own head sometimes, is illustrated by things like the McDonald's lawsuits (both the coffee and the Super Size Me references), the endless "safety" features (like automatic shut-off electric blankets and car-backing cameras), and the rescues. Obviously, sometimes, as with Hurricane Katrina, when so many people literally did not have the resources to evacuate themselves, or when there is no warning, people don't choose their fate. But I know that I personally have heard over and over and over again about communities of perfectly capable people being warned by every government agency in operation about the devastation they will face if they remain where they are, and after they completely blow off every warning and every last speck of evidence and sometimes are in the middle of their "disaster party" when said disaster hits, the calls start coming, begging for help, pleading for every previously ignored government agency to spend their precious resources, risk the lives of their people when the danger is at its peak, to come save their arrogant asses.

My point is that, as a society, we cry and cry about too much government interference, bad or no options, too much regulation, not enough freedom...we want to do what we want, until we get into trouble. Then, frankly, we squeal like pigs for some kind of "bailout." And government, for its part, keeps feeding us the rope until we inevitably hang ourselves, so they can swoop in and save us and then wag their fingers and show us the proof of how inept we are at managing our own lives. And we let them, because too many people don't really want the responsibility. I believe in my heart that that collective attitude is going to need to be the first thing to get adjusted for voter turnout to increase or anything else to change.