Tuesday, November 02, 2004

I Voted -- Did You? 

I promised myself (and Shaw) I wasn't going to blog political. Like Jon Stewart, I'm more interested in the flawed process than the game being played. But since I voted after lunch -- no backsies allowed -- I thought it would be fair, at least, to share my ballot, and my reasoning:

Presidential election: Republican.

All other local and state elections: Independent or Democrat.

Reasoning: Primarily, that I prefer the traditional Republican position that social issues should be handled on the local and state level, not on the federal level. I see no reason why Washington itself, or a popular vote where Californians have more power than my entire state, should decide how my family can be configured, or what drugs we can use and how. When it comes to local issues, though, I tend to lean liberal-libertarian, so I vote for politicians with similar leanings.

To be fair, it doesn't matter much how I voted for President, because I live in Massachusetts. That's why I can claim party voting, rather than personality voting, as my primary reasoning -- I'm sending a numbers mandate, not an electoral one. But I think I would still have voted for Bush if I lived in, say, Ohio. Though Bush has a foreign policy I have trouble with, at least he has one -- Kerry has no real foreign policy, and on a federal level, this election needs to be about foreign policy. What good is local control if the US of A ceases to exist?

A non-binding referendum to impose automatic fifty-fifty child custody in all but the most extreme cases was on our local ballot, too. I voted against it -- though I recognize the noble attempt to change the traditional anti-dad bias of the courts, I think any policy change which replaces a case-by-case considerate standard with an automatic "same policy for all possibilities" standard harms more than it helps. Education, not policy change, is the answer here.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:47 PM |

Good rationale, although today's GOP is just as interested in making national social policy as the Democrats. The Republicans want national standards for gay marriage, gay adoption, abortion and drug policy...just to name a few. Both dogs in today's race represent Big Government.
I am truly sorry to hear that. I am glad to hear, however, that you do not live in Ohio or Florida or Pa.
Your point is well taken, Scott, and I am more afraid of Republican "morals" than democrat morals.

But Dems still do more of this, and that seems to me a major drain on local monies, which is a big deal out here in the rural boonies. I am no fan of federal social services, which are more Dem than Rep these days still. I'm a libertarian, not a socialist.

And I have high hopes that there will be enough traditional republicans out there to keep the party ... well, if not honest, at least majorityless in trying to make such policy. To me, recent straw polls on a constitutional marriage amendment show that there are indeed enough old-school republicans to keep the voting bloc from enacting social policy...for now, at least.
Hello, just dropping by through blogexplosion. Two things.
1. I feel that men need encouragement to play a more active role in their kids lives after custody cases. Some feel cast aside in their family and may feel like everything they try to do for their kids is undermined by the situation, the past, or the Mom. It's not all that common but it happens. I feel like 50/50 might help fewer kids to lose contact with their Dads.
2. Nice to hear some reasoning from a Republican. Too many ppl out there who feel like getting on the soapbox don't have any logical thoughts to challenge Dems with. Thanks for showing me a reason or two to change my mind.
3. I know I said two things. I didn't vote today but it is tearing me up inside. I am a lowly legal resident. And if I had $240 I don't know if I'd apply for citizenship or go back to my country. But I sure wish I could have voted today.
Diedra hit the "pro" argument for the referrendum on the nose, actually. And I agree that keeping Dads involved is a cruical and too-often-unprioritized issue in custody cases, one which perpetuates, ironically, a court bias against father custody or shared custody.

But though I accept this argument for change, I do not agree with the method FOR garnering that change being proposed in today's referrendum. There are plenty of better ways to make such a change which would not, as a default, assume that it would be the BEST for kid, dad, AND mom to have the kid go back and forth all year....or indeed assume that any one configuration would be best for a given family.

One better way might be to mandate education of judges on the importance of fathers in kid's lives, for example. Another might be to give judges MORE oversight, and erase ANY default structure...or to create an independent recommending body which would work with judges to help them learn not to "default" to maternal custody, as is currently the case. (These are off the top of my head, of course -- so they might not turn out to be the best choice either, I suppose).

But an AUTOMATIC 50/50 custody turns judges into mere administrators, and makes moot the important and particular family issues -- from finances to the child's age to a whole mess of other things -- which I believe should be used to determine, in individual cases, the best options for THIS child, for THIS father, for THIS mother.

The referrendum was driven by a bunch of Dads who had a legitimate complaint with current court bias towards mothers as primary custodians, and their CONCERN is legitimate. But what I saw this referrendum as asking for was not justice, or fairness, but merely parity.

And I believe we should never settle for parity when justice is on the line.
a/ i thought it was illegal to tell people what your vote was? to prevent ballotbox pressuring etc.

b/ 50:50 automatic custody: i agree with the Pro case's desire, but agree with you that this is not a rational way to go about it. what they should have done is establish a Legal Presumption of 50:50 Custody, to establish objectively the fair starting point from which the judge can then make adjustments.
Not illegal to tell people what your vote was to the best of my knowledge -- what else would an exit poll be, after all? And ballotbox pressuring just refers to pressure inside the voting building/booth itself -- you're not supposed to say anything INSIDE the polling place, but once you're outside, you can say anything you want...which explains all those people holding signs outside most places, but none inside.

Also not clear how merely saying "I voted for..." would truly affect ballots. Once you've voted, you've voted...and if you trust me enough to vote some way just because I did, then...um...how the heck is this any different from all that noise telling people who they SHOULD vote for in the last few months?
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