Time to Research your Elections

In light of yesterday’s election, which will undoubtedly draw our moderate nation more to the cusp of extremism and oligarchy, you might evaluate what your representative in Washington is doing, relative to your own wishes. I find researching your candidate a better voting guide, much better than being guided by robocalls, avalanches of mailers, offensive 30-second-bomb-your-opponent TV ads by rich vested interests, and the wholesale buying of votes by billionaires in critical races – in all, $4 billion spent in midterm, more than 25% dark money and by groups outside the voting area.

Perhaps with the next two years under a Republican majority in Congress, you will be inspired to do so, with the advent of the 2016 election. We must recognize that as long as money dictates elections, our vote will be swamped by money, and our enthusiasm for voting in such a blighted system will vastly diminish.

Let me give you an example of what voters in my own district face, perhaps a microcosm of the nation. I believe Dana Rohrabacher represents an extremist in a now more moderate area because voters have not yet discerned his extremism. Unfortunately, he is now deeply entrenched, due to inattentive voters and a media giving him little critical coverage, including my fading hometown newspaper.

Dana Rohrabacher, who represents – or should I say misrepresents — us in the US House of Representatives, is probably better known by the Orange County Chapter of the Tea Party than he is by a majority of his constituents. He speaks Tea Party language, actually sings to them — I must say grudgingly, not too badly — his version of “God Bless Our Freedom” (TP Crooning).

He is the kind of representative who wraps himself in the flag, though he skipped Viet Nam and once falsely claimed that he served in Afghanistan. Not serving should never be a criticism in itself, but Hollywooding patriotic service makes you look like a hypocrite. Do his policies now, after some 25 years, actually represent our more progressive constituency than when he was first elected in 1989?

You be the judge.

If his constituent majority is a denier of man made global warming, wants more tax breaks for the rich, is against environmental protection, opposes more regulation against tobacco, stands against covering children for healthcare, favors torture (votes during Bush II), champions putting social security in the hands of Wall Street and supports voucherizing Medicare, he’s our man.

His Congressional Scorecard (Project Vote Smart), a few years back includes 100% for guns, 92% for Tea Party (organization representing them), 9% for American Civil Liberties Union, Signer of Grover Norquist pledge of no new taxes, 7% for AFL-CIO, 0% for Campaign for America’s Future, 0% for Children’s Defense Fund and even only 28% for the Humane Society.

A few examples of his vote includes a vote for the Iraqi War in 2003 (many Democrats did that), two tax cuts for the rich on America’s credit card, no on the ACA (“Obamacare”), yes over 40 times to repeal “Obamacare,” which he called “a rotten piece of legislation,” voted for the Paul Ryan budget which guts Medicare as we know it, voted to shut down the government last year, no on regulating tobacco, and no on extending children’s health care.

A few years ago when the media was discussing the Dream Act, allowing amnesty for children of the undocumented, Representative Rohrabacher commented, somewhat incoherently — I might add — on why the Dream Act is dangerous to White America. “If Americans aren’t alerted to this, we’re going to lose our freedom and we know it’s in jeopardy right now.” (his full statement).

I could be cherry-picking what he represents a bit, but do your own research — look at your own representatives’ records. Don’t rely on the misinformation $4 billion – by 2016, it will be over $10 billion — will buy.

In this era of extremist Republicans shutting down government, and a biased Supreme Court which voted in Citizens United by a 5 to 4 margin and summarily chips away at your rights, we must get involved.

James Hoover is a recently retired systems engineer. He has advanced degrees in Economics and English. Prior to his aerospace career, he taught high school, and he has also taught college courses. He recently published a science fiction novel called Extraordinary Visitors and writes political columns on several websites. Read other articles by James.