Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

That figures

Fresh when it gets here from Julie Barrett
Monday, February 27, 2006

This is the one afternoon in months and months that I have the television on. I'm making sure something records, honest! We have the wonkiest PVR in the world. I'd just started to catch up on laundry, and so was dressed worse than usual. Of course, the doorbell rang. It was a local judge canvassing for re-election. Yeah, it was so easy to sound intellectual in my bare feet with the TV blaring in the background.

The fact is, I've pretty much decided that I'm not going to vote in the primary next month. "So, Julie," you say with more than a hint of incredulity in your voice, "you're big on voting. Don't you often say that you don't have a gripe if you don't vote?" You are absolutely right. There is, however, an exception to every rule. I live in Texas, where choice is a dirty word. (No, I'm not talking about THAT choice. It's still legal, even in Texas.) There's hardly ever any competition for office and what competition there is often is a choice between to subtly different shades of grey. It's almost impossible for an independent to get on the ticket. And guess what? We've got two vying for governor. The only catch is that in order to sign a petition to get an independent candidate on the ballot, one must not have voted in the primary election.

So in order to make a legal political statement one has to forgo a basic right. Only in Texas.

We have two high-profile independent candidates. One is Carole Strayhorn, presently our State Comptroller. That means she's in charge of cracking the budget whip, so to speak. Her office collects sales tax and they prepare a state budget. She's also known for high-profile audits of state agencies and school districts. She's got a thing about getting rid of administrative bloat in school districts. I particularly like that idea because I feel that government should have to tighten their belts like the rest of us. In the end the schools are going to have to be funded better, but I think that they should have pare their budgets before more money comes. It's hard for me to look at the multi-million dollar air-conditioned football practice facility at our senior high while my kid tells me there's not enough money to fix the copiers. It's a real WTF? kind of moment.

Our other major independent candidate is Kinky. Kinky Friedman, that is. The man has a band called The Texas Jewboys and is also one heck of a writer. And yes, he's flamboyant. He's got some interesting ideas, but I don't think he's got the clout to implement them.

I would love to have an alternative to Conservative in a Red Suit and Conservative in a Blue Suit. That's pretty much what it boils down to, and I'm happy to sign a couple of peititions to try and get these candidates on the ballot. It simply burns me up that I have to forgo my right to vote in order to exercise my right to sign a petition. Something about that is just wrong.

Okay, enough politics. I've still got massive amounts of laundry to get through today. My program has finished recording, so now I can turn the tube off.

Filed under: Life            


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