Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Extremism? Or Triangulation


Part of what drove people nuts about Bill Clinton was the way he triangulated. He'd take one opinion, and its polar opposite, and took what he saw was the best of both and created a third way. Apparently, what drove people nuts was, they didn't want just part of what they wanted, they wanted all of it.

The other day, I received a call - a poll asking me a series of questions about a proposition that might be on our November ballot. (You know, the special election that no one wants, that everyone thinks is useless since we're having ANOTHER election next June... the one that we'd prefer if the Govenator would pay for himself out of one of his 25 million dollar paychecks from his real job?)

Okay. Get this. They want an opinion about a proposition that would add $3.50 tax (yes, please pick yourself off the floor now) to a pack of cigarettes. And what would this tax pay for? It pays for emergency rooms services.

Stop laughing. No, I mean it. Stop laughing.

My first reaction? "Now why would you impose a tax on a dwindling supply of income?"

Of course, I had to explain. "Look, more and more people quit cigarettes every day. I should know. I quit six months ago. So, again, I repeat. Why would you try and fund services with a dwindling source?"

I went through the questions with this guy, often getting really mad because I was forced into having an opinion about something I thought ludicrous. (Okay, I know I wasn't forced because it was up to me whether to take this poll, but I just had to know the extent of the absurdity I was facing)

I want a third option on our ballots. Instead of just voting for or against, I want there to be an option of "throw it back." You know, you throw fish that are too small back into the water so that they'd grow bigger and you'd have a better (supposedly) meal.

I want to throw back these propositions and say, okay, you have a point. We need to better fund our emergency rooms. Now come up with a better plan to implement it.

We need a "Come back with a better idea around this central theme: __________________" vote.

Because, you know, triangulation really works. Why the hell should we be dictated by two extreme positions? Sheesh! It's like saying okay, I'll buy this house at outrageous sums, or I'll buy the other house at outrag.... oh wait, people do that here in the Bay Area don't they? No wonder they think they can get away with it.

 
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