Amy Roberts: Idiocracy
The people have spoken. And more than a week after the election, there’s nothing else left for the pundits to say. The news cycle has run its course with scenarios, hypotheticals, and commentary on what GOP control of the House and the Senate means for the next two years and for the presidential election in 2016. I’ve heard countless theories, ideas and rhetoric, but at the end of the day, it probably really only means this: $4 billion was spent to elect a group of people less than 10 percent of Americans will approve of.
And if nothing else, last week’s election results really only prove one thing: American voters are kind of schizophrenic.
Nationwide, people went to the polls and demanded stronger gun control, legalized access to pot, fewer restrictions on abortion and an increase to the minimum wage. They voted for these measures and then elected Republicans to represent them in Washington, D.C. Which makes about as much sense as screen doors on a submarine.
In Washington state voters did what Congress won’t — they passed a law requiring universal background checks on gun buyers. Over 60 percent of voters agreed that buying weapons at gun shows and over the Internet should include some type of basic regulation. Which means the NRA will have to lay off a few Congressmen from the Evergreen state.
In Nebraska, South Dakota, Alaska and Arkansas voters passed initiatives to increase the minimum wage, opening the door for the president to again pressure Congress for a national minimum wage hike.
In North Dakota and Colorado, voters rejected so-called personhood measures, which would give legal rights to fetuses and were seen as major threats to legal abortion.
In Washington, D.C., Oregon and even Alaska, citizens went to the polls and voted to legalize recreational marijuana. I wonder if Sarah Palin will still be able to see Russia from her porch through all that smoke?
Closer to home, the voter schizophrenia continued. Tea Party darling Mia Love, who ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility, outspent her opponent seven-to-one. Love is reported to have spent about $4 million more than Doug Owens to win the Congressional seat in Utah’s 4th district. The extra $4 million only snagged her an extra 4,000 votes. It was enough to eke out a win, but I’m not sure I’d consider it responsible spending when the net result only equates to the entire town of La Verkin voting for you.
To me, that’s not even the most eyebrow-raising part of this race. I find it a little concerning that before running for Congress, Ms. Love was mayor of a town where there’s a lake that’s so polluted, a dog recently died after swimming in it. Additionally, from Love’s home in Saratoga Springs she can surely look across the valley and see the toxic fog that settles over Salt Lake City during inversion season.
Air pollution and clean water should be a bipartisan concern for all of us. But during her race for Congress, Ms. Love suggested a number of times she wanted to slash the Environmental Protection Agency — the one federal agency that can do something about both these dangerous health concerns.
That said, at least Ms. Love does seem to have more qualifications than Joni Ernst, the newly elected senator from Iowa whose claim to fame is that she knows how to castrate a pig. She also thinks it’s just an opinion that only one person in the U.S. has Ebola.
It all makes me long for the days when our biggest problem was a president whose intern liked cigars.
Amy Roberts is a longtime Park City resident, freelance writer and the proud owner of two ill-behaved rescue dogs, Boston and Stanley.