This is just lovely. KEYE TV in Austin, TX, has a report on voting habits in the Texas Legislature. Seems that state lawmakers, as a favor to one another, I suppose, will generously reach over to their colleagues' seats and cast votes for those who are not present. Some legislators are so altruistic that they will get up and walk around the chamber, making sure that no matter how many people are physically present, the vote total represents the total number of legislators.
KEYE's report has a funny twist to it:
See, TX lawmakers want to force people to show photo ID before voting and to criminalize the act of delivering a ballot to the polls for people who cannot do it themselves. "It's all about integrity."
Yeah, integrity for the common people, not for politicians. It's a sad story that gets played out in every statehouse in the country, probably every city hall and county courthouse as well. Our "representatives" are better than us, because they know more than us, because they have a higher responsibility than us schlubs who take care of our kids, who go to school, who are retired or sit in cubicles all day.
It is possible to change this, if only slightly. But the only way is for people who actually care about integrity in politics first of all refuse to keep casting votes for the same morons over and over. Secondly, we need to stop giving them money. Thirdly, we need to try and band together as much as possible and give our money and time to primary challengers, to advocacy groups that work to shine light on despicable practices like this.
This is why I like the progressive blogosphere, why what we're doing is so much more important than the conservative online presence. While conservative websites devote themselves to repeating GOP talking points and kissing up to a power structure that despises them, progressives raise money, write letters and make phone calls that pressure Democratic politicians to start doing the right thing. Every once in a while, it works. We got Pelosi to include the American Samoa in the minimum wage bill even though it was obvious that Starkist and Chicken of the Sea were pressuring her not to. And there are a lot more primary challengers going after worthless Democrats than there used to be.
This is what needs to happen, more and more. It's the only way to change things.