Candidates should appear on the ballot if:

Friday, June 1, 2007

The Deeper Agenda

Entry for June 02, 2007

The idea of elections has triumphed universally in Western culture and dominates in all major cultures except Islam. But there is not universal agreement on what purposes elections should serve, or which purpose is the most important one.

In the United States the question of access to the ballot demonstrates considerable differences of opinion on the purposes of elections. Almost all other conflicts related to elections, I contend, are implicitly related to ballot access.

According to legal scholars, who I find quite enlightening, it is remarkable to note that legal disputes related directly to elections and political parties have increased sharply in the last fifty years. Why this is so I am not prepared to say yet. What has become clear, as legal scholars have pointed out, is that in large measure judges have been unable to agree on a coherent theory for defining the relationships between political candidates, political parties, the state, and the individual, as citizen and voter. Judicial confusion has itself spawned more litigation - even if jurists often refuse to hear a case it may be because they have nothing to offer beyond the status quo. Or, giving no opinion is less embarrassing than giving a poor opinion.

Why does this matter to those of us trying to circulate petitions in Oklahoma in 2007? Well, I'll put it in my own street vernacular. If you want to escape from prison, you better understand how the guards think.

I largely agree with the legal scholars who have identified five distinguishable "schools" or "factions" that are competing in legal circles for dominance in this area.

The first, and probably the most traditional, faction is the "federalist", nationalist, or corporative managerial. The second, and probably just as old, faction is the "anti-federalist", individualist, or libertarian. The third faction we can call the progressives. The fourth, more recent faction can be called the pluralists. The fifth
faction springs from only the later part of the 20th century just when the courts began to take on these cases; we can call this group the political marketeers. The last faction is me - the last to the soirée.

So we have five eminent factions of buckaroos and one old mustang. If you don't want to get ridden into the ground you better try to understand what those buckaroos are up to.

Before I wrap up this posting I'll try to give you a further indication of where I'm headed. Litigation is the only way to keep the more or less libertarian argument before the courts and possibly win judges over before they die or leave the bench. We have been attempting to break new ground in the legal tradition in this country. It don't come easy. Even the greatest of advocates cannot get keep an innocent person from being convicted. There is no DNA test to exonerate the defendants in these cases. That is why the ultimate court is street court - the ballot box. And that is why so many ingenious people want to keep the judiciary spinning until their doctrine prevails and ours doesn't.

Nevertheless, we must continue to make our presence felt on the street and in the courts. If even one player shows up for the game you have not forfeited. As for me, I'll hang up my cleats when they pry them off my cold cicada encrusted feet in about 17 years or so.

To be continued, of course... how long is really up to the readers isn't it? Oats, anyone?

Hypothetical poll - It's a secret ballot. Only you will know.
Should any candidate appear on the ballot regardless of party?

* Yes, I can make up my own mind.
* No, I prefer to have others veto my vote.
* None of the Above - I can't vote, won't vote.
* Only if I, the respondent, am the candidate.
* Elections? Whatever...Don't bother me.
* I'm from KOKH Fox 25 News. How dare you!

1 comment:

J Orcutt said...

Absolutely, in spite of government's theory that all citizens should just keep their mouths shut and follow orders, I can think for myself and demand that I be heard at the polls.
How Oklahoma sunk so low as to allow ballot access to be modified in 1974 to restrict my voice so severely is beyond my comprehension. What a bunch of Dweebs.