I live in San Francisco, and usually feel as though I’m surrounded by political opponents, which weighs heavy on the head come election day. Still, I vote. I vote, not because I think my vote counts, because usually, it doesn’t. Usually, I’m outnumbered by statist tools, riddled with cultural guilt and reactionist tendencies, voting the opposite of their self-interests. Usually, voting only results in frustration with my fellow San Franciscans. Still, I vote.
I do this because I consider it my civic duty to vote. To not vote would be to let those who wish to impose their will upon me know that they can do whatever they want, and I can’t even be bothered to register my disapproval. Instead, I am compelled to register this disapproval in a formal manner, even though I know I’m not going to get my way. I’m not going to get what I want, and I usually don’t even like the limited options available to me. Yet, there is a write-in option for most positions, which I have used plenty of times.
It is not often that a candidate I support wins an election, either in San Francisco, proper, or in California, as a whole. And as a libertarian (small ‘l’), I am even accustomed to my Presidential choices being negated by a “two party” system which offers little choice, yet so much rhetoric about how voting for a “third party” candidate is tantamount to “throwing [my] vote away”. I’m used to losing. Still, I vote. Again, because it is my duty, as a citizen, to partake in the decision making process of selecting elected representatives to function as government officials. So no matter how many times my candidates are not elected, I shall continue to vote, much the same way as I will show up for jury duty, if selected, and I shall obey the laws of the land I live in, even when I may disagree with the underlying presumptions those laws portend to address.
In the last election, there was a measure called “Proposition E” which proposed a tax be levied on “sugary beverages”, in order to discourage people from drinking them, which it was alleged was in the public’s best health interest. I voted against this measure, because I believe it should be the individual’s choice whether or not to drink these beverages. I believe it is the individual’s right to make choices about what they choose to do with their bodies, and that the state has no business in taking on the responsibility of either encouraging or discouraging individual behavior based on whatever health concerns they have voted to be detrimental. During the run-up to that election, I was told by supporters of the proposition, that I was a “tool of the big beverage industry”. I was told that poor people get diabetes because they’re tricked into drinking soda by advertisements and cultural propaganda. But that measure was defeated, and there was no new tax applied to sugary beverages. It was the rare victory in a series of losses in my voting career as a San Franciscan.
Yesterday, I had another victory. The current acting Sheriff of San Francisco County is Ross Mirkarimi, who has been plagued by scandals and negative PR since he was elected in 2012. In order to dethrone him, I had previously volunteered for the campaign of Vicki Hennessy, and had been encouraged when collecting signatures in the Park Merced area of San Francisco by the amount of public support she had from those I ran into. When we collected signatures in the Castro district, the results were less positive, but it’s a different demographic, and often times the people we’d be asking for support were from out of town, or otherwise unable to vote in San Francisco’s election. Yesterday, I went to my local polling place to vote, which took less than five minutes, and I went home and continued with my day.
Today, I awoke to another victory. Vicki Hennessy took the Sheriff’s election with almost twice the votes Ross Mirkarimi managed to get. While it feels good to have a second win in a second consecutive election cycle, I think what feels better is that San Francisco, come January, will finally have an effective, experienced Sheriff. One who isn’t a career politician, posturing for votes for the next election. One who understands the jobs of those she is in charge of, because she has done each and every one of those jobs in her two-decade career as a Deputy. One who will deliver results, rather than excuses, and accusations that there is a “vast right wing conspiracy” amongst City Hall to discredit her (an accusation, which on its face, is patently absurd, given the complete lack of any “right wing” power in the City and County of San Francisco). And best of all, one who will never be suspended for six months for having been arrested, and convicted, of domestic abuse.
Congratulations to Vicki Hennessy, and congratulations to San Francisco on doing the right thing for once. Today, everybody wins. Well, almost everybody. Mr. Mirkarimi will have to get a real job for the first time in his life, which may be challenging, given his lack of experience in the private sector, but I’m sure he would appreciate, as a good “progressive“, that sometimes the few must suffer for the benefit of the many.