Avoiding the Madness of Politics

I haven’t been writing lately. It’s true. Nothing personal. I’m doing my best to avoid the politics taking place in San Luis Obispo County. There are several races going on — and I’ve been cordially invited to cover them — but I’ve chosen to stay on the sidelines. However, I was recently forwarded a viewpoint by Laura Mordaunt, a member of the San Luis Obispo County Republican Central Committee and regular speaker at County Board of Supervisors meetings. Not to shy away from controversies like the United Nations taking over individual liberties and property rights, Mordaunt penned a viewpoint called, “Partisanship is not a crime.” It’s not a crime, but feeling compelled to choose a side for the sake of taking sides should be.

“Nonpartisan is a word that has been used as a weapon in the 4th district race,” she wrote. “What is intended is to not predetermine the outcome before you hear all the facts. Lynn Compton is a Republican, and Caren Ray and Mike Byrd are Democrats, period.”

How is the word “nonpartisan” being used as a “weapon”? Begrudging the word “nonpartisan” as a “weapon” is, in itself, a weapon used against non-partisan thinking.

“When has it been a crime to be in a party?” she wrote. “The crime comes when the party is not about your character and honor but about control. When your party, left or right, becomes a progressive effort to move away from what this country was founded upon and expand government, then we have a problem.”

It’s never been a crime to be in a party. Not once. But, wait. I think Mordaunt was asking a rhetorical question, and she has appointed herself the partisan judge, jury and executioner. Mordaunt believes that partisanship becomes a “crime” when “control” is substituted in the place of the virtues of one’s character and honor. Yet Mordaunt is controlling the very essence of the political debate she personally instigated by asserting that progressivism (the ideology surrounding the departure of “what this country was founded upon and expanded government”) is the crime; that progressivism is “control.”

Spare me.

“Nonpartisan should mean you shall uphold your oath to protect our country and county from foreign and domestic enemies,” wrote Mordaunt. “Right now, I am concerned with the domestic enemies of private property rights, the individual and prosperity.”

Actually, nonpartisan means objectivity — not whatever Mordaunt thinks it should mean. Look it up. It’s in the 2014 Random House Dictionary. You know, I think nonpartisan should be defined as a person who writes an irresponsible, poorly constructed and illiterate viewpoint that bathes in the juices of prejudice, but I can’t radically redefine the word to fit my personal agenda. Mordaunt can’t either.

Think about partisanship this way. Being a partisan means you identify with one school of thought or party more than another. In our country, our democracy is dominated by two prevailing parties: Democrats and Republicans. Our political system strongly pushes voters into a corner. The two-party system forces voters to divide themselves in majority and minority political factions — and if you personally hold no loyalty to one faction over another, the partisans perceive you as weak and indecisive. Nationwide election coverage often paints independent, nonpartisan voters as being “on the fence” and “unsure.” People like Mordaunt go one step further, and consider nonpartisanship to be a complete farce with a redefined meaning that strays egregiously far from the original definition.

Why can’t we vote for candidates who have the best ideas? Partisanship merely corrodes the importance of debating ideas.