Zachary Antoyan is a political science senior and Mustang News liberal columnist. | Ian Billings/Mustang News

Zachary Antoyan

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Zachary Antoyan is a political science senior and Mustang News liberal columnist. These views do not necessarily reflect the opinion or editorial coverage of Mustang News.

Last week, millions of Americans participated in a national bubble fill-in ritual.

We sign our signatures, walk to a desk and darken circles next to the names of people we probably haven’t met and propositions that no one completely understands. It’s a relatively popular ritual; the sticker we get after the sphere-coloring provides quite the incentive for participation.

When I say “we,” what I really mean is: myself, angry Republicans and old people.

Those are the people who voted this midterm election. So when I also say “relatively popular,” what I really mean is that voting isn’t very popular at all — at least not among college students or people my age. I know this because less than 10 percent of that demographic are registered to vote in this county. But I’m sure you had a perfectly good excuse not to vote. 

Either way, here we are with a new set of voter-approved laws and new representatives on the municipal to the national levels. So this is how the decisions made by other people are going to affect you in the next few years. 

The 0.5 percent sales tax continuation initiative, Measure G, passed with little opposition. This means all that road construction you’ve seen on streets is going to be demarcated with a “Your Measure G Dollars at Work!” instead of Measure Y. You still pay the same amount of tax at register, no different than before.

In the race for city council, Dan Rivoire won a seat, meaning the number of San Luis Obispo city council members under the age of 60 went from zero to one. This is good for you, not only because he is a Cal Poly alumnus, but because you now have someone representing your age group, or at least, an age group within your generation. If all of the council members are older than your parents, something is wrong, so be glad we changed that. 

On the state level, we re-elected Jerry Brown for governor. Full disclosure: I didn’t know there was a gubernatorial race going on, which probably speaks to the campaigning job of the challenger. More Jerry Brown means … well, just that we have more Jerry Brown. We’ve already had eleven years of the guy so a few more is whatever, right?

Lois Capps narrowly won re-election for her U.S. Congressional seat, representing this county and a few others. However, considering the national congressional climate, her re-election means Democrats have another seat that they can do very little with. More on that in a little bit. 

People also seem to be taking notice of the water problem the whole state is experiencing. And in true American-Capitalism fashion, our solution to this problem is to throw money at it. Fear not citizens, for the passage of Proposition 1 means billions of dollars can now be directed toward solutions. Which also means that billions of dollars can now be directed to the hands of those that control the water resources.

With the passage of Proposition 2, though, California is going to start saving more of its general funds for “rainy days which is funny because California doesn’t actually have rainy days anymore. Our referential idioms are very out of date. 

For those of you contemplating or currently committing non-violent crimes that could be considered felonies, chill out. Now it’s just a misdemeanor. Or hey, if you’re in jail currently reading this (thank you, but also, why?) then you should know that you can petition to have your sentence reduced. The passing of Proposition 47 means you can now be less sketched out over the personal use of illegal drugs. But we college students don’t have any time for those sorts of things, because responsibility and midterms and things. 

The pendulum of political power has thus, after this election, swung in favor of the Republicans. After all was said and done, the Republican Party emerged with seven new seats in the Senate, giving them effective control of both houses of Congress.

Though Republicans are as inept at using such influence as the Democrats are, this shift in power will make for some interesting tactical decisions made by both sides in the next two years. It’s important to note that “the GOP has waged this campaign without altering a single one of the major political positions that supposedly doom the party to demographic oblivion.” This means that its stances on immigration, gay marriage, health insurance, women’s reproductive rights and a host of other issues have not changed. 

This is significant because it says more about the electorate than it does about the party. An electorate frustrated by stagnation on the national stage, between and within branches, would naturally desire a change in leadership. But Republicans have been waiting for this day like it’s freaking Christmas Eve and will now attempt to push through all the legislation that a Senate controlled by Democrats wouldn’t allow. According to House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, the Affordable Care Act is on that list, even though 50 failed attempts to repeal the law is somehow no deterrent at all. Also on that list is the Keystone XL pipeline.  

But Americans hoping to see any forward progress at all, any sort of advancement in policy that would break the stagnant streak that has plagued our government for so long, will be dismayed to know that both sides are as entrenched as ever. With Obama threatening to use his executive power to force immigration reform and Boehner counter-threatening to close off talks about immigration in general, we will see nothing but more of the same. 

Basically, anything that one group did previously, the other group is going to now do the opposite. There simply is no better example of partisanship than this. And the pendulum keeps on a-swingin’. 

The votes have been cast, and the balance of power restructured. Whether or not you added your input into the cauldron of politics, we all get to sit back and watch the thing fly or go down in all its flaming glory. 

This is Zachary Antoyan, unfortunately and recently acutely aware of how ranty he is here. Future employers, I’m not as crazy as this, I swear. Have a good week, everyone. 

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1 Comment

  1. I agree that our low voter turnout is a bad thing for democracy. I would like to see 100% of our population informed and voting. But, it’s hard! I am an intelligent, concerned citizen, but I found it difficult to be informed on all the state-wide, county, and local candidates and issues. Ads are no help and local media doesn’t provide much objective information. I sent an e-mail to a local candidate asking for clarification on an issue; he never responded, so I voted for his opponent. I think that we need to make it easy to get information and to vote. Maybe a website, with candidate and issue statements, an objective Q & A for candidates and issue advocates and opponents and then a direct link to a website that lets you vote. Of course, we need to solve security issues, etc. This website could be funded with public funds, local, state and federal. We, as a society, need to respond to the pace of life, short attention span, and Internet obsession of our populous.

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