Faithful Electors

Each state’s electors perform their function for their state and not for the federal government
The term “faithless electors” arose in this election prior to the national vote when one Washington State Elector declared he would not vote for Sec. Clinton regardless of the popular results. In 1836 the entire delegation of Virginia’s Electors went faithless when they declined to vote for the winner of the vice-presidential, Richard Johnson, who had an openly admitted long-term interracial relationship with his slave, Julia Chinn. (How far we have come since then?). Virginia’s action resulted in a lack of majority for Johnson and as set out in the 12th amendment the decision was made by the U.S. Senate (who voted Johnson in). If, during a presidential election, no candidate wins a majority then the matter is sent to the House of Representatives for resolution.

21 states do not have laws compelling the Electors to vote for the pledged candidate. Of the 29 states (plus D.C.) that do have laws the Elector may face a punishment after they have voted. Although the SCOTUS has ruled that State’s mate require their Electors to sign a pledge (Ray v. Blair, 1952) it stopped short of compelling Elector to vote one way or another, or to abstain. SCOTUS has not ruled on the constitutionality of actually punishing Electors for their votes.

As it becomes increasingly clear that Secretary Clinton won the national vote (she’s up by 1.8 million as I write this), the question of the role of the Electoral College becomes more important than ever. The Constitution makes clear that the American people do not actually pick their president, that this task is assigned to 538 people.  Yes, it seems crazy! So crazy it just might work that such a system could save the country from ruin, civil war or fascism. We live in dangerous times. To be clear, I am no fan of Hillary Clinton or of the Democratic party but I encourage Electors in all of our beautiful states to vote your conscience. Desperate times call for desperate measures, our national fate is in your hands.

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Sitka Surreal

One of the good things I’ve experienced cruising along the Alaskan coastal waters known as Southeast is being cut off from cell and internet service for days at a time. I used to read multiple political blogs and news sites every day but now I feel disconnected from the American political scene. On arriving in Sitka I spent some time internetting and I was struck with a sense of the surreal. Its like the Twilight Zone, I can’t believe how weird things have become. Donald Trump? Are you kidding me? Hilary Clinton is really the best we can do? WTF?

I mean, whatever happened to the little bird from Bernie Sander’s event in Portland? I really don’t know how all this came to be but I might just hang out in Canada until November if they’ll have me. Just kidding, I guess I’m coming back to vote. But holy shit, where is this crazy train going?

Meanwhile, things in Sitka seem pretty normal I guess. If you disconnect from the internet and wander around you’ll see it all. I like to walk with no particular destination in mind and thus we found ourselves at the edge of a typical neighborhood at a trail with a sign warning that we were entering onto sacred grounds and to act accordingly. (Always good advice.) It was a predominantly Russian Orthodox cemetery buried in the woods and being tended carefully by nature. Graves were tilted every which way upon the misty wooded slopes as though they’d been washed up by the sea.

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Five minutes later we popped out onto Saw Creek Road and walked through a national military cemetery. How different the two were from one another. Not sure what that means.

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We wandered on and found this Sitka Surreal phone booth. It makes about as much sense as Donald Trump running for president.

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One is forced to ponder the question, “Yes, but is it art?”

Stopped to browse the Etolin St. Library.  Then past the grocery. Stopped for a bite to eat at the Larkspur, the cafe with a radio station upstairs.

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Headed back through town to the harbor, paying attention to Community bulletin boards and was reminded of issues more important than our Clinton Trump tragicomedy.

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So, my advice is when in Sitka, relax and keep it local. Put on your xtratuf sneakers, wander around a little, listen to the Raven, and try the local brew.

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Thanks for the reality check, Sitka! Sea ya later.