Smiling through the gloom

The state of the state of California has become such a source of humor to the rest of the country that we find ourselves mentioned everywhere we look. The idea of the largest state in the country driving itself into bankruptcy strikes outsiders as funny, although it’s not very funny to many who live here. Joel Stein, writing in Time magazine, is a resident of california, but he cannot resist pointing out the folly of our endless voting for initiatives most people can’t understand. Asking voters to determine how much we should spend on a high-speed rail system or a hospital bond may have seemed like a good idea once, but it is not working out the way it was planned in 1911. Stein joins a long list of writers, politicians and businesspeople in suggesting that it’s time to look at our initiative system with a view to revising it. We all want to strengthen democracy, but making decisions on the basis of ad campaigns is not the way to do it.

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