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Ron Kaye: It's still better to choose than not

August 12, 2012

“Whereas the San Fernando Valley Republican Club supports the conservative principles of limited government, lower taxes, fiscal responsibility, free enterprise, strong national defense and individual freedom … therefore, be it resolved, that the San Fernando Valley Republican Club will neither endorse nor support either Cong. Sherman or Cong. Berman in the 2012 Congressional contest in the 30th Congressional District in the San Fernando Valley.”

Frankly, I was astonished by this email blast from a group I know well, having been invited to speak to its members on local political issues many times over the years.

But boycott the election for Congress? Has it come to that? Are we so alienated from our politicians and political processes that “none of the above” seems like a reasonable option?

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“The San Fernando Valley Republican Club commends both Cong. Berman and Cong. Sherman on their strong support for Israel, but the SFVRC will take no position in the congressional race,” said Gary Aminoff, the group's president, in the email. “It would not be possible for Republicans who believe in conservative principles to be able to support either candidate in good conscience.”

I feel his pain. I'm fed up with having to choose between the lesser of two evils in election after election and then finding out that even when the lesser evil overcomes the big money and wins with the support of grassroots people, they quickly become indistinguishable from the greater of the two evils.

That happens because the system itself brings the men and women we elect to their knees in subservience, no matter what values they brought into the halls of power, no matter what promises they made to voters.

It's the system. Money, power, influence and access rule the day. That's why there is gridlock in Washington and stalemate in Sacramento, why we are going around in political circles instead of forward as a nation.

But refusing to participate is not act of civil disobedience. It is an abdication of responsibility to work for the betterment of our society and its people, the crushing of hope for all of us.

In the case of Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman — two long-time Democratic members of Congress engaged in one of the costliest partisan campaigns in history — it probably doesn't matter which one wins because their voting records are so similar.

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