It’s been called idiotic, unnecessary, a waste of both time and money and a right wing conspiracy.
No, I am not referring to the war in Iraq, but to the recall election against California Governor Gray Davis.
In an effort to downplay the importance of the recall, the media has often likened the race to nothing more than a circus sideshow starring Gary Coleman and Gallagher.
While it would be easy to shrug off the election as simply partisan politics, it has quickly become a test of American democracy.
While any well-versed voter would have avoided sending a scandal-clad Davis to a second term in 2002, he did win reelection with 47 percent of the vote.
So why all this commotion about a recall?
It seems to be that the voting-age public of California was greatly misled about the current condition of the state during the 2002 election.
While Davis was traveling the state claiming manageable budget deficits, limited spending and a healthy business climate, the truth revealed an entirely different story.
Stressing that the upcoming fiscal year’s budget hole would be no larger than $8 billion, current estimates place the figure closer to $38 billion, nearly five times larger.
In addition, Davis pledged to limit spending during his first term as governor and to continue to do so if re-elected.
It appears that although most citizens took him at his word, his limitless spending habits increased the size of the budget by 40 percent.
These two factors, a few among many, have forced hundreds of business owners and jobs to leave to states with more robust economies and tax-friendly atmospheres.
While these accusations against Davis may seem simple, everyday politics in a ruthless world, they are the driving force behind the recall effort.
The voting public of California, and of every state, should be afforded the luxury of having the most accurate and best possible data at their disposal during election years.
In this case, Davis blatantly lied about nearly every one of his major economic measures, seriously harming the electorate of California.
The election in 2002 was based largely on falsified information, necessitating a new, balanced and truthful election for California.
To California Democrats, it must have been shocking to realize they must pay for the years of scandal that rocked the Golden State.
While Davis continues to joke about the October 7 special election, he is most likely going to be entering the twilight of his political career.
The citizens of California have made their voices loud and clear and the public has always and will always have the final say.
Whether you are in support of the recall or have criticized it from the beginning, Democrats, Republicans, liberals and conservatives nationwide now face a new dynamic.
The public, with the recall as its most recent example, has become more educated, more involved and more vocal about elected officials.
This is something for which we can all agree to thank the recall effort.
Brian Reimels can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.