Thursday, October 14, 2010

Voting, Government, The American Ideal

Do these things go together? Doubtful, at best.

Voting - this is the cornerstone of our democracy.  The right to vote. To choose who represents us: the people.  To have our voice heard (I think my voice is heard by more people via this blog and I don't even think more than one or two people have ever seen it).  I am grateful for the right to vote but how does one go to the polling station with exuberance and excitement and American pride, when there are only two candidates for each office that have any chance of winning (these are the two who managed to raise the most money and have the most vitriolic campaign ads) and you feel as though they spend most of their time attacking each other rather than informing us of what they plan to do in office? 

Also, in my state, judges are voted onto the bench.  Guess how many voters know anything about the judges in their communities?  Unless they've done something illegal, recently resided over some famous or infamous person(s) trial, or made an ass of themselves publicly, there is almost no useful information about them.  Trust me, I've checked.  I felt the need to do this when I discovered that some of the people I know and respect have some ridiculous methods for making their judicial selections:
  • I choose men over women or women over men (depending on who you're asking) and on the rest, I just pick names that I like the sound of
  • I choose the names that are the most familiar to me
  • I choose the names that are the least familiar to me since I figure they are the ones who haven't had a scandal
  • I don't vote for judges
Anyway, after all of my hard work, I think I will be making an informed decision this election cycle (at least on the judges).  As for the rest, I will try to choose the best candidate based on the choices I am given keeping in mind one of my favorite quotes:  When you choose the lesser of two evils, you are still choosing evil.

Government - hmmm, let's try a word association game.  I will list some words and you pick which ones best fit your feelings of government as we know it today:  Regulatory, Controlling, Honest, Confident, Large, Conflicted, Wealthy, Powerful, Representative, Limited, Inspiring, Authentic, Savvy, Straight-Forward, Worthy, Privileged, Self-Serving, Honorable...think for a minute or two...enough said.

The American Ideal - I am by no means an expert on this one but I do remember that we were all supposed to have a voice and through that voice, we were supposed to be the ones in charge.  What happened?

As a whole, you can find among us a multitude of conflicting ideas and opposing points of view.  There are a daunting number of us but there is also a system in place to deal with that.  Our voices are heard more clearly at the level of the local government but they have such minimal power and influence, I doubt you will see any potential candidates with their eyes on the Big Show, even considering that a stepping stone anymore.  We each have a state government but they seem to lose power with each new federal law passed.  Talk about scary.  Whether you are a supporter of Arizona's immigration law or California's marijuana law or Vermont's gay marriage law, shouldn't it be up to each state's residents to have a vote and once a state law or policy is voted into or out of existence, is it really the Federal Government's job to override it or to just not honor it?  It's not, at least according to what I learned about our political system and the reasons behind its structure. 

This is what I believe is the American Ideal and if we could just follow it, I believe, the rest would fall into place:

I believe we are all supposed to have Equal Rights, those rights should apply to all of us, equally, regardless of our differences.  This sounds great but here's the catch, every single one of us, individually, should have the same rights.  A group or organization does not have the right to demand specific rights for any collective but should rather be working towards insuring that we all have the EXACT same rights.

I believe we are all supposed to have Equal Justice, the laws should apply to all of us, equally, regardless of our differences.  This sounds great but here's the catch, every single one of us, individually, should have to obey the same laws, receive the same penalties and have the opportunity to the same quality of defense.  No one should have the right to special treatment or consideration based on either negative or positive aspects of their background.  NO ONE.

You don't have to agree with me but you should, as a fellow American, respect my right to say it.

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