Politics is something I generally avoid when blogging, but there are several factors in today's political climate that bother me. I'm not a novice to the political scene and over the years I've seen a lot of regrettable actions on both sides of the aisle and usually even more from those who claim to be independent, but who usually have a single issue they wish to force down everyone's throat, or who are simply too lazy to get involved and seem to think a self-righteous claim of independence gives them a license to complain without doing any of the work.
Politics fascinate me; I've served on a town council and filled two terms on the Salt Palace Advisory Board of Directors, worked for two sessions of the State Legislature, served as voting district, precinct, and legislative district chairs, voting district registration agent, been a candidate campaign co-chairman, and a polling place judge. I've also been a delegate to both county and state political conventions multiple times. For what it's worth, I also worked many years as a journalist, a member of that fourth estate that supposedly keeps politicians and government honest.
First let me express my ambivalent thoughts concerning the large turnout of young voters during the last election. I think it's great that young voters get involved in the political process, but there's a terrible tendency for eighteen year-olds to be woefully unrealistic voters. They also tend to be suckers for candidates that promise the moon in idealistic terms. Like sheep, they follow charisma rather than taking a hard look at the world in which they'll soon be working and raising families. This is nothing new and goes in cycles. It's not necessary to be terribly old to remember the disastrous results of previous elections where the "youth vote" was courted and extolled while their hero turned out to be a dud. I wouldn't want to discourage idealism and I definitely don't want to discourage young voters. In fact I'd like to see more adherence to ideals in today's society, but in a representative government, informed voters should look not only at the ideals a candidate espouses but at his/her life experience and abilities. A successful farmer, race car driver, accountant, or MacDonald's manager impresses me more than someone who merely talks a good line and looks good in a suit.
I'm sick of race being an issue. Race should neither exempt anyone from political office nor should it be used as an excuse for incompetence. Disagreeing with someone of a different race is not racism. Racism is granting special privileges to those of one race over another or excusing someone from responsibility for their actions because of race.
I'm tired of extremism on both the right and left. One is as damaging to our country as the other.
I don't buy the argument we should get rid of all the incumbents either. That's lazy talk. There are some good decent people currently in many political positions. Granted there are some real losers too, but let's make certain we know what our representatives, senators, and other office holders have and haven't done. Let's study voting records. We should go to the source and not buy into the poisonous hype coming out of the mouths of those itching to take the places of those already in office. And we should weigh carefully whether we want to toss out seniority on committee assignments in favor of a junior untried, no clout newbie. Maybe we do, but let's be sure of the value we're losing compared to what we'll get.
It's time to get rid of caucuses or mass meetings. They tend to bring out the crazies and accomplish nothing but give a disproportionate number of delegates to anyone with a talent for inciting radicals. Theoretically it would be a great system if more people got involved, but with the constant barrage of political rhetoric bouncing from so many electronic devices in our modern world, far too many people pay little attention to any of it any more. That leaves a handful of people (in my district twenty-two) to make the decisions concerning candidates and philosophy that affect us all. With modern electronic voting, there's no reason the Primary can't list a dozen candidates if that many file to run for an office.
It's time to hang up on phony pollsters with carefully loaded questions. It's time to drop the insults and innuendos. I want candidates who run on their own records, their own goals and accomplishments, their own ideals and standards. A candidate who begins insulting his/her opponent instead of telling me his/her own ideas loses my vote.
I'm all for getting out the vote, but perhaps I'm one of those dreaded elitists. I object to dragging people to the polls who haven't bothered to study the issues. As an election judge I saw too many instances where some group loaded up a busload of people who merely wanted an outing and told them who to vote for as the price of the ride. I saw a severely mentally handicapped young man hand his ballot to his mother, who filled it out, then dropped it in the ballot box along with her own. If you really don't care who is elected or what the issues are, stay home and let those who do care do the voting. I don't want uninformed, do what they're told, or lazy voters deciding issues affecting my life.
Okay, I'll sit down and be quiet now. It's just that I care about this country and I'm fed up with lies, with fourth estate complicity, people who don't value freedom, the lack of character in public office holders, people who are more concerned with being on the winning side than on the right side, politicians and causes that fragment our society, and the willingness of the majority to fold in the face of a strident minority. I want to see more patriotism, more voters who make their own decisions, and more Americans who demand accountability from their elected officials. I want Americans who take pride in being Americans.