02 June 2008

Deceive the people, manipulate the people, ignore the people

Despite the “of the people, by the people, for the people” upon which our country is supposedly founded, we’ve given it up. We gave it up as soon as we started depending on political parties to make our decisions. Just look at the primary system. We get to go out and voice our opinion on who we want as the candidate. Then the “Father Figure” DNC takes our opinions under consideration, but makes sure there is wiggle room by granting these “super delegates” It is all based on the, unfortunately all too true, assumption that U.S. citizens aren’t smart enough to make the right choice. The accusations of elitism have been flung repeatedly at Obama, but nobody seems to mention the inherent elitism of a system that doesn’t even trust our ability as a society to make a decision. However, despite my agreement that the general populace of our country is uninformed and possibly unable to make an intelligent decision, I am very much against any system that over rides their opinions because of that. Instead of disenfranchising them, we should be actively working to inform the uninformed so that they can make an intelligent decision. And if that decision is different than mine, then so be it.

And what is the right decision? And for who? For the party? For the country? Which is more important? I’d like to think that we as a society could choose a candidate who is right for the country, even if that candidate isn’t right for one of the parties. When we look at the political process as strictly an Us vs Them competition, we do a great injustice to our country as a whole. I find it very likely that the best candidate for any given office is not the best candidate for the party. Not all Democrats are right and not all Republicans are wrong. But, until we admit that and work within a construct based upon that idea we’re never really going to be able to “reach across the aisle” and do what is best for the country. There will always be deep seated, strong, fundamental differences of opinion on what is the best path forward for our country and what is the best way to follow that path. We won’t all agree. We’re not supposed to. But, we can’t even begin to think about what is best for the country, when we are so busy worrying about what is best for a particular party. When you’re permanently focused on the party, and the power of the party, then you are, by definition, not focused on the country. They’re not the same thing. The US is not the Republican Party and it’s not the Democratic Party. It’s the US.

Furthermore, what kind of BS is this stupidity where you have to be a registered member of the party to vote. Is the Democratic Party that unwilling to accept support from anyone outside the party? Is my support of and belief in a Democratic candidate lessened simply because I’m not registered as a Democrat? Does the Democratic Party truly believe that they are better off without my vote? Or does the Democratic Party truly believe that it is essential that all Democratic voters willingly adhere to all tenets of the Democratic Party platform? Must I be so enamoured of the Democratic Party, and all it’s ideas and programs and efforts, that I be registered as a Democrat? And what if I’m not? What if I agree with some aspects of the Party but not others? What if I support candidate A in race X, but not candidate B in race Y? Am I thus unimportant and my vote not necessary? That’s what the Democratic Party is saying when it bans non registered Democrats from voting in the primary. There also seems to be an underlying assumption that you should vote a straight ticket, no? Otherwise why would I need to be a registered Democrat? Is it such a scary idea to think that I might vote for a Democrat in one race, a Progressive in the second, and *gasp* a Republican in the third? How else would my state end up with a solidly Democratic Legislature and a Republican Governor for a third time? I’m greatful that I live in a state where I do not have to register for a particular party to participate in that party’s presidential primary.

While we’re discussing this registered Democrat phenomenon, I find it extremely ironic that the Democratic party is touting the fact that so many Republicans are supposedly switching parties to vote for Obama. At the same time, in many states you must be a registered Democrat to vote in the Democratic primary. I guess that crossed party lines vote isn’t as important as they make it out to be, considering they are so insistent on getting registered Democrats. I just find it totally mind boggling that we are so caught up in this party nonsense. A candidate is a candidate is a candidate. Some are good, some are bad. Some are better and one is the best. Vote for the best one. Make a logical choice based on the things you hold to be most important and the candidate who will best address those issues. Don’t just depend on the party label the candidate happens to be wearing. I can tell you from experience, there are times when a flaming socialist is the best candidate and gets the most done. And there are times when the Democratic party needs to be smart enough to not run a candidate if they really want the best candidate to win.

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