We live in a “scandal of the day” culture now. A lot of people complain about the relentless 24/7/365 news culture. Just about everything gets taken out of context. Much of the news is more like propaganda than news. Spin is the name of the game. Both major parties are to blame. I like President Obama, but the unending “spin” from the White House is tiring. Put the facts out there and let us make up our own minds.
I don’t care which side of the political spectrum you are on. There are right-wing nut jobs as well as left-wing nut jobs. Unfortunately, it seems that many of them are coming out of the woodwork now. People who hate the government spout off anything they want, convincing uninformed people of their conspiracies, and couching it in terms of “saving” the country. (Anyone recall the “death panel” discussions?) What are we being saved from? Communism? Socialism? Government Interference in our lives? No one wants the government to interfere until they need it to interfere.
In addition, everything gets politicized. The BP Oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is a disaster for ALL of us. It is not a Democratic or Republican problem. It is an American, even global, problem.
I wish our “leaders” would spend a little more time trying to solve the nation’s problems and a lot less time trying to get re-elected. No one has the guts anymore to stand up for what is needed, despite the political cost. And with corporate lobbyists running amok on Capitol Hill and in our State Capitols, corporations are getting all the attention. Why is it unfair for BP to have to pay for the damage it has done to the Gulf? Anyone who thinks otherwise is out of their mind. (Joe Barton, I am talking to YOU!) It is making them take responsibility for an almost comedic (if it weren’t so tragic) series of mistakes, cost-cutting measures and downright incompetence. We should not be apologizing to BP. BP should be worried more about cleaning up its mess than its image.
I am getting more and more disillusioned with our government. I don’t feel like it gives a damn about me, so I understand the many other people that feel the same way. But the way to fix that is not to throw out the whole thing. We need to work on not allowing the almighty dollar to be the determinant in our daily lives. There is nothing wrong with being successful and having money. But where’s the compassion? We can give tax breaks to oil companies and corn farmers and sugar farmers, but those that are truly in need get pushed farther and farther down. This government should be for the people, not the corporations. Despite what the Supreme Court says, a corporation is NOT a person and never will be.
Most of all, we should allow people to disagree with us. A discussion does not need to turn into an argument. We should be talking about the issues – both with people that agree with us and those that disagree with us. If you never hear all points of view, how can you really think you are making an educated choice on anything?
The process of electing a President in the United States has really gotten out of hand. I think that it is high time that we make some changes to the process. There are so many areas of the whole system that are out of hand, including, but not limited to:
- The amount of money it takes to get elected
- The amount of money it takes to even be a candidate
- The amount of time spent on the campaign trail
- The lack of real choice due to the duopoly of the Republican and Democratic Parties
- The lack of involvement on the part of the general population of the country
- The Electoral College
- The Primary System
- The toll that the election takes on the positions that the people running for office already hold (especially Senators, Governors and Representatives)
I invite and welcome any and all constructive comments on the topic.
So, let’s get started. One of the biggest problems that I see with our current systems is that it takes so much money to get elected. It is estimated that the cost of the Presidential Campaign in 2008 was around $1.6 billion. Wow! There are so many better uses for that kind of money. In a period of time where every state is having to cut its budgets due to deficits, and where the federal government is running obscene deficits of over $1 trillion a year, just think about having to spend $1.6 billion on electing 1 person to office. And then, with all of that money floating around, how is it possible for the candidate not to owe something to someone? I love President Obama, but I am not naïve enough to think that he is above that kind of control. When the big pockets are open to someone, one day they will come asking for a favor. That is a problem.
Another aspect of the money issue is that only wealthy people (or those that know a lot of wealthy people) can actually get elected. Again, this is plain wrong. This weeds out so many legitimate candidates and We, the People, are the ones that end up paying. Think back to the last 4 or 5 presidential elections. Did we really have the best candidates? In 1992, it was a choice between Bill Clinton and George Bush. At the time, neither one was a good choice, in my opinion. Bill Clinton did turn out to be a great President, so at least we had that surprise.
After Clinton, the choice was Gore and George W. Bush. This choice was so bad that the election was not even decided by the people. It ended up being decided by the Supreme Court (this is a whole other issue that I will not even get into here). Then in 2004, the choice was to re-elect an incompetent George Bush or another Democrat automoton – John Kerry. I know that I was never able to get excited about John Kerry as President. Was anyone? It still ended up being a close election (tribute to just how bad of a President W was more than how good of a candidate Kerry was).
In this past election cycle, I think we got the right person elected, but it still boggles the mind to think of the amount of money that he was able to raise (and spend) to get elected.
In a future post, I will discuss some of the other problems that I see with our current Election system.
I am very happy so far with President Obama. I did vote for him in November, but he was not my first choice for President. That would be Hillary Clinton. It is a shame in a way that she did not get the chance to be the Democratic Candidate for President. She kind of got caught up in the sea of change that swept the United States; at least the desire for change. After 8 years of her husband and 8 years of George Bush, I can understand that many people wanted something new – someone whose name did not end with Bush or Clinton. But I think that, in a way, this is a real shame for our country, as well as a lost opportunity.
Barack Obama will probably be much better than George Bush was, but that is not very high of a bar, in my opinion. I disagree with almost every major decision that Bush made over the last 8 years and am very happy to see him gone.
However, I think that Hillary might have been the best candidate for the job. She has much more experience than Obama. She is familiar with life in the White House. She also knows what it is like to be on Capitol Hill. She is a brilliant woman who has lots of good ideas.
Hopefully she will be able to contribute to the Presidency of Obama as our Secretary of State. It probably will end up being a good fit for her, as her area of most expertise is foreign affairs.
What’s done is done – I am not complaining about the election of President Obama. I am actually fairly happy so far with him. I just wonder if it might not have been better for him to grow his experience in the Senate another 4 or 8 years and then make his run for President. We shall see!