Election Angst and Woes

I don’t like to write about politics very much, mainly because I tend not to follow them as closely as I should, and I don’t like to sound uninformed. But I feel that as election day begins in mere hours, I had to write something. Unfortunately, it probably sounds a bit angsty and woeful.

I had planned on trying to lay out unbiased facts for the two main presidential candidates, planned on offering balanced information and presenting my thoughts in a way to educate. But I realized what I wanted to say has little to do with either candidate and more to do with issues I have with elections and campaigns that neither Obama or Romney, or any future candidate can fix. I’m not aiming to change anyone’s mind, but there are a few opinions I needed to get out there, for whomever cares to continue reading.

ONLY ONE MAN

The presidential election draws people in and gives more people a reason to pay attention and care about what is going on politically, domestically and around the world. It forces more facts to rise to the surface, exposes more lies and solidifies more truths, and it provides an opportunity for people to get involved in democracy. It is treated as the most important election, but I don’t think the president is the most important position to vote for. The president is only one man (or woman one day) and cannot change policy without some very important people: your senators and representatives. These are the people you should pay attention to and vote for. There are 100 Senators and 435 Representatives in the Senate and House, respectively. And these people have no term limit. Their job is to listen to their constituents–YOU–and create the laws that are voted on. (If you don’t remember how that works, learn about that here.) My point is simply that these are the people with the power. 535 to 1. These are the politicians who bicker and argue (perhaps bribe and bargain) and write the laws. If you want someone who will do what you want, talk to these people, vote for these people, and follow what they’re doing. In seventh grade, we wrote letters about our concerns as constituents and sent them to our local town hall president, state senators and representatives, national senators and representatives, and the president. We heard back from everyone except the president. And we were 12-13 years old. They’ll listen.

The president has a tough job, taking the fame and the blame. They can make a difference, but they can’t do it alone. So, if you care about real change, think locally and vote locally. Get involved and learn about the people who represent you, your town and your state and start there.

TIRED OF PARTISANSHIP

The thing that drives me absolutely crazy is how partisan our nation is. Our news, our education, our laws. I wish there could be politicians that actually cared about the good of the nation and stuck to that ideal. I would much rather vote for a politician who sometimes voted against his/her own party because they believed that the other option was better for their constituents than one who always voted for their party’s plan no matter what. I am tired of having candidates carry beliefs that align with their party because that’s the way it is. Why can’t there be a middle ground? Why can’t candidates stop arguing in black and white with blatantly grey issues?

I don’t like to affiliate myself with any one party. I never have, and I was lucky enough to grow up in a home that discussed political issues as issues and not as partisan beliefs. Each candidate was given equal scrutiny, and that is how I like to take every election. But it has gotten harder and harder to do so. I am both liberal and conservative, but I have come to realize that certain issues have pushed me to align with the Democratic party more often than not because I find them to be less extreme, less threatening to human rights, and (seemingly) more inclined to help all races and classes of people. Even if I agreed with Romney’s economical agenda, I could not vote for a candidate who believes he knows what is best for women or wants to deny same-sex marriage. These are beliefs shared by most Republicans, and it’s unfortunate that it feels as if the Republican candidate must endorse these beliefs because of their party affiliation. (I know this goes for Democrats, too, and it’s equally as upsetting.) I wish I could feel politicians–on both sides–could honestly say they do what they do for the benefit of the entire country instead of what their party demands of them. More than anything, I think this constant battle of “this party thinks this” and “this party thinks that” so “if you’re Democrat you must believe this” and “if you’re Republican you must do that” is detrimental to the success of our country.

CAMPAIGN FUNDING

I’ll be brief. This is simply ridiculous. According to opensecrets.org (and this is only one source), the amount spent on this campaign is as follows:

Obama: $540,812,931.00

Romney: $336,399,297.00

This is probably not completely accurate to the dollar, but that is a shit ton of money spent to persuade people to vote for you. Want to honestly know what I think about campaign spending? Raise the money and put it towards the nation’s deficit. And this is just for the presidential election. Add in elections for the other 535 spots in Congress, and I bet that would be a couple billion dollars. If I had time, I would do the math, and I still might. I think we should rethink where our financial priorities lie. Why cut tax deductibles, why raise taxes? Just ask people to donate money to your cause and then give it back to the nation.

VOTE. BUT BE EDUCATED.

And finally, I know apathy hits a lot of people, but your vote does matter. And voting as an educated voter is extremely important. Do not vote for a candidate because you were raised Republican/Democrat. Do not vote for a candidate because your friend told you to. Do not vote for a candidate because at the voting booth you realise that one name sounds better than the other. Watch the news. Watch the debates. Sift through the vast amount of information available to you on the web. We live in an age where you can find out anything you want to if you look hard enough. Discuss these things with people at work, at school, your family and friends. 

The first polls will open in about six hours. You’re vote is probably–hopefully–decided by now (unless you’re a fool like this person), but if it’s not, please make sure you know the facts about the candidate you’re voting for. Vote. But be educated.

SOME FAVOURITE STORIES AND VIDEOS

For your perusal:

47 percent

Mitt Romney Debates Himself

Second debate fact check 

Issue by Issue (satire)

Collegehumor-Romney Style

Paul Ryan workout

President Clinton explains Romney’s $5 Trillion Tax Cut

Spending federal money to help nation immoral

Zomney apocalypse