Once again a Facebook discussion has caused me angst and started me thinking. So I end up here–posting on my blog to “set the record straight”. The trouble is I am slowly becoming cynical. I have actually begun to doubt whether or not we as a country will ever again have honest intelligent discourse focused on an exchange of ideas meant to address and solve the problems we face without resorting to fear mongering, name calling, and inflammatory rhetoric which ends up getting us nowhere. Grr…
For all our education we as a nation fail to think critically. For all our freedom we fail to function out side the box. For all our wealth we fail to be generous. And for all our religion we fail to look with compassion at “the other”. We are narrow minded, closed off, greedy, and self-centered and it truly does not matter on which side of the fence we sit, except for a couple “I”s in different places the character analysis is the same.
Of course the democrats appear to be the lesser of two evils since they care about all the correct issues–the environment, the working class poor, civil liberties, public education. But in reality their righteousness carries them about as far as the ballot box. On the other side of the election, just like the republicans, the dems mostly work to keep their benefactors happy. Just to give you an idea of who some of those benefactors might be: President Obama’s biggest campaign contributors in 2008 included Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, General Electric, J P Morgan Chase and Co., Microsoft, Stanford University, and Time Warner. To date Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have both received over a million dollars in campaign contributions from each of the same nine categories including securities and investment groups, real estate, lawyers and law firms, and healthcare professionals.
One might think with all their “financing” similarities our representatives in Washington might actually get something accomplished. Yet both sides continue to posture and pose and point fingers but make little to no progress toward solving any problems. Personally, I believe Washington is afraid. Primarily they’re afraid to offend those who hold the purse strings but they’re also afraid to offend the electorate since offending either could mean losing their “position”. The trouble is the money and the voters want different things. The trouble is our representatives–can’t–not without risking their jobs. And, no one wants to be unemployed for the sake of truth telling, serious dialogue, and genuine problem solving.
I get that for most republicans all things abortion are evil. But, where’s their support for those ideas that might make the option to follow through with a pregnancy more attractive, like work place or school sponsored childcare or affordable prenatal care? I get that for most democrats anything threatening “a woman’s right to choose” is forbidden. But, where are the studies to show us what the long term physical and emotional effects are of having one or more abortions, and how fertility is impacted by various birth control methods? Where are the studies about the effect of oral contraceptives on the general population due to the fact that our treatment plants can’t filter them out of our drinking water? Where is the information that would actually help us to choose more wisely?
The questions I just asked represent just one of dozens of issues our political system is afraid to face. And, lining up on one side of the issue or the other and having a slogan filled shouting match hasn’t worked. These issues are complicated. We need more than sound bit discussions to sell to entertainment “news” outlets.
According to the census bureau in the 2008 election 64 percent of those eligible to vote did so, 71 percent were registered. If the 36 percent who could have but didn’t vote formed a party they’d win the next election. But many of them said they didn’t vote because their vote didn’t really matter. Even if only the 7 percent who were registered to vote but didn’t vote had votedas a group almost every election could have gone differently. The average person doesn’t have enough money to wield financial power in a given campaign. But we each have a voice and we each have a vote and we can make our voices heard by using our votes. Our representatives need to be told that we expect solutions. We expect answers. We expect them to do their jobs NOT just collect their pay checks. And if they don’t do what we elect them to do we will give their jobs to someone willing to give us more than excuses, and slogans!