Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rock the Vote!

The government has me really ticked off lately. Usually, we sort of have an understanding: you leave me alone, and I'll leave you alone (in a very general sense, of course).

But recently, the feds have given away money like we have an entire plantation of money trees on Capital Hill that is having a bumper crop season. First, they've been "injecting the economy with cash flow."

When I hear the word "injection," I usually think of a shot. On the rare occasion, I hear of shots being administered to make someone well feel even better. But usually, shots are for someone who is sick, who needs a medication to get into their system quickly. So, I think even the government must realize our economy has some sickness that is in need of a cure.

Next, they give away $750 million to bail out some bozos, who in turn looked the proverbial gift horse in the mouth, and made sure to line their pockets quite nicely with the first chunk of change. It didn't matter that they had to run the bill through ump-teen-hundred times to get it to pass; by gum, they were going to push it through.

And, again, their choice of words: "bail out," caused me some real concern. But apparently, I'm talking to the wind.

Now, I'm seeing that they are considering another economic stimulus package. HUH??? I'm sorry. That seems a little like me overdrawing my bank account, so the bank extends my credit, and gives me cash to boot. How does this even make sense???

I am soooo not one to turn down money! It hurts to even think of saying, "No, thanks, I'm okay." But in this case, it is a short-term band aid for a gaping hole that needs stitches and major rehab.

I think one of the major problems is the "system". We have created, or allowed to have had created, a government that is so entrenched in the minutia of rubbing elbows and swapping favors, it can't get anything done.

I think the "party affiliation" is the biggest joke we have going! It's like two big unions fighting each other for the manufacturing plant staff. One says, "I'm going to do A, B, and C to make your world a perfect place." Then the other one says, "No, they won't. And even if they did, it won't be perfect. It will be awful. So I will do the exact opposite. Then your world will be perfect."

Think about it, we have two party-affiliated candidates who have been interviewed, had debates, had books and articles written about them and by them, and have media coverage in every language on millions of stations all day, every day. And yet, I can hardly tell you a thing about either one of them. I know my ideals lean more toward one side than the other.

But I've never heard a single candidate say, "I believe in this. You can count on it." They rely on their party's doctrine and ride the fence in hopes of making it all the way to the White House.

I say: NO MORE!
Let's totally revamp the political voting process.

In keeping with the electoral college, let's let each state have representation: let's nominate a single candidate from each state- either party, or no party, aside. Then have a convention Miss America style.


Each candidate would be required to compose and submit an essay between eight and ten pages in length. It should include their resume and their plans for their term in office. Specific talking points should be in plain, simple language, so we actually know their stance- not this fuzzy, shape-shifty, "who's my audience" kind of junk they're throwing at us now.

At the convention, each candidate would be asked to defend their essay and give more specific information to questions posed by a panel. There would be no "debate." (Why do we have debates anyway? No president I know of debates with foreign leaders or dignitaries. And they can present a plan in front of congress and/or senate, but no one stands on the opposing side ready to refute and rebuttal.)

During the convention at specified times, the public would be asked to come in and cast their votes. The first round would take us down to 15 candidates. The second round, down to three. Then the final round would select the winner. The runner-up would be Vice President.

I know it would take a lot of coordination for voting in a candidate for your state, then the three subsequent votes for a president/vice president. But really, how is it any harder or less cost-effective than the stupid "party conventions," followed by weeks of "hitting the campaign trail," and "drumming up support" (aka: cash)?

And after all is said and done, the President doesn't really make any laws. They advise, suggest and call in favors. They do impact foreign affairs, too. However, you can be sure we are not relying on them alone for delicate peace treaties and negotiations. There's an entire staff of people dedicated to paving the way, so that the President shows up, waves, signs some stuff and calls it a day.

So, we're really looking for someone who is smart enough to think on their feet, and tolerable enough to listen to when they address the nation. For day to day operations, they need only be shrewd enough to surround themselves with intelligent, capable people who make the President look good.

Yes, I'm jaded. Yes, I'm disillusioned. Except, I don't know that I ever really bought into it all in the first place. To me, the government sounds more like a tug-of-war between two groups who appear on the surface to be fundamentally opposed to each other. But, upon closer examination, you realize they all have a thinly hidden personal agenda that makes them not only pull on the rope, but sometimes push, and sometimes drop it all-together.

I also stand by the fact that if you let a bunch of moms up on Capitol Hill for about a month, we'd get it all taken care of. We'd send the children to their rooms for an extended "time out." We'd make everyone play nicely and share. We would explain to Billy that just because Susie has a toy doesn't mean he automatically gets one, too. We would make everyone eat their vegetables and exercise more than walking across the room to the refrigerator. We would tell the lawyers who gunk up the legal system just for the money, "Enough. This is a stupid case. Dismissed. Now, go home to your mother and tell her what you've done." And we would all get naps and milk & cookie breaks.

I hope in my lifetime I see things get better, and not any worse. I hope we don't leave our children with the legacy of debt and depleted natural resources. And I hope we find a way to make our politicians be less about campaigning and more about representing their constituents' interests.

I know- it's kind of a big dream. But, so was Democracy when it sailed over from Europe all those years ago...

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