I was sincerely hoping to avoid one of these this election season. Unfortunately, it wasn't in the cards. So here comes the preface:
This is a political post. I am going to state my political opinions herein. I am going to likely offend someone. I'd apologize, but I'm entitled to my opinion. If you disagree with me, that is okay. I am all about civilized discussion. If you want to be a stubborn, bull-headed pain in my rear and call me names, I will not tolerate it. Period. So lets get the names out of the way. Yes, I am a liberal, left wing, tree-hugging, witchcraft practicing, let's install a solar power generator to power my stove to cook my organic food, gay flag waving huge heathen lesbian bleeding heart liberal. There. See. I know I am. Let's get on to the civilized discussion.
Right. Its this time of year, well, every couple of years, and every four years especially that I find myself really irritated with the public at large and with the people who are politically active in general.Part of it has to do with the fact that I can't watch television without seeing a political ad. Part of it is I can't sit down to dinner without some politician or PAC or whatever calling me to tell me about the evils of the particular candidate on THE OTHER SIDE. Part of it is I have flyers in my door, pamphlets in my mail and signs stuck in my yard...I don't want any of them. I really don't. Here's why-
I am a grown ass adult who is capable of researching, fact checking and making my own decision when it comes to electoral politics. I really can. What irritates me is that most people are not. Most people don't know anything about their candidates when they go to vote their straight party ticket. That's their choice. If they want to vote the party line, that's okay. God knows, most of the time I do. Most of the time.
I find myself irritated though, because people start spouting off party or political rhetoric without any regard to fact checking, truth, or sometimes how they even feel about the issue. It pisses me off. Its especially bad on facebook. Really bad there. And I sometimes wonder how people have the nerve to post the shit they do. It makes them look like complete assholes, and ignorant to boot.
Take the current election as a great example. Now most of us know that the laws are actually passed by congress. Its true. Check the constitution. Its there, I read it about five minutes ago. Now, I have the utmost respect for President Obama. I think he is a good man, and I think he has the potential to become a very great president. Here's the problem- both with him and Former Governor Romney- THEY DON'T WRITE THE LAWS. I love a good debate. I think tonight's on foreign policy should be interesting, because President's do have an effect on foreign policy. But nothing gets my goat like listening to them tell me all about their job's plans and their social security plans and their medicare plans and how they are going to address my rights as a woman when the truth of the matter is, all they can do is ask congress to work towards a certain goal, maybe even propose those goals, but in the end they only get to sign the legislation that they did not write because it had to be written and sponsored and voted through both the house and senate before they ever get a chance to make that bill law.
I'm going to say that again for emphasis. Congress makes the laws. Congress sponsors and writes the bills. Congress passes the bills. If congress does not pass the bill the president never gets to touch it. NOT ONCE.
So why all the fuss about the Presidential Election?
Truly, I do think its important, because presidents get to do things like nominate supreme court justices- and those guys are on the bench for life. And they do have an effect on my day to day life. Look at Roe v. Wade, look at Brown vs. Board of Education, look at them taking up the matter of gay marriage on the high court level. I want those judges to be on my team, voting my party ticket, thank you very much. Now, do I want them to pay attention to the letter of the law? You bet. But when it comes to political interest, the law is flexible, and so is its interpretation. I want a president in office whose going to choose someone who has my rights in mind.
The president gets to pass executive orders too. And those are important and little spoken of. But they should be. If you want to see how much a president does on a day to day basis, look at his executive orders. See what it takes for a person to work each day to help run the federal government. A productive president has a whole lot of EO's.
Presidents are influential. They set the tone of an administration. They negotiate and handle statesmanship duties, which I appreciate because believe me, some of our members of the legislature don't need to be talking to foreign ministers. They just don't. I know, too, that if a president disagrees with a bill, they can veto it, and that's a lot of power.
Here's the thing, though. NO ONE EVER GETS EXCITED ABOUT CONGRESSIONAL ELECTIONS.
I do. Believe me. Because the person that takes the senate and house of representative seats for my state is the person who is speaking with my voice. I want it to be my words coming out of their mouth. Right now, my senator is up for re-election. Her name is Clair McCaskill, and I honestly like what she does. I've followed her work, and her accomplishments since she was first elected to the federal government. I'm proud to have her from my state. She is currently running against a Republican named Todd Akin. You might remember him because of his little debacle on live television talking about pregnancy and rape. Obviously, I don't want this man speaking for me. If every single person who got fired up about presidential politics got fired up about their national and state legislative races, if they were truly informed, politics in the US would be wildly different. Mark me on that. Because the people who actually make the laws would be the ones we would be holding accountable. The people who make the laws would be the ones we are grilling about their policies and how they represent our choices and freedoms.
But outside of the obvious implications of the fact that most of the people I speak to about the elections have already formed their opinions, or don't care, or are so terribly misinformed about the political process in general there are some things that have been weighing heavily on my mind. And these are things, I will admit, that are probably only things that irritate me because I am a liberal. So bear that in mind. However, I'd like to point out:
The phrase "Gun Control" is not equivalent to "Lets Repeal the 2nd Amendment." I get really fucking sick of listening to people tell me the moment a democrat is elected that they're going to go bury their guns in their back yard so some crazy, mythic, black ops all Democrat mob can't come steal their guns away. Please. This sort of hysteria is the stuff that political campaigns dream of. They want you afraid and hysterical. Let me tell you something. I am a democrat. I own a gun. I own knives. I own all sorts of fun hunting toys that I will gladly make recreational use of and possibly make other use of if someone takes it upon themselves to cross my threshold with the intent to infringe on the autonomy of me or anyone in my family. You fucking bet I will. And I believe that's my right. BUT I also believe the state has the right to make sure that I am a sane, mentally competent person before they let someone sell me a gun. If they did, I would be a lot less likely to have to use my gun to shoot anything other than a squirrel, deer or paper target. And please, please spare me the drivel about regulating the types of guns being sold. You don't need an AK47 to shoot a deer. That weapon is designed to kill people in military combat. If you want one, join the fucking military. I'll wear a flag pin just for you. Seriously, I get so angry when people rant and rave about how we allow gang violence, and how cops get killed and how crime is on the rise and then they get all pissed off when someone suggests that maybe, just maybe, the socially responsible thing to do is make sure that gun shops don't hand out automatic weapons like they're candy on Halloween. I hate to say this, but you don't get it both ways.
Terrorism is not a political issue. Its not. Terrorism is shitty. It is. And it effects the way we run our country. But let me tell you something- there is no way to prepare for terrorism. There isn't. That's the point of terrorism. That they strike when you aren't looking, where you don't suspect, and the fear of them literally strikes terror into you. There is only one answer to "how do you feel about terrorism?" and that, if you are sane, is "terrorism is fucking awful." Here's what we should be talking about- diplomacy, international relations, how we are viewed by the rest of the world, who our allies are and how we deal with terrorists in a safe but humane way, because torture isn't an option. ( I assume if you're okay with torture, you've either stopped reading or are just plain punishing yourself. Or you're working up an awesome retort to my points) These things, my friends, are called foreign politics, and they're very important. And truthfully, I think most Americans forget that no, we aren't the only civilized country in the world. No, we aren't the only democracy. In fact, we're not even the best one. Sorry, that's the truth. I'm not saying I don't love living in the US. I do. But there are other places where the democratic process itself works better. I truly believe that the biggest problem with America is Americans. I get so sick of people saying shit like "We're America damn it. They should respect us." Why? Why? Because we make a lot of shit? Because we're a democracy? Because we have a huge GDP? Because our land mass is bigger? Fuck that. England is less than the size of my state and it has been and still is just as, if not more, powerful than the US is now. What do we do that makes us worth respecting. That's what I want to know. And frankly, none of the things that make us a country worth respecting have been election issues any time since I've been able to vote. And truly, out of all of the "civilized" and "developed" countries- we're one of the youngest. We're still a teenager. And maybe, just maybe, it wouldn't be such a bad idea to take a leaf out of the books of some of the countries that have been around literally since Jesus was born. Just sayin'. (though maybe financial advice from Greece wouldn't be too sweet right now)
And Freedom. Sweet Jesus, Mary and Jospeh, I am so sick of hearing about freedom. Let me tell you why- the people I listen to who screech about freedom have every fucking freedom in the world. I am tired of Republicans telling me that I am trying to take away their liberties. Please, someone, explain to me how me being able to marry a woman, or have an abortion, or buy contraception, or get government assistance for health insurance takes away your freedom. Because I don't think it does. I think you disagree with it. Bully for you. You're allowed to. But let me explain: me having a freedom does not take away one of yours. You think gays shouldn't get married? Sweet. Don't be gay. Or if you are gay, don't get married. You think abortion is murder? Cool. Don't get one. You think that contraception is a form of abortion? Okay. Don't put your teenage daughter on the pill (and while you're at it, give her the abstinence talk, because you won't let her sit in on those family life films that explain about things like STDs) You are completely and totally free to do all of those things. Awesome. You not choosing to do those things is your right. It is also your right to think that I am going to hell if I am going out and having lesbian sex using a dental dam i picked up at a government clinic the week after I get an abortion.
Here's where my rights come in. Because I should be able to do or not do all of those things. I should. And the argument about whether or not I can do all of those things is almost always based in someone's religion. And its not mine. I promise you that. Because my religion says that if I am not harming someone, and it is for the purpose of my higher will, I can do it. And I know that's not the most common belief out there. Don't get me wrong. I like a lot of Christians. I think there's a huge bunch of moral, good ones out there. But the fact is, I don't want them using their faith to make laws I have to live by. Because its not my faith, and its against the law for them to dictate my moral beliefs. Period.
The problem is, everyone is so concerned about their "rights" but what they really mean is that they should not have to live in a world with people who have different ideas or moral beliefs than they do. That somehow, witnessing any other person doing something their religion or morals don't agree with diminishes the faith that they live by. Sorry folks, that means your religion sucks. And so does your faith. Because me, in my own corner, doing my own thing, has absolutely zero effect on you or your god or your religion. And if it does- if it truly does- maybe you should be having a talk with god, because one of the two of you got it wrong somewhere.
I'm all politic-ed out. Relieved, aren't you? I'll probably fire up again soon. But right now I have another debate to watch. Even if I have made up my mind. Its nice to be informed, right?
Constructive comments and thoughts below!