Posted by: susanideus | October 19, 2008

Politics 2008

It’s less than three weeks until the 2008 Presidential election.  That’s not long until the all of the campaigning stops and we turn to the ballot boxes of America.  In some ways, it will be a relief that the ads are over.  Yet, I worry about what will happen as the voting begins.  There has been so much misinformation and malice spread by both parties.  What have voters been given to believe and, more importantly to believe in?  Who can be trusted?  How can we know for sure?

Alas, politics, like all of life, is not clear cut.  Sometimes, we have to do the best we can with what we are given.  This year, it’s been a mixed bag at best. We can help ourselves by studying the issues and by trying to separate the factual from the false.  It takes some time to do that, but don’t all things that are worthwhile?

We could decide to stay home and not vote.  After all, it’s really the Electoral College that decides the final outcome, right?  We could say our vote doesn’t matter.  But, what if 20% or even 50% of us decide to stay home?  Whose votes are then going to be tallied for the electors to work with?  They will have 20% or 50% less who believe in whatever ideology the stay-at-homers espouse.  Maybe that will give your choice or my choice a leg up, but will it matter?  If citizens don’t vote, we will never have a chance to get back to a truly representative government.  Argue that fact if you will, but the opinions of non-voters count for nothing.

Our country is clearly in trouble.  Just take a look on all the negative things going on right now:

  • We have a very expensive war going on; however you feel about the wisdom or folly of it. Our coffers are being drained to help a country which has a lot of money, and men, to help itself.
  • There are so many Americans who have no health insurance, and one horrible illness costs them everything they have. That’s just wrong.
  • There are many hundreds, maybe thousands, still reeling from the recent Hurricane Ike who have no place to live-and almost that many still trying to recover from Katrina. That is shameful in a country like America. FEMA has become a joke and not a nice one.
  • Are we having an energy crisis or not? It depends on who you ask. Of course, gasprices have gone down lately, but we’re still not producing enough of our own energy. Who will work on that issue? Has anyone really looked at West Texas? Do they realize how many wind turbines that precious desolate area could support?
  • Our economic situation is deplorable, and for the common man, quite scary. Bailouts may help, but how did those big companies who pay multi-million dollar salaries to their CEO’s, get to this point? “Business as usual” on Wall Street and in corporate board rooms should have halted long ago. At the very least, someone in the government should be trying to figure out what happened and how, so we are not throwing good money after bad. (You know, I could use a bailout right about now-where do I get in line?)
  • On the international front, America has lost much of its credibility of late. The war was started badly, with not much diplomacy or advice from those who would be our allies. Our economic crisis is causing worldwide panic. Our election campaign has drawn ridicule from European leaders. We need to have these countries on our side again.

Is there one man or one party who can fix everything that’s wrong?  Of course not.  And, as a friend reminded me, regardless of who is elected, there is no magic bullet, no course of action that will effect immediate change.  There needs to be significant changes made and those take time.  They also will take bi-partisan efforts, just people helping the people they represent.  If that doesn’t happen, we need to call them on it.

On the other hand, are we appreciative enough of what we do have?  In how many places could I be in big trouble for writing this?  We have our freedoms, and for that we should be very thankful.  I am.  We are still a wealthy nation, and we have much more than the majority of the world’s people.  I’m grateful.  However, the truth is that we can do better and we can be better.  That’s a lot to ask of one man, our president.  He’ll need the help and support of his God, his Cabinet, his closest advisors, the entire Congress, and all of his constituents.  That would be us.

Our country is faltering and we can only hope some change will be better than the status quo.  That last reminds me of something that truly bothers me.  I am so tired of hearing that if I criticize my government or disagree about the war, I’m not a patriot.  I thought that was what this is all about–the freedom to be able to express ourselves.  No one dare say I don’t love my country, and that is reflected in the depth of my fear and concern for it.

So I will be in line to vote.  I hope the lines are long.  This is important.

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