Warning – I’m On My Soapbox

I was going to start this off with a photo of all the political signs in one of my neighbor’s yards. Since one of the signs is for Michele Bachmann, I can tell we’re not going to be friends and I now have a list of who not to vote for based on their collection of signs.

But I forgot my camera on my walk with Java and you probably don’t want to see any more signs for candidates anyway.

I hesitated to reflect on the election in my blog, but this isn’t intended to be about which way you should vote. I’m just wondering if anyone else is getting the heeby jeebies about the way politics are going. It seems like things get nastier by the minute and it worries me.

I don’t like the extremes on either side of the parties. I long for the days when I voted for people, not parties.

As for all the finger pointing about who wrecked the economy and who’s doing all the wrong things to try and fix it, I’d like to take a reality check. It took a long time for things to get so bad in this country. I think it actually started with Reaganomics. So it’s going to take a long time to make improvements — not to get back to the way things were, but to make real improvements. There are no quick fixes for this.

I don’t understand blaming the government for every difficulty we run into and I don’t want to turn the tables and put all the blame on the American public either. It’s a joint venture. People complain about the government not doing enough, and then complain about “big government” trying to take over their lives. Oh, and it’s not the fault of the gay population either (oops, a bit of sarcastic opinion slipped in). Years of thinking we could do whatever we want, have whatever we want and not suffer any consequences seems to be the true culprit.

I’m not trying to say that everything that happened to people was their fault. People lost jobs, then they lost their homes. It’s been awful and scary. As I watched what was happening to some of the people I know and many of the stories I read about, I realized how close to living under a bridge I could be.

What disturbs me is the people who are not really hurting like that, the ones that are well able to take care of their basic needs and then some, yet they are still crying wolf.

I used to want to go into politics. I took classes. I went to the capital to watch congress in action. I went to hearings. I visited my state senator and representative. I volunteered at rallies.

What I saw during that time convinced me that I had more power to get things done and to make a difference in the world if I wasn’t in government. Even if a politician has good intentions, once elected, they seem to discover that all the good intentions in the world are not going to make things happen. It’s a game. And it shouldn’t be because they are playing with people’s lives and the most vulnerable people seem to end up being the biggest losers.

I know it seems like the wrong people just keep getting into office so why bother to vote? Where I live, I pretty much know that the person I vote for is not going to be elected for my district. I take that back. There is a candidate I’m voting for that will probably be elected. He’s one of the few, maybe the only, moderates left in the United States.

But I am stuck with Michelle Bachmann for what appears to be forever and every time she’s elected I just shake my head and wonder if there’s something in the air that is sucking the brains out of people’s heads.

(Okay, that was a rather strong opinion. Sorry.)

Alas, the governor race is also a nightmare. Once again, it’s down to who’s NOT the WORST candidate on the ballet. And for the first time in my life, that isn’t a clear choice either.

So yeah, I’m frustrated too. Frustrated that not enough intelligent, imaginative, caring people run for office. That money to send out the most sound-bites and flyers is what buys a person a government office. That both political parties have veered so far from the center that they can no longer communicate with each other.  They seem to have forgotten what the words “negotiation”, “problem solve”, and “compromise” mean. Oh, and respect and good manners, it’d be nice if they remembered those too.

But I will still vote. And in between elections, I will do what I can to stay informed, write letters to my representatives, and do the little stuff to make community improvements (like get bike racks in our city), and whatever else I can dream up to help where I see that help is needed.

Regardless of where you lean politically, I hope you’ll take time to vote this Tuesday. A friend recently forwarded me an e-mail about what women went through, fighting to get the right to vote. The fight was long and hard. Women were jailed and brutalized. Not to be bossy, but please don’t let their sacrifices be for nothing.

Please be informed, be involved, open a door for a mother carrying her kid, pick up garbage on the street and toss it in the trash, and smile at the cashier who’s probably had a rough day. It does matter.

I’m stepping down from my soapbox now and hoping my message comes through in the light in which it was intended.

7 Comments

  1. Rock on Maery! I am writing in my own name for Governor..I figure I am way better that the choice we have..or don’t have…sad.
    I do think it is important to vote..and it is also important to hold those in office accountable..for their expenses..and for their voting records:)

  2. As you know from my Journal, we are very involved in the political scene. I agree with you in many ways…you can’t fix a serious mess overnight and it gets even worse if you don’t try to help. What a nasty campaign season. There can be no change without participation. VOTE.
    I’m sorry that you are left without a choice that you can live with. So many people are brainwashed! Let’s see what today brings.

  3. Amen sister. We have a former Judge who is the worst of the worse and also a pedophile who is the only candidate runnin’ for prosecuting attorney. What is wrong with this picture???

    I do believe many enter politics with the best of intentions and find out how little power they actually have as the ‘new’ guy/gal.

    No matter how slim my choices are I will always cast my vote. The way I see it others have shed blood and lost lives to I have the opportunity to fill in my ballot.

    God bless you sweetie and have a beautiful day!!!

  4. I voted, and, in my state, I’ve been in the majority more often than I expected. Surprise! Our new governor ran a totally positive race – I love it! I won’t start about the many ugly aspects to this election… but thanks for reminding everyone to vote and do the little but important stuff.

  5. Far Side – A recount! I wasn’t expecting that. I hope there isn’t a bunch of whining on this one. I really thought the race would be between Dayton and Horner.

    Lori – At least a few of the people I voted for were elected. I’m actually most worried about the City Council as they are making some major decisions on developing what has thus far been unused land with the usual strip mall, grocery stores, and other ugliness. I’d prefer they preserve the bike trails, trees and river front that exists on the land as they are now.

    Dog Geek – I look at it as that if I vote, I have more of a right to talk about the issues and be further involved versus just complaining without having taking part in the process.

    Nezzy – I know. Some of the candidates are sleeze balls. Their actions don’t live up to their speeches. I don’t get it. I took a class on lobbying, thinking it was a good way to be involved in issues I care about but I didn’t like the suggested tactics. It seemed so manipulative and dishonest.

    KB – Glad to hear there are some positive races out there. I received a daily flyer from one candidate slandering her opponent and playing into people’s fears. It made me sick not to mention that I think there should be some restrictions on how much money can be spent to get elected to even out the playing field.

  6. Wonderfully heartfelt post, Maery. Thanks for sharing your soapbox opinions and feelings. You are right on, sistah! And if you were in the running for political office, I’d be sure to vote for you.

    Go girl!

    ~Lisa

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