Over the course of this year I’ve written about presidential politics, gubernatorial candidates who remind me of “Bob, the Enzyte Guy,” and local office holders who have resigned due to gross incompetence. The effect of discussing these issues was more than just to poke fun. It was an attempt to engage you, the reader. Why do I care so much about politics and why should you? Because, politics is life.
Like death and taxes, politics is the third irrefutable law of life. Speaking of which, politics is law. What do I mean by politics is law? An example of this would be the Jim Crow laws that, even after the Civil War and Reconstruction period, still disenfranchised a segment of Americans due to their race. Only after the political unrest of the ’60s, that pressured the Johnson administration into promoting reform, did Civil Rights laws come about that struck down these practices of racial discrimination.
Politics is infused into everything we do. The economy, environment, and our nation’s infrastructure are all in near-ruin because of a complete lack of political willpower over the past decade. This failure by our politicians is largely due to distracting issues that have little or no actual importance to our personal security or the matters listed previously, but they sure are divisive and make for good 30-second attack ads.
I’m speaking of course about issues like Monica Lewinski, gay marriage amendments, and recently, flag lapel pins. These distractions have served politicians and duped the general public into thinking they actually matter, and instead of spending time solving issues of actual importance, our elected leaders and the public in general, spend their days bickering over John Kerry’s “French-ness” or George Bush’s man-crush on Dick Cheney.
All politics is local. It’s a cliché, I know, but it couldn’t be truer. Think about the last time you said or heard someone else say, “Why should I vote, it doesn’t matter.” I know the media don’t help this popular line of thought, especially when they predict winners of elections without any of the actual results in. Yet, herein lies the problem. So many of us are disenfranchised because we think all of our elected leaders are either incompetent, feckless thugs or both. And because the media rarely report on things when they are running well, you never hear about the good deeds done by our leaders or their offices. Case in point, I’ve been interning this quarter for U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D – WA). Every day I work at the senator’s office, I help local people. Whether they need assistance with a government agency like the VA or IRS, or want to discuss their concerns over a bill the senator may be voting on. Recently, I helped a kind lady get her coupon for a digital TV converter and walked her through the installation process. Helping average people is a regular occurrence in many of the government offices every day, but they are rarely discussed. Only when a lawmaker comes down on the opposite side of an issue from them do people ever get involved.
Politics is a numbers game. The more people involved, the more open and inclusive the process and the better the outcome. When politics is secretive, voter turnout is low, the will of a few overcomes the complacent mindset of the many.
Republicans, especially recently, have used this information to their advantage, as numerous polls and history indicate. In important elections where the issues are discussed in the open, the more voters who participate, the more likely the results will be in favor of the Democrats or “left-leaning” positions. This is why Republicans (who have been out-registered by Democrats 2:1) are overwhelmingly nervous about the upcoming elections in November.
In regard to the national election that will put a senator into the White House, I’ll say this: all of the candidates who have made it this far are well-intentioned people. All the political phoniness and pandering aside, not one of these individuals wants to hurt us or do wrong. They all have different ways of achieving what they think is the best course for our country and our planet. The people running for president have shaken a million hands, kissed a few hundred thousand babies, they have met real Americans and been confronted with real differences of opinion; they all have a vision for how the world is and how it could be. Hopefully when you vote, and I hope you do, you’ll vote for the candidate who will best represent your interests, ideals, and at times will show real leadership and challenge the path of least resistance.
And that’s what my writing is all about – politics is life. You can never escape the effects of politics, no matter how far removed you attempt to be. When it comes down to it, you can be someone who embraces this fact, one who learns about important issues, gets involved, and participates; or you can be someone who feels that no matter what, the government is always out to screw you over, every politician is dishonest and that your vote doesn’t matter. You’ll find these people are often the first to complain about lots of facets in their life, not just politics.
Hopefully my vain attempts to piqué your interest in politics has paid off and you will engage yourself not just in the hot topic of the day, but in the life that is all around you.