Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My Political View, pt 1

I think the problem with politics isn't so much on the candidates.  I think the real problems fall heavily on the parties and the system which is in desperate need of an upgrade.  While I believe we have the best system in the world, it is far, far, far from mint.

Since I have moved to VT, I have been asked one question more often than any other; "You a Red Sox fan?"  I easily and quickly answer "no" only to get a disgusted look and an even more disgusted reply, "Don't tell me you're a Yankees fan?"  Again, I can reply "no".  Then, the person opposite me gets very confused.  The next statement out of their mouth is, "so, you don't like baseball?"  For the record, I'm an A's fan.  After mentioning this fact, I expect to hear another confused response, "who?"  That's right, the fans here think these are the only 2 teams in baseball, the only 2 worth watching, and the only 2 that can and should win.  The Mets are more like a board game that is played by candle light when it's really storming and power is out.

The political parties are just as ignorant.  Why does it have to be Republican or Democrat?  Why is that anyone who comes along with great ideas, a great track record, and great potential, they are automatically out of contention if one party doesn't choose them as their candidate?  I have heard people say, "I really like [name], but I guess I'm voting for [name] because he's the Republican and so am I."  And most of the time these people follow one party because their parents, spouses, or friends lean that way and therefore they blindly follow.  I think both parties have some great ideas and some really shitty ideas.  Why not find somebody who is the best of both worlds as opposed to whoever the party decides to puppeteer.

I am a true independent.  I try to get info on both parties, but usually end up losing interest due to grandstanding while saying nothing, mudslinging, and hearing the same lies I heard 4, 8, and 12 years ago.  (this is another point I'll tackle at a later date.)  This is the first year I've tried to put more interest in really learning about the candidates so I can really make an informed decision.  Sometimes it really is a vote for the best person for the job, and sometimes it really is just a vote for the lesser of two evils.  The later is why I have never voted.  Some in part because I am not informed enough, and others because I don't feel either candidate is worth my time, my consideration, my vote, or my gas money.  Before you hit me with, "Do you know how many people died to give you the right to vote?" speech, let me ask you How many people died to give me the right to say both these candidates are lying assholes and don't deserve my vote?  The greatest support I've seen for my reasoning is the South Park episode where they have to vote for a new school mascot.  The choices are turd or giant douche.  Stan is offended by both and decides to make his voice heard by refusing to speak on behalf of either one.

However, too many voters cast their ballot for all the wrong reasons.  Many women wanted to vote for Hillary just because she is a woman!  My mom even had people telling her she HAD to vote Hillary to show support.  Meanwhile, I have read interviews with people, even athletes, who say they don't follow politics but they will vote for Obama because he is black.  The athlete is black and so is the candidate so therefore he deserves the vote regardless of policy.  Others tell me that if I don't vote for Obama then it shows my true Southern roots as a racist.  Really?  Just because I don't like his policy, all of a sudden I now hate all black people and think that none of them can run a country or play QB in the NFL?  Absolutely ridiculous.

Before this thread becomes a novel, I will add one more thing on behalf of the system itself.  Why the hell do we still have delegates??  I can understand their usefulness back in the day when it was impossible to account for every person.  These delegates listened to the people in their area and projected the popular opinion.  However, we have such advanced technology that we can account for every person, their children, pets, income, etc but we can't count their individual vote?  My gripe in this comes from living in Vermont.  This is a blue state through and through.  For every McCain sign you see, there are 20 Obama signs.  VT has a history of being Democrat and the trend probably will continue.  This leads me to ask, if I cast a vote for McCain in Vermont, does it matter?  I ask because while it may go toward the popular vote, the delegate for my state will vote Democrat and his/her vote has a lot more power than my individual.  It is very possible to win the popular vote yet lose the election!  I thought this country was run by a government of the people, by the people, not by the state shaped groups of people.  Just cause we are in the same state, doesn't mean we feel the same.  Even if the delegates voice is chosen by only 2 votes, all the ones on the lower side get tossed.

The comedian Jeff Ross gave a great example of the problems with the two parties and their "debates".  I'm paraphrasing here.  Jeff and his friend go hippo hunting.  They sneak up on one and shoot it.  The hippo dies and falls over on them pinning them to the ground.  Instead of combining their strength and intelligence to push the hippo off them, they lie there for 5 and a half years arguing over who's choice it was to go hippo hunting in the first place!

I will wrap it up here and look for some input.  Whether they be support, criticism, or even corrections to any wrong thoughts I might have.  More to come, though!


At 9/23/2008 09:25:00 PM, Blogger Mike said...

I support Kerry Collins as Titans QB, but only because he's white. Errr, I mean... never mind.

One problem I have with the two party system is how it has worked in certain other countries. I'm no expert, but I don't need an IRA or Communist Party having any kind of power at all.

At 9/24/2008 01:09:00 PM, Blogger Chris said...

I also have debated on whether or not to vote this year, mainly because NY is also not exactly a battleground state. A vote for McCain is wasted, a vote for Obama is piling on.

But I do have the (brainwashing?) that I should vote, even though it will not make me a better person or anything. I am afraid of the line I would have to stand in just to vote. But I guess I've stood in line for less important stuff.

This is why the Presidential election should be based on the popular vote, because it would encourage voting rather than discouraging. In a race like this, which is basically even, a single vote would count more in the popular realm. But I'm in a state that is polling 55-42 in favor of Obama.

That is apparently down from a few months ago, but it's hardly something that would make you think your one vote is going to matter.

At 9/29/2008 09:39:00 PM, Blogger Mike said...

One extra thought on this; if it is decided by a national vote, the candidates will only visit the largest cities, like NYC and LA. Now they visit Ohio and Penn and Florida. Is one better than the other? I like them visiting different states.

Also, imagine a recount if the vote was close. Nationwide. That would be chaos.

I personally like the electoral college, largely for the reasons above.

At 9/30/2008 09:01:00 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Hmm...Food for thought, and perhaps you're right. But I have a few thoughts on that:

1. We have 300 million people in the country, and New York and L.A. account for a mere fraction of it.

Now, maybe the perception that NYC and LA command the most prestige would still make candidates only visit those areas, so that would obviously be wrong for them to do.

I still think they would visit the other states, however.

2. Yet, when candidates make visits, they are almost always in front of a partisan crowd who need not be swayed. And on a busy schedule, they aren't exactly going door-to-door when they visit. They go into random spots and run into a meager amount of voters; undecided voters even less so. And they usually are in and out of a place quickly.

I hate suggesting combinations, because it always sounds pretty lazy. But maybe individual votes could count more if they went city-by-city or district-by-district rather than count the whole freaking state.

This is where we get this red and blue state nonsense, which I find offensive. I've wrote about this before. By classifying a state as "red" or "blue" it discounts all the other perspectives in said state.

And, going back to the basis of the problem I perceive with this system, why does my vote count at all when the state is heavily weighted one way or another? It is a mere symbolic gesture at this point, and it's still having a hard time motivating me to register here.

The only states whose votes really count this year are the ones polling equally for both candidates.

Also, I'm not so sure that the close vote would be chaos in a recount. If they recounted every single vote, yes, but I imagine only the most controversial areas would be recounted, and that doesn't happen often.

Plus, the combined controversial areas would have to be equal or greater to the amount of the gap in the popular vote to matter.


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