Sunday, October 31, 2010

Have you voted yet?

Have you voted yet?  Have you managed to wade your way through the political muck our society is drowning in? If you've been paying attention, you know that we're surrounded by the most evil people in the history of humankind and, strangely, every single one of them happens to want to become or remain an elected official! It's a scary world out there, and we must practice constant vigilance!  Or so we're told....

I truly believe most every politician originally entered politics because he or she wanted to contribute to the good of our society--whether they are Democrat or Republican, etc. etc.  I also think every politician, deep down in their hearts (if there's anything left in there) knows this as well. So it's just plain depressing when they, along with their like-minded pundits, resort to demonizing anyone who isn't in lock-step with their agenda. Just look at those TV ads if you doubt me.

Is it really noble to spend $60 million of your own fortune, or the money earned by others for that matter, on your bid for office?  Take the blatent example of Meg Whitman of eBay fame.... apparently she wants the power and prestige which comes with being the Governor of California (and the possibilities of future offices that seat holds?)  Sadly, she could have used that $60 million to start an amazing charitable foundation--as to who it would benefit, take your pick. She could have been a much loved and admired woman of influence.  I guess her ego and priorities are elsewhere.

Could it be that there's just too much money at stake?  Could it be that campaign finance reform, and I mean real campaign finance reform, might be an answer?  Oh sure, some of them talk about it, but then they get into office and their convictions seem to melt away.  It must be hard to keep your eye on the ball when all those corporate and PAC contributions keep flowing in.

I've been involved in politics for a long time. I made my campaign debut in 1972 when my friend Jeff and I led the Nixon campaign at our elementary school. And we won! It was those little Nixon buttons we designed out of cardboard (and distributed at recess) that did it--that sort of thing didn't occur to those McGovern losers! Looking back, the whole experience remains one of my most memorable elementary school experiences--though I'm not sure whether to be proud or ashamed, considering my candidate! ( I don't recall my bemused parents saying much to me about it; I have a hunch they didn't vote the way I did!)

I'm still into politics.  Mr. Pocketts and I are the local representatives for our County political party. I've been the Caucus Chairman several times--it's actually kind of fun. We put up yard signs, sometimes write letters to the editor, volunteer at our County Fair booth; I'm not sure whether it always helps, but we've met lots of people in the process--of both sets of stripes and a myriad of opinions ranging from Tea time to twilight zone!! I'm pretty sure every one of us cares about our country, even though I admit to feeling "charitable" saying this.

I watched some of John Stewart's "Restore Sanity and/or Fear" rally on C-span yesterday.  His end speech was stirring--particularly appropriate for me as that's just what I was doing--stirring ingredients together for an apple pie.  It was not lost on me that, as John went on about how the vast majority of us get along with each other every single day in America, respecting the rights of others, I was making that most American of foods--apple pie! (Ok, groan if you like, but really...)

The past year, I've almost totally quit watching television news.  When we spent several weeks in Mexico last winter, I didn't miss it.  We read the newspaper instead. Congress was debating healthcare;  the newspapers were factual, not alarmist, merely giving us a review of events.  When we got home and turned on the TV, it was like we were witnessing a different world--a world of strife and back stabbing, a world that most wanted us to hold on through the next commercial break to hear more of the same.  It's a world we wanted no part of.  We turned it off. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying to give it up and let whatever happens happen.  I'm just saying we need rational thinking--something that is hard to find in cable TV land. It can really only be found within each one of us, if we have the fortitude.


"If you want to live like a Republican, vote Democrat!"
                                    --Harry Truman


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