Saturday, October 18, 2008

The political season is ending, thank God.

By John Ramsey Miller

I dislike politics, but I truly hate elections. The local, regional, and national candidates clutter my television set with constant half-truths and nastiness, send me slick mailers I don’t read, and their people call constantly to insist I vote for their candidates or ask me questions for polls, which I generally decline to answer as it is none of their business. Two of my three sons support a presidential candidate I think is an empty suit, and they get mad at my glib responses to their entreaties designed to get me to vote for their candidate. My third son is an ex-Marine who was in Iraq and he’ll probably vote with his father, but I’m sure of that. I explain to the other two that I am voting from the perspective of my life experience, and for someone I am more comfortable with. I also explain that if their candidate wins I don’t think it’s the end of the world, but more proof that elections have become simply another popularity contest where the issues and philosophies are secondary considerations at best.

My father passed away last October, and he never voted for a Republican in his life, and was very proud of that. He was a Yellow Dog Democrat who believed that members of his party were always the best choice for any office. I always vote for the candidate, Democrat or Republican, whom I believe will do what’s in the best interest of my country, state, county or city. I will cross party lines for the individual whom I feel is best suited and who will move us intelligently into the future. I have been wrong before and I’m sure I’ll be wrong again, but the idea of voting for someone just because they belong to my party is short-sighted and closed minded. I will never follow anyone holding any banner just because they can out-yell their opposition.

Because we are all flawed, politicians are also flawed, and we all know what it takes to be in a position to be nominated and elected, which is sobering and frightening at the same time. I think that whether Obama or McCain is elected what they can accomplish will be what the legislative branch allows to be done and that is also scary based on their past performance during our lifetime. Nobody believes that our congressmen and senators vote strictly (or even mostly) for what’s in the best interests of their constituents, but for what their biggest contributors think is best for “them.” Voters are only important because they keep them in office, and non-voters are merely shadow humans.

I’m proud of my liberal sons and I taught them to think for themselves and to vote their consciences. They are familiar with the issues, and know the records of the candidates, and will vote as informed individuals who pay attention. They are idealistic and believe their candidate will make the best president and make decisions on what he promised, which is an illusion I hate to ruin for them. I don’t mind that because of them my vote will be wasted, because they will learn a lesson for themselves. I hope I’m proven wrong and the country will somehow heal and get better under the next administration.

I believe that it is not just my right, but my duty to vote, because our own young men and women have given their lives for my freedom––to preserve our right to vote and live free. All citizens, yes, even those completely ignorant of the issues who will vote for a smile, should go to the trouble to cast their votes so their voices can be heard. Politicians only respond to voters, and if you don’t vote they could care less about you. Men who seem less qualified can and have become great leaders, and I always try to keep that in mind when someone I don’t vote for are elected by the majority. I firmly believe that, though we may not agree on directions, we can all learn to live with the results, as long as we live in a free country and can face the future together. I respect the office of the presidency, as should we all, and I believe that men (and women) can become more than they are when lobbed headfirst into the crucible of that high office.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks, I needed that, John.
    I'm almost certain that I will not be happy on election day -- I'm calling it the American Idol-ing of politics -- but I do need to believe that our freedoms don't live or die with one candidate or one election.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Interesting blog, John. I've known a few Yellow Dog Democrats and some whatever-the-Republican-equivalent is. It still amazes me that they don't study the issues or consider the politician's personality or accomplishments before they vote. It's their party's representative or die!

    ReplyDelete
  3. i agree with you about elections and politics. talking about politics is absolutely boring because it's like talking about the weather -- unless you're on the supreme court and can hijack an election as was done to bring 'w' into office.

    i'll cast my ballot, just to say i had my say. but let's call it like it is today. the popular vote is merely representative of the rabble's opinion.

    even without the interference of the justices, there's a chasm - as you know - between what we - the rabble - vote for and what the electoral college puts in place.

    as far as our votes go, we might just as well have lucius dig us up some worms and just go fishin'.

    best,
    steve from memphis

    ReplyDelete