Wednesday, April 13, 2005

What ALL Americans Need to Start Doing - NOW

As my profile states, I’m sort of politically active. In my case, my activism is what might be called left leaning (gotta get that leg fixed).

However, there’s an item of interest that is of the utmost importance that both conservatives and liberals (I hate those misnomers) can work on together to further each of their agendas.

We discuss gun control and there’s a distinct difference there, but both sides are, I believe, sincere and each side has good and not so good points.

We discuss abortion, a passionately explosive issue. However, in as much as liberals and conservatives disagree, again, each side truly believes that their point of view is in the best interest of people and each side’s arguments can be improved.

There’s even some agreement questioning the wisdom of invading Iraq.

There is a problem. Where does the problem start? With the mainstream media, of course.

The mainstream media tells, that’s right, tells the American people that there are only two political parties in the US. How do they do that?

Every four years when we elect a president, the media immediately starts talking about “red” states and “blue” states.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen a rainbow and I know that there are other colors which exist.

However, the milquetoast mainstream media has narrowed it down to two, red and blue.

So the American public immediately starts talking about Democrats and Republicans.

There’s the first place team, at present, The Republicans, and a second place team, at present, The Democrats. Every other team is tied for third!

That’s right. There are Democrats and Republicans and many, many “third” parties. As far as the mainstream monkeys are concerned, these “third” parties may as well not even exist.

I’ve been told, by The Green Party of the United States, that, in order to become thought of as legitimate, you have to start at the “grassroots” level.

I beg to differ with them. Just like with trickle down economics, the “Democratic Party/Republican Party” propaganda trickles down.

I submit to you that people go to the polls to vote for anything from dog catcher to US Senator and, although there are other parties on the ballot, they immediately look for Democrat or Republican. Why is this?

This happens because I believe that, subconsciously, people say to themselves, “Why waste a vote on a Libertarian or Socialist when I know that, when we get to the big prize, neither will be in the running. So, the brainwashing is done at the grassroots level. People are already there.

I know that many of us have voted against the corporate sponsored parties, but we are, obviously, in a minority.

What causes this phenomenon? The Electoral College causes this phenomenon, the playing field for the national championship. In our winner take all Electoral College system, voting for a “third” party is like staying home and eating pizza. There just isn’t enough room on the playing field for more than two teams.

It would be like putting five boxers in a ring and saying, “Go at it.” The only thing that can come out of that is another reality TV show.

To the conservatives: Republicans are not what they used to be. They don’t represent you.

Republicans used to be small government, fiscal responsibility and, for all intents and purposes, hands off when it comes to foreign policy.

What pass as Republicans these days are Neo-conservatives, Neocons. They want to dump all kinds of money into foreign policy and make an amendment to the constitution that defines the ultimate loving relationship. How is that small government, fiscal responsibility and semi-isolationism? It’s not.

If I was a conservative, I would do anything and everything I could to elect Libertarian officials, starting at the grassroots level. They’re the one, true conservative party.

To the liberals: Democrats are not what they used to be. They don’t represent you.

Democrats used to be spare no expense to help the needy, even if it meant unpopular taxes and even if it meant going to war. That’s right, Democrats have been in office at the start of the majority of our major “conflicts”. That may not be a liberal’s position, but it’s true.

Socially, however, Democrats have been Johnny on the spot. Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, Welfare have all been Democratic initiatives and, if you believe in being “your brother’s keeper”, you have to like those programs.

Both Republicans and Democrats used to defend civil liberties, at least in their platforms. What they did once they were elected may be a different story.

What pass as Democrats these days are, well, all I can think of is “comfortable”. They like playing follow the leader, no matter who the leader is or what the leader says.

As George Wallace said during the 1968 presidential campaign, “There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between The Democrats and The Republicans.” Democrats and Republicans alike, especially those “inside the beltway” as it’s called or in state capitols, couldn’t give a damn about what they say in front of a camera or a microphone. They were wealthy before they were elected, they’re wealthy now and they’ll be wealthy after they leave office. With a couple of exceptions like Alan Spector and Barbara Boxer, those people don’t care about us, the people.

With all of the other important issues that are facing us, there is one that we, liberal and conservative alike, need to be working on first and foremost, fixing or eighty-sixing The Electoral College. When it comes to this issue, we must all become activists and now, well before 2008.

I’m for getting rid of it and going with one person, one vote nationally with a run off election being the deciding factor.

Some people say that getting rid of the Electoral College would benefit the small states and hurt the large states. They say this because, per capita, a citizen in a small state has more input into his or her state’s electoral votes than a person in a large state. Wyoming has three electoral votes and California has over 40. Do the division. A Wyoming voter has a whole lot more clout toward that state’s Electoral votes than does a California voter have towards California’s Electoral votes.

Some people say that getting rid of the Electoral College would benefit the large states and hurt the small states. After all, what presidential contender is going to campaign in Wyoming for three Electoral votes when putting time in California will get you 40?

If there were more candidates with an equal chance, every state’s Electoral votes would count. But, alas, the playing field, the boxing ring, is only so big – just enough room for two parties.

I’ve read and heard other solutions such as giving candidates percentages of Electoral votes that coincide with the percentage of popular votes in any given state.

It’s got to be fixed and I think it’s got to go. The Electoral College was instituted because, as much as the founders of The United States believed in freedom and democracy, they didn’t trust the people to really know what they were doing when they voted.

In those days, there may have been some truth to it. However, with communications being what it is today, there’s no excuse for a person to be uneducated. I’m not implying that all American voters know what they’re doing, but they should.

We, liberals and conservatives alike, need to become active in making significant changes in or getting rid of The Electoral College if we want our agendas to be front and center.

Unfortunately, the people who can do this are the very people who, either directly or indirectly, benefit from The Electoral College (trickle down?).

Can you imagine, just for a moment, protests by conservatives and liberals, side by side, shoulder to shoulder, in Washington or New York or Indianapolis or Baltimore or Mobile or Los Angeles or Chattanooga or all of the above! There would be millions of Americans calling for a major change in how we’re represented. We can debate, and I mean all of us can debate, the other issues later. First we have to get a seat at the table, though.

As long as Americans don’t put aside their differences and act to change the Electoral College system, there will be presidential debates with only two participants who basically represent corporate America.

It will be like this year when we had John Kerry saying he was going to be more like George Bush than George Bush and George Bush saying he was going to stay just the way he was.

If anyone knows of any way we can seriously get a national day of protest in place demanding that congress at least significantly modify The Electoral College system, please let me know. I’ll work harder on that than anything else.

To friendship,

“We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living.” - General Omar N. Bradley

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