Posts tagged " election "

Lots of Change, Maybe a Glimmer of Hope

September 22nd, 2016 Posted by Susan's Musings 19 comments

After what sometimes seemed like an endless campaign season, the final stretch is in view. The debates, terrorism, Trumpian unpredictability and more Clinton scandals might make these last few weeks even more volatile than usual, but Election Day is approaching. It is time to remember Abraham Lincoln’s words, “With malice toward none.”

I assiduously read comments to my Musings. I regularly read comments to a variety of blogs that I follow. Recently, an article in the Wall Street Journal on the non-controversial topic of postal shipping rates stimulated a slew of comments that were both pertinent and helpful. In contrast, I rarely read comments on sites such as Fox or CNN. Unlike the previous examples, those comments often seem to be dominated by hate-filled, bitter individuals, both on the left and the right. If your window to American culture came through that lens, you would be forgiven for thinking us an unintelligent, vulgar society.

(more…)

Lindsay Lohan for Senate!

October 26th, 2010 Posted by Thought Tools 2 comments

Have you seen those puzzles which show you two seemingly identical pictures but ask you to spot a dozen subtle differences between them? Well, no one would mistake Dallas for my Pacific Northwest hometown, but in this period of national branding they each have their Starbucks and Half-Price Books, their Nordstroms and Macy’s. And in these weeks leading up to Election Day both their airwaves are inundated with ads for and against candidates while signs promoting individuals running for office proliferate.

Yet there is a major difference. In the northwest, as you drive off the freeway exit and towards my house, the median strips and city-owned sidewalks are cluttered with campaign signs. In Dallas, at least in the neighborhood in which I am visiting, the only election signs I am seeing are on private property. The signs are sometimes huge – after all this is Texas – but they are on lawns and storefronts, not on community property.

What a great idea! If my neighbor or I want to show support for a candidate, we can make a statement by putting up a sign. There is both courage and meaning to this choice as we publicly proclaim our views. But signs strewn on public property carry no such significance. They are props to promote name recognition, not endorsement.

What a terrible way to encourage voters to choose a candidate. While Lindsay Lohan probably has greater name recognition than either Carly Fiorina or Barbara Boxer, I have no doubt she would make a terrible senator. Despite my opinion that she might be a better choice than the latter of those aspirants :), it is ridiculous to vote for anyone because his or her name is well-known. We should rather support a candidate because of a thorough analysis of his or her principles and track record.

In an ideal world, every candidate should eschew commercials in favor of debate and policy papers. An electorate deserving of statesmen rather than politicians would not respond to a 30 second ad that plays on emotions and may or may not be filled with falsehood. But as a first step, I think it would be praiseworthy for localities to assert that campaign signs are laudable only when they are sponsored by an individual who is willing to stand behind them.

 

Eagerly Awaiting Enthusiasm

August 17th, 2010 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

Have you ever found yourself yelling into the telephone? You are trying to resolve a problem or update some data when you get lost in the automated phone labyrinth. When I hear myself shouting at top volume, “I said ‘speak to agent’” I know it is time to hang up.

Right now, automated answering devices seem to be paragons of compassion and individualized attention compared to government in Washington. I don’t think I am alone in my frustration, feeling that I know who I do not trust, but having little faith that things will change no matter who is elected. The quagmire is so deep; the quicksand of the political culture so slimy that I feel it will entrap and consume even the most upright, best-intentioned and clearest thinking candidates. Truthfully, I think it would be a depressing exercise to figure out how many politicians fit that description in the first place.

On his radio show a few weeks back, my husband asked listeners what three agenda items the Republican Party could offer that convert them into enthusiastic voters for that party’s candidates rather than just voting against the Democratic choice.

His question got me thinking about what type of statements would ramp up my enthusiasm. I realized that at this point, I am seeking more than policy statements such as “lower taxes,” “immigration reform,” or “responsible and transparent government” because those promises are too vague and have been offered and broken too frequently.

I am really looking for a commitment to bold measures, counterpoints to the bold measures the Democrats have put in place since the last Presidential election. I crave the assurance that starting at the end of January I will actually see stark and tangible differences; a bloodless revolution, if you will.
In 1994, Newt Gingrich’s Contract for America captured the imagination and crystallized the dreams of so many Americans. As the Republicans drifted from these principles, they lost the trust of those who had voted for them. But the idea of articulating principles was a good one.

I do think that if the Republicans ran on a bold platform that expressed trust in Americans rather than a “we the ruling class knows what is best for you” philosophy they would find voters willing to follow them. Wouldn’t that be a better strategy than just hoping voters run away from their political opponents?

Here are three of my suggestions:

1) One idea; one vote. There should be no unrelated pieces of legislation tacked onto bills.

2) Each and every piece of legislation should have as part of it a concrete cost and achievement goal for every twelve month period following its enactment into law. If either the budget goes too high or the results don’t match the pledge, the legislation would need to be voted on again at the end of that period.

3) Any representative or legislator who cannot pass a detailed test on all the contents of a piece of legislation cannot vote on the legislation.
And as a bonus added measure I would love to see two more suggestions floated:

1) Congress should meet in Washington for two weeks every other month while working most of the time from their home states and districts. With modern technology there is no reason for our elected officials to be removed from constituents so that they come to value and align with their fellow politicians rather than those who voted them into office.

2) All legislation must apply equally to all elected and appointed officials. No more passing laws while exempting Congress from the effects of that law.

Drastic measures? Yes, and there are probably many better ideas. But wouldn’t the debate on these types of suggestions be worthwhile? At the moment I see some innovative individuals scattered around a Republican Party that is moribund and directionless. Although the Democratic Party’s ideas are proving disastrous on a daily basis, fervently held bad ideas win out over nothingness each and every time.