Some posts here at GregsHead.net are visited many times every day. One of those posts was originally published on January 30th, 2005—nine years ago this day! But it’s not the one I chose to highlight today. (It certainly gets enough views on its own; if you’d like to read that short post about the word “Hiccough”, click the link at the end of this post.) In 2012, I wrote out some thoughts about the election process for the office of President of the United States (and our government in general). If you live in this country, it’s important to think about, and know what you think. So, it’s not a presidential election year (2014), but read on, and add your thoughts in the comments, if you wish. (Thanks!)
The Presidential Election of 2012
January 30th, 2012
“I’ve grown weary of the Republican primary campaigns.”
I think I may have spoken those words even an entire year ago.
Aren’t you? Or are you not even following along?
A friend asked a couple times recently what I thought of the presidential election race and I hesitated to offer my thoughts both because they are honestly not that well-formed, and equally because I am just a bit tired of thinking about it already!
But, as we are a republic, and we are electing one third of our governmental structure in about ten months, I suppose we all must pay attention at some point.
(But over a year before the election?!?)
Wearied by all the banter I see in articles (and subsequent reader comments) as well as things I hear on radio, and see in the multiple email forwards I receive from my politically-astute Dad, I decided to look up that website I had discovered a year or two ago.
VoteSmart.org has their VoteEasy tool up and running again (I’d guess it never comes down) and it’s a great way to start out gathering information and narrowing down who might be a candidate that would best represent you in Washington.
Please note that I said start out. It is critical that we investigate all claims made by reporters, political ads (especially these), and even friends. Whenever possible, go to the source.
I can’t emphasize that enough. (I did the best I could with the <strong> and <em> tags…)
I answered all the questions that VoteEasy uses to help you figure out which candidate might be the “best match” for you. I believe it’s clear that the site creators know they are just a good starting point because they don’t just tell you who to vote for. You can click on the picture of your Best Match and read their voting record, bills they authored, read/hear speeches, and see tons of information in their public record. Plus, you can of course click on all the other candidates, too, and do the same.
But, as I intend to do, verify the claims of any resource. And it’s best to verify by going to the original source as much as possible. The closer the information is to original (not filtered through several reports) the more reliable. (The reliability of the source should be gauged as well.)
It’s a lot of work, but I think we have a pretty messed up situation at all levels of government because for too long nearly all of us have neglected to actually verify the information we are fed; especially the crap that you hear from almost every political ad. Yuck.
(Ads in general greatly annoy me, but…. that’s a subject for a future post. It’s in my Draft folder…)
I’d love to know what your resources are for information on the candidates for President. Please add your thoughts and—most helpfully—links to the comments below.
The condition of our government is really always a reflection of the condition of us: We The People. After all, our elected officials—corrupt, greedy, power-hungry, disconnected, slimy politicians though they may be—are indeed pulled from the pool of us.
I believe that for so long we’ve been trained that our votes don’t matter. Conditioned to think we should leave government and “politics” up to the professionals. Sure we can vote, but since it’s not “our thing” we vote for the party our parents or our friends like (sometimes simply to avoid scorn) and we are quite easily swayed by the propaganda-like ads that bombard us for nearly a whole year before a “big” election. And so, we go on barely paying attention while money and power determine who “represents” us and the big-picture direction our country will take in the near and long-term future.
And it will only continue to get worse as long as we think that the government dictates to us, rather than represents us. We are the vehicle for change in a republican government (note the small ‘r’) and that goes beyond a vote cast every four years.
Get involved. Know what’s being done with your tax money. Both in your town and state, locally, and on the federal level as your state is represented in Washington. Information and knowledge go a long way; wield a lot of power.
But most of all, be a person of integrity. Character matters. You probably know that. You probably live that. But one reason we so disapprove of our representatives in government is that for so long in this country, character and integrity have not mattered. And, since our elected leaders are us… well… it’s a rather bleak picture.
The only way to reverse the trend is to know what you believe and live it. Honor life, freedom, liberty. Consider others before yourself. Live at peace with everyone.
It is indeed we who abide in Jesus who could (if we would) most affect the political landscape of our country.
I’m not talking about elections. I’m talking about living lives of integrity, loving justice, and treating everyone with the grace and mercy we’ve known so deeply we taste it.
That’s the only way we will truly change our country. No politician, no elected official, no representative can do anything as monumental as a concerned neighbor. You will most likely live your entire life not residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, as will I. But if each one of us treated the other like we’d want to be treated, then our country—even in Washington—would be the light on a hill our founders dreamt it could be.
Lastly, I’ll leave you with this. Watch this video. I posted it a while back. It’s a really neat way to see the current condition of our republic. Just depends on your perspective.
OTHER POSTS from JANUARY 30th