Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day

Well I did something today that I never thought I would do. I did not vote. Unlike so many people who choose not to vote because they are too busy or apathetic, I withheld my vote out of principal. I know people say that if you don’t vote you forfeit the right to complain about the way things are done. I have said that many times over the years to others who have chosen not to participate in the electoral process. However, never in my life have I been so disenchanted with our government. People in Washington are not interested in helping you or in protecting the future for our children. People in Washington are only interested in staying in Washington…period…end of story. Can you name a candidate that has made an impact…a real impact on global warming or the development of alternative energy? How about curing disease, improving care for the elderly or eliminating poverty? If you are honest with yourself then the answer is no. Now your “leaders” may tell you that the climate in Washington is such that gridlock has come to rule the day. They will state that true progress will only be realized after the Republican incumbents are swept from office and new and inspired Democrats are elected to replace them. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The problem is that there are very few meaningful differences between Republicans and Democrats. In fact I argue that they are of the same church just sitting in different pews.

The reality is that as these political turf wars continue to rage, real and complicated issues are increasingly being ignored. These are real issues with serious consequences that will affect our lives, the lives of our children and the future of humanity. We have to be able to talk to our enemies. We have to be able to admit that our current way of life is contributing to the destruction of the planet. As a nation, we have to recognize that we are the 800 pound gorilla in the room and what we do affects everyone around us. I was taught growing up that dialogue was always the best, most effective option for resolving a dispute. Yet with the world balancing precipitously on the brink of chaos, we refuse to talk directly to those governments our leaders warn are the most dangerous. Those elected to positions of power want to keep you afraid. They need you to be afraid. They want you to digest your news in small, easy to understand sound bites, letting the talking heads inform you only about issues that they want you to know about. We are in a serious governmental crisis…a leadership vacuum swirling at the very heart of our republic. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe that Election Day is all about the democratic process; unfortunately it’s just not about democracy. It is about power not about the populace. If you don’t believe me then ask yourself how on earth has the wealthiest country the world has ever known allowed its government to become so ineffective? How can a country that produced George Washington, Abe Lincoln and FDR elect George W. Bush twice and even consider electing Hillary Clinton? So as you go to the polls today ask yourself; do you truly believe that these politicians really give a flying frog fart about you? Do you really think that they are going to work harder to improve your life or to improve their own? Tell me you believe the person you just voted for cares more about global warming or developing reliable, affordable and renewable sources of energy than they do about their own careers. That he/she is concerned about the threat to drinkable water, breathable air and emerging lethal diseases. Tell me their solutions to the war in Iraq, quelling the rising tensions in the Middle East or the emerging socio-military threat ominously looming in communist China. What is it again that they were going to do about the future collapse of social security, the explosively rising cost of health care, the rapidly growing numbers of people living in poverty at home or about repairing our corrupt legal system. You would hope that the new Republican or Democrat you just elected will jump right on those issues you deem to be most important to you and your family. However, the odds are that the only thing your newly elected Senator or Congressman will do beginning on day 1 is to start planning for his or her own reelection.

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