Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Frustration.

Blogger's being weird today - it won't let me upload images.

Now I can't even remember what I was going to write about.

Oh, I was going to talk about politics. Fun! Jenna blogged about it recently, so I thought I'd chime in a little...

I actually do catch the news every now and then. Not that that makes me informed or enlightened (you've watched the news, you know what I mean). I was watching Meet the Press this last Sunday and I was reminded of how inane people sound when they stick to their, "talking points." Tim Russert interviewed Josh Bolten, the White House chief of staff. Bolten sounded like an idiot. Russert was trying to get him to agree with some idiotic statement that Karl Rove had made, and rather than disagree he said, "Well, I'm not a scientist..." Russert pointed out that Karl Rove isn't a scientist either and Bolten said, "Well, Karl knows a lot of stuff..."

There was more, but that stood out, for some reason.

Have politicians always been like that? The part about sticking to their talking points, I mean. It seems pointless to interview someone if they're just going to say the same 3 sentences over and over. Maybe in different ways, but basically the same.

OK, so as far as being informed and active in the political process, I'll admit that I'm not really. Informed or active. Probably more informed than the average person but not as informed as I think I (and everybody else) should be.

I write and email my senators and congresspeople every now and then, although I wonder if it makes a difference. For years, I've gotten letters back from them saying, basically, "Thanks for telling me what you think. I don't agree. I'm going to vote my way anyway."

And then I'm sure they report me to the FBI or NSA or whoever...

I do feel especially compelled to vote, though. As frustrating as our system is, it's really a great thing that I can walk down to the voting booth and cast my vote for whoever I want to. When you look around the world today and see countries where there are whole categories of people who are not allowed to do that, it's staggering. So I do take that very seriously.

On the other hand, it's depressing that (to me, at least) we don't have much of a choice in our candidates. Maybe because we don't have enough of a say in picking the candidates? That's probably another rant...

There have only been 3 occasions where I have been genuinely enthusiastic about a candidate that I was voting for - Clinton in 92 (I wasn't enthusiastic in 96) and Ann Richards (Texas Governor) in 90 and 94 (although she sadly and inexplicably lost in 94 to George W Bush). Every other time I've voted, I've just been voting against someone instead of voting for someone. And that makes me sad.

Here are a few good websites for getting more informed:
Congresspedia - lots of great information
Congress Votes Database - see every vote in Congress
Open Secrets - shows where the money goes
Project Vote Smart - find out how your representatives vote on certain issues

On a lighter note, if you find a weird bug, go here.

And if you like Monty Python and Star Trek, this video is for you.

1 comment:

The Scarlet L said...

Ah, the fine art and science of spin. On a conscious level, at least, "we the people" gripe about that stubborn adherence to talking points. Yet politicans long ago learned that on a SUBconscious level, "we the people" reward those who stick to 2 or 3 talking points and punish those brave enough to engage in actual discourse. As long as that stubborn adherence to talking points gets politicians elected and re-elected, they will continue to follow that strategy.

As for writing your congresspeople, there is that unfortunate little detail that they are entitled to vote however they please. And unfortunately for us, as long as that gels with the will of a majority of the voters, they will stay in office. So that says as much or more about the people of Texas than it does about the politicians.

Now, what would REALLY work well would be if we became the benevolent co-dictators of the universe. :)