The Swamp – A Disgruntled Voter’s Take on Politics

by | May 14, 2010 | POLITICS

Yeah, I vote. I don’t know why I do it, but I do. Maybe it’s just so people can’t throw that “well then you should have voted” shit in my face. Regardless, I toss my intelligent votes into steaming piles of thoughtless votes and try to pretend that it matters. I want to believe in America, but times are tough and people are lazy voters. The people—God bless them, they’re full of hope—elected a community organizer this time, and the poor guy is lost in the White House, gambling everything on a rushed plan that has more leaks than a boat made out of sponges. If that’s not bad enough, we’re vilifying Arizona for trying to protect honest citizens by enforcing the law, and we’re throwing kids out of school for wearing the flag. We’re turning unemployment into the new employment, and the so-called Mancession is still in full swing. Like I said, times are tough.

Yeah, I vote. I don’t know why I do it, but I do. Maybe it’s just so people can’t throw that “well then you should have voted” shit in my face. Regardless, I toss my intelligent votes into steaming piles of thoughtless votes and try to pretend that it matters. I want to believe in America, but times are tough and people are lazy voters. The people—God bless them, they’re full of hope—elected a community organizer this time, and the poor guy is lost in the White House, gambling everything on a rushed plan that has more leaks than a boat made out of sponges. If that’s not bad enough, we’re vilifying Arizona for trying to protect honest citizens by enforcing the law, and we’re throwing kids out of school for wearing the flag. We’re turning unemployment into the new employment, and the so-called Mancession is still in full swing. Like I said, times are tough.

Healthcare I: the process
(to be followed by Healtchare II: the plan)

So what do we do about it? Maybe we decide that since this is a capitalist society (for the time being at least, this community organizer fellow is a big fan of Socialism) it might behoove us to elect a businessman. A businessman might look at the current state of affairs and venture that people with jobs could afford healthcare. That businessman might make jobs and the economy his or her top priority, and we would all benefit as a result. Do we really need those innovators who have turned the DMV and The Post Office into such marvels of modern ingenuity running healthcare? Would we rather have a flawed universal healthcare platform on the table or an economy that would allow citizens to embrace those forgotten notions of opportunity and self-reliance?

Ask the community organizer and he’ll tell you that if we don’t throw something out there now, we’ll never have the chance to develop a working universal healthcare system. Why? When has hurrying ever improved a critical decision? Why are planning and foresight so unnecessary to the success of a plan? Why wouldn’t it make sense to have panels of experts examining the process and evaluating the short-term and long-term ramifications of both such a plan and the proposed transition from private healthcare to universal healthcare? I imagine the community organizer would respond with rhetoric, and I can’t really blame him—after all, it’s gotten him this far. Hope can be poisonous if it inspires people to make hasty decisions, and the desire to create a legacy can lead to poor choices, but those are arguments for another day.

Before I attempt to underscore my concern for the manner in which party politics also impacts this plan, let me make something clear. Partisan politics work because they divide people into rival camps, forcing us to take one of two sides in any debate. This is a successful way of managing a populace and it negates the spirit of democracy. We should have a government that allows us to pick our leaders and instead we have a government that allows us to choose our leaders from one of two groups, or parties. Additionally, while those leaders we select are supposed to represent we the people, the parties have created a separate class of citizen. We elect politicians, people who have made a career of public service, people who, for the most part, have no concept of the struggles life in this country dictates for those they represent. In addition to nullifying the promise of a true democracy, the populace is subsequently divided, and it is far too easy for one side to dismiss any argument presented by the other side as more propaganda from the right or left. Therefore, the point I wish to make here is that I’m not on either side. I am not a Republican or a Democrat, and I don’t pledge allegiance to any of the fringe parties either. If you don’t like what I have to say, you’re not disagreeing with either side, you’re disagreeing with another American.

I am a fiscal conservative, I’m very liberal in my views so far as the government’s relationship with art or religion is concerned, and I definitely favor a smaller government with less reach. I am a big fan of the notion of sovereign states, which is what I believe our forefathers intended, but our government as it exists today would never allow that. Regardless, I have voted for both parties and even a few independents in my lifetime, and I hope you will regard my views as those of another U.S. citizen and not those of a representative for any party or group.

So then, how did the party system affect my view of the healthcare plan on the table? I, for one, find it difficult to support a plan that required the type of backroom politics that allowed this plan to become a reality. The community organizer had to fight with his own party, twisting arms and cutting deals to the tune of something like 30 votes. One can only imagine the pressure those representatives who sacrificed their own integrity and willfully turned their backs on their own constituents were under. Additionally, the very notion of cutting some sort of deal with those who don’t agree with a policy in the hopes of changing their vote on another matter is decidedly Un-American. As this president did anything and everything to secure votes for his controversial initiative, states like Nebraska, California, and North Dakota benefited from electing to vote the faulty plan into action. It must be noted that the fact that this president was willing to cater to those who withheld their votes initially must be troubling for even his staunchest supporters. Doesn’t this breed of politics defy everything he promised, at least so far as transparency and changing the culture within Washington is concerned?

Additionally, it shouldn’t go unnoticed that throughout this divisive process, members of both parties presented a number of ideas or alternatives, yet no concessions of any merit were made to the Republicans. The lack of a public option shows how little the current president cares for compromising with the opposition as the support is clearly there. I don’t think anyone favors penalizing Americans who can’t afford insurance, but this flawed beast must be paid for in some fashion, and the community organizer recently decided to increase that penalty despite the state of the economy. Whatever your political bearing, you have to question the president’s insistence that this is a bipartisan process.

You have probably noticed we haven’t discussed any of the particulars of the plan in question, but rest assured, we’ll do that next. Look for the second portion of this argument in seven days’ time, and until then I’ll leave you with this one piece of advice: Asking the right questions is always a more thoughtful approach than picking a side. Whether we agree or disagree, we can always recognize a thoughtful American as someone who is able to develop and discuss their own ideas. Once people pick a side and take up the company line, they’re only further devaluing the incredible design so many fine patriots lived and died for.

Think about it.

R. Anthony Harris

R. Anthony Harris

I created Richmond, Virginia’s culture publication RVA Magazine and brought the first Richmond Mural Project to town. Designed the first brand for the Richmond’s First Fridays Artwalk and promoted the citywide “RVA” brand before the city adopted it as the official moniker. I threw a bunch of parties. Printed a lot of magazines. Met so many fantastic people in the process. Professional work: www.majormajor.me




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