Monday, November 5, 2012

I Am Back

I just realized how very long it had been since I blogged.  It isn’t that I haven’t had anything to say.  It is more like I haven’t found the time to say it in the way I really wanted to.  I figured, what better time than election time to return to my blog and spend some time with my thoughts.

This will not be about who I think you should vote for, because I think that is a personal decision and at this point, with the election being tomorrow, there is little that I can say that will sway your opinion.  Anyone who knows me knows that politics is something I have followed since way before I was old enough to vote and turning 18 and being able to partake in the process was a big day for me.  I grew up in a household where I never really knew who my parents would vote for.  However, our kitchen table was always a mecca for discussion about the issues both economic and social.  My parents never cared if my opinions lined up with theirs as long as I could back up what I believed with facts and not simply, well my friends believe it.  We were taught to think for ourselves.  A lesson I want to convey to my children.  I always took things much more seriously than my sister.  For a long time she wasn’t registered to vote and couldn’t see where who was in office had anything to do with her.  I knew that would change over time and she is no longer so apathetic about government affairs.

I had wonderful teachers who taught me how the government ran and why it was the way it was.  Before the time of too much paperwork and teaching to the test, they had the time to teach us how to function as productive members of society.  Since those days in education are long gone, it is now up to me, as a parent to teach my children not just to understand the process, but hopefully, to convey the passion that I feel about it.  Not to say that the process isn’t flawed, so in a completely independent, non-partisan way, I am going to proceed with my rant today…

The Electoral College is an outdated concept and we cannot fear changing just because it has always been this way.  In what way can it be good that the vote of the people is not what elects our President?  This concept essentially conveys that you have the right to vote, but your vote may or may not count.  When this process was put into place, we lived in a much different country.  Our population was spread out over thousands miles of country with inadequate transportation and communication.  Like those things have changed, so should our election process.  Campaigning was impractical and frowned upon.  Our fore fathers believed that voters could be swayed by local members of the parties and even threatened into voting a certain way.  They also believed that the majority of our residents were not qualified to decide who could be President.  Most were uneducated and often illiterate.  Disseminating documents about platforms and prior voting histories was difficult.  But as I said, this is not the world we live in anymore.

We now have the ability for all citizens, even stationed abroad, to vote via the mail.  We no longer have to travel many miles to a capital city in order to vote.  Some states even offer the opportunity for people to vote early, often weeks ahead of time, just to make sure that they can do so at their own leisure.  Votes are counted electronically.  Every person is tied to a social security number which became mandatory when I was a child (probably early 80s).  So why is it that the President can’t be elected by the popular vote of the people?  Seems easy enough to me.

I see bumper stickers all the time in Idaho that say “Blue Girl in a Red State”.  I actually feel sorry for those people.  There are only a few states that don’t practice the winner take all concept of the electoral votes and Idaho isn’t one of them.  So, essentially, each of those people go to the polls every four years knowing that no matter how much they believe in their candidate or how much passion they have, their vote essentially doesn’t count.  Even if a candidate wins the popular vote of a state by a small margin, by winner takes all rules, they receive all the votes from that college.  How ridiculous is that?  It makes me wonder why some people are still voting.  Not exactly the most encouraging thing to teach your child.  Before I learned about the Electoral College (probably thanks to Coach Morlino), I actually believed that every vote counted.  I thought that one vote could change the world.  I really want my children to believe that their vote is that important.  I want them to know that whoever is elected to President is there because that is what the majority of the people want. 

Maybe it would take a constitutional amendment to change it, but shouldn’t democracy be worth the trouble?  After all, our fore fathers didn’t believe that women or African-Americans had the intellect to vote for our President either and that was changed.  Just because it has always been this way doesn’t make it right or the best way.  Isn’t that why every 4 years we get to decide if we want to make a change or not?

Stepping down now…

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