Saturday, March 8, 2008

What Happened to the Content of Their Character?

I'm angry.

And if you're a citizen of the United States, you should be angry, too.

Our electoral system is irreparably broken, and our elected officials don't seem to care.

This current presidential contest in no way reflects Democracy or a healthy Democratic system, so when Mr. Village Idiot spouts that he would like to spread the American version of Democracy to other, less politically fortunate countries, he's doing his usual head-in-the-sand thing.

I live in Michigan. And I've been a card-carrying Democrat as long as my state's Democratic Governor has been a U.S. citizen, and she is doing everything she can to ensure that my voice won't be heard. She wants her candidate to have the nomination, and she's trying to block the idea of a do-over. (For more on this, see this post).

I read the blog of a wonderful writer from Los Angeles. She's been documenting, beautifully, the racial divide that's getting wider as the Democratic campaign continues.

I have someone I love very much in New York. She's been like a second mother to me over the years. And yet, I'm not sure she's speaking to me right now, because in her eyes I've betrayed my gender with my choice of candidates.

We are lucky to be able to vote for our elected officials. But make no mistake - we are NOT voting directly. And there's tons of party politics between what happens between you and yourself in that voting booth and whether your vote actually counts.

Carville and Dean were on Good Morning America on Thursday spouting about the fact that this election is wonderful for the Democratic party because there's real debate and people are so excited that they just can't decide between two excellent front runners.

Just one question for them: are they on crack?

We all have to vote our conscience. And that should entail looking at the issues and looking at the, yes, as Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it, "the content of their characters." Those should be the reasons that we choose our candidates.

Not because of what they have between their legs. Not because of the color of their skin.

I would no more vote for Hilary Clinton because she's a white woman than I would vote for Barack Obama because he's a black man. Nor would I vote for John McCain because he's a white man. I mean, let's face it - there have been some good, white male Presidents. So, that should mean we should all vote for McCain, right?


We are already a nation divided by race, economics and religion. We are in crap shape economically, our young people are dying in droves overseas in conflicts that the majority of us do not believe in, our health care system is a mess and our children are failing educationally compared to almost every other industrialized nation.

We are still one of the wealthiest nations in the world and we can't fix these problems?

Well, we sure can't if we are all off in separate camps and refusing to work together. We can't if we don't truly have votes. If our voices can't be heard by Washington. If our majority of votes never rule once the Super Delegates, Electoral College and, yes, some pissant Secretary of State from Florida get involved.

We need majority rule. We need better education so that when we vote we are looking at issues, not categories. We need a Congress of brave human beings who will work for good, rather than for Pork and the next election.

Our system is broken and America is failing.

This needs to be our only priority.


Unknown said...

Jen, You hit upon a number of issues that indeed need addressing.
I recall my college history professor remarking that there hasn't been a REAL choice in American Politics since 1828, and that getting elected has been the evolving priority for a very long time. With that as a priority, issues will always be a distant 2nd
place. Accepting this state of affairs--something I certainly don't--however, leaves us impotent and frustrated by the state of things.

Jen said...

It does, Greg. It does. So what are we willing to do about it?

anno said...

Brilliant post. I think it's no accident that the two candidates who stirred up the most excitement in the past two elections -- Barack Obama and Howard Dean -- were the two candidates whose campaigns were best organized to encourage and invite grassroots, individual, participation (via the Internet, of course!)-- not just for accepting donations, but for determining issues and shaping positions.

Representational democracy seems inherently paternalistic. The first party to suggest direct democratic elections will have my lifetime vote!

Jen said...

Right on, Anno!

Jenn in Holland said...

I love it when you rant.
I also couldn't agree more. The system as it stands is lacking abysmally and yet, no one has jumped on the overhaul bandwagon. It's the old staying with something we know, in spite of the fact that it's broken and dying--rather than dive into the unknown and try something new approach.
But it is and will continue to kill the country.
Good for you for stirring it up Jen. Let's keep talking about it. LOUDLY.

Anonymous said...

Amen to that. The political and economic state of affairs in America was one of the things that made it MUCH easier for me to choose immigrating. It's a desparate situation the US is in and more people need to voice their opinions and speak their minds about it. Dissention is one of our rights as Americans.

Sister Sassy said...

Jen, feeling your pain. I am torn about how I fell all together. I don't really love anyone. I was an Edwards fan for the last two races. I like the stance on big business and his roots as a poor lad. I was pissed that Kerry won the ticket because I think the ONLY reason he won the ticket was because the STUPID media kept saying he was the only one that could beat that big dumb baby we now have. I don't know how many people said they were voting for him for that reason. GRRRR!!

Anyway, I don't think I like Hillary as much and I am a feminist but for someone to think that you should vote for the woman for the sole reason she is a woman is offensive (to hillary-but she may not care).

Anyway, I didn't realize Jenny was trying to stop a do over. I hope we get to go again. I went the first time because I thought it was a throw away and I didn't want Mit Romney I voted for Mccain-so if the dems did lose at least it wouldn't be Romney. I felt like I was committing voter fraud by crossing the lines ACK!

Carol said...

Excellent, excellent, EXCELLENT post! Bravo!


Jen said...

Thanks all, for cheering me on, rather than beating me up. ;-)

Jenn, it takes a while for me to feel like ranting publicly like this, but at the moment I've had this post forming for the past couple of days. I'm really sick of the dissension and name calling.

Lilac - I think about moving on up or out every. single. day. I have my list of places to move - just ask Jenn, lol. OTOH, I have a boy who is happy in school for the first time and has just three years to go, so we probably won't be going anywhere soon. Also, at the moment, I guess in some ways I'd rather fight for change at home.

Yeah, Sassy, Jenny is playing the dirty politics game right now and I am NOT happy with her about it. If Hillary wins, she wins, but come ON, shouldn't we at least have other candidates on the ballot? Yikes.

And Carol, thanks so much for the warm words!

Momisodes said...

Well said. I love reading your rants. I find it annoying when people say I should vote for a woman because I'm a woman. And at the same rate, I hate it when women say they would never trust a woman to run this country (sad, but there are many).

Jen said...

Hey Sandy, I so agree with both of those statements! Of course a woman can run the country. And that is sad if anyone feels otherwise in this day and age. Just as of course anyone of any race can run this country, and there are idiots who feel race should be a negative factor. I'm just sick of racism and sexism and divisiveness and hate. (See, I'm still ranting...)

Anonymous said...

Jen, this is a fantastic post! I could not agree with you more about the system being broken. What I don't get is why so many people refuse to acknowledge that fact.

They're talking about redoing the vote down here in FL and making it an online vote. *sigh* Will they never learn?

Luisa Perkins said...

Yes. They ARE on crack.

Excellent job, Jen.

glamah16 said...

As I get older I try to grasp the elections and the process. My CS is German and I like to witness his insight into the whole process. I never cared for Hilary , and my views are vindicated when I see how low her campaign will go and just demaean the party with race baiting, etc.Obama aid has to resign because he emotionaly lashed out and called her a monster.I saw a foreign headline in a Sewdish paper calling the it a race between the "Skirt and the Negro". The Republicans love this.

Alex Elliot said...

Excellent post! I loved your question.

Jen said...

CG, the redo votes in both MI and FL change every day. It's apparently under major negotiation today. Who knows.

Luisa, thanks for the kind words.

Glamah, I couldn't agree with you more. And I, too, have not been impressed by the race baiting of the Clinton campaign and by the way her campaign has been run in general, but I was also trying to make the point about the divisiveness, in general. And, sadly, I think she's contributed to that tremendously.

Alex, thanks so much!

Ben said...

I have lived in this country for several years now and am still amazed by the democratic system that seems to work against the voters in every front.
And you are right, this is not time for divisiveness. The system is broken and the country is failing. It is everybody's responsibility (all of us who live here) to help to fix it.

Maureen said...

I am quite amazed the average American can follow the complexities of your whole electoral process... much more confusing than ours up here in Canada. I just wish they would stop the talking, elect someone and get on with the job instead of years and years of pontificating about what they are going to do!

Best of luck to you all.

Blog Hoppin'

Tui Snider said...

Oh my, Jen... You've rapped my knee with a hammer here, because every four years, I get riled up about our archaic electoral system... Bravo!

(And I've got a few rants of my own that I'll post, once I can trim all the sputtering into something lean!)

Jen said...

Ben - it's interesting to get your perspective, and Glamah's CS's perspective as well. But yes, I think it's the working together thing that has to change. And the racial divisiveness really makes me sick.

Maureen - thanks for your perspective, too. I'm just hoping for both our sakes and Canada's and the world's that we get a much more globally aware President this time around. We not only have to work together within our country, but the U.S. has to become a good friend and neighbor again.

Mosaic - I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject - write on! ;-)

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Jen I couldn't agree more. I try not to get into it with the hard core Hillary supporters. I wish someone would say to my face that I betrayed my gender in favor of my race. I am not supporting Obama because he is black. I did not vote for Jesse when he ran for president.

I cannot and will not support Hillary because I don't think she will be a good President and I do not like how she has ran/running her campaign. That she is saying, yes Obama could be her VP cracks me up. Has she looked at the delegate count?

Jen said...

NYC, it cracks me up, too. And it's another divisive tactic. And I couldn't agree with you more on all your points.

Mariposa said...

Jen this post covers a universal issue...same thing is happening here.


painted maypole said...

yes, yes, yes, yes, yes

beautfully and passionately said

and what is happening in MI and FL? And even more f-ed up version of our already f-ed up election process.

Jen said...

Yes, Mariposa - in so many regions.

And that's a good way to put it, PM!

Flower Child said...

I'm having to medicate a lot these days.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post Jen. Granholm really messed things up and I agree she is running interference for Hillary. I am so sick of the elections and they haven't even happened yet. I agree the system is terribly broken

Jen said...

Flower Child what I'm hoping for is not to feel the need to medicate past January 9, 2009.

Yes, Jane, I agree. I've never felt so impotent. And I can't believe what a horrid governor she's become. She had so much promise, I thought.

La delirante said...

Very good post Jen, very interesting. I totally agree with that head-in-the-sand comment. Re the problems that people in the US face, I think a very important issue is gun control. It is unbelieveble the amount of shootings in US schools one sees on TV every year.

janey jay said...


I live in Florida, where I'm still nursing my headache from 2000. Obviously, the lessons of that debacle still haven't sunk in yet.

And I've also taken my share of grief lately because I'm opting to vote with my head and heart, rather than in solidarity with my reproductive organs.

Keep on ranting -- I have a feeling I'll be right there with you.

Jen said...

Wendy, you're right that gun control is a huge issue, but honestly, we have many, many others right now. And we've got to get our heads out of the sand globally.

So, Citizen Jane, you're one of the disenfranchized, too? And yes, I keep getting grief for not voting with my genitals, too. Ugh. Well, we can rant together!

Anonymous said...

What you wrote makes a hell of a lot of sense, Jen. I have often felt that the only thing our system ensures is the perpetuation of the system itself. Sadly, I have gotten to a point where I have no more faith in the possibility of real change. I don't listen to what the candidates say, and I no longer vote. It does nothing. Sad, very sad, but true.

Jami said...

They're not on crack. They're on something a lot more addictive: power. It's going to be very hard to pry their fingers off the controls, but the folks WE PUT IN CHARGE are about to crash the ship of state.

Great rant!

Jen said...

Jim, I'm not quite to that point myself. I still want change to be possible. I'm still trying to figure out the best way to work towards it.

Jami, I didn't quite know what you meant about crash the ship of state? And which WE? LOL. Do you mean the Bush Admin shooting the already-limping Constitution in the foot?