Post #14: Happy Election Day, America!

A special-edition, non-Italy related post in light of the looming election, issued to admonish the politics of politics...

Everyone can make a difference. This motivational poster-worthy phrase is one that I honor as a personal value. It is the reason behind my decision to become a teacher and the influence behind my daily recycling efforts. Whether it be a friendly smile in a stranger’s direction or a small monetary donation to a Humane Society tin at the grocery store, I believe and appreciate the fact that, for every single person, no act is too small for contributing to a greater good. When I pair this fundamental belief with my background in statistics, you can understand why I believe in the importance of voting and why, on the usual election day, I am excited for the opportunity to, in some small way, have my voice heard.

But this is not the usual election day. This time, my enthusiasm for voting is replaced by cynicism. In a non-mathematical sense, I feel like my vote doesn’t make a difference after all…

The origin of my cynicism about this upcoming election lies with the politics of politics. I can’t help but to feel that my vote doesn’t matter because, no matter who wins, it’s a lose-lose situation for America. If Democrats maintain the majority, Republicans will continue taking the opposite side to every issue brought to the table, spitting in the face of compromise and dismissing all solutions presented by the opposing party while failing to present any real solutions of their own. If Republicans regain the majority, the Democrats will sit back and hope the Republicans screw up while building a case against their rivals so they can get themselves back in power when the next election rolls around. It’s all about what’s best for the party when it should be about what’s best for our country. Beyond this mentality being extremely detrimental to anyone’s hopes for productivity and growth, it’s downright scary…

In an article I stumbled upon in nytimes.com, economist Paul Krugman references the mindset of current Senate minority leader/potentially soon-to-be Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. According to Mr. McConnell, his party had it all wrong while President Clinton was in office for the first term. He suggests that, during that time, his party focused too much on the issues and not enough on ruining the President. But, good ole’ Mitch reassures us that they learned from the experience. Regarding this time around he states, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one term president”. I’m so reassured to see that our nation’s leaders have their priorities straight! Here I was thinking that they were on the same team. You know, Democrats and Republicans working together to build a better America. Two parties with two perspectives, working cooperatively to develop the best policies for our economy, education, energy efficiency and national security. I lost sight of what was truly important in the realm of United States government… party-preference.  

All sarcasm aside, this, to me, is a truly terrifying declaration. To shamelessly admit that your ideals and the ideals of your party are so selfishly twisted is appalling. Are the issues not pressing enough for you?! Are you serious that the SINGLE, MOST-IMPORTANT item on your agenda is un-seating the President that you have not even tried to work with over the last two years just because he maintains a different party affiliation than yourself?

I don’t care who you are, but if your single-most important objective in the Senate is to demolish the influence of the opposing party on policy development, you should be fired. In fact, I would go so far as to say that perhaps you should be deported. You do not deserve the privelege of representing the American people and you certainly don’t deserve the power to make decisions on their behalf.

This is not about being Republican or Democrat. Both parties are at fault for turning politics into the semblance of a high school popularity contest. This is about being American. No matter who you are or what you believe, you should be infinitely more concerned about the well being of your country than the well being of your political party. There’s no time for pouting and bad-mouthing and the government offices are the last place we need to find sore losers.  

So, as they say “Get out and vote”, America! But, as we complete our ballots, understand that our contributions are made in vain until politicians start focusing on the actual issues as opposed to the whims of their parties and the bids of their campaign contributors. Realize that, unless they start working together despite the balance of power, what was once regarded an act of patriotism is just a lost cause in the name of democracy.

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