When it comes to political candidates, question everything and everyone! Even if it IS what you want to hear!! You may be the unwitting victim of Mis- and Dis- information.
Election Year Musings – Political Essay No. 1
It is clear to me that many of my fellow bloggers like the idea of challenges, therefore, I offer a challenge at the end of this essay!
Politically, I would describe myself as a Conservative—note: that does not mean I automatically vote Republican. I reserve the privilege—the right—to vote for the individual whom I think is best for our government under current conditions. I am a Conservative because I believe, among other things, it is NOT the Federal government’s role to take care of each of us individually all of the time.
Here is what I believe:
- About the United States Constitution:
The Constitution is pretty well written and the intent was clear from the beginning, i.e., any authority not specifically granted to the Federal Government in the Constitution is left to the individual states, local governments, and individual citizens to resolve.
The Constitution recognizes that the United States is a community of states that have collective interests and responsibilities, but beyond these collective interests, each state also retains the authority and responsibility for its own governance as guided by citizens of that state.
The Constitution contains well defined provisions for changes–amendments–that may occasionally become necessary. These provisions are to be used to keep the Constitution up-to-date with changing times, but also guard against frivolous, “knee-jerk” changes.
Incidentally, I do not accept the argument that the Constitution is outdated. If it is, it is because we have not diligently updated it through the established amendment process. I think it is inappropriate for judges to effectively change constitutional law via legal opinion. If the Constitution cannot be amended in the proscribed manner, it is probably because a large majority of states and citizens do not see a need for it to be changed. As it is, a well-argued minority opinion can potentially modify Constitutional law.
Additionally, I believe the provisions of the Constitution, as amended, applies equally to every citizen of the United States.
- About all members government:
At all levels of government—national, state, community—representatives are elected, appointed or hired to govern the business of the people whom they represent and serve.
I also accept that we select members of government ideally because we trust them to make the best decisions for the electorate based on their full understanding of issues that affect that electorate.
Although I would prefer defining our elected government representatives as “citizen representatives” rather than as “professional politicians,” I realize it takes a collection of certain personality and character traits to be an effective “representative” making the election of “politicians” practical, if distasteful, so long as they first represent their electorate in good faith.
Unfortunately, in my opinion, our legislators do not always diligently “carry out the business of the people.”
For example, in my opinion, I think it was unconscionable for members of Congress to jeopardize Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding by tying its passage to President Obama’s Immigration legislation (2015). There were two things wrong here:
(1) It jeopardized the DHS and threatened to lay off DHS staff or have them working unpaid, and…
(2) If a bill cannot stand and be passed on its own merits, then it probably does not deserve to pass.
To attach the Immigration law to DHS funding was nothing less than political extortion—or more explicitly, as we say in the vernacular, a “pissin’ contest” with clear disregard for doing the jobs for which our representatives, on both sides of the aisle, were elected to do.
Each elected representative at any level (and all citizens, too) should recognize that his or her community (county, state, etc.) is part of the greater whole, the United States of America. So any action that is taken at the local or state level should not only meet the needs of the community or state, but should also not be contrary to the good of the nation (i.e., contrary to the original Constitutional authority-including Amendments-of the Federal government!).
- There are at least two sides to every issue.
We vote for candidates to be our representatives, and they, in turn vote to pass laws and make governmental decisions. The principle of United States Government is that a majority of the voting population guides the decisions and actions of the government. It can be messy, but I generally accept this premise. (I’ll talk about the qualifications of the voting public in another blog.)
I also accept the fact that a conscientious representative should be better informed on a specific issue than I might be, and I expect that individual to make an honest judgment on an issue and therefore I accept that it might differ from my limited, possibly biased, opinion. If, however, that representative makes too many decisions contrary to my understanding of the issues, he or she will likely not get my vote in the next election-regardless of party affiliation.
A footnote on personal experience:
I have reached retirement age. When I graduated from college several decades ago, I was much more idealistic than I am now. I have lived my life trying to be aware of what was going on in the country and the world–that is, I tried to be an informed voter when it came to elections–and life. I have learned that many of my “idealistic” positions in my younger years were based on NOT fully understanding any number of political issues. I feel that my political decisions today are based on a more knowledgeable position.
I also believe politicians recognize this in the national population, and that is why certain candidates target younger voters–they can count on that general characteristic of idealism to support more liberal ideas. This may be a very broad assumption, and subject to rebuttal, but that is how I see it right now.
I challenge any readers who actually get to the end of this essay to share and/or comment on–pro or con–my thoughts.
I dare you!