I don't talk politics around these parts because its just wiser not to. When it comes to politics, my inner debate team breaks loose and things get ugly. I like studying the issues, listening to the candidates, digging for the fact behind the rhetoric. It gets my blood moving. Its a thrill.
Little known fact about me - I minored in PoliSci. Yes I did. I have a degree in print communications with a minor in political science. When I discovered my High School AP classes not only left me with enough credits to equal a full semester worth of college but credits that meant actual requirements towards my degree I mulled over several possible scenarios. One of those was actually moving my minor to a 2nd major. Yes, that'd mean I'd have a degree in it as well. Instead I opted for the "get out of college early" card.
So I could delve into the why I minored/nearly majored in this area. I could pontificate on my thoughts of political issues in general. Instead I want to rail against the general publics naivete. One thing I hate about this political season is listening to the fear mongering. Both sides do it. They won't admit it, but they do it. And the reason it works is because the general voter has not a clue how the government operates.
Case in point, this year you hear that one candidate will raise taxes the moment he's sworn in and the other will shut down Social Security leaving poor old ladies with no checks, oh and he's also going to institute the draft. The news is quick to interview voters leaning either way who will confess that they're vote swings on such statements. "I like George Bush, but I don't want my sons drafted. I know he says he won't do it, but I can't take that chance."
Oh, please people find a civics book and study it. The President can't do any of those things. No. He. Can. Not. No. The President can propose those things. He can advocate those things. He can campaign for them. He can negoiate for support of them. But he can't just up and do them. Nope, the beauty of the American system is a series of checks and balances. For taxes to be raised, Congress must pass a bill. For Social Security reform to actually get underway after years of talk from either side of the aisle, Congress must get off its butt and put something to a vote. Congress, being a group of career politicians often hellbent on keeping their constituents happy even at the risk of keeping to their own beliefs, aren't about to do anything overly radical any time soon.
Can Kerry get tax increase through - sure, if Congress cooperates and doesn't cease being what it is today (split down the middle). He can also refuse to sign any bills that include tax cuts or continuation of the previously past cuts Bush advocated (which, if you really care to know, I agree with those cuts and the idea of having them vanish ticks me off. Its my money damn it and I want it. I'm sick of paying for bridges with Robert C. Byrd's (thanks Mandy!) name on them. There are Federal programs worth supporting with my income and then there is porkbarreling. I can spend my dollars on better things than the pork rinds that get through. Balance the budget by cutting wasteful spending leaving the dollars we do raise through payroll taxes for worthy programs.)
Yet the voter. Your typical, average, make my choice off the sound bites and ads voter, does not know this. No, your typical voter only hears "Kerry will raise taxes the first chance he gets," and "Bush will privatize Social Security leaving you, blue-haired old lady, checkless." Because of that, the lunacy continues.
To veer totally in a different direction, something that continues to amaze me time and time again is how two intelligent people can view the same set of facts and arrive at totally different places. I'd keep rambling in that direction but the littlest one is squawking. Ahhh, must be near feeding time at our zoo.
By the way, I've been debating on whether or not to take Logan into the booth with me next week. Our voting location is close enough that the kids and I will walk (well, they'll ride, I'll walk.) I can leave the stroller parked just next to the booth where the sweet old man that is always there will keep his eye ball on them and entertain Logan with blank labels masquerading as stickers. OR, I can bring Logan in with me and let him witness the process. We already talked about why we're going to walk down to "his school" (the elementary he'll attend in 3 years is where we vote.) We talk about the signs he sees on lawns (which I am fighting the urge to go out on Mischief night altering the Kerry signs. Umm..did I just give my leanings away?!) So maybe seeing the booth would be neat. Heck I'd even let him push that little green "vote" button once I was done. My fear is that he'll want to push other buttons and I'll end up voting for Column B.