I want my country back!, or How I feel about politics now

Bumper sticker
Now THERE'S a bumper sticker I can agree with!

I saw a bumper sticker the other day, on an American flag background it said “I want my Country back!”   The first thing I thought when I read this was : From whom?  Has there been some coup while I was not looking?  Are we at war and I didn’t know it?

All joking aside, I am getting more and more fed up with the divisiveness and the anger and the hate that is filling our political system.  I understand that we are a two-party system, but why do the two parties have to be at each other’s throats?  And all of these people complaining that the country was somehow ‘stolen’ from them really bother me.  As far as I know there was no gross election fraud in the last 6 years.  All of the elected officials are just that — elected officials.  They won their races.  If you don’t like it now, then obviously, you can vote for the other guy.  But don’t go around yelling that your country was stolen from you.  There is a process in place for electing officials, that process works, more or less.  People vote and the guy with more votes wins.  If you don’t like it, then you should’ve voted, or worked harder to convince your friends and neighbors to vote. 

The only way I can begin to understand someone who feels like they were cheated in the election is if the guy they voted for, who won, is now not doing what he promised to do when he campaigned.  That is wrong, and I wouldn’t vote for that guy again.  But that’s not what I’m seeing.  I’m seeing a lot of people, whose preferred candidate, for whatever reason, did not win the election, and now they’re all up in arms complaining that the system is broken.  That just sounds like sore losing. 

When I think about politics, part of me really wants to get involved, run for office, and try to fix things – or at least run a campaign the way I believe a campaign should be run: based on the issues and ideas.  I would simply state what I believe.  My campaign ads would be “This is what I’m going to do for you.”  No exorbitant promises, no slandering the other guy.  (If the best thing about you is that you are not the other guy, then I find myself not wanting to vote for either of you.)

Of course, I would have a hard time getting elected.  For starters, I do not know with which party I would affiliate.  I am not a Democrat, I am not a Republican.  If I am pressed to name a party, I call myself a Democratic Republican.   I agree with the Republican party on these several issues, and I agree with the Democratic party on these several issues.  I do tend to lean towards the Democrats, but I don’t agree with everything they believe. 

I want to see more commonalities between the parties, not more disparity.  It feels like this country is becoming more and more divided politically – It’s becoming a great big game of “if you’re not with me 100% then you are against me and evil!”  That’s just wrong.  Politicians spend the entire primary process showing how they are more right-wing or left-wing than all others, so that they can get the party nomination, but as soon as they get it, they pull a “just kidding” and try to prove just how moderate they are to try and appeal to the rest of the voters.  Why can’t people just say – Here are the facts.  This is what I believe in, this is what I’ll vote for.  If you agree with me, then vote for me.  If you don’t agree with me, then go ahead and vote for the other guy?   Not a very convincing slogan, and definitely a little hard to chant at rallies, but that’s exactly how I feel, and were I to ever run, that’s what I’d be saying. 

As it is, I think I’ll just shut myself in my house and watch West Wing reruns.  Yeah, that show was definitely Democrat-centric, but there were plenty of good Republicans as well.  It didn’t just paint all Republicans as the enemy (though some characters thought so, which is all right, since some people think so), but the show had many people from both parties and from no party working together to run the nation.   I saw a great bumper sticker when I was in high school, that I’d love to put on my car.  “Martin Sheen is my President”  I wish Aaron Sorkin could run for office, I’d definitely vote for Jed Bartlet, or Matthew Santos, or heck, even Arnold Vinick!  Why can’t we have more fictional people to vote for?

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One thought on “I want my country back!, or How I feel about politics now

  1. I suppose one reading could be “I want my country back [to where it was when I was a kid]”. The days of the cold war where people had fewer worries and there was a sense of national pride.

    I agree there are plenty of sore losers. There are also plenty of uninformed voters out there that don’t understand what they did and what they will vote for by electing candidates. Sure, promises are broken or stalemated, but it seems that the responsibility often comes back to the people who vote (another reason to restrict this right to those who are citizens). And when the common voter doesn’t know what he voted for, he can’t hold his candidate responsible for doing something he didn’t want.

    I like a two-party system. I don’t like the polar opposites people try to make from it. I really wish politicians would focus on the issues at hand that REAL people care about and can get involved with, but politicians now generally avoid these key issues at all costs, making a superficial platform with a few shallow commitments. We need wisdom above knowledge, selflessness above personal motivation.

    It’s interesting and enlightening that these political dramas tend to portray leadership in a positive light. I’ve never really seen any of them, but I wonder if it’s because the leaders are doing something that matters and affects the people in the show, and they believe in it despite any criticism. That is the reason, all political ideology aside, I liked Bush. He was at peace with his decisions because he thought he was doing what was right.

    Now, I think recent events have done both good and bad. Take the Tea Party: it has polarized politics even more (bad), but it has also encouraged the active role we citizens should be filling (good). We just need a better system of depolarizing the issues so we can talk and compromise across political stances without getting angry and excited.

    I think the key is local politics.

    Did I mention I hate the field of politics? I’ll probably use some of this for my next post.

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