Thankful #6: Elections

By the time I am finished with this post, you will probably think I am weird, but that is ok. I am always excited for election day. Most people are happy about elections because the advertising finally ends. I am excited about elections because it often means that there is change in the air. I certainly do NOT like elections when the same old, same olds get elected and things never move off square one. Before we go too much further, let me just put it out there that I am a bleeding hearted liberal tree hugger on social issues, but a mattress stuffing conservative with my money. So hopefully you are now able to see how I think.

As for the way the elections fell this year, I think that the voters are getting so wrapped up in the party name that they have stopped looking at what the candidate is all about. For a couple of good movies to give you some thoughts on that check out, The Candidate starring Robert Redford, or Dave with Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver. Both give you some interesting entertainment and a bit of hope for the future. If only real life mirrored that a bit more. There is also The American President with Michael Douglas that makes you think there is integrity someplace in some candidates.

Anyway, back to this year. I was watching some of the initiatives and constitutional changes on the ballots in North Dakota and South Dakota. It was interesting how the people voted on those things. In North Dakota they voted overwhelmingly to NOT pass 7 of the 8 items on the ballots. The only one that passed was a measure that will prevent any new taxes on buying or selling real estate such as a home or farm land or such. It was not even a problem, but the word tax got everyone voting.

The other measure were things of a social nature and one about changing how they govern their institutions of higher education, something I might classify as somewhat social in nature. They all went down in 80-20, 70-30 and 60+ to 30+. None were 51-49 at least not the last time I checked on them on Tuesday night. If I am saying any of this incorrectly, I hope someone puts a comment on with a correction.

In South Dakota people had a “raise the minimum wage” bill on the ballot. This was not a one-time raise, but a continuing into the future raise. It passed. Now to me this is a liberal bill. As a conservative money person, I didn’t think this was so good, but I was torn. After a conversation with a family member, I realized it was a yes for me. So this passed, but at the same time the voters of South Dakota overwhelmingly elected people that will work night and day to find a way to get rid of that law.

In North Dakota the state wide races were Republican wins and Democratic defeats, but they were within reason in terms of numbers. It wasn’t a landslide or a total blow out. It wasn’t 6-1 in voting in all cases. It was not like that in South Dakota. The percentages there (again the last time I looked) were in that 70-30 range. These weren’t victories they were landslides. And for me the worst thing was to see that in many, many cases in the state legislature there was no competition, and it often didn’t matter which side the incumbent was from.

So why are we so disconnected? Why do young people have such a “give no care” attitude about politics? Is it because the system is broken? As a person who believes deeply in what the founding fathers put into place, I will argue against that to the end. I don’t believe the system is broken, I believe we have people in power who are playing havoc with it. Because of the power and the money involved, government attracts disreputable people, and good honest people are so frustrated they don’t get involved.

Being a public servant, which is truly what a politician should consider themselves is like a calling. If you really have compassion and care about the welfare of people and the advancement of your area, you are willing to give of yourself to make things better. But that is not happening enough as of late.

Here is my take on the election cycle we just went through. Too much negative advertising. The negatives may have been true all the way around, and I did look at those things, but… My church people know there is always a “but.” There were no positive policy statements. Candidates were not running on a platform that attracted anyone. No one was saying what they stand for. Some had cute little ads, but they didn’t tell me what they would do. I was actually insulted by some of their gimmicks. Our electorate is not all stupid, some of us do read and pay attention and think.

Although sadly in some cases, I think people were voting the party their grandparents voted. Do we even know why their grandparents chose the side that they chose? I would bet not. What do we want from our elected officials? Less invasion of our personal space? Less taxing of us for services? More services to help us personally? Guess what, people seemed to vote that way on the issues, but did they put people into power that will continue on that trend?

Here is my take: If we had better people in power doing what we really want them to do, we wouldn’t need all those initiated measures that take up our time and tax payers’ money to vote out anyway.

I sure hope there are comments on what I brought up. I want to hear your opinion. Just remember no slamming anyone or cursing. If your comment does not appear, it is because it was inappropriate for young readers and not because you disagree with me.

I would love to hear from you, so go ahead, comment!

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