|"I guess I am somewhat of an idealist. I believe that the people who risked their lives both in the Philadelphia State House (Independence Hall) and the battlefields of the revolutionary war really intended for us to have a government ""of the people, for the people, and by the people"" [Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address]. Call me naive if you will, but in the research that I have done and what I remember from history classes, those who forged this country believed in something bigger than self.
[Read the Constitution here: Link"]
For those of you who may not know me or, at least know me well, I am a conservative. Perhaps I will expand on that another time, but for this post, I am not talking about conservative/liberal or Republican/Democrat/Libertarian/whatever.
What I am talking about here is the state of politics in our time. On a basic level, we have wandered far from where we started or the founders intended.
Career Politicians - It was originally the intention that ordinary, everyday people would leave their jobs or endeavors to serve in public office and when their term was over, they would return to those endeavors. This make sense - if this were the case, wouldn't office holders be more likely to really understand what was happening in the lives of everyday people? They wouldn't have time to be so removed from the world that they lose touch. I personally believe that this has happened today. Too many office holders have been in office so long, they are no longer in touch with real life.
image borrowed from http://www.oceancountypolitics.com with which I have NO affiliation
Everyday People Holding Office - Realistically, we have evolved to a point that what was originally intended can't happen. The primary reason is the UMF (Universal Motivating Force). There is a symbol for the UMF with which all of us are familiar: $. Yes, the dollar sign. Money. The love of which is the root of all evil. Realistically, an ordinary person, no matter how gifted or able has nearly no chance of getting elected to a major office if for no other reason than he/she is unlikely to have the financial resources.
Honesty and Integrity (Values) - Our society has changed fundamentally. The vast majority of people no longer consider honesty and integrity important. The expectation now is that everyone lies. Most people do - for any reason - and think nothing of it. In addition, most people no longer hold elected officials (or anyone else) to a higher standard of conduct. Who do most people hold as role models and heroes? Celebrities! Actors, sports players, rock stars - most of them have little understanding of real life, but believe that their opinions are more valuable than ours are and have the nerve to subjugate the morals, values, and actions of others.
So, what if there was a honest, upstanding, capable, ordinary person who was the perfect person for the job? Would he/she be elected? Not bloody likely. Not only is there the money issue, but also, the political machine. You have to "go along to get along". It is a world of favors and kick-backs, and back room deals. "You scratch my back (vote with me on my pet), and I'll scratch your back (and I'll vote with you for yours)." There are many other reasons, but let me mention just one more - individual self interests of the people. Let's say that our "right person for the job" knows what has to be done in a particular situation and he tells everyone before he is elected that he will do that unpleasant thing if elected (remember, he's honest). Most of us are pretty spoiled in this country. So, even if Joe Bunda knows it is the right thing to do, if he personally will suffer or be asked to sacrifice, he won't vote for our "right guy" The interests of self have been elevated about the interests of others, the country, or even the world. So, the "right guy" won't be elected.
A lot of people talk about the Electoral College and how it should be abolished. There is a very specific purpose for the Electoral College and I won't go into it here. But we ought to be considering the primary process. More so in one party than the other, but still in both, the party nominee isn't selected by popular vote. Check it out... do a little research and find out what a "super delegate" is and how they influence the selection. Figure out the difference between a caucus and a primary election.
Please don't get me wrong - I may sound very negative, but despite the problems that we face, this is the greatest country the world has ever known and it can continue to be. But we must be vigilant.
Please, please, please, do the research - find out what the candidates believe and what their past actions show and vote for the best candidate for the entire country. Then,
"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion... Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." - President John Adams