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Posts Tagged ‘vote’

Perhaps I should note, right up front, that I am not equating Barack Obama to a douche. Or more accurately, I am, but not in the spirit of meanness. South Park fans will understand immediately. For the rest of you, let me explain. After major elections overseas and several state primaries, my thoughts turned to voting and the process of election. A friend, discussing similar topics, brought up episode 808 (#119) of the well-known satiric TV series South Park, wherein a new school mascot must be decided by vote and the two choices are anything but ordinary: a turd sandwich and a giant douche.

To cut a complex story short, a boy who is told he must vote refuses, citing that he doesn’t agree with either of the candidates and it is a pointless exercise anyway. After heavy pressure from family, friends, and community members, including threats of bodily harm, he relents. But before doing so, he is advised by the leader of a nationwide activist group that “every election is between a Giant Douche and a Turd.”

So we have our foundation. And I am inclined to agree with Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the creators and principal writers of the South Park series. Most elections do seem to come down to the choice between between a douche and a turd. It is one unfortunate result of a two-party system. As much as we tout the wide variety of choice in political preferences, it really comes down to Democrat or Republican on the ballot. Though a few shudders of revolt have been felt from the Independent and Tea factions, most candidates elected to major offices still carry an (R) or (D) by their names. (Is it a mere coincidence that douche begins with (d) and turd contains an (r)? I wonder.)

So what should one do, when faced with the choice of selecting between a turd and a douche? How can one determine the lesser of two evils? Either way, the populace effected is sure to lose. Yet not voting – refusing to choose – is seen as an insult, not only to the nation as a whole but to the many who fought and died to bring the nation to where it stands today.

I argue that refusing to choose is not an insult to the nation but a measure of the abuse the political system is experiencing. Without strong figures of reason and credibility to vote for, what impetus is there to cast a vote? Why mark the box for a turd if a turd isn’t wanted in office? It becomes a catch 22: the only candidates with enough political savy and sway to reach levels of importance are all douches and turds, so only douches and turds can be elected. Which I believe is the point made by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. And for the more patriotic, who see refusal as a dismissal of the battles that gave us the freedom to vote, I can only ask if those same battles were fought so that we would only be able to choose between two corrupt, greedy, unappealing, unwanted, money- and power-hungry candidates. I don’t believe that was what any of those men and women fought for. I don’t believe that is what men and women the world over continue fighting for.

I whole-heartedly support the right to vote. 1,000%. It was meant to be our greatest freedom, our most powerful weapon of peace and justice against our own government and political system. I value that right beyond words and will defend it to my last breath. With force, if necessary. But it has been so misused. It has become such a pitiful shadow of what it could and should be. It’s the 21st Century. We are surrounded with technological and biological marvels. And yet we vote as though we are still in the Dark Ages, ignorant, apathetic, afraid. James A. Mishener once said, “An age is called dark, not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it.” Well I see it, or at least the potential of it, and I refuse to vote for darkness. I refuse to vote for turds and douches and rampant liars and unconscionable thieves. Not when we, as a nation, are capable of so much better.

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My fellow Americans, and other readers from around the world, I believe something very strange has happened to us. An author named Robert Heinlein once wrote a book called Stranger in a Strange Land, and while I’ve never read said book I feel the title is all too accurate in describing my little corner of the world. I do indeed feel like a total stranger in a very strange land.

I used to think I had a pretty good handle on this world, and pretty well knew my place in it. But things change, don’t they? Oh my, yes, how things change. The kicker, of course, is that it’s really only my perception of things that has changed, not the things themselves. There was always deception and dishonor, corruption and cowardice, only now I really see them. Everywhere.

Does anyone else find it ridiculous that this country spent sixteen years under the thumb of two lying, cheating, self-serving men who left nothing behind but a wake of death and destruction? Or how about the fact that the popular vote in the last two presidential elections was completely ignored by the electoral college, the supposedly “representative” group of men and women who ultimately choose which candidate will rule the nation? Is it just me or has inflation made the prices of goods and services skyrocket while wages have only slowly crept upward? And isn’t this the same inflation that Washington still refuses to acknowledge while it prints fiat money as fast as it can?

Do these things make sense to anyone? Am I taking crazy pills or something??

Because they seem as wrong as wrong can be to me. It seems unfathomable to me that politicians now speak of “trillions of dollars” as if it were only millions. That Barack Obama is hailed as a saviour when so far his works have only driven us deeper in the ground. (Hey, buddy, we were already six feet under … isn’t that enough?) I find it hard to believe that China wants to drop the dollar when ten years ago a college professor explained to me how ludicrously unlikely it was that America would ever fail. How nonsensical that a major city should ever drown on the inaction of its leaders and the entire conglomeration of local, state and national governments; that the uncontrolled spending of large banks should bring the economy to its knees worldwide; that the Democratic platform and the Communist platform should differ on only two points.

I know that these things are true, but I have a hard time understanding them. It’s as though I’ve slipped into a parallel dimension, or, like Rip Van Winkle, somehow awoken to a future where little of the world I knew remains. Where corruption has infiltrated every facet of our legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government at every level, from small-town council to the president himself. Where corporate and political greed has nullified the needs of the American people. Where anything is for sale if the price is right and to hell with the consequences.

Welcome to the Strange Lands. It looks like the Dark Ages are back.

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“All the legislation in the world can’t fix what’s wrong with America.” – Jimmy Carter

“A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.” – Gerald Ford

“When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.” – Thomas Jefferson

“Why shouldn’t the people fear the great? The liberties of mankind were never destroyed by any other class of men.” – Abraham Bishop

“America is great because America is good; and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” – Alexis de Toqueville

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You may have noticed this story already from the AP feed or MSNBC or some other news organization but I think it bears repeating.

Muskogee, Oklahoma, has a new mayor.  Aside from Merle Haggard fans, this probably holds little meaning.  But don’t click to a new blog just yet, it gets a lot more interesting.  You see, he’s 19.  Yup, not even old enough to legally drink and he’s mayor of an entire city.  Given, it’s not exactly New York (Muskogee’s population is roughly 40,000), but I very much doubt I could have taken a fraction of that responsibility at his age.  (If you’re honest, I doubt you could have, either.)  I thought I was doing pretty well to get passing grades in my classes, keep a part-time job, and pay my car insurance on time.  To win, he beat out Hershel McBride, 70, a former three-term mayor.  Was it a squeaker, you ask?  Did he win by re-count and dimpled chads?  Hardly.  In a landslide victory, John Tyler Hammons, a freshmen at the University of Oklahoma, garnered 70% of the votes and is set to be sworn in next week.

So did he run on a lark?  A dare?  As a result of a booze-fueled frat party?  Sorry to disappoint, but no.  He’s serious.  And he’s non-partisan.  Democrat, Republican, Greener, Independent, Whig, or whatever, he plans to work for Muskogee as a whole.  “Politics stop at the door,” Hammons said.  “First and foremost, Muskogee is my one and only interest right now.  …If someone wants to talk politics, I will literally leave the office and leave the building if I have to.  In this office, it needs to be Muskogee-oriented.”  To begin, he has at least two ambitious projects to pursue for the city:  1) the introduction of an independent ethics commission to track city officials, both those elected and those directly appointed, and 2) the campaign finance reporting requirements for those running for office.  “I’m sure the [city] council will work with me on these issues,” Hammons shared.  “I campaigned on this, and this is something I intend to push.”

It’s clear this driven young man has big plans.  And Muskogee is betting he’s worth the risk.  Unencumbered by political secrets, schisms, and scandals, Hammons can bring a fresh perspective to the office and hopefully affect greater change than his predecessors.  At the very least, it provides a hopeful turn of events for the millions of voters across the country who remain unsatisfied by their elected officials at every level of government.  Change can happen.  

And not just the change from (D) to (R) in front of a congressman’s name, which is almost meaningless today anyway.  I think the mere act of shaking up an arena is worth as much as any outcome, if not more, whether the results are good or bad.  A former professional wrestler was elected governor.  A former body-builder and actor was elected governor.  A former actor was elected governor … and then elected president.  Oh yes, change can happen, though it may come in many a strange form.  I almost wish I lived in Muskogee so I could have penciled in a ballot for John Tyler Hammons myself.  At least he wants to work for the voters, he wants to make improvements, and wants to try.  That in itself is a victory.  “I’ve always had it in the back of my mind to be governor of Oklahoma one day,” he also said.  “That’s always been a dream of mine.  If I am lucky enough to be governor, I’ll probably flirt with the idea of trying to become president.”

Tell you what, John.  Try your hardest.  Stay honest (I’m assuming, of course, that you are now).  Fight for everything you want to see happen and don’t budge an inch on the important stuff.  Keep your ambition, your idealism, your drive, and I’ll be first in line to vote for you in 2024.  I’ll even make a campaign contribution.  I’m not holding my breath … but I’ll be rooting for you.

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A little Muskogee trivia, for those interested…   Located in the eastern portion of Oklahoma, Muskogee is about 45 miles from Tulsa and 120 miles from Okie City.  It is 61% white, 53% female, and 54% of the population is under 40 years old.  Median income is less than the state average at $26,418 and overall crime is slightly above average.  (A bunch of poor, angry, white women to blame, perhaps?)    The city encompasses roughly 35 square miles and is partially bordered on the northern and eastern sides by the Arkansas River.  It was settled in 1872, was once capital of the Indian Territory (pre-statehood for Oklahoma), and continues to grow today.

 

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