This past year has been a kind of political awakening for me. Don’t get me wrong: I’m a registered voter and have voted in every election for years — Oregon’s vote-by-mail system makes it ever so easy — but I’ve found myself less than enthused with the choice (really, lack thereof) of candidates and the feeling that my votes really don’t count for much. Other than voting and grumbling, I’ve been a passive observer to this thing we call government, but recent events like the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street*, and the recession have changed my outlook and have ignited a need to participate and raise my voice in the call for change — not just regular change, but disruptive, innovative change that can only come when you reinvent the rules and the playing field, and kick out the ones who are just punting back and forth while nothing ever really gets accomplished.
I’ve been formulating my own “platform” of sorts, that lists the general principles that I think this country needs to focus on, and joking to my husband Dan that I want to run for President but only if I could be the one to make all of the decisions and strategy, while my Vice President would take care of the public appearances and state dinners and figurehead-type duties. So, in keeping with my goal (see the About Me page) of not being afraid to state my actual true feelings in public, I want to start writing about how I think things could change for the better in this country.
Recently I’ve come across a website that I’ve been exploring, called Americans Elect, that seems to reflect a bunch of other people who think similarly to me (what a relief that there are others who have issues with the status quo. It would be even more awful if no one saw a problem!). I encourage you to check it out, if only to see how your views compare with the presidential candidates and with other Americans. You’ll answer a series of questions about topics from energy to immigration, from campaign finance to health care. Hey, it’s technology actually doing something to improve our government – what a concept! (I like online gaming as much as the next person, but when there are more of us playing Farmville than trying to be active in government and try to improve our situation, there is a real problem)
I’ll start sharing some of my views here, but for now suffice it to say that I’m for compassion, kindness, respect, responsibility, and doing the right thing.
Each one of us has a responsibility to become educated on the facts of the issues facing this country and to get active so our voices are heard by our elected officials. I’d really like to see some civil, informed debate on the issues than to hear sound bites and speeches that are phrased to appeal to the emotions of voters (and re-election). We need honest dialogue and the ability to be open-minded to ideas that may be different. Our issues are too complex to be wasting time playing games instead of solving problems and moving onto the next challenge.
Now I know what my dad meant when he said he would only be president if he could be a benevolent dictator. Get out of my way and let me make the decisions so we can get through our stack of problems — then we can move on and focus on building the next great generation.
*About Occupy Wall Street: I love the energy and determination of these folks, and they are indeed an inspiration. But I think we need to take action beyond just occupying places. We need to gather together, decide what we are in favor of, and get organized to elect like-minded people to office that we can trust to be honest, objective, and open-minded. My hat’s off to all of you OWSers, but we need to take it further.