I've been putting off writing this post for a long time. Too long. And now I'm almost out of time to write it, so I'm going to bite the bullet and do it before it loses it's relevance for a few more years.
It's not news to anyone really that our political system is a joke. It's broken, it's corrupted, it's a gigantic song and dance contest bankrolled by those who have the means to buy influence.
Are there still people who go into politics for all the right reasons? To try and help others, to advocate for their constituents, to fight injustices, to give those who don't have one a voice? Sure. Idealists will always go into things like politics for the right reasons, at least initially.
It seems, though, that somewhere along that journey, too many of them forget why they are really there. They bend at the will of that influence, they agree to sign bills they disagree with just because some rider was added that they need passed. They change their positions. They lie.
They all do it to some extent, I am sure. I would like to believe that there is someone in this profession that holds the strength of their convictions, but I haven't seen it in such a long time that I'm starting to think it no longer is possible.
Our system is broken and flawed.
Our nation has this preconceived notion in it's head that the only way we can properly function is with a two party system. It's not really true. Other democracies have more than two dominant parties, but we can't accept that possibility. Consequently, anyone that doesn't buy into the party line rhetoric is laughed away from debates and primaries. Even in the years that a third party candidate's influence changed the outcome of the election, we refuse to acknowledge it as more than a footnote.
I'll tell you why.
Because most people can't conceptualize a world with diverging opinions. Because it's easier to imagine a linear spectrum of views where one party falls on one side, the second party on the other, ignoring the very much three dimensional matrix that surrounds the line. It's easier to choose between two choices than many.
There is an argument I've heard time and time again that we need the two party system to accomplish anything in Congress. The obvious flaw in that logic is that Congress isn't efficient at all now. A two party system cannot work if no one is ever willing to cross party lines for compromise. The result is that nothing ever gets done unless one party dominates. Then 2 years later, another elections comes and shifts the balance again. The new Congress undoing whatever the one before it did.
Our system doesn't work now.
They say that doing the same thing over and over, but expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. Are we, as a nation, politically insane? Maybe.
We need to entertain the idea that maybe there is a better way to govern this country. We need to put the representative back into the representative democracy, and we need to do that by limiting and controlling how much influence can be bought. We need to stop allowing huge political issues to be shaped and shifted by sham organizations set up just to funnel money to politicians.
We need to resurrect the notion of the separation of church and state, one of the fundamental things this nation was built on.
We need open and honest discussions about energy and food and commerce and education, not slanted propaganda spoon fed to people by lobbyists puppeteering our elected officials.
We need to stop treating corporations as people. They are legal fictions set up to protect the financial interests of the rich. We need fairness in taxation, and a tax code that makes sense, without all the loopholes that allow multimillion dollar companies a free pass.
We need to stop wasting time rehashing issues of personal liberty that have already been resolved.
We need to stop kidding ourselves that reinventing the wheel every 4 years is the best way to go.
We need to stop falling for the lie that any of our major problems in this country can be fixed right away.
We need to understand the background and history of how and why we are in the situation we are in, then come up with pragmatic long term solutions.
We need to get over ourselves and this belief that whatever my party says is right, and whatever your party says is wrong. Odds are, there is some good and bad on both sides, but we are just collectively too damned stubborn to see it. Then we should probably entertain the idea of listening to people on the outside with different ideas.
They just might be the ones who know how to solve these problems.
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