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Monday, December 24, 2007

Party, Party, party

With the 2008 presidential election rapidly approaching, I thought I would do a bit on our two party system. Not so long ago, in a land not so far away: A young boy was watching TV and noticed a LOT of commercials by and for people running for office. He was wondering about how the system worked, and how people decided who to vote for. So, he went to his father and asked - "Dad, how do you decide who to vote for?" The dad, being a wise man, decided to use this question as a civics lesson of a type. "Son, there are many ways people decide who to vote for." "What should be done, is after a careful in-depth evaluation of all the candidates and a consideration for any and all issues that they will be dealing with, the person running that addresses these issues with answers most consistant to the voters beliefs and ideas gets the vote." Now the son was already bored, and the dad saw the far away look in his son's eyes. "But, that is not what happens in most cases", the dad continued. "What do you mean?", said the son. "Well, son....lot's of folks vote how other people tell them to. Or they may vote because they like the way one of the candidates looks. Or they may just vote for one candidate just to vote against the other." "Then, there are the parties, son". "Parties?" asked the son. "You mean like, birthday parties?" "Oh, no son. These parties are not the fun kind of parties. Sit down, and I will tell you about them." And the dad began: "You know we have two major parties in this country, right? We have the Stupid party and the Dumb party. Some people vote Dumb or Stupid right down the line. Just because they are Dumb or Stupid and their parents or friends may be Dumb or Stupid, that is how they decide who to vote for." "Wow", said the son. "That seems silly. How does someone know if they are Dumb or Stupid?" "Like I said son, some people are Dumb or Stupid just because they were raised that way. Others fall for the propaganda that the parties put out, telling you one is better than the other." "What's the difference?, asked the son. "Oh, here's the fun part", answered the dad. "There isn't much in practice, so they have to talk about a lot of differences when they are campaigning. The two parties are more alike when it comes to how they govern and vote on things than different". "Why do we even have the two parties?", asked the son. Or why doesn't someone come up with a new party?". "We do have other parties", answered the dad. "You remember the We Could Be... party ads, right? You know they talk about the Stupid position or the Dumb position and then it's like - We Could Be Stupider or Dumber than that. Then there is always the Holier than Thou party. They take the Dumb and/or Stupid policies and talk about how they are better suited to make them work or whatever." "Boy", said the son. I don't think I want to vote!" "Son, that is a whole other problem. A lot of the people that should vote, because they are the ones that know about the issues and problems we face, don't". "Why not?", asked the son. "Well, in some cases it is because of the two party system and the way it makes the candidates face the issues. They get fed up with the system and the people it produces for them to vote for". "Why not get rid of the two parties?", the son wondered out loud. "Well, the parties would have to vote themselves out, basically; as they have all the power.", the dad lamented. "Sometimes that is why a third party comes along, usually the Holier than Thou party in some sort of fashion, and tries to take power from the Dumb and/or Stupid party. But, the Stupid and Dumb party make all the rules on how the election system works, so it is very hard to make any real change. You know how when you play ball, the guy with the ball and/or the court kind of makes the rules? That is how this works". "Wow, dad. I don't see how we ever will get any good people to vote for. What do we do?" The dad leaned back, sighed, and said - "Just tell your friends when they are getting ready to vote to do what I said at the beginning of this discussion. Learn the issues, from all sides. Learn the candidates; not just the campaign ad stuff but who and what they are and believe. Vote with your brain, not your heart. Most of all, after taking the time to learn all of this... VOTE!! The son said "Thanks dad", and headed out to play ball. So, who are you voting for, and why?

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