On PoliticsI've found that political parties in general are a sham. There's something inherently wrong with the system when a great majority of the voting public makes their decision based on the primary color associated with a candidate and not the opinions and policies of the individual him(her)self. Democrat, Republican, left, right, black, white, it's all just an easy way to limit the public's choices, narrow their vision and herd the majority into a simple, yes-or-no decision.
Don't like Bush? Well, then you're obviously a Kerry fan! What do you mean, you disagree with a good deal of his policies, too?
You'd think enough of the voting population has experienced our modern system of education to understand, at worst, a Scantron™ voting system. With five candidates, there's at least a slightly greater chance that you'll find someone who closely matches your own beliefs, rather than someone you vaguely trust with the keys to our nuclear arsenal. Or, at the very very worst, someone who understands how to pronounce the last two words of the previous sentence.
When we've been asked for eight years to make the choice between a bad presidential candidate and a catastrophically bad presidential candidate, without a major popular upheaval, it tells me that the public is more at fault than the machine. The Electoral College should've been put on academic probation 170 years ago, when the Virginia electors went faithless and voted for the candidate they preferred, rather than the one who had been elected by the state's population. It should've been expelled altogether in 2000. But the issue was brushed under the rug, the public chose complacency over action, and the union proudly barrels onward into the twenty-first century, broken tendencies intact.
I shake my head at almost anyone with a partisan political sticker on their car. Even the anti-establishment ones - "Sick of it all? Vote Democrat." "Can't Wait for '08". They just reinforce the problems with a two-party system. Hey, the Republicans sure fucked this country up, huh? Surely the answer is to go into polar opposite mode and fill the House, Senate and Oval Office with "liberals." And then, eight years later, try to forget what Bush, Dick and Donald did during their term as you trip over your own feet to get those nasty Democrats out of power. It's not a game, but the American people are playing.
The invasive practice of US politics have turned the nation into a horrible place to live. They've carved deep divisions between people who would otherwise get along swimmingly. They've split families, ended friendships, estranged partners and dissolved businesses... a strange set of side-effects for something that's meant to bring people together, unite them with a common purpose. Our elected officials should be focused on improving living conditions, lending aid internationally (when invited and warranted) and building a plan for tomorrow. Instead they're making hollow speeches, supporting laws to further segregate the population and planning for the next election.
When the vast majority of career politicians began their professional lives as lawyers, that should tell you something about the quality of the individuals we're inviting to run the country. Priority number one is public image - who cares if you mean what you say, so long as the majority nods their heads and you get a sound bite out of it? Number two? Concealing your operations in legalese, selective omissions and red tape. Americans are lazy - if you make something difficult to circumvent, they'll get bored, decide the problems aren't really that bad, and forget about their objections. Surely that's the introductory lesson in remedial law school.
It's frustrating. It really is - the country was (supposedly) formed with the best of intentions. We revolted against the British for imposing an oppressive, impenetrable government upon the Union, and in just two hundred fifty years have wrapped ourselves up in a system that's arguably worse than its predecessor. "Taxation without Representation"? Well, my taxes aren't going down, and I sure as hell don't feel like I have a peer maintaining my best interests from within. Honestly, I think in the long run we'd have been better off under the Union Jack. At least today's Brits have decent health care.