Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Reluctantly Returning to My (Political) Blogging Roots

There it sits, resting softly in a bed of used dryer sheets, sharing space in the garbage can with a no-longer-sticky Rapunzel sticker and Eve's most recent reading book.

I voted yesterday.

When I began my blog on Election Day, 2008, politics and elections were occasional topics of my postings. As I go back and read them, I see how my opinions have changed. Mostly, however, I see how apathy and hopelessness have become my overriding attitudes about it all.

Funny how we change, right?

It's been months and months (maybe even years) since I ventured a political rant, but I just couldn't let today pass without expressing my opinions on a few issues.

People have become so disenchanted with Obama that pundits predicted the Republicans would retake six seats in the Senate and gain control of both houses of Congress. As of last night, Republicans won at least seven seats, and a few were too close to call. I wish I could be hopeful that change will come, but I’m not really. I've passed the point where I think the Republicans or the Democrats have solutions--or even the country's best interests in their sights. Republicans reelected an NY congressman who has been indicted on over 70 counts of fraud. And they want to trust their vote in running of our country to a man who is employing all of his energy to stay out of prison? And every Democrat on a national ticket did their very best to distance themselves from President Obama--the person who, as President of our country, is supposed to embody the views of his entire party. It seems that people have become so entrenched in the idea of what a political party is supposed to represent that they look past flaws in candidates' moral character to further the "party" ideals. 

When did the right to vote change from voting for the best candidate to voting a party ticket, even when your party of choice presents a candidate that may be unethical, unqualified, uninformed, or at the very worst--a puppet to further someone's agenda? When did Americans become so numb, so lemming-like, so uninformed, so  . . . dumb? 

I'm not just writing this because I have a bad case of sour grapes this morning, because I don't. I'm just so frustrated with what politics have become in this country.

A friend of mine posted this comment on Facebook yesterday, and his response was so wise I wanted to share it with you. He wrote:

As a trial lawyer, I do not care whether a judge is "conservative" or "liberal," but rather whether he will act judicial and follow the law. If the judge follows the law, then I can advise my client properly. I voted "no" on one of the "conservative" judges you listed because, in my experience, she does not behave judicially. I voted "yes" on nearly all of the "liberal" judges you identified because they act judicially and follow the law.

We are extremely fortunate that we do not elect our judges in the large Arizona counties. When judges are elected, the lawyers appearing in front of the judges become their primary fund raisers, which raises a serious conflict of interest for litigants. A judge should not promise to rule in a particular way, and should not be beholden to a particular constituency (i.e., plaintiff's personal injury lawyers, defense lawyers, prosecutors, public defenders, etc.). Rather, each case should be decided based on the facts as determined by the evidence presented in court.

Judges are paid to make decisions. When they do, at least one of the parties is unhappy with their decision. But if the judge goes through the proper steps, behaves judicially, and follows the law, we can have predictable decisions. It's not a perfect system -- no system that relies on human beings is perfect -- but it is better than anything else that has been invented thus far.

I agree with Scott. Voting shouldn't be based solely on a candidate's identification as "conservative" or "liberal." A vote should also consider whether or not a candidate knows what is required to serve in the position for which they are running. Do voters ever read candidates' bios, or do they look for the big red R or blue D following their names and use that as their primary reason for casting their vote? Isn't that how kindergartners make decisions--"R is in my name, so I'm going to vote for that person"? I know it's more complicated than that, especially since both parties have an inherent ideology that underlies what each letter represents. I get that, and I know that it can be helpful, but it shouldn't be the primary reason for casting a vote.

The State of Arizona made a huge mistake this year when electing a new State Superintendent of Public Instruction. While the election was still very close this morning, it looks like Douglas (R) will defeat Garcia (D) for this position. Douglas is a former local school board member whose sole platform for running an entire state's education system was to eliminate the Common Core curriculum. She wouldn't appear for debates or publicly support her platform in arenas where she had to field too many questions. She ran on the party ticket. Garcia is an associate professor of education at ASU who has years of experience in the field of education. Now, whether or not you support Democrats or Republicans, here's a question. If candidates were elected for the positions for which they're running based on experience, knowledge and, as Scott wrote above (and I know he was speaking about judges, but his wisdom can be translated to other positions as well), know education, know the laws/rules of education, "act [like an educator], and follow the law," then . . . how could this happen? I think most people voted out of fear of the term Common Core, while most of them haven't taken the time to understand what a candidate can do with their work experience and formal education background. Would you trust a doctor who had earned his degree watching Grey's Anatomy and ER, then they felt they knew enough to be a doctor, just because they knew the head administrator at the hospital and agreed with his approach to medicine?

I know politics can be polarizing and aggravating, and I realize that many of you will not agree with my positions. That's fine, and I hope you leave a comment so that we can debate and agree and disagree about the issues.

Arizona, you got this one wrong, and I hate to see how the students may suffer from the choice of the parents.


  1. Amen. And I am sad about the Garcia election, I had heard it was still too close to call. But you know I am never afraid of a "D" ;)

  2. It's funny to me that even though I used to pride myself on having strong opinions about politics when I was in high school, now I just feel primarily disillusioned, like you, it sounds like. I was actually in the Orlando temple yesterday when one of the older gentlemen I work with said something like "What kind of Christian are you if you don't vote?" I thought about that a lot. Do I still see the act of voting as inherent in my belief in God? And even though this man comes from a different generation than I do, I agree with him. Even if I feel cynical about it, I do know that being educated and standing up for what I think is right is the most important thing, no matter what the actual outcome of the election is. I like the fact that God expects me to shoulder that responsibility, even if it only affects me. And that is the only reason I show up at the polls.

    That was longer than I intended, but that's my two cents, anyway :)