A blog article by Bonniejean Alford (Educator, Activist, World Citizen)
Recently, I read an amazing and poignant blog by someone I have watched grow up (http://kballantine.wordpress.com/2010/11/18/death-panel-hypocrisy/) and well, I am now moved to address politics.
Let me start by saying that ever since I could think, I was more drawn to the leftest side of the political arena, even if I am quite conservative on many issues. I never planned to select a party and be committed to that party for life. But like so many Americans, that is what happened upon the first time I was forced to make a choice in a primary election. I was young, eighteen, and didn’t know better. I selected my party simply because the then candidate for Illinois Senator Dick Durbin was a democrat. As a house representative he was immensely helpful dealing with an issue for my family so it only seemed fitting to select the ballot he was on.
What I didn’t know at eighteen that I know now, thanks to hindsight, is that people fall into patterns. Once I made that selection, I was locking myself into a pattern I wish I had had the courage to avoid, even if my decision was based on the choices of an admirable and respected man.
Consequently, until recently, I have never voted anything but as a Democrat, even when I felt there were no good candidates in the Democrat’s camp. I went with the flow in many ways for fear of throwing away my vote. But my vote, as well as everyone else’s, does indeed matter. It is my chance to express my opinion to the powers that be, even if they never heed my thoughts, leaving me dissatisfied with the very nation I call home simply because the political machine is broken.
Truth is, I have long been dissatisfied by the state of politics in America, and well for the first time this past gubernatorial election in Illinois I voted outside our perceived traditional party system, thanks in part to the author of the blog I mentioned above. The candidate I voted for had a distinct plan, a clear agenda, and hadn’t yet been corrupted by a broken system that sadly is bound to corrupt even the most un-corruptible. That candidate from the Green party, Rich Whitney, didn’t win this time, but I am proud of myself for voting my conscience rather than by rote (I must admit though, in every other category I did vote Democrat).
In my defense, it is what I am conditioned to do. Despite being promised freedom of speech in that glorious document called the Constitution, people absolutely, categorically, do not have freedom of speech. News media, parents, schools, and so much more socialize us to a bipartisan life where we have to make a choice to go one of only two ways (just wait for my blog on sex dichotomy – coming soon), even if there are other viable and quite frankly better choices, as in the case with Mr. Whitney.
Fact is, I don’t believe our forefathers had this kind of system in mind when they set forth to create a nation build on equality and the representation of the people. Shoot, the first elections didn’t have the candidates selecting a running mate for Vice President, the loser got that job. While I know there were major problems with that system (I remember learning something about a duel over difference of opinions), it has to be better than the battle of ideologies that is without question destroying America.
To honor a great man, Martin Luther King Jr, who had the courage to speak up, even if it cost him his life, the check America wrote us all has been returned insufficient funds.
Those we have voted into positions of power as a representative of us citizens absolutely do not represent us or provide us with what we need to be healthy members of a healthy society. I sure don’t feel represented most of the time. In fact, I feel so not represented that I am left without an ability to have a sustainable life and practice liberty, let alone pursue any true level of happiness as promised over two hundred years ago.
But what are we to do about it now?
Admittedly, the answer to that question is bigger than any one blog. I am not even sure what that answer is. What I am sure of, is we, the citizens of America (and the world) have a right to be represented. We have a right to have our voices heard and considered in the governance of the nation we choose to call home. We have a right to freely express our opinions and emotions, even if the powers that be don’t like it and should not segregate dissenters to a secluded location to avoid embarrassment, or whatever former President Bush’s argument was.
I don’t want to take sides. I don’t think we should be forced to.
The broken system of politics in America can only be fixed by the citizens of America if we truly want a government for the people by the people. This is possible, and I for one am willing to commit to working toward finding the funds to cash that check so long unpaid. Are you?