Not Cease from Exploration

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Politics, April 2016

Greetings from 33,000 feet above sea level, somewhere between Los Angeles and Philadelphia.  Yes, I paid a relatively insane amount of money for in-flight wifi service, but it's a long flight and I had a good week, so what the heck.

I've really, truly been disgusted...yes, disgusted...by the political season this year, both at a local and a national level.  This season embodies so much of the worst in politics...

...rabid followers
...a "win at all cost" competitive environment
...adults acting like children


Some of this I squarely blame on Donald Trump.  This is a "man" who has mocked the disabled, likened Mexican immigrants to criminals, advocated for a religious test for immigration (only for Muslims, as if that were somehow determinable by a special appendage only found on Muslims), called for the United States to "carpet bomb" ISIS (knowing darn well that this would kill hostages and the forced brides & children of these monsters), etc.  I could go on, but that narrative has already been played out well enough.  I don't dislike anyone who is supporting Donald Trump...I merely feel bad for them, as they're acting without thinking.  We need less of that in this country.

Some of it is the fault of the system at large.  I am shocked at the outrage being directed towards the delegate system for electing Presidents in the United States.  Guess what?  It's not new.  I'd say that folks should have maybe stayed awake in high school Civics class, but that would be wrong because I strongly suspect that this probably isn't taught for the most part.  I wasn't taught to me in high school.  Anyway, this system is patently wrong, period.  The idea that a majority of a population can vote for a candidate (even Donald Trump) and yet that isn't reflected in how delegates ultimately act in selecting a party candidate is sickening.  Why even bother having the election?  Simply have party bosses select delegates and then have the delegates make the selection

Speaking of political parties, some of this is their fault.  The United States is one party away from a one party state.  Both political parties are more interested in ideology and winning than they are in actual governance.  I can simply point to budget posturing by both parties as evidence.  Both parties engage in shenanigans and bogus "magic" math when it comes to spending our tax dollars.  Both parties have their sometimes irrational sacred cows that exist mostly just to rally their base voters rather than actually create a better country for all; for the Republicans it's defense spending, for Democrats it's public education.  I do support both defense spending and public education, but both are in severe need of radical change.

Locally things aren't much better.  Lackawanna County has a "Tea Party Patriot" county commissioner who somehow believes that her Facebook comments should be held separate from her pronouncements as an elected official.  Guess what Ms Cummings?  Your words...spoken or typed...matter and have consequence, regardless of where you utter then.  It's time to stop acting like a 12 year old who shares Facebook pronouncements as a means to impress friends in junior high.  Oh, and by the way, Ms Cummings, who identifies herself as a Christian, should be very familiar with what Jesus commanded of his followers (as noted in the Gospel of Mathew, chapter 5, verses 43 to 47):

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else?"

Walk the Christian talk Ms Cummings or get off the road.

It's not all gloom and doom.  I was glad to see representative Frank Farina lose in the primary election for one simple reason:  His inconsistent stand of the expansion of the Keystone Sanitary landfill.  I got the impression that Rep. Farina wanted it both ways:  He wanted voters to think he wasn't in favor of expansion while simultaneously not upsetting the politically powerful (and financially generous...to politicians) owners of the landfill.  Bad move.  Landfill expansion is the single most important issue facing elected officials in northeastern Pennsylvania and in my mind there is zero room for inconsistency.

The political season isn't even in full swing yet, so no doubt things may get much worse.  Maybe, just maybe, enough voters will be also be disgusted with the process such that there may actually be some real change in this country.  We can start with the elimination of the electoral college and the undue influence two political parties have over who gets elected to national office.  Another start would be for national and state governments to end all financial support for the political parties.  We all want informed voters to make decisions in this country, but part of achieving that goal has to include reducing the over-sized role that just two sets of political party bosses have on governance.





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