Political Pimpin'

Saturday, January 12, 2008
I'm addicted to the daily, nay minute by minute, coverage of the American political race. And I'm not even a US citizen (no I'm not an illegal immigrant...I'm Canadian, eh). As you may have gathered from reading my blog now and again, I'm not a big fan of American foreign (and at times domestic) policies but your circus-freak-sideshow of a runup to the actual election later this year has sucked me in. I know more about the plethora of candidates who've put their names forward so far than I do about most of our own politicians (including local and provincial). That's sad, truly it is. However, I will admit that your political races are far more entertaining than ours are. It's no contest.

I think it's a given that it will either be Clinton or Obama for the Dems' and the others will soon follow Richardson's lead and drop out after the primary or two. On the Republican side, it's a bit tougher. It could easily become a three way race between Huckabee, McCain and Romney. Although I doubt that McCain will be able to maintain the support he had in New Hampshire. Perhaps I'm wrong, but it seems that his whole platform revolves around the war in Iraq. What about domestic jobs, the economy, education, and the other important issues here at "home" (that would be YOUR home, not MY home, but realistically everything you guys do affects us folks up here so...). Romney? I have my doubts. I think the Mormon issue is still too much for many Americans who instantly conjure up thoughts of polygamist sects and cults when they heard the word "Mormom". Hmmm. Frankly, the only Republican I would even remotely think of voting for would be Ron Paul. Not that I agree with a lot of what he says but compared to the others, he seems like the safest bet.

There's much about the American political system that I just don't get. I would like, however, to express my sincere thanks to the web folks at CNN who finally explained the whole Primary/Delegate thingy to me so I actually understand what the big fuss at the moment is about. Whew. One less thing to be confused about. My main beef though? Political parties. Um...am I correct in assuming that there are really only TWO political parties in the US? It appears that way. You're either a Republican, a Democrat, or an independent. Forgive me if this offends any of you American folks but that sounds kind of, in a way, a bit...undemocratic. A two party system? That's not right. Again, perhaps I'm wrong, but if I'm not... Dumb question but are there other smaller parties that put forward candidates for various offices? Or are all of those clumped together as "Independents". That doesn't make much sense to me but what do I know?

Up here, in the great white north, we have our two major parties, the Liberals and the Conservatives. Running in the Edwards' spot are the New Democrats (led by the male porn star look alike Jack Layton). But we also have the Green Party, Marxist-Leninists, Communist, and a number of other small parties including the Marijuana party (or are they called the Rainbow somethings...?). Often you will see at least four candidates on a ballot, more if you're in a larger city. My last non-civic election that I voted in (can't remember if it was provincial or federal) had about 8 candidates on the ballot, all from different parties. That, to me, is democracy. Freedom to choose from a number of options rather than the lesser of two evils.

I would love to see an increase in Independent candidates elected to the various US federal positions - can you imagine an Independent president??? Well, there's always Al Gore...I'm still waiting on that one. Perhaps it's time for a confession or two. Before 9/11, I had said that I would have voted for .... gulp ... George Bush. However, my reason was because when I tried to find out what both he and Gore's platforms were, only Bush's official website spelled it out fairly quickly. Afterwards, I basically declared myself to be a Democrat (or would have been if I was American). Now, I would have to be an Independent. I have a tendency towards socialism, with a bit of Marxist-Leninist leanings, sprinkled liberally with Green goodness. I will never be a member of any particular party as there isn't one who fits my views perfectly. I came to the scary realization that I'm slowly becoming a fan of Lou Dobbs. Oh god. Shoot me.

I recently read Dr. Monkey's response to his "Question of the Day" where he wrote "...I vote my conscience every time I vote. While I care if my candidate wins, I care more about voting for the person who I agree with on the issues, even if he or she is a third party candidate." Amen, monkey man, amen. I've long held the belief that many, uniformed, voters end up voting for the one name they recognize on a ballot which is often the one who gets the most press or spends the most on advertising. Or they vote for the person everyone else is telling them will win anyway so why bother. There have been a few times when I knew my candidate was not going to win. No chance in heaven or hell (if either exists...sorry, that's another post altogether) and I was tempted to vote for what I referred to above as the lesser of the two main evils. However, I can proudly say that the guilt at not following my political heart saved me from putting my X in what I knew would be the wrong box.

As many of you are going to be voting in an election of one sort or another over the next few months (hmmm, an upcoming provincial election here in Oil Country perhaps...?), I urge you to get out there and vote. And vote what your heart and mind tell you are the right decision for what YOU believe in. If enough of you do it, change can happen. In the words of possibly the next president of 'Merica ... Yes, we can.*

*This does not constitute support of one particular political candidate although he/she would be a better choice than many.


Jocelyn said...

I despise our two-party system (okay, technically, we have more than two parties, but, on a national level, only two parties are considered as viable). At the local level, we do see Greens and Progressives and Independents in office. Minnesota elected Ventura as an Independent, which was quite THE DEAL at the time.

Your analysis seems sound. I'm a little left of the Democratic party, but I do vote that way, nationally. However, I am amazed that I actually respect McCain. I don't agree with him always, but he has an integrity that most candidates lack.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

You are correct, our system is undemocratic. And it is that way because the two parties wrote the laws governing who gets on ballots and they keep smaller third parties off it as much as possible. The corporate media assists them in their crimes by not reporting onany third party candidate. In 2000 Nader was drawing crowds bigger then either Bush or Gore ever got but no news stories were done about it because Nader was anti corporate and not in either major party. I doubt anything will ever change untilthere is some shock to our political system like another Watergate but only ten times bigger.

Gardenia said...

McCain brings back memories of one of the Republican Conventions which rather resembled a gathering of high school bullies, no, Jr. High yelling "flip flop" over and over again. He flip flopped but no one is yelling.

In theory we have a lot of parties, but somehow it always shakes out to Dems and Repubs and I'm not to sure that sometimes in philosophy we can tell the difference.

I'm fearful of young boy Obama, so I will vote for Clinton although I'm not sure how many more years the U.S. can take of the Bush/Clinton dynasty.

Many don't vote on for the very reason you mentioned, often we are left with the lesser of two evils.

To me, something is very wrong in a system that allows only those who have connections into vast sums of money to win. Not sure that's what our founding fathers intended.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I am in total agreement that the American electoral process, although highly confusing, is more entertaining than anything on television. It's a shame that it actually has serious repercussions.

For the record, Jack Layton looks a lot like my brother, who has never appeared in adult films, as far as I know.

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