Think You Know Your Politics?

Posted: September 17, 2008 by April Watkins in Current Events, Media, Our Government, Politics
Tags: , , , , ,

With the excitement and intensity of the Presidential Election of 2008, it is impossible to go anywhere and not overhear people discussing the pros and cons of their favorite candidate.  Some people say they will ONLY vote by Political Party affiliation, seeming to not really care to know their Party’s platforms, nor those of the candidate.  You might even hear others make comments such as: 

“Politicians are all alike…what difference does it make?”

“Democrats, Republicans, and Independents – scoundrels all!”

They don’t care about us; all they want is to line their own pockets.”

Or if you live in a small town, you might hear comments such as;

“I vote for the man…just because my grandpa was a Yellow Dog Democrat, doesn’t mean I’m voting exclusively for any Party.”

Well, things have changed dramatically since the times of your old Grandpa.  Political Parties have always held control of one group or another.  For instance, for years the Democrats held sway over the unions and passed legislation in favor of union workers.  In return the Unions would “guarantee” that their members would vote for the Democratic nominee.   On the other side, Republicans were know for their pro-business platforms and passed legislation that benefited businesses and commerce.  Like their counterparts, the business sector would “assure” votes for the Republican candidate.

It sounds familiar to today’s game of politics, but, back then, there was one big difference.  There was always an opportunity for an elected official, who was independent-minded, to break Party ranks.  With this action, he could gather support from both sides of the aisle to create a truly meaningful bill…and gain notoriety for his dissonant behavior.

Today’s multimedia-driven environment has completely turned the world of politics upside down.  No longer is control held solely by the old-time political bosses…MONEY is the master of both major Parties.  Modern campaigns, even some local elections, have cost tons of money.  The current race for the Presidency has been touted as the most expensive campaign in history.

As you can imagine the cost of national campaigns has become astronomical.  However, you may be unaware of the cost borne on the newly elected official.  I would venture to say that, probably the majority of people go into their official public service with the thought of doing something good for their constituents.  But in a short time, the newbie will realize that it’s not the “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” story.  Without towing the Party line, he has no power at all.  Once the money is obtained from all of the die-hard elephants and donkeys, the game begins.

Republicans vs. Democrats

Republicans vs. Democrats

Now, power shifts back to the Party; specifically to its Leadership who holds the reins to the power.  If the newbie does not follow Party policies and vote as instructed, he finds himself left out of meetings, overlooked for seats on committees, or put on the least important committee. Worst of all, he realizes that he has been disregarded as a potential star to move up in the Party ranks.  If he has not kept with the Party’s talking points and voted as instructed, at reelection time, he will find neither financial help nor support from his Party.

With this type of tyrannical control over Party incumbents, the elected official must decide if he wants to continue a career in politics with support and upward promotions; or be satisfied with serving only one term in order to stand up for his specific cause, which may conflict with the Party’s platform.

This inside view of politics is critical in deciding how you will vote.  You must first look at the Party platform of the candidate.  Do you know what their agenda really is?  Are you aware of the causes supported by your contribution donations? Do you know the voting record of the Party?  Are they extreme? What extremist views will your candidate be expected to support?  Do these policies coincide with your beliefs? Are you prepared to set aside your personal convictions in order to vote for a particular party?

In addition to your regular news outlets, check out the info from various sources, such as:

The Presidential Election of 2008 is the most important election in our lifetime.  The stakes are too high to ignore.  The Obama and McCain web sites will show you the “best of” their guy and maybe point out some negatives of the rival.  So, we must also read and listen to the experts, pundits, scholars, economists, and military advisers to get the real scoop on what each candidate’s plans really mean and how they will effect average American, and that is…Why It Matters.


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