07 September 2007

Political Rant

Tonight, I got into a political debate with my dad (if you know my dad, you know this probably wasn't the best idea). As my hackles are raised right now, I am going to post my argument here. I won't detail my dad's argument, lest I unfairly misconstrue it. I will say, however, that he believes the system is working the way it's supposed to.

I disagree. The debate started with that whole debacle about the firing of US attorneys. It's obvious that the firings were done for political reasons. I don't think that's up for debate anymore, despite what former-Attorney-General Gonzales might want us to think. OK. They were done for political reasons. Fine. That is completely within the President's power. If he want to fire his appointments, for whatever reason, fine. Do it. But admit it. Here is what the President and/or Mr. Gonzales should have said "Yes, we fired these attorneys for political reasons. It's within our constitutional rights, so there." Done. No scandal. Everyone is being truthful. We get to move on and deal with more pressing issues.

But Toby, I can hear you or some other debatee asking, if those issues really are THAT pressing, wouldn't the American people stand up and press those issues? I'm glad you asked, because that brings me to my next point.

No! The American people will NOT stand up because the American people have accepted that it doesn't matter what they say; the politicians either don't hear or don't listen. But we can't place all the blame on the politicians. Most of the blame belongs to the American people. Remember that depressing statistic from 2004 that showed that only 60.3% of eligible voters voted in the last presidential election? The statistics are even more depressing for midterm elections (we failed). Either the American general public is apathetic about politics, or ignorant. Why? Because our education system is on the rocks. When I was student teaching, everyday, I urged my students to vote and to be active in the political system. And damnit, they WERE active in the political system even before they left my class. We need to reform our education system. How? By passing legislation that effectively moves to fix it (NCLB was an good-hearted idea, but a failure).

And now we've gone full circle back to my original point:
Our politicians are too damned busy worrying about who fired who (which would be a valid debate if the firings were illegal) and who groped the bottom of a bathroom stall, to concern themselves with legislation that is actually useful (such as education reform).

Note: This post also appears at History Geeks.


..Ang.. said...


random question... do you think politics are better understood by children because their sense of right and wrong are still pretty black and white? or are children just as likely as adults to get caught up in the hooplah, forgetting the issues at hand?

things used to make so much sense when i was a kid. i was always dead set on who i wanted to be president and why, but these days it's very hard for me to find a candidate that i can trust. just a thought

Toby said...

Ah, that takes me back to my first "political" debate. It was 1988, I was seven years old, sitting in the cafeteria of La Mesa Elementary School. My friend was rooting for Dukakis. I for Bush. The topic: who could jump higher on a trampoline. Why did all these silly adults muck it all up. Whoever could jump higher in a trampoline jumping contest should be president. Clear and simple.

Thankfully, most* of us have matured past such silly ideas and decide the president based on merit (ideally, anyway). The only reason I was pulling for Bush's jumping skills is because my parents were voting for Bush. The waters weren't muddy because I didn't know any better. Sure, kids' sense of right and wrong are black and white, but they're also immature ideas. The idea of having the voting age at 18 is that we (hopefully) better understand the intricacies of the system. Politics is for the adults (despite what CBS tells you).

*I use the term "most" lightly. I can just see Fox's new reality show now: "Candidates on Trampolines: You've seen them debate the issues, but now, see who's really BOUNCING ahead in the polls, and who will face-plant into the backyard of potential running mates." What's scary is that if the candidates were willing, Fox would do it without hesitation.

..Ang.. said...