This will probably be my sole "political" post, at least until 2012
My wife and I decided to vote early again this year, and today was the final day for this in Travis County, where we live. We took all three kids with us, intending to just "knock it out" before lunch. However, when we arrived and saw the horrendous lines, we knew we would have to eat first, then return.
When we came back, the lines were about the same, and we waited for exactly an hour to cast our votes, which was unprecedented, at least in my personal experience.
While waiting, I struck up a 45-minute conversation with the guy behind me in line, who is the marketing manager for State Farm Insurance in Austin. We are planning to get together for lunch sometime soon. For those of you who know me, this will come as no surprise at all to you. My mom often said that I could "start a conversation with a Stop sign".
He mentioned that a friend of his had send him a text message indicating that 48% of registered voters in our county had already been to the polls. WOW! That fact alone was almost unbelievable. I read in the Austin American-Statesman that officials were anticipating huge voter turnout, and they were hoping that 50% or more would vote early. Clearly, this goal was met and exceeded.
When I was chatting with my new friend, I mentioned that I was really looking forward to having this election behind us. This seems to be a common sentiment among Americans, although that is really just my own anecdotal evidence, and not based on much research. One reason that I think we are so tired of hearing about this and talking about it is the fact that the election cycle starts so far in advance. Here's some quick food for thought - we get to start hearing a whole new round of this in about two years, although one of the candidates will likely be an incumbent then, so half of the equation will already be in place.
I also mentioned that I am rarely thrilled or overly disappointed with the results of these elections. I think this happens because candidates are usually forced to stuff their most interesting ideas and beliefs away in order to appeal to the broadest potential base of voters.
This is the sixth Presidential election that I have participated in as a voter, and I believe that we have been more captivated because none of these people have served in the White House in any capacity. This has not happened in my adult life. Ah, yes, there's also the side note that we have a minority candidate and a woman in the "top four". Maybe that has something to do with it, too.
Three quick thoughts/suggestions about national politics from my personal perspective:
- I have a tough time believing that someone can get to that level without compromising his beliefs along the way. With lobbyists and "backers", it's just about impossible to retain one's personal integrity and obtain a major-party nomination. In this specific case, McCain seemed to lock up the nomination very early despite heavy competition, and Obama seemed to have ascended so fast in this arena. Both of them make me suspicious - sorry.
- Every four years, after we vote, half of the country feels disenfranchised until the next election. Is this really right? Can't we develop some sort of co-Presidency so that millions of Americans can feel that they are also represented? Maybe one guy is better at foreign diplomacy, so he could be our "face to the world". Maybe the other guy is better with the economy, so he should be in charge of our fiscal policies. Please don't spend time breaking apart my ideas - it's just interesting stuff to think about.
- I simply don't like the two-party system anymore. It seems like a dinosaur in the modern age. I have seen both of the current candidates simply toe their party line (understandably) when I have a very strong feeling that they feel differently on certain issues. This strikes me as disingenuous, but I guess that's why I am not a politician. Do you know anyone who agrees with EVERY tenet of either party? I think you just sort of pick your key important issues and vote with whomever lines up with those.
I apologize if I disappointed you by not revealing my choice today. Why would I want to tick off half of my readers? Hey, maybe I could be a politician after all. :)
Thanks for reading my thoughts - happy voting!
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