Disclaimer: There will be no bias towards one party or person in particular. This will be one of the few political posts I make on my blog, I swear. Not only to my… maybe 3 readers, but to myself, because otherwise I’ll just make myself mad.
As we thankfully draw closer to shutting down the political distortion machines this year, I can’t help but facepalm at the state of our wonderful U.S. Government. We as a people are in an age of unbelievably easy access to near-infinite amounts of knowledge. Yet never before have our leaders been so immature, so ignorant, and so ineffective. I’m not sure if the mechanisms of our government have become outdated or the people in charge are getting dumber, but something is very wrong with this country.
Problem #1: Our congress(wo)men have clearly failed kindergarten.
Regardless of which party is in office, congress is a conglomeration of people with different views. Your particular party being in the white house does not give you a blank check to execute your party’s political agenda unrestricted. At any given time, about… 47% of your peers don’t see things the same way. Assuming both sides come to the table with reasonable requests (HAH), the smart course of action would be to compromise. I.e. “You give up a welfare program or two, we’ll bump up taxes a smidge.” Half the country disagrees with you. What does that tell you about how strong your own position is? Talk it out, and suck it up. You’re not going to get everything you want.
Problem #2: Our methods of debate are from the stone age.
When I first read about what a filibuster was (pretty sure this was seventh grade history), I thought to myself “what an archaic, obnoxious tool that must be.” And yet it still stands today. As a tool for holding up a consensus. What possible reason could you have to want to indefinitely postpone judgment? If you have a concern, voice it. Then shut up. Everyone else can make a decision for themselves. They don’t need a long-winded geezer trying to buy time… for what even? To work up some deceptive alliance with their peers to achieve a certain goal? That’s not democracy, that’s just being slimy.
This is the only proper response to a filibuster. And yes, it is a Stargate reference.
Problem #3: Our congress(wo)men have clearly failed science class.
“Among the 435 members of the House, for example, there are one physicist, one chemist, one microbiologist, six engineers and nearly two dozen representatives with medical training.” Remember when the Republican party shot itself in the foot? When a U.S. Representative who also happened to be on the Committee on Science, Space and Technology said something so astoundingly dumb it sparked a feminist furor? Yea. I remember it. And it’s only one example of many where members of our government demonstrated their ignorance of basic scientific principles. How can you trust these people to decide what the direction of our national policy will be? Medical research bows to the whims of religion, green technology has gotten a bad rap from wasted grants, and NASA is barely hanging in there. Heck, an energy drink company effectively has more resources for upper-atmospheric research than NASA and NOAA combined (exaggeration. maybe.).
So where does that leave America? Basically, the only way to save America is to elect an engineer to the White House. And I’m only half joking. If you put a man trained in scientific reasoning in the oval office, deprive him of knowledge of who’s Left and who’s Right (optional step), and give him the facts, he will tell you the best way to success, prosperity, and bacon. And I’m sure if it was a woman president, she’d tell you how to get to bacon too… But there is no better choice, no better way of thinking, to listen to the various constituencies and seek out the optimal solution.
One man, or woman, cannot in good faith say that they hold all the keys to prosperity. They can give the country a sense of direction (ex. I want to improve things domestically like health care), but to even entertain the notion that the president is competent enough to run a country is foolish. The President *needs* a committee of educated individuals to inform him, to educate him. They need to be wise enough and flexible enough to accept that one political ideology doesn’t hold enough ideas to fix the nation.
You know what I wouldn’t mind hearing more often in debates? “I agree.” The 2012 election has needlessly focused way too much on moral and social issues. Maybe it was because the people were legitimately ignorant (*coughAkincough*). But I suspect that there was more than one instance of “I’m going to be the polar opposite, just because.” And that makes you a moron. And that’s what disgusts me most about politics. The fact that people have to stand on opposite ends of the political spectrum to be heard, and to be recognized. It’s really a shame elections aren’t just “I think that person’s a good guy, and I think they will represent my beliefs.” And it’s a shame that being Republican is kind of like being Catholic when the pope tells you condoms are bad.
I’m going to end this rant now with a concession. That the decisions congress makes are often more complex, and contrary to the national good for reasons like self preservation, keeping jobs in their district, etc. And a perfectly rational, scientifically defensible decision can still be inflammatory. But at least then you’re a justified jerk of a politician, instead of just being the latter.