Tuesday, August 10, 2004

direction of politics

my dad got a phone call this evening, right as we were all sitting down for dinner. it was the republican party florida division. from the dinner table i heard my dad say "yes we were just about to start dinner, well yes i guess i have a minute... i am currently undecided... i am pro-choice". and then he hung up and sat down.

my dad has said many times that he wasn't voting for bush, the undecided assertion was so that he wouldn't get inundated with political drivel and be able to eat. he loves to eat. which brings me to what i wanted to write about, niche issues driving the direction of politics.
when we look at the past few years and we reflect on what we want improved in the next four what do you think of? improved race relations? a better economy? availability of jobs? education? healthcare? i think these are all very important issues, the kind that benefit the vast majority of americans, i think this is what should be focused on.

but a lot of what i've been seeing on tv while i run on the treadmill, a lot of what i read in the newspapers, a lot of what i hear on the radio, it almost seems as if a large portion of voting america cares about other things. why was the one question that my dad was asked in the 30 seconds he gave the guy about abortion? it's times like this where i wish we had statistics, especially those pertaining to income and voting. i'm very interested if someone knows if there is a statistic that points out like a sore thumb what income bracket dominates the voting during elections or if there is a dominant group.

i was listening on NPR say a week ago, and they were interviewing across rural america who they were going to vote for. the answer, at least that presented on the show was predominantly for george w. bush. to me i think george w. bush hasn't been successful catering to majority of america. to me i think that much is very clear. to me i think he caters largely to a small percentage of america and groups that are not interested in the general welfare of the nation, but of their own. one woman said, "i'll vote for bush bc he isn't afraid to show his faith, he's a good christian". why do we, as voters care that our president is a good christian? is that trait somehow indicative of his ability as the leader of our nation, does that 'moral' foundation make someone operate within the confines of a pre-set ethic? i don't think so, but a lot of america does.
so back to why did they call my dad and ask him about his stance on abortion. i think they see that the vast majority of voters (i'm guessing that's the case) is of the middle class and they are for the most part the families that are portrayed in commercials. they are the decently stable income parents, the soccer moms buying the new sporty nissan van, the overweight executive on the atkins diet, that guy who wants to buy a new $60 verizon cell phone plan. we, the upper middle class, are the ones who are in a stasis bubble away from the economic problems of the nation, the ones that have time to focus on other issues that don't have a profound effect on our day to day lives. so when the republicans and democrats call our house, they aren't going to care much what we think about a $300 tax return or the increasing unemployment rate (which realistically is not improving), they want to get our vote by asking us things that aren't directly connected to us but that we may be passionate about. my parents are 50, they aren't going to have kids again. biologically, as of a few years ago, my mom is not able to bear more children. but that's where they pull you in.

"Alan Keyes ripped into Democratic rival Barack Obama, saying his views on abortion are “the slaveholder’s position.”"-AP . these are the kinds of words that will not cause a massive uproar as you and i might think. these are the kinds of words that a lot of people will go, "yea, you know you're right, that's a fucked up position"

everyone, from the media to politicians know that people are infinitely more interested in other people's lives rather than their own. point to reality tv, our obsession with movie stars, etc. everyone wants to stick their nose into other people's business and take a little bit of it with them everyday. for the state of our nation right now, i don't think abortion issues, gay marriage, defense of marriage, etc are at the top of the american priority list right now. i'm liberal, i whole heartedly believe in pro-choice, when i look at people race, sexuality, etc. these are not the first things that come to my mind when i paint a picture of someone in my head. but at the same time i think at this point in time there are far more pressing issues. but who in the majority of voters cares about pressing issues? (i don't know the stats, but i think if the majority of voters were the poor and the jobless and those that are fighting for social rights right now, there is no way in hell the presidential race would be nearly this close). a lot of people think that the problem with american politics is the partisan system of two parties to choose from.

i think the problem is completely economic. there are two branches of people that vote, those who are poor and are getting screwed by the economic situation and those who make enough and are more concerned about what to buy next rather than how to get to tommorow. those that are poor, they don't have the luxury to vote in a system that hopes to benefit the whole of society. they know their situation sucks and they need a fuckin miracle. they are hoping for any buzz words pertaining to tax break or couple hundred bucks. // the other group, they see the poor and then they see their stable financial situation. they sit back and say yes, my economic condition is well deserved and i work hard for it. i want someone in office who will protect my interests. how do you argue with either position? they are both right but cause a fundamental conflict of interest. so what i'm getting at is this. the problem with american politics is that no one cares about the welfare of the nation as a whole, everyone is overly, albeit fairly, concerned with their own welfare. thus it is special interest that drives the nation and not a sense of doing the most possible for everyone to live... peacefully.

it is impossible, but i would wish that niche issues be issues for the senate, for congress, not for the presidential election.

“As I travel around this state, I don’t get asked about gay marriage, I don’t get asked about abortion,” Obama said. “I get asked, ‘How can I find a job that allows me to support my family?’ I get asked, ‘How can I pay those medical bills without going into bankruptcy?”’ - Barack Obama