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Random Thoughts

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From the windmills of my mind…

Why is it that in a country with the most open political system in the world we have such a dearth of interest in participation? One thought would be that there is a limited percentage of people in any society that are of the activist persuasion. The great percentage of people are satisfied to let others “run things” while they live their lives and occasionally complain. The fact may be that, in our case, our political system is so open with opportunities for participation that such opportunities outpace the number of people who are so inclined in our society (or any society). Hence we get the “how did he get that job?” syndrome.

For all the charges of extremism with regard to political parties from both the left and the right, it’s important to note that political parties are expressions of the people who comprise them. They will only be as “extreme” as their members. Those who complain about the parties in terms of not being representative of the public are usually those who are least likely to get involved, thus becoming prophets. Or they just enjoy the smug satisfaction of calling themselves “moderates”.

Am I the only person who thinks it would be nice to be surprised occasionally by the mainstream media? To be able to watch and see them NOT instinctively regurgitate rote class warfare philosophy or Democrat talking points without having someone bring it to their attention and call them on the carpet for it?

And don’t you just love how self-important these “journalists” are? Especially the Washington press corps variety. There they were in full throat having fits because some newspaper in Texas got the scoop about Cheney’s hunting accident, rather than the NY Times or some other “real” journalistic outlet. I think they truly feel it is their divine right to be the gatekeepers of any and all information that might pass for news, that it’s their job not only to be our nation’s information “inbox”, but to decide what merits passing on to the public, and how that information should be massaged beforehand. And they wonder why their ratings are steadily going in the toilet?

And what is it with Democrats and funerals that causes them to suffer from political Tourette’s Syndrome? Why is it that every time some high profile liberal dies, those who actually deliver the eulogy can’t avoid partisanship for just a few hours, or at least until the body is in the ground?

FYI, whenever engaging in a debate with a liberal, begin by mutually agreeing to ban the use of the word “feel” or “feelings” in the interest of keeping the discussion on an intellectual level.

When did “illegal aliens” become “undocumented workers” (after being “illegal immigrants” somewhere in between)? And do they have some Madison Avenue PR firm working on their behalf?

A recent Mexican public opinion poll noted that almost half of that country’s population would go to the United States if they thought they could.

If members of some foreign country’s military had committed over two-hundred and ninety documented “incursions” across our border over a period of fifteen years, we would get upset, right? No doubt our government would beef up our border security and raise holy heck with the offending country, right? Unless of course it’s Mexico, that is.

When did it suddenly become OK for men to get invited to, much less attend, a bridal shower? And do the people who do the inviting, and the guys who attend, think it’s OK just because they renamed it a “couple’s shower”? Just curious.

Why is there such a focus on safety laws that force you to strap yourself into your vehicle rather than focus on keeping you from having a wreck in the first place? Is legally forcing me to wear a seatbelt a way to protect me from the idiot who tries to drive with one hand (or knee) while talking on a cell phone, changing the CD player, putting on makeup or punching keys on a Blackberry as opposed to keeping both hands on the wheel? Is this an admission that it’s easier to protect the non-idiots from the idiots rather than forcing the idiots to change their behavior? Or is it just an excuse for the state to collect more ticket revenue?

Am I the only person who thinks our country has become worse off since the federal government began allowing pharmaceutical companies to advertise on television? At a minimum, our TV viewing has suffered, to be sure. And hasn’t such advertising coincided with rapid price increases in prescription drugs? Maybe I could afford to “ask my doctor” if Fixitall is right for me if it weren’t advertised on TV every half hour.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

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About Drew McKissick

Drew McKissick is a political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience specializing in political strategy, planning and organization as well as the development of grassroots related political action programs. He has worked as a political activist at the local, state and national levels, and has served in elected and appointed positions at all levels of the Republican Party, including serving as a member of the Republican National Committee. He also writes a regular column providing analysis and commentary on current events.
  • http://uspolitics.about.com/ Kathy

    Why is it that in a country with the most open political system in the world we have such a dearth of interest in participation?

    Could it not be because people feel powerless?

    Or perhaps normal folks truly are turned off by what passes for political discourse among our leaders — elected and media.

    Or perhaps it’s because >50% of Americans get their news from TV – which focuses on sound bites, celebrity and conflict.

    Could it be cultural: the two topics we are warned to avoid as children are politics and religion.

    Could it be “he said/she said” journalism?

    I don’t know, but it is interesting that normal everyday folks regularly talk about politics in european coffee shops/cafes, but not here in America.

    Unless, of course, it’s something titilating. :-/

  • Dave Nalle

    Great musings, Drew. I’ve wondered many of these same things myself.

    As for why people don’t vote, I’m convinced it’s because they’ve been screwed over so many times they think it’s meaningless. I think this has particularly weakened the Democrats because they have the longest track record of outrageous promises and disappointing lack of fulfillment of those promises.

    As for why people don’t discuss politics in cafes here in America – they do – just not national politics, because it’s too divisive and fist fights and boiling hot coffee are a bad combination.

    Dave

  • http://www.markiscranky.org Mark Saleski

    Could it be “he said/she said” journalism

    could also be the he said/she said style of campaigning as well. i know it turns me off.

    no, i take that back, it disgusts me, is what it does.

  • Baronius

    “Why is it that in a country with the most open political system in the world we have such a dearth of interest in participation?”

    I agree with the comments about feeling powerless to fix what’s wrong. But there’s also a sense that so many things are right (or at least not awful). If enough Americans believe that something needs to be fixed, one of the political parties will adopt the cause. It’s the countries with an unbearable problem that have high participation. Think Ukraine and Lebanon.

    Lest I be accused of optimism, I think that perception of political impotence is dangerous. Its persistance scares me. Imagine: we have a presidential election decided by a few hundred votes, and people come away from it thinking that they have no say in the system. A neighborhood in Fla. appointed federal judges, chose the head of the Food and Drug Administration, and determined our response to 9/11, and people are talking about disenfranchisement?

  • Steve

    Interesting article. I agree with much of the above.

    Perhaps another reason is many people don’t want to be in the media spotlight, which is where they would be if elected to political office.

    As a Canadian, I do find your two party system has a tendency to make things more black and white than they really are, which does tend towards more divisiveness it seems to me.

    Politicos tend to be more interested in defending the party line, than defending the truth, however more or less complex the truth may be.

    No matter what the party system is, however, there is always something in a party platform that never gets implemented, which leads to disillusionment with the party.

    Alas, what are the alternatives to party poltics??