Month: September 2012

A 7 Day Political Fast

September 26th.

It was a Wednesday.

At lunch I spoke to a friend about politics and afterwards realized I needed a break.

My lunch was pleasant enough, my friend and I have similar viewpoints.

But in my quest to understand all sides of our heated race to the November elections I had been watching and listening to too much biased and mean talk from both lefties and righties.

Starting my day with Morning Joe on MSNBC, listening to conservative talk on the radio, and then back to liberal biased  MSNBC in the evening was too much.

Overexposure to something can poison you.

Sun, or political talk, both are dangerous.

And I decided to cut myself off from the media voices until the debate this Wednesday night in Denver.

It has been refreshing.

And productive too.


Who Represents You?

Okay, so you probably know who the President of the United States is.

Do you know who the President of the Senate is?

It’s the Vice-President of the United States.

Do you know who represents you in the Senate?

Here’s a hint.  You have 2 Senators. Each state has an equal number for a total of 100.

Do you know who represents you in the House of Representatives?

There’s only 1 person, and the total number is 435.

Senators were originally selected by each states legislators, not you and I as voters.

It was the adoption of the 17th Amendment less than 100 years ago,  April and May 1913, that gave the power to the people of each State to vote for Senators.

That’s it on a Federal level and the sad part is most people cannot name all 5 of their Federally elected representatives.

As we move down the food chain, so to speak, to the state and local level it gets worse.

Since each state has their own system of government, your state may be organized differently than mine, which is Indiana.

We have a Governor and Lieutenant Governor.

We also have a State Senator and State Representative that we elect to represent our interests in Indiana law making.

If you live in Indiana, you can go here and discover who represents you.

Indiana is divided into counties.  Each county is divided into townships.  There are elected officials at this level of government that the general public is usually clueless about.

I live in Allen County.  Take a look at all the various forms of governing bodies we have that includes many elected officials.

And I live in Fort Wayne which has even more elected officials.

I challenge you to find out who you are electing and who represents you at all levels of government in your life and spread the challenge to others that you know.

The Role of our Federal Government

This morning I took a 12 question quiz  that is supposed to tell you where you fall in the political spectrum.

I took it, based on my thoughts about the Federal Government and then retook it with a local and state government mindset.
The results were significantly different.

I was watching a political roundtable show Saturday that for a brief minute or two spoke about the different roles of the federal government of the United States vs. the individual state governments in our lives.

I am probably pretty liberal when it comes to local level politics and pretty conservative concerning the Federal side of government.

I find it an interesting read to look at how we came up with our current balance of powers between Federal and Local.  It precedes the Constitution which is generally considered the 2nd legal document that our original 13 colonies were unified under.

Look up the Articles of Confederation and you’ll see the history and arguments our founding fathers had before the Constitution was adopted that we now live under.

Without going into a complete history lesson, the Constitution that serves as the legal foundation for our Federal government of the United States of America.

Read the 10th Amendment, also known as the last of the 10 items in the Bill of Rights:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

This is where I believe our current Federal Government has overstepped the boundaries and where you and I really have more power than we realize regarding our lives and the rules, regulations and laws we live under.

Too often the attention is placed on Federal elections and not enough on local or state wide elections.

I would love to see more people become aware of the boundaries that each level of government is supposed to have.

Wishful Thinking for Fairness

I wish…

That whatever rules, regulations and laws, our lawmakers passed applied to everyone, without exceptions.

At the Federal level all laws would apply to all persons in all 50 states and perhaps districts (like the District of Columbia) and outlying territories.

Same for State, County and City levels.

Today I have two examples of these exceptions.

At the local level, our City and County have monthly hearing for Zoning Changes which are exceptions to the big master plan.  This is handled by a Board of Zoning Appeals and the public meetings are mostly a formality to rubber stamp a request.

The Average Joe and Jane Citizen has no idea what is going on even if they read the agenda which is written in code and shorthand but is available online. Here is an agenda from last month.

Why create zoning rules and regulations that are supposed to control the mixture of business and residential land use if we are then going to bypass the plan with exceptions?

One solution would be to simplify the entire plan.

I’m not saying eliminate a land use plan.  I’m saying make it simply, so simple a 5th grader can read it and understand.

But what I believe is a worse offense to fairness is at the Federal level.

An online search using Google, Bing and DuckGoDuck uncovered many false claims that Congress has exempted themselves from the recent health care reform and student loan repayment, there were a few items I found that are worth looking into:

I also read about the 1000+ exceptions or waivers granted to “organizations” who want to opt out of the health care reform and the official White House response.

Clearly, all is not clear and I am simply suspicious of all politicians of any party that allows exceptions to apply to anyone that does not apply to all of us.

Gearing Up for The 2012 Elections

It has been over a year since I added anything to this site.

I have been very selective as to who I share my political thoughts with.

Not that there is anything wrong with them.

It’s just that the political climate has continued to become more divisive instead of unified.

The hate, the bitterness, the yelling, the noise is getting too loud.

And so I have avoided these discussions with anyone that could make a judgement call based on hearing anything I say, or imply something from what I have said.

Too often we rush to judgement and labels without understanding both the details and the big picture.

But I will post some of my thoughts as we are now less than 2 months away from our next national election.

If you read the previous posts, you’ll see some of my thoughts from the past.

And I reserve the right to change my opinion.  It’s the evolution of thought we call learning and maturing.

More to come in the days ahead.