Month: November 2012

Why Do We Have A House of Representatives and a Senate?

History has been a favorite subject of mine forever.

When I come across someone who does not understand some of the basics of our government and its organization, I realize that the majority of our citizenship does not know some of the things that I have know forever.

Well, maybe not forever, but at least since 5th grade.

We get to elect a member to Congress that is based on representing the majority of voters in his/her congressional district.  We have 435 members of the House of Representatives and their primary responsibility is to look out for our interests in the district in which we live.

I live in Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District.

Each state is assigned a number of Districts based on population.  The concept is each of the 435 districts has an equal number of residents (which isn’t really possible anymore).  Our Representative, also called our Congressman, is your voice in Washington.

There are also 100 Senators, 2 from each state.  The original role of the Senator was to represent each state government’s interests at the Federal level.

We, the people did not vote for Senators until the adoption of the 17th Amendment 100 years ago.  It was our State Legislators that selected Senators.

Why does any of this matter?

Because I believe the more we know about the role and responsibility of those in government, the better we can hold them accountable for the positions of power they hold.

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Beliefs are not Political

We tend to group people into groups.

Often it is because those people claim a label.

And since the primary focus of this site is Political, that’s the subject matter I am talking about.

Yet…

If you call yourself a Democrat, a Republican, a Conservative, a Liberal, a Tea Partier, a Progressive, a Libertarian, a Socialist, an Independent, than you assume the identity of whatever those labels mean, even if you are not in complete agreement with those meanings/assumptions.

So…

I believe a better discussion should be to look at various issues and examine our beliefs on each issue.

Most of us do a disservice to ourselves and others by claiming one of the above labels…

More on this to come.  In the meantime, may your Thanksgiving day conversations be both lively and friendly.

Is Progressive a Dirty Word?

In the past few years, progressive has taken on a negative meaning for conservatives and a positive meaning for liberals.

But Progressive is an action word.

Progressive is a word that can refer to taking steps to get to a goal instead of an all or nothing agenda.

I liked the concept of Herman Cain’s 999 tax plan.

It would have been a huge step.

Too big of a step some thought.

We need a progressive approach to that plan, one that would be phased in over time.

Universal Health Care.  I was actually for it if it was going to be implemented as a single payer plan with everyone in the USA under the same plan and rules.  But the approach that was adopted is a progressive approach that is designed to lead us to that system over time.  While I don’t like the slow approach, I understand the upheaval and chaos that would have been created if we wiped out our current system and jumped to a universal plan.

By the way, the big sticking point that Republicans failed to emphasize was that they believed the Federal Government did not have constitutional authority to oversee a universal plan, that it was a state by state issue.

Every time I take a quiz to see where my political beliefs fall, they tell me I’m a Libertarian.

Last year when talking with a Republican friend, I pointed out I am not a strict Libertarian, because I believe we do need some of the safety nets and other protections that we have grown to expect from our government.  To wipe them out completely would cause more chaos and turmoil than we have today.

So this is an area in which I am progressive.

Now that I am over 50 and my kids are in their late 20’s, I expect changes to continue to occur but not be completed in my lifetime.  Hopefully in my kids lifetime we will have evolved or progressed to a smaller, simpler, and healthier system of government that is fairer to everyone.

We need to start down that road now.

Principles vs. Principals

Do you the difference between those two words?

A Principle is an idea.

A Principal is a person.

I learned this when I was 8 years old that the Principal of my school was my pal.

He wasn’t really but I learned the lesson that has stuck with me for 40 years.

Life is a combination of people and ideas and we need to be careful about how much value we place in either/both.

A tremendous amount of lying took place in the election we just completed.

Can we separate the candidate and their values from the ugliness of the campaign?

Not many, if any, can completely.

My recommendation is to decide which principles you value most.

What are the most important issues that you would fight for if you were elected?

What issues are you willing to compromise on because they are lower on your list?

These are more important to know before you look at the personalities of the people who are either running for office or are now elected.

We hear talk about how we are back to where we were before this election with a divided government due to a Republican majority in the House and a Democratic majority in the Senate and the re-election of President Obama.  They say this spells GRIDLOCK.

Too many people standing up for their Principles and becoming Principals for their side.

I appreciate people who know what they value and live by those convictions.

But like nearly everyone else who has been married, you need to know what areas you are willing to give up to create a functioning relationship.

We, the people of these United States want you, the elected to take the steps required to move this country forward.

Even if it is going to piss off some of those who elected you because you are going against principles that you adopted to get elected.

This means we expect more regulation in some areas, less in others, and an overall streamlining of the process of getting things done.

Republicans have been pushing for a smaller, more efficient Federal government for years.

During hurricane Sandy, President Obama had a similar message:

“My message to the federal government: no bureaucracy, no red tape,” said Mr. Obama, flanked by Red Cross employees. “Get resources where they’re needed as fast as possible.” Referring to a call he held earlier with 20 governors and mayors, Mr. Obama said he told them, “If they’re getting ‘no’ for an answer somewhere in the federal government, they can call me personally at the White House.”

Now I hope you join me in holding those elected officials feet to the fire for doing what it takes to get this country back on track.  it’s time for each of us to be less divisive and find areas to work cooperatively.

The Other side of the 2012 Election

Now that we know the winners it is easier to play Monday Morning Quarterback.

This election, just like nearly every other election was determined by emotion.

A basic sales/marketing principle is to keep in mind the “WIIIFM” quotient.

What

Is

In

It

For

Me

The answer may be based in logic, but the emotions will overrule.

We have selective hearing, based on wanting to hear what reinforces our beliefs.

Those could be negative beliefs about a candidate, or positive beliefs about another candidate.  Usually a mix of both.

I’ve been watching liberal-biased MSNBC, listening to conservative-biased radio talk shows.

I check the headlines and stories pushed on Drudge and also Huffington Post.

I don’t see a non-partisan news outlet so I pay attention to the biased with an understanding of what their bias is.

The What Is In It For Me factor says that we, the people will cast our votes for the candidates that we believe will give us more of what we want.  In this age of negative campaigning, sometimes instead of pushing positives about their candidate, they.use scare tactics to keep you from voting for the opposition.

Every single statement that could be used against someone was used. Half-truths, out of context remarks, even full blown lies were told over and over again.

Billions of Dollars were spent, and now that we know who are elected representatives will be it is up to us to pay attention and get involved.

Remember the reasons you voted for _____________.  It was emotion based on WIIFM.