Wednesday, July 13, 2011
We all love to complain about national politics. Regardless of which side of the aisle you land on—or even if you don't identify with one of the major parties—you have plenty to complain about. Government's too big, or government is too lax. Everyone's taxes are too high, or tax policy is unfair. Money isn't being spent wisely, or lawmakers are bought and paid for. Sometimes, we manage to combine our complaints into one seriously cynical attitude: "They're all the same; throw 'em all out."
The one complaint we hear most often these days is this: Washington lawmakers are out of touch with the people they purport to represent. So how did we get here? As the cartoon character Pogo so aptly put it: "We have met the enemy, and he is us."
Every year, voters have opportunities to make their voices heard. People carve the path to a national spotlight staring with local elections—from city council members and aldermen, to county supervisors and mayors, and in statewide elections from auditor to governor, we the people make it clear how we want our country to run. It's easy to forget that even in politics, thinking local first makes ripples all the up the political food chain to the White House.
It's easy, too, to get hooked by wedge issues that have little to do with the quality of our individual lives. When our money is squeezed and patience is thin, it's easy to find lots of things to vote against, ignoring the fact that voting for something is infinitely more powerful.
We also live in a time when information is at our fingertips—mountains of it all the time. We can find two pundits and 22 bloggers with similar opinions with one click of a mouse. What often escapes us, however, are fact-based opinions from those we don't agree with. Progressive can strengthen and refine their opinions by understanding the viewpoints and arguments of moderates and conservatives, and vice versa.
A democracy functions best when voters are informed about the issues and the candidates. That takes both a desire to understand and a willingness to put in the work to understand. It doesn't happen with a snap of the fingers, and it doesn't happen with adherence to bumper-sticker, knee-jerk ideologies.
On Aug. 2, Mississippians have an opportunity to narrow the candidates for their parties. Not the least of the positions they will decide are the Republican and Democratic gubernatorial candidates. It's a big, wide-open field for both parties; it would be a easy to assume we know who will take the top spots, but we have the power, collectively, to change those assumptions if we want to.
Nothing in politics is a sure thing. History has provided numerous examples of winners who lost unexpectedly. While we're not endorsing any candidates, yet, we urge all Mississippians to get informed, and then get out to vote.
Absolutely Right! Voters do have the power to make changes. The question is, how is that two party system working out for you? We have been doing the same thing, the same way so long, that its habit. How many people actually like the way things are? Do you think voting the same way, for the same reasons will make things better or do you think that in order to make real changes, we need to change the way we vote? I believe we need to stop voting based on who raised the most money, who is more photogenic, who speaks the best or who the media chooses to give the most coverage. We need to vote based on who is willing to do the work to improve our state. Who will do so based on facts, research and evidence instead of some political ideology? Who has our best interests in mind and heart? I am running for Governor and, after the primaries, all I can ask is that everyone give me a chance. Check out my website and my stances on issues - http://bobbykearan.com/vote/ - I encourage questions, comments and different opinions. Its time to stand up and work together to solve our state's issues and move Mississippi up.
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