Thoughts on the political process

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.” —Groucho Marx

“The Democrats are the party of government activism, the party that says government can make you richer, smarter, taller, and get the chickweed out of your lawn. Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work, and then get elected and prove it.” —P.J. O’Rourke, Parliament of Whores

“Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke.” —Will Rogers (And I might note this was LONG before the days of Jon Stewart and Comedy Central!)

“Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” — Mark Twain

BUT ON A SERIOUS NOTE…

But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever. — John Adams

A fondness for power is implanted, in most men, and it is natural to abuse it, when acquired. — Alexander Hamilton

A free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate. — Thomas Jefferson

All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree. — James Madison

Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force. Like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearsome master. — George Washington

Vote. Yes. Vote!

Elections are about rich guys taking on other rich guys.

It’s about a two-party system that controls just about everything and is incredibly unresponsive to people. They pay attention to LOBBYISTS, but they pretend to need us (the voters) for a short period of time.

It’s rich guys bashing other rich guys for being… well… rich.

It’s a lot of money being thrown around to vomit out half-truths in commercials.

It’s about which party you want to create a new system of gridlock in Washington while they fake being “bi-partisan” in an election.

And yet… I vote. I have not missed an election cycle. Ever. And in the last 16 years that’s been in a city where my vote is essentially a throw away vote. My guys generally get beat badly every time.

I have watched completely uninformed people vote. I have watched a lot of really stupid things over my lifetime of voting.

In my state I have lived through a former SNL writer and comedian getting elected to senate (and possibly re-elected) as well as a former pro wrestler getting elected governor. And this in a state where we boast the highest voter turnout in about any election… and brag about our “intelligent” voters.

I just can’t help but laugh at times.

But I have not missed an election cycle. I even vote in city elections when it’s basically the dog catcher vote we’re “considering.”

I vote because it is my right. It is my incredible privilege as an American. It’s a messed up system, but it is still a system where I have a right to say what I want when I want… and I have been given that privilege because of the democracy in which we live.

When I vote I am thankful for all who have gone before me. Those who made this country possible, and STILL make this country possible. I was brought up to be thankful for this country, and I am deeply thankful in spite of its flaws.

When I see a politician who will actually stop and pay attention to me (and that’s more rare) I STILL shake their hand (even if I think they’ve done a lousy job) and say, “THANK YOU for serving,” because I mean it. They take the time to serve the people… or lobbyists… but they are elected to do a job and I want to acknowledge they are doing something significant and worth saying “THANKS” about. It may not be their particular stance I’m thrilled about, but I admire what they give themselves to do.

It’s still a great country. It’s still a worthwhile system. I don’t even want to compare it with something like, “Well, at least we’re not ________________________.”

We are the United States of America and we get to go to a poll and vote. And THAT is a great privilege.

And when I complain, I have been given that privilege because of the system we exercise today. It is also a time to remind those we vote on that THEY have a tremendous opportunity for good. It would be nice if they would RETURN to that good and give up the gridlock and hardline ideology.

I want to vote and know that those winning these elections will take CARE with the tremendous privilege THEY have been granted. To SERVE. To LISTEN.

They may not respond… again… but thank God I get to say that!

So, please… go vote. Find the major candidates in your area on the web and at least get an idea of the major election issues and head to the polls today.

You have a great privilege. Exercise it. Don’t abuse it.

Voting… or not

If you haven’t noticed, which means you don’t have a TV or haven’t turned it on in the last three or four… months… election season is upon us.

There are some who make the case for NOT voting. (Read all ten parts if you like.)

Here is the deal (which you already know if you’ve followed me long enough or know me at all):

If you choose not to vote, come to my church and you will receive communion.

If you choose to vote, you will receive communion.

If you vote for Obama, you get communion.

If you vote for Romney, you get communion.

If you vote for the Marriage Amendment (in MN), you get communion.

If you vote against the Marriage Amendment, you get communion.

Voter ID, same thing.

Congressional Rep or Senator, same thing.

You get communion.

How do you get to communion? Through the voting both, or by avoiding the voting both? Hardly. It is through the work of Jesus Christ.

If THAT work of Christ has touched you, you are welcome at the table.

See you in church. It’s where we can handle each other the best, anyway.