406 is typically an apolitical site. And even though this post is touching on the topic of politics, it’s not going to be a “political” post (at least that’s not my intent). This isn’t about who won, who lost, who I voted for or who I didn’t. This is just some observations I have the morning after President Obama got reelected as this great nation’s leader.
Nearly 2 billion dollars were spent on the presidential election alone. 2 BILLION. That doesn’t take into account all of the congressional, senatorial and local elections. Can you imagine the good that could have been done with that money? Pick your favorite charity, cause or issue. I can guarantee that the money would be better spent there than on some election that let’s face it, most people tuned out months ago. Hell, even if it’s an issue I don’t particularly agree with, I’d much rather spend the money there than toward some stupid campaign. The absolute worst part of living in a “swing state” is the bombardment we have to deal with. Phone calls, television ads, radio ads, people knocking on my door, etc. For what? To get me to change my vote? Honestly, if you were swayed in any way, shape or form by the complete bullshit that was being slung by both sides, you don’t deserve to vote. My humble opinion.
2 states legalized marijuana. I’ll preface this by saying that I’ve never smoked pot, have no desire to smoke pot and probably will never smoke pot. I’ve got lots of friends that do and they’re still my friends. I don’t look down on them, think less of them or think I’m better than them. It’s a personal choice. What I don’t understand is how a state (or any body of government for that matter) can vote on something that is nationally illegal. I spose this is the same thing as gambling or hookering. It’s nationally illegal, but legal in some states / cities. That said, I’ve always been a proponent of making it legal and then taxing and regulating it (pot, gambling & hookering). And while I don’t necessarily consider a nation of potheads “progress” I think the tax ramifications alone could be very beneficial for our country.
There are some incredibly ignorant and downright malicious people out there. This goes for both sides of the political aisle, and it includes some people that I call my friends. Politics is an incredibly polarizing issue. If you were following social media last night (Twitter and Facebook) you were privy to some of the most racist, sexist, homophobic and socioeconomic ignorance on the planet… and that’s from both red states and blue states alike. Unfortunately, many people don’t understand the issues and take the “my guy is right, your guy is wrong” stance. I have to say that I’ve been guilty of this as well to some extent but, at least in my case, I can honestly say that I get so fired up about politics because I worry about the future of this country. Not necessarily for the Wife and I, but for our kids. I voted yesterday for the guy that I thought was the “best” guy for the job. That doesn’t mean I agree with everything he stands for. It doesn’t mean that I think he was faultless or the perfect guy for the job. It doesn’t mean I don’t think the other guy has some good stances of his own. It’s just simply sad that it looks like I’m in the minority with that type of thinking.
We are a nation divided. Look at the popular vote. Look at the antiquated, and (in my opinion) broken Electoral College system. We are a country where half of the people think the other half is wrong. And not just kind of wrong… dead wrong. Think about the room you’re sitting in right now… If you’re with other people, chances are half of them voted the other way. Difference of opinion is one thing. It’s a healthy thing at that. But this sort of divisive landscape just doesn’t seem healthy to me. I suppose if we look back through history this has always been the case, but I guess this one just feels different. Maybe it’s cause of social media. Maybe it’s cause of the 24/7 news coverage we get. I can’t be sure. But I can tell you that it scares me.
Nothing has really changed. We spent 2 billion dollars, heard countless ads, watched debates, got phone calls, umpteen thousand pieces of political junk mail, bitched about the other guy, got fired up, went to the polls and changed… nothing. (at least nationally). The House is still controlled by the Republicans. The Senate is still controlled by the Democrats and the President is still Mr. Obama. Does this seem like a waste of time, money and effort to anyone else? I often talk about how I think the two party political system is broken. I’m then told by both sides that if I don’t like the candidates that the Democrats and Republicans are putting up, then I should vote for a third party. My response to that is “George Wallace”. It’s been since 1968 and George Wallace when anyone other than a Republican or a Democrat has gotten an Electoral College vote. Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer. Quite frankly I’m not smart enough. I don’t know how to fix it but I can tell you that for all the campaigning and rhetoric that we’ve heard, I don’t feel like my vote counts at all. And that’s a very bad thing.
So where do we go from here? Honestly… I don’t know. I can tell you this:
I’m proud to be an American. I still believe after all that I’ve written above, that this is the greatest country in the world. I believe that if there is one thing that we’ve gotten right it’s the peaceful transfer of leadership. Whether you agree or disagree with the man who’s in charge, or the process that put him in charge, you have to agree that the peaceful transition is the only way to go.
To the idiots that are saying now that President Obama has been re-elected you’re going to move to Canada or some other country? Let me help you pack. Quit being part of the problem and start being part of the solution. We’re facing some pretty huge problems in this country. But I can pretty much guarantee that other countries have problems of their own.
As for me? I’m going to continue to work as hard as I can to be the best father, husband, brother, son, friend and person I can be. In fact, now that this is all over, I’m going to work harder. My wife, kids, family and friends deserve that of me. The man (or woman) that is elected will never change who I am and what I personally stand for. Thanks for sticking with me this far. God bless America.