- michelle m. davis
A Better Way
To say I’m not a political person would be an understatement. The entire electoral process makes my stomach queasy and skin itch. But in today’s world, it’s important for me to take my head out of the sand and pay attention to what’s occurring in the political arena. Doing so forces me to examine my beliefs, questioning old thoughts to see if they still fit. From this process, I’ve come to realize my view of our government was skewed. Wearing rose-colored lenses for years, I envisioned an idealized arena that does not exist. However, after removing those glasses, it’s clear our system is broken.
No longer an advocate for either party, I find myself in a quandary every time I vote. Rarely can I find a candidate to fully endorse. I want to believe in them, but there’s just something about politicians that seems squeaky, uncomfortable, and fake. It’s as though my “Spidey senses” go on high alert, shouting, “Don’t trust what they’re saying.”
Of course, I’m sure there are a few good candidates out there … ones who enter the race with a pure heart and the highest intentions. Yet, who in their right mind would choose to put themselves and their families through a political campaign? After all, the media exhaustively probes for any secrets, failures, or poor choices candidates or those associated with them ever made.
This intense scrutiny by the press has divided our country, encouraging each of us to pick “a side.” But it doesn’t stop with grouping the public into two camps. We’re encouraged us to judge those who think differently. Yet, I suspect few of us fully align to either party’s philosophy. And exactly what would those philosophies be in 2022? Isn’t most of our country purple?
There must be a better way.
But what are we to do? How do we find qualified and trustworthy people to lead us?
Maybe it begins with eliminating the party system. (OK … truth be told, I have never taken a Political Science course, nor did we have Civics in high school. So please, just go with me for a few moments.) What if each candidate had to run on his or her merits —without the backing of a powerful, corporate-endorsed, highly funded political party? Might we end up electing officials who uphold their promises and stand by their principals? Imagine that.
The American public is opening its eyes. We’re now aware of what’s been occurring behind the scenes for years. Neither party is without fault. Both strive for power and control. But we’re smarter today … we can see their motives … and we can choose another way.
What if …
candidates did not identify with any party?
we imposed strict and limited funding for campaigns, with a specific cap for all donors, including the candidate? (So much money is WASTED on campaigns!)
we created a neutral avenue to share each candidate’s platform equally and fairly?
candidates could only serve one term, but the term would be slightly longer than it currently is? (Would elected officials then follow-through on promises without worrying about being re-elected?)
Are these ideas idealistic? Absolutely … but they could begin to mend what’s broken.
Government has a place. But it’s overstepped its role. Somewhere along the way, those elected began to believe it was their job to not only govern, but also control.
For our political system to heal, we must examine issues for ourselves, no longer blindly following the opinions of those in power. It’s time we stop allowing others to do the thinking for us. Instead, ask if politicians' words align with what we believe to be true. What does our gut say?
My heart tells me that most Americans have the same values, hopes, and dreams. Of course, we all see different paths to achieving these goals. But diversity of opinions is what makes our country unique. However, somewhere along the way, the powers to be told us there is only one way to think—their way. And that doesn’t feel right to me.
There must be a better way …