Over the past several days, and as the elections draw nearer, I have received several emails from one friend or another, or pages from friends on Facebook, with ideas about the upcoming elections or views on which candidate should be elected. First, for the record, I am NOT a political person, at all. That’s not to say that I don’t vote, or don’t care about my country. What I care about is not whether the Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Libertarians, or any other conceivable political party wins, what I care about, at the end of the day, is whether the American people win.

 Our Constitution was not designed with political parties in mind, and personally, I think there was a reason for that. I think our Founding Fathers, through their experiences with Whigs and Tories, knew the dangers of political parties, and knew that they could deadlock a group of people more effectively than pretty much any other device in modern day elections. The parties seem to know this, too. They know that human nature is to be passionate about the things we care deeply about, and if they can make us care more about political affiliation than the issues, then they hold some power over us.

 I understand that political affiliation is supposed to represent a particular group’s view on each issue, but it seems that in a world of lobbyists and hot button issues, the parties think that if they show they are supportive of the right issue at the right time, we’ll go on our merry way and forget about the rest. It seems more important to them lately to be “right” and to win, than to find solutions that really work for their constituents.  I don’t subscribe to that. I subscribe to Thomas Jefferson’s idea that an educated populace will always legislate themselves better than anyone else ever could.

 I vote, and I care. I care about building better schools, giving our kids the education they need to compete with peers in the global job spectrum. I care about women’s rights, and whether politicians have the right to tell me (or anyone else) what we can or cannot do with our bodies. I care about our soldiers, and our deficit, and whether we remain on good terms with our allies, and the other countries of the world. I care about our environment, and what kind of world we are passing on to our children. I care about whether American citizens have the prospect of finding a job that allows them to feed their families, gives them a purpose, and allows them to hold their heads up and look with satisfaction at the person in the mirror each day.

 I care that there are criminals out there taking those jobs, and the government doesn’t seem to do anything about it because they are worried about losing votes. So, they call them undocumented workers, instead of what they really are, which is criminals, and they hope we’ll look the other way while they allow them to stay, excusing their behavior by saying that these people wouldn’t know how to get along in their own country, and our people wouldn’t take those jobs anyway. Well, of the people I know, who are out of work, most would take any job they had to take to feed their families. Don’t the undocumented workers have the right to feed their families, too, you ask? Yes, they do, if they want to either do it in their own country, or do it LEGALLY here. If that means going home and starting over, sorry, but that’s what they should have done in the first place, so why bellyache about it now?  There isn’t space here for me to mention every single issue that I care about, as I am a person who is passionate about many and varied interests.

Last night, I received an email from a friend, talking about how Warren Buffet would solve the deficit problem, and I began thinking again of something I have been pondering since last year, when I served jury duty for the first time. Why not choose our Congress as we choose our jurors? I realize there would need to be certain minimum requirements in place, which are not requirements for serving jury duty. Also, I don’t suggest this lightly, because I understand how important the right to vote is to a constitutional republic, and I wouldn’t see that taken away from us, knowing that once things are taken away, we sometimes have to fight to get them back. Having to fight to get them back, though, may be the wake up call that some of us need. When we become complacent about our rights, and not willing to fight for them, we tend to lose them. Perhaps we even deserve to lose them. Whenever a President or a member of any of the other two branches of government usurps his or her Constitutional Authority, it is a matter of grave importance. It means that our government’s foundations are slowly being chipped away, and the lines are blurring, and it is a shorter step to one branch trying to take all of the power, which has not, historically, worked very well for other nations. Our Constitution gives us a remedy to the problem, and it is incumbent upon us to use it. 

Later on, tonight or tomorrow, I will lay out my ideas for reforming Congress. It should be interesting to read, so stay tuned.

What issues do you care about? What would you change about our government, if you had the opportunity?