I'm so glad the election is over, but couldn't they give us at least ONE day of rest before talking about the 2016 election?
They aren't going to so, FINE. There are some take-aways we need to pay attention to going forward. By 'we' I mean us regular citizens, not the pandering/lying/sleazy/self-serving politicians who already have their teams of strategists at work on their next plan to manipulate the public.
Let's start with these 7 first:
1. We need to all refresh our memories by re-reading the US Constitution. There have been too many occasions where the content of the document has been misrepresented or misquoted, and we need to be familiar with the document that so greatly shapes our national government. A middle-schooler can quote it for you verbatim, or here is a quick link.
2. We need to pay attention in history class -- or go back and take a refresher course -- so that we don't continue to let George Santayana be a smug little SOB (philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist who said that "Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.") Can I just say here that I really don't want to go through another 2-year, $6 billion dollar election cycle nightmare like the one we just experienced. How many times are we going to allow ourselves to be suckered by politicians? How many times do we have to suffer through the blatant pandering and flip-flopping and continually unfulfilled promises before it finally dawns on us that some people will say anything to get elected? How many times are we going to let them get away with forgetting about who's interests they are really supposed to be protecting?
3. There is a Cherokee prayer: Oh Great Spirit, grant that I may never find fault with my neighbor until I have walked the trail of life in his moccasins. We should mandate, as they do in some countries, that all citizens must participate in some sort of community or volunteer service annually -- let's say for at least two weeks, not necessarily all at once. If we get to know all of our neighbors in our cities and towns, it broadens our perspective on the plight of all people rather than allowing us to insulate ourselves from all but our 'own kind.' Some of the most amazing experiences I've ever had have come from the volunteering I've done over the years. Ordinary PEOPLE are the ones who make the magic happen.
4. Our focus must first be on taking care of what is happening here within our own borders. We can't 'be the change we want to see' if we aren't taking care of business here at home -- education, infrastructure, sustainable energy, ending poverty, getting along with each other, the basics. If there is something left over to put in the 'rainy day fund', great. If not, then we won't always be in the red. That's how we are supposed to manage our personal budgets, so it should logically work that way for the larger entity.
5. We should know the difference between different forms of government so that we don't misuse them in conversation and inappropriately throw big concepts out of our asses like 'communism' and 'socialism' with no clue as to their actual definition and/or practice. See here for the primer on Communism, here for the primer on Capitalism vs Socialism (FYI - Marx and Engels were actually more socialist than communist), here (this one should scare the ever-loving CRAP out of you with its familiarity) for the primer on Fascism, and here for a primer on the Democratic Republic, which is what we are.
6. We need to evolve -- politically, socially, emotionally, intellectually -- so that we are relevant and current with the needs of our citizens. The Electoral College was a clever way to solve a problem in a world with communication challenges, but that isn't us any longer. We are, unfortunately at times, connected everywhere through myriad electronic devices, satellites and cyberspace, and transportation. Perhaps if we felt as though our vote counted in a 'red/blue' state that might be leaning away from our beliefs, voter turnout might we higher (only about 1/2 to 2/3 of those of voting age actually vote). We all want our voices to be heard.
7. Corporations are NOT people, and we should rap anyone on the head who says otherwise and repeal that stupid law. We need to tell Citizens United to kiss our proverbial asses because they have nothing to do with the actual citizenry. We need to eliminate the option to have SuperPacs that can do things under the 'cone of silence' or behind a 'veil of secrecy'. If you have to hide behind something, you are up to no good.
These would be a good start. If we all work together, the burden will be distributed and the roar will be heard in Washington.
Tick tock. The next election cycle has already started, and THEY aren't waiting in DC ... midterms in 2014 ...