"You get what you pay for." Often that's a truism that reflects the reality that if you buy cheap, you end up with cheap. Unfortunately, it's also often a truism for voters as well. Analyze a candidate and where he stands and you weed out the politicians who will do the least amount of damage. Recoil from that duty - of studying a candidate or the issues -- and you're apt to get someone you will regret putting into office.
Especially troublesome is the apathy that is rampant among the populace. Many voters don't have the desire nor time to wade through the voluminous reading material required to make intelligent ballot decisions. Yearly voters face a barrage of statewide propositions created mostly by special-interest groups and instead of voting no when in doubt, they end up voting for something that may sound good but is opposed to the freedoms set forth by our Founding Fathers. Live long enough and you learn to follow the money when it comes to politics.
Onerous as voting has become, careful thought is required. Voting requires research beyond buying the party line and going with the party candidate or being swayed by deceptive TV commercials. Entering into a voting precinct, each voter should be able to explain why they are voting as they are and why.
So that brings me to a story that is guaranteed to bring me scorn and shame for I ended up in a heated political discussion with my 93-year-old grandmother who was upset with me after hearing that I had posted a Facebook comment in November. Angered that I posted that a certain party were "idiots" for supporting a certain national candidate (whose initials are B.O.), my grandmother waited for my response. Rattled as both of us were, I explained how I felt that many people - herself included -- did not match Obama's rhetoric to his past performance. Anyone can make hope and change promises but a politician like Obama is skilled at running away from a record that has trouble defending. Her only reply of the night was that Romney was a rich man and could not have done any better than Obama, and she was unable to counter points I made about Obama.
Enumerating the reasons why I was opposed to a man who expands more federal power and control and his insatiable appetite for more taxes and resistance to spending cuts, I came to realize something and that's the power of tradition and identity. Voicing my reasons was not going to overcome the fact that my grandmother had always voted for Democrats and wasn't going to stop now, even if her president had butted heads with the religious community of which she is certainly a member. Extreme as his views and actions are, she was failing to see that her Democratic party of the 1940s and 1950s was hijacked a long time ago by socialists that my grandfather - God rest his soul - was so opposed.
Red-faced from my exhortation, I assured my grandmother that I love her but it re-enforced my belief that a great many who support certain candidates have trouble defending them to someone who has a compelling argument why they didn't deserve to be elected.
Shame on me for getting into a passionate debate with my beloved grandmother but I'd rather offer a passionate and reasoned debate on my political choices than the timid sea of those who cast their vote as though pearls to swine in the interests of voting with tradition.
How do you feel? Let Jeff know at firstname.lastname@example.org