Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Time to Pay Attention

For most of my life, I never gave politics much thought. I somehow allowed myself to believe that the goings-on in Washington didn't really affect me. I enjoyed complaining about the taxes taken from my paycheck, and the millions of dollars seemingly wasted on things I cared little about. Perhaps it gave me some sense of righteous indignation. After all, everyone is supposed to rebel against authority to some degree, right?

I was told in school that the ability to vote was the greatest right America offered. There are still countries which do not allow citizens the opportunity to voice their opinions. But I never followed issues or candidates enough to feel I could make an intelligent or an informed choice. A stupid vote was just as big a waste as not voting. Hell, for all I knew, I could be voting for a dangerous lunatic campaigning as a moderate.

I was 32 when I finally voted in a presidential election. I don't really know why I suddenly decided to vote, but I do remember I only voted in the presidential race, and did not bother to select from the dozens of unknown people listed. Afterward, over a few beers with my friends, I was informed that I had wasted my vote on Ross Perot.

Not that I followed issues much closer, but I voted every four years from then on. Local and State elections meant little, because I was too busy working to really understand what was going on. Rather than voting for Dole, I voted against Clinton in '96, and for Dubya in 2000. I actually voted for Bush again in '04, even knowing that we should have never jumped Iraq's ass over 9/11, but as I said, I knew little about politics.

In my particular field of employment, my wages have risen steadily since 1980. By no means could I be considered wealthy. I am usually able to save a few bucks between paychecks, so I guess that makes me better off than a lot of folks. Whatever these presidents were doing seemed ok by me.

However, the events of the last several years have been very disturbing. More and more, the actions of our government began to scare me. Perhaps this is what lead me to do a bit of research into why. I vaguely began to comprehend that our governments actions not only affect my life, but the lives of all Americans. To look deeper, their actions have an effect on the perception of America by the rest of the world and, perhaps to a lesser degree, their lives as well.

I personally believe that the only good thing to come from Obama's election is my 'political awakening'. For the last two years, ever since Obama threw his hat in the ring, I have tried to become more informed than ever before. The only drawback is that the more I investigate, the more worried I become. Once I began my research into the workings of our political system instead of accepting television's version, I have become more cynical than I ever thought possible.

I now have extremely little confidence in our government, and practically none in the majority of the politicians. From where I stand, we have a serious problem in Washington and it needs a good enema. As helpless as I sometimes feel, I think that everyone needs to take some time to at least understand what some of these buffoons are doing to us.

The wife now thinks me insane, and is tired of hearing me argue with the television. Therefore, I have been coerced into venting my anger into written form. Apparently there is some therapeutic value in this, because after typing all this garbage, I have a strange sense of satisfaction and relief. I might actually be crazy, because this is really like talking to myself. But it is less offensive to those around me, so at least I've got that going for me.

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