Monday, January 23, 2017

We Got Here From There (Warning: Political)

This post is going to be political, just so you know. I can stand it no longer.

For anyone interested, there is plenty of advice on The Internet for how we can keep our friends that have political beliefs with which we don't agree. It's my opinion that if you know your friend has different political beliefs from you, you probably shouldn't send them emails bragging on your Politician Of Choice (POC). Neither should you be hurling insults at their POC. It has nothing to do with whether you have respect for said POC's or not. It's about whether you have understanding and respect for your friend. We all have our reasons for why we feel the way we do. And this time, more than ANY other time in recent history, people's feelings are running very strong and sharp.

I admit, I have myself to work on, on this one. I have a hard time understanding why anybody who has heard the things that have fallen out of a certain politician's mouth can still think so highly of him. But mostly, I have a hard time understanding, at a time when we have shown clearly that we have the ability to count the vote of each and every voter (AKA: The Popular Vote), why we need The Electoral College. Because, in case you haven't noticed, in the USA we cannot say, “One Person, One Vote”. And I think, considering all, The Electoral College is just a way to cheat us out of our vote.

In our early history, it was very difficult to count the vote. Of course, there were less people IN the US then. And they didn't allow women, people of color, and people who didn't own land, to vote. But it made sense for each state to count their votes and then send their chosen one to vote the choice of the majority. Or did it?

I didn't really understand how all this works and so I decided to do some research. So often I just had to walk away from the computer because I got so confused and mired down in all the Pomp And Circumstance, and thus disgusted and annoyed. It seems like, whenever men band together, they develop all these rules and they write down what their purpose is for gathering together in some formal document and they start fancy traditions that makes the process look more like a game than anything. They've all got to dress alike, whether it's a uniform or suits and ties, whether it's hats with tassels or special aprons, whether it's medals or some ceremonial thing they carry around. They have special speeches and songs they memorize for use at prescribed times and under certain conditions.

On the other hand, when you get a bunch of women together, they sit down and talk, and they decide what ought to be done, and then they get up and go do it. No pomp. No circumstance. No special uniform. Botta Bing.

But anyway.

There are several “weak points” where our election system fails us. The first one is that the rules that say who can run for president are different from state to state. In most states, the candidate must already hold some political office, or he must be an attorney. I think this is an attempt at getting candidates who have some political experience, or who have, at least, been smart enough to pass a tough test on the laws that govern our country, which we call “The Bar Exam”. Unfortunately, there are some states that are less particular and this is how we get doctors, pizza parlor owners, real-estate tycoons and other kinds of rich guys, mixed in. Each potential candidate should be selected more carefully. Don't waste our time and don't bring out The Clown Car.

The next weak point is in how the candidates get narrowed down to one per party. It seems like, to me, it's a little like those contests on “Big Brother”, except that it's not so much their endurance as it is the amount of money they have to draw from that's the major factor. If the candidate runs out of money or sources of it, he drops out. But sometimes, if one turns to the other and says, “I can go on like this forever”, that may make the rest of them drop out, too. What is supposed to happen is that the candidate that will run for office from a particular party is chosen by the members OF that party. However, if all but one have dropped out, that's just moot, now, isn't it? So, in a way, you might say the choice is narrowed to one person per party based on who has the most money.

Are you beginning to see how we got to where we are today?

The next weak point is where logistical thinking can give a candidate an edge. What they do is figure out which states have the most Electoral College votes and they go out and campaign the hell out of those states. And mostly, what a campaign is, is seeing which candidate can figure out what the people want to hear and then spread that all out like vomit on the Tilt-A-Whirl. Apparently, we're not smart enough to see through all that. We're not able to look into their past and see what they stood for BEFORE they decided to run for office. When it's presented to us, we just shrug and let bygones be bygones because they've promised us stuff we want and it's something we want soooooo bad that we'll vote for anyone that says we can have it. What we never seem to learn is that promises are made to be broken. What it all comes down to is, does the candidate have the motivation, the intelligence, the morals, the temperament, if you wish, to be able to perform his or her duties while in office, to make good on their promises, to represent us honorably, and to forge good relationships with the leaders of other countries?

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I don't think we, as a populace, have high enough expectations of men as a species. I mean, we have all these expectations of women. They need to have good morals. They need to know how to “act like a lady”. They need to be deserving of respect. On the other hand, we don't expect much of men. They can be womanizers, or hard drinkers, or cruel and heartless, or selfish and thoughtless, or devoid of manners, or morals, or what we would call “Bitchy” if they were women, and we just roll our eyes and say, “That's a man for you”. Well, What The Hell???? Don't men realize what an INSULT this is to them, that we don't even EXPECT them to be worthy of respect? Are we supposed to just HAND them our respect on a silver platter because they have a lot of money or hold a high office??? And yet, we require a woman to EARN our respect. *Sigh*. The reason why women even have to struggle to hold a status job in corporations in the US always comes down to the fact that most men do not want to work under the supervision or control of a woman. Yet they forget that their first boss was their mother. “They're ruled by their hormones”, they say. “They're too bitchy”, they say. Oh, PUH-leeeeeeeeeeeeze. What a bunch of weenies.

But I digress.

The next weak spot is that, after the votes have been counted, each state has one or more Electoral College voters that then elect the President. This is all well and good for those states where the Electoral College voter is required to vote the same percentage of votes as his or her state voted in their precincts, which is still not One Person, One Vote, but is, apparently, as close as we can get. This is referred to as “Proportional”, and it's not, really, because if there's votes left over during the math process, the candidate who got the majority of the votes gets to have the left-overs. Unfortunately, most states give their Electoral College voters instructions to vote all their votes for whatever the state's MAJORITY was, which is called “Winner Take All”. Here's a link where you can see how many Electoral College votes each state is allowed to have.

And here's a link explaining Proportional vs. Winner Take All.

As you can see, this is where the numbers get manipulated and this is where The Will Of The People starts getting ignored. The Electoral College voters are then instructed to vote the way the numbers are manipulated to show, and if they don't vote the way they're told to vote, they can be fined and I think in some states they are then disqualified and replaced. What I never realized till I started researching this is that all the states want the candidates to come there and campaign because the states want that shot-in-the-arm that the money that's generated by the process brings them, so they want as many Electoral College voters allocated to them as they can get, and they'll do Winner Take All because they know the candidates won't spend much time, if any, campaigning in a state that has few Electoral College votes and then divides them proportionally.

And this is how Hillary lost. This is how Al Gore lost. This is how Andrew Jackson, Samuel Tilden and Grover Cleveland lost. How many times does this have to happen????

Our Constitution doesn't read, “We The Electoral College”. It reads, “We The People”. We cannot represent ourselves as a true Democracy any other way. We cannot hold our form of government up to other countries as the model to which they should aspire if it is not representing every citizen of our country that makes the effort to vote and BE represented. I heard someone say that Vladimir Putin would be happy to see our Democracy fail. That would only be true if we really HAD a democracy.

And no, lest you be thinking it, I wasn't exactly crazy about Hillary, either. Left with her against one of two or three other possible Republican candidates before they all started dropping off, I'd have voted Republican. It's just that Hillary doesn't quite scare me as spitless as Trump does.

And that's all I'm going to say about that.

PS:  Women's Marchers:  Great job.  Classy, except for all the profanity.  But yeah, it's OK for men to be profane, so I guess it ought to be OK for women too.  Especially since Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman Scorned.       Hugs

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