Sunday, October 17, 2010

I Voted

Be careful what you wish for. It's trite and obvious advice. Perhaps I should have paid closer attention to it.

I've always wished that there were a viable third party. I guess that, while technically, the TEA Party is a part of the Republican Party, it does sort-of qualify as a third party. This weekend for the first time, I noticed that a few of the candidates on the news had a "(T)" behind their name instead of a "(D)" or an "(R)." So at least the media are considering them a third party - in places.

But are they really a third party? In most the places that they are running, they ran in the Republican primaries. In most places, they are running as Republicans. If it looks like a duck, it quacks like a duck, and it runs in the duck primaries, it'd probably not a goose.

By "viable third party," I really meant one that wasn't completely composed of the extreme lunatic fringe of one of the two existing parties. What I would really love to see is a party that combines the best of both: Fiscal conservatism with Social liberalism; I want a party that realizes that they cannot hope to legislate morality so they can focus on what the government should be doing. A government is supposed to regulate the economy so that the populace can thrive financially. A government is supposed to keep the peace so that the individuals can practice the rights afforded them by the community.

Colorado is one of those "purple" states you hear so much about these days. By which is meant that the race is close. We have an interesting mix of people in Colorado. The voting pool is about as evenly split as can be. The largest voting bloc (at about 35%) is Republican; the third largest at approximately 32% is Democratic. The second largest voting bloc (if you can call a non-homogenous, unrelated group of people a "bloc") is the non-affiliated voters.

It is impossible to turn on the television these days without seeing an assault on the senses by the various parties trying to vilify their competition. The problem is that unless you actually do your own research, these ads make it appear that the opponent is Satan's own spawn. Person X supports a tax raise, Person Y kills jobs, Person X is against personal choice, Person Y wants to eliminate Medicare, Person X kicks puppies, and Person Y pushes pins into babies.

The only thing I can say is watch these things with a skeptical eye. Watch them and ask yourself who is paying for the ad. Unfortunately, since the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are "people" and have the right to give unfettered money secretly to political campaigns, it became much easier for the 800-pound gorilla to toss its weight around and disrupt the political process. It really gives new meaning to "Government for the people, by the people…"

I vote my mail-in ballot. This morning, on my way to run my other errands, I went past the Taj Mahal (the ironic nickname for the Jefferson County Administrative Center) to drop my mail-in ballot into the drive-by voting poll box. I've done my civic duty - I voted.

Wherever you are today, I hope you're exercising your rights and responsibilities and making your own decision about where you want the country to go. Remember: If you can't be bothered to vote, you really have no room to complain about the results of the election!

Don Bergquist - October 17, 2010 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

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