The Lies Voters Believe: A Political Piece By Yours Truly

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This post is going to be the first of a series that I’ll be writing with my dear friend Taylor, but it’ll be more like a slow reworking of our government. Rather than solely complain about the problems our government has, Taylor and I decided to try and make a plan of action to fix those problems.

No, we have no degree, and we in fact are both still teenagers at this point (but not for long!). However, we did take AP American Government and Politics together during our Senior year of high school, and while that may not mean much to most, we had a fantastic teacher who wrote a VIB (Very Important Book) on American politics/government, and we both did quite well in our studies. Enough about that- Introducing Taylor!

As Julia has stated, we are by no means professionals at this, just two girls who have the pull to give people a chance at a new, fresh perspective. I was at one point an empty book, a follower following the blind, believing every word that I saw splayed on news stations and the ever-informative Facebook, and I let those words fill my pages. While that didn’t make me dumb, it did make it harder for me to know what was really going on, or have any sort of understanding of how our government works. I’m not saying I know all, after all I’m just a 19-soon-to-be-20-year-old who had a great Gov. teacher and a mind that is open to learning more, but I want to spur conversation that could make our great nation ever greater.

So, now that we’ve gotten that bit out of the way, I’d like to introduce one of my greatest issues with the government: The election.

While of course our country’s forefathers did a great job in giving each branch- Judicial, Legislative, and Executive- as little power as possible on their own, leaving the President with even less powers (including Pocket Veto and “Pardoning” a turkey once a year), a few problems have developed.

~In no way am I singling out a certain presidential candidate, what follows is simply a run-down of the problems I have with the election process as a whole. Corruption is on all sides, and comes in all shapes and colors.~

No one is ever going to find a candidate that is going to be exactly what they want, and we shouldn’t expect that. BUT. I believe that the reason the Presidential Approval Ratings have plummeted through the years has less to do with what the President is doing and more to do with who the people are given to choose from. Because “We the People” vote for someone we aren’t happy with, we become even more unhappy when the inevitable slip-up happens, therefore leading to lower and lower Approval Ratings. The bottom line is, if the majority of the population feels that they have to choose the “lesser of two evils,” then why are these candidates even options? Why has it become so difficult to find a candidate that has real presidential qualities? Since when do Americans settle for less? I think I have at least part of the answer.

Political parties and big bank accounts have hijacked our voting system.

Running for presidency takes guts, but it takes even more money.

Even there are qualified candidates who have a fair chance at making it to primaries, it is nearly impossible for any candidates to get the funding they need to publicize their candidacy, and thereby gain voter backing.

Unless… they join forces with a political party with lots of moolah.

That’s right, my friends, both Republicans and Democrats parties use this to their advantage. I’ll have Taylor talk a little bit more about this-

We all know money is a necessity, but think about it: if you have a multi-million dollar company backing your campaign, advertising to all their customers who they’re vouching for, and giving money to you so you can schmooze other investors, that gives you an INCREDIBLE advantage. You’re golden, literally! You have what you need, but there’s a cost, of course. Let’s make the situation a little more real:

You are an Independent candidate, you have some followers, people who support your ideals, a small business or two backing you, and you’re finally getting your name out there. A big company comes to you and says they want to back your campaign, they think your morals, ideals, and what you bring to the presidential table is great, but the catch is you have to give them something in return, your support for their cause. That could be passing bills to cut out competition, decrease environmental protection laws, or anything else depending on the business and its needs.

Now you have a choice. If you’re Independent, your party isn’t that big, and there’s not enough money to do without other supporters. So, you pay the price, lose your new investor to a candidate who doesn’t mind compromise or even agrees with the business’s ideals. You’re probably wondering if it’s worth it, if it’s worth giving up your morals? How will it affect your campaign in the future? It’s unfortunate that people with great ideas can’t burst through the walls of bigger political parties because they want to be true to their ways, to their ideals.

Money is everything in politics, that’s become the unfortunate truth: it’s torn apart what ideally use to be an ingenious process that this country was founded on. It’s important to remember it wasn’t always like this, that at one point parties didn’t exist, George Washington even warned future generations against it. If it didn’t exist at one point though, it means it doesn’t have to in the future. Until then, money and supporting ideals for personal gain is how one gets a foot in the door to being elected.

I think that’s a great stopping point for this blog, partially because if it gets any longer I might as well get it published and printed as a book, but also because I want to break it into smaller pieces and start talking solutions- how do we reverse the damage that’s been done, and give candidates who can truly lead this country a chance? How do we take away the power political parties have without breaking apart the whole system?

Anyway, thanks to Taylor for her input, and to my readers for making it this far.

Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost. -John Quincy Adams

We will not agree on every issue. But let us respect those differences and respect one another. Let us recognize that we do not serve an ideology or a political party; we serve the people. – John Lynch

Need and Want and Everything in Between

This year has been all about change, which makes sense because I graduated highschool and went out-of-state for college, leaving behind life as I knew it, and all of my friends and family. Of course, now looking back, I have no idea how I survived without my roommate, and all of my other college friends, and found myself wondering the same thing as I headed home for summer break. Luckily, it didn’t take long to remember I had a whole other group of friends coming home as well, and family that I would be spending every second I could spare with, but at the same time, I felt lonely.

I realized early on that I really needed to take my first week or two of summer to adjust. After living in the moment and experiencing things from August to May, I found myself irritable, and having a hard time readjusting to pre-college, pre-moving-out life. I needed to take some time and reevaluate who I had become, and what had changed. One of the reoccuring things I found during this time was a switch from Need to Want.

This change came in various forms: pre-college life, I took the classes I NEEDED to, and joined the clubs I NEEDED to. Almost everything that was driving me before going to college was need-based, whether it was pushing my GPA for financial aid, adding on the extra AP class for college credit,  or writing paper after paper explaining why I deserved their money (scholarships are the most obnoxious need ever). At the same time, I now realize that most of my relationships were need-based as well.

While one of my pet-peeves was neediness, and I rejected any form of clinginess both in friendships and relationships, looking back, the way I knew who my closest friends were was by how much I needed them.

If I couldn’t go a week without seeing them, if I had to go to dances with them, if a certain occassion didn’t feel right without having them there, that was how I knew they were my best friends. I NEEDED them to be there in order to feel myself.

“But, we’ve always gone to homecoming together! If I can’t go with them, I can’t go at all!

“Why didn’t you tell me you were skipping class? I wouldn’t have gone if I had known- I can’t survive it without you!”

Both of these are pretty innocent, but need started cropping up in other areas as well.

” You make me feel like me.”

“I can’t imagine life without you.”

“I need you.”

And then graduation came, and suddenly Need was replaced by Want.

I started visiting colleges because I wanted to, and applied because I wanted to. I made the rules: going out-of-state became an option because I decided I would do whatever it took to go to the school I wanted and study what I wanted. I chose the classes I wanted to.

The friends I made weren’t out of need, they were out of want.

I didn’t need friends to be in my classes because I wanted to be in the class.

I didn’t need to be best friends with my roommate and hall, I wanted to.

Suddenly, my relationships in college felt much stronger than the ones  I made pre-college, and there’s a simple reason why.

Need<Want

Want is a choice. It leads to growth and change.

Need is also a choice. It leads to disappointment, bitterness, and isolation.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Too many times we mistake Need in a relationship as the ultimate form of love.

“He’s my world.”

“She’s my better half.”

“They complete me.”

All of these scream NEED. It looks and sounds great on the outside, but the truth is, if you’re with someone because you need them, what happens when they change? What happens whaen you change? What happens when they no longer fulfill those needs, or you no longer fulfill theirs?

When want is what drives you,

“He’s my world” becomes “He makes my world better.”

“She’s my better half” becomes “She encourages me to BE my best.”

“They complete me” becomes “We are both complete, but together we become MORE. We become We.”

Need means you are depending on something. It adds strain and tension and pressure, which eventually self-destructs.

Want means you are pursuing something, you desire something, and you will never stop desiring to discover and learn about it. All the good, all the bad, and perservering through it.

So, what are you doing this summer? 😉

“The irony is that while God doesn’t need us but still wants us, we desperately need God but don’t really want Him most of the time.”
― Francis Chan

“A lot of people get so hung up on what they can’t have that they don’t think for a second about whether they really want it.”
― Lionel Shriver, Checker and Derailleurs