Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Congratulations! President Elect Obama

I’m so pleased to have witnessed history. I just wish I could have participated in it. Due to my rapid move from there to here I wasn’t able to get registered in time to vote in this election. But, no matter. It turned out the way it was supposed to anyway.

You may not know this, but I’m a big ol’ pol. I’m a political news junkie. The tube stays set to CNN all the time and I check the headlines in the paper every morning. I’m quite serious about it. I am one of the rare people that actually writes to my senators and congressmen occasionally. I have letters back from them to prove it.

Please don’t hate me because I didn’t get more aggressive about signing up to take part in this thing. But, let me defend myself and explain why I procrastinated. I’m going to take us on a long way around to explain why I’m not very happy about our electoral process and tell you why our constitution and political parties make some Americans less important than others.

I began to get excited about Barack Obama way back when I heard him speak at the Democratic Convention a few years ago. It was the first time that a politician’s speech had moved me to tears with feelings of patriotism. I felt inspired to be a better American. I had heard people tell me that JFK had made them feel that way. I was excited that we might be seeing someone like that in my lifetime.

I was also excited that Hillary Clinton was running for president because she is just so gosh darn smart. She’s a moderate democrat like me. She seemed perfect. When Obama ran for the same nomination I was heart broken. I wanted both of them to be president. Unfortunately, our damned two party system required that I choose one or the other. After Hillary was pushed out and McCain became the only challenge to Obama I became certain that the Democrats would win.

As we got closer to the election it became clear that states were lining up in their respective blue and red categories. It also became clear that the candidates only cared to visit and pay attention to those states that would be the most help to them. Thanks to our constitution, our votes don’t “really” count. The majority vote only determines how the states’ electors will vote. Because of the elector formula not every state and its citizens are as valuable as others. My little state only contributes 6 votes to the grand total. Therefore, candidates don’t care much about how we vote unless the race is really, really close. Also, because of modern polling, its easy to find out if a state is likely to vote conservative or liberal. Our little state is small and historically conservative, so my favorite candidate didn’t bother to campaign here.

It didn’t take long to realize that a few of the big electoral states would be a close race; Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana. Therefore, those Americans became more important in choosing the president than the rest of us.

I want my vote to count for something. I’m sure that if I had seen that this election were going to be close and that my state’s electoral vote would make a difference in the election I would have voted. If I had seen that the popular vote in my state would have been close, I would have voted. But, it wasn’t. Pollsters had us clearly in the red column. Therefore, my vote wasn’t important. I was an unimportant, less valuable American voter. The constitution says so and the politicians agreed by their not campaigning in my state.

Our system isn’t perfect but I still believe that its better than any other on the planet. I just wish we could pass an amendment to eliminate the electoral college and choose our presidents by popular vote. Until then the idea that we are all equal according to our constitution is something of an exaggeration. As a matter of fact, my vote is almost three-fourths less equal than that of a Californian.

Still, my guy won and I’m happy about it. Congratulations, President elect Obama. Now, as soon as he can get himself inaugurated, its time for some Supreme Court Justices to start retiring.

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