Voting for President Meh

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In nearly every previous presidential election cycle, I have all too often heard people declaring their voting choice as a strategy to prevent a particular candidate from getting elected. This election is no different.

“Whatever it takes to keep [Candidate X] from getting into the White House!” is the declaration I hear every leap year. The pony getting backed is often not even a person that the voter is all that enthusiastic about. They vote with resignation for the person or even the party who they believe will do “the least amount of damage”.

After bearing witness to this voting strategy enough times, I began to wonder: How seriously do we take the position of The Leader of the Free World, The President of the United States of America?

Let me go ahead and provide the rebuttal: we take it seriously enough to not allow [insert candidate or candidate’s party here] to become president. That would destroy our country.

To begin, are we really buying into such hyperbole as to believe the president could single-handedly rend the fabric of our nation so irreparably? Do we not have faith in the checks and balances of the three branches of government?

Despite the degree of concern over a president stacking the judicial bench, at the end of the day they still follow the framework of the Constitution, albeit with wide interpretation at times. The Congress is still the body that creates laws and has the power to overturn  vetoes with a large enough consensus. Nothing will cross the divide of the legislative butt crack than a Commander-In-Chief that makes completely egregious decisions, which will invariably lead to impeachment.

How seriously do we take the position of President when we shrug and say he or she will do to keep their opponent out of office? That’s like choosing to go out with someone we’re rather ambivalent about just so we don’t have to date someone we can’t stand. How can we say we take the presidency so seriously we’re willing to block the candidate who disgusts us, but it isn’t so serious of a position that we’re willing to just toss someone in there to lead our country that makes us say meh…? Yeah, meh should lead our country and make the big decisions.

If we take this position seriously, we need to vote for the candidate that most closely aligns with our values. If we vote for a candidate based on their popularity, or their odds according to the media, then the presidency is really the Homecoming dance. Who are you voting for for Homecoming King/Queen? Me too. That’s who’s going to win, so that’s who I’m voting for. That’s the tail wagging the dog, isn’t it? Let’s put a dog in the White House.

Let’s stop letting boogeymen, bullies, and thugs scare us into choosing our vote. If we cast a vote based on what we fear as opposed to what we want, we’re sending the message that we are super easy to control. If you scare us, we’ll do whatever you want so we don’t have to face the monster. Let’s take a stand. Let’s spit in the face of the complacency of pragmatism that wants to tell us the outside odds of our dark horse winning.

We’ll only settle for what we feel we deserve (which is clearly not much) if we go with that tired talk track. We will get what we truly want if we insist on having what we want. If we vote based on what we don’t want, then anyone else will do and that’s what we’ll get. If we vote based on what we do want, we will get what we want and conveniently not get what we don’t want at the same time.

 

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How to Win Despite Who’s Elected

As the presidential elections are in the beginning stages of the primaries, we’re moving past a slow simmer and the bubbles are rising to the surface. Soon the nominees for the Coke and Pepsi parties will be determined and the election cycle will kick into a rolling boil.

Since we live in a polarized political landscape where independent’s day never seems to come, the air will be roiling with the rhetoric of choosing sides. The supporters of primary candidates that now lay among the detritus of also-rans will sigh with great resignation and band arms against the Godzilla of the opposing political party. Portcullises will be lowered, moats will be dug, boiling oil will be poured down from embrasures to ensure the enemy does not win the election.

This makes me crazy. Every single presidential election cycle there’s a segment of potentially disgruntled voters spreading portents of how life will end as we know it if the opposing candidate gets into office. The defeated candidate they had supported will part the Great Lakes and their constituents will make their Exodus into the Great White North. America will descend into chaos, the ground will open up and swallow the consituents who practice idolatry before the worst president in history.

Once the styrofoam hats of party conventions lay broken on the floor and the inaugural dresses have all been sent to the dry cleaners, we find the redwoods are still standing. They are still selling Pringles. Brady Bunch reruns are still in syndication. The Knicks are still playing. We go on with our lives. There may be some shifts in the economic landscape, some for better, some for worse, but Zombie Nero has not taken over the presidency. Well, the same Zombie justices are still there for the most part… maybe the political ideology on one side of the seesaw got a fatter kid.

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What makes me crazy about this reaction to your man or woman not getting to sit in the big chair is that we seem to think the outcome of our personal futures is based on who is president of the United States. Yes, I said in my recent post that I believe that allowing corporations to basically create U.S. laws to their exclusive benefit is toxic, but at the end of the day we still have personal choices. Some of them may have become squeezed or encumbered or restrained or even limited, but we still have them. We are still the architects of our own lives. We still choose what to eat and where to work and how to raise our children and how to spend our free time.

There is power when individuals discover that no one is coming to rescue them – that if they don’t do something different, nothing in their life is going to get better. When that thought connects, it’s electrifying . A lot of people turn their lives around in quite marvelous and exciting ways, simply because they decided to stop waiting for help.
– Nathaniel Branden, The Psychology of Self-Esteem

I’m not so naive to think that a poorly chosen candidate can’t do some damage. I am saying that the damage can’t really be so great that we no longer have any control over the direction of our own lives. I believe this because we can still vote. We still have a voice in our election system. If that voice seems to be getting drowned out by the din of lobbyists and gerrymanderers, it is an indication we need to turn up our own volumes and consider more carefully the voting choices we have been making. For those who believe we become powerless at the hands of a single political party, they are only correct by virtue of believing it.

Who Are We Actually Voting For?

For the most part I don’t care about the presidential candidates. I don’t care what their names are. I don’t care what they look like, or how pressed their suits are or what color tie they wear or if they are male or female or if they are over or under a certain age. Frankly I don’t care if they are Democrat or Republican or conservative or moderate or liberal or progressive, or if they are Hindu or Christian or Jewish or Zoroastrian or Secular Humanist or plain old atheist.

I don’t care about any of these things because they do not, nor will they have absolutely any bearing on the current state of our country. To cast my vote based on any of those factors is to base my vote on window dressing.

 

At that point it’s really about who and what the candidates represent. We choose the candidate that we feel best represents our position, or values, our ideologies of our vision for what we want this nation to be. Those values and ideologies vary from person to person, from region to region, and from state to state. Invariably political leaders will get chosen that don’t represent our own vision and values. That’s the way it goes. It’s impossible to compose a government that will please everyone. We have to accept that.

I’m okay with that. This means that our government is speaking for the majority of the people, so at least our collective voices should affect the outcome of our legislation. We determine our laws by the proxies that we send to government positions to speak on behalf of what we want, right? Isn’t that the definition of democracy?

Unfortunately, that’s not exactly how it works currently. Our laws are not decided by us per se. The legislation is not shaped to provide the greatest benefit to the greatest number of citizens of this country, of our nation’s population. Our laws are designed to maximize the protections and profits of the largest corporations and industries in our country. The influence our votes have on legislation pale in comparison to the influence of corporations through questionable lobbying practices and exorbitant campaign funding.

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When we look at the largest lobbies and campaign funders we clearly see their impact on our laws and on our country:

  • Big banks get financial regulations loosened up, leading to the 2008 economic crash and a bevy of home foreclosures due to reckless lending practices.
  • Lifesaving medications are hardly affordable to many critically ill patients due to legislative protections given to the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Approval for Authorized Use of Military Force without timetables coupled with highly lucrative government contracts result in continued loss of life thanks to the defense lobby.
  • Oil companies influence laws that make clean energy cost prohibitive while fossil fuel consumption continues to wreak havoc on our ecosystem and our health.
  • Biotech agriculture companies use legislation to obfuscate or withhold the degree of information they need to share regarding the use of toxins in their foods.

Adding insult to injury all of these industries get the added bonus of government subsidies, all of which are funded by your and my tax dollars.

Call me crazy but I feel the laws should be proportionately influenced by the greatest count of voices, by the largest show of hands. Instead what I see are laws that are disproportionately influenced by corporations that have the financial means to game the legislative system toward maximizing their profits. Doesn’t it stand to reason the laws should reflect the voter count, not the dollar spent? Otherwise we are left with a financial oligarchy where freedoms, liberties, and rights are available only to those who can afford them.

When I vote, I want to ensure I am voting for the best interest of the country versus the best interest of the corporations. Unfortunately the corporations seem to not have our best interests at heart, only their own. The candidates that allow themselves to be wooed by these monoliths of industry are reflecting the best interest of the companies they essentially serve.

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So let me reiterate: I don’t care about the candidates because I don’t need to. I need them to care about us, their constituents. I need them to show that the laws they pass are designed to protect the liberties and freedoms of us citizens. Corporations need no protection beyond what consumers offer them in patronage. It is the candidates who recognizes this and demonstrate it through who they accept as their greatest financial contributors. For at the end of the day, that is to whom they will be beholden. If that happens to be the citizens, then that candidate happens to be the one that will get my vote.

The Ghost of Zombie Cat

While recovering from a big weekend with family warranting a 320 mile round trip, I’m having Ronda unknowingly pinch-hit with this brilliant post. I’ll be back next week with more manifestational magic. Enjoy!

Modern Oracle Tarot

“There is more in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophies” – William Shakespeare

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” Arthur C. Clarke

“I ain’t afraid of no ghost” – Ghostbusters

In the first Zombie Cat post we talked a little bit about the intersection of Tarot and science. Now lets shift gears yet again and add in the  “woo-woo”, fringe, and well, spiritual. Tarot intersects all of those things too.

Venn

When I’m not looking at the world as a giant Taoist Taijitu (yin/yang symbol) I tend to see a lot of things in terms of a Venn diagram. That’s why I chose a triquetra as the main symbol in my logo. This “trinity knot” is essentially an excerpt of a three circle Venn diagram which in turn symbolizes much of what I do here and in holistic health…mind/body/spirit or more traditionally mother/maiden/crone (for the stages of…

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Campaign Funding – Buying Candidates or Buying Constituents?

civilian-homework

One of the things I often hear people in this country decry is the influence of money in politics. “We need to get the money out of politics”. They proclaim that politicians are in the back pockets of corporations, that individuals and entities of great financial means are buying the allegiance of politicians by disproportionately contributing to campaign funding. This of course is designed to encourage the candidates to move legislation in the direction that greatly benefits these benefactors.

I decided to follow this down the proverbial rabbit hole to dissect the function of this monetary influence. A candidate uses their heaps of donations to fund their campaign. This funding enables, at the broadest level, the candidates to get their name out there, via newsletters, brochures, campaign signs, television and radio ads, internet presence, etc.

Some of these forms of advertisement are designed to give bullet points as to the positions these candidates take. Others are intended to show how their opponents are less qualified or appropriate for the political positions they are running for. In many cases the advertising is simply a display of their name and the position they are running for, to pull them into the awareness of the constituents where they may have been previously unknown to a subset of the voters.

So let me give a thumbnail sketch of the process: The more money a candidate gets, the more they can put their faces and names out there. The more often constituents get a glimpse of their names or see 15 seconds of their television ads, the higher the odds of them getting elected.

Does that mean we are basing or votes on how often we see someone’s name? Do we feel closer to determining a candidate is worthy of making laws based on a 15 second sound bite? This must be the case, enough for the big hitters to be willing to donate a gazillion dollars to make it happen.

These sound bite based, non-informative, fast food campaigns work because we don’t want to. We take the Homer Simpson approach to political participation, wanting “the quickest, cheapest, easiest way” to determine who will get our votes.

What’s the best way we can keep financial influence out of politics? Make ourselves less easy to buy with a sound bite or blind party loyalty. We can do our due diligence by researching which legislation they were key participants, or reference their voting records at the very least. If we choose our political leaders by investing 15 seconds of our attention to a television commercial or a two paragraph blurb in a voter’s pamphlet we will continue to get what we pay for.

Menage a Tarot would love to hear from you!

OriginalNipperHave you had a chance to listen to our premiere episode of the Menage a Tarot podcast?

We would love to hear from you! Let us know your comments, feedback, thoughts, and ideas…

Email us at menageatarot@gmail.com

If you have not yet heard our debut episode, head over to menageatarot.com and give it a listen.

Introducing a New Podcast – Menage a Tarot

Three women raise their cups and dance in celebration, surrounded by a bountiful harvest

Over the last couple of months I have been in the process of creating a new podcast called Menage a Tarot. In this episode I introduce our new project and tell a bit about the hosts and what the podcast will be about. 

Listen here:

Right-click and save for direct download:
Introducing a New Podcast – Menage a Tarot

Menage a Tarot website:
http://menageatarot.com
On Facebook: 
http://www.facebook.com/menageatarot

Ronda Snow’s website: 
http://modernoracletarot.com

Kate’s website: 
http://www.dailytarotgirl.com