Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Elections 2008: Time for a Change

Editor's Note: This essay originally appeared as an editorial in the Jan. 10, 2008 edition of The Town Meeting.

By Brian Keilen

Ah, 2008 is finally upon us. But from all the talk surrounding this year’s presidential election, it feels as though it’s 2009 and George Bush’s successor is already comfortably situated in the Oval Office.

It certainly is shaping up to be an exciting year, if you can stand all the political commercials for the next 11 months. Come November, we could see our first female or our first black president. Not that Michigan has much say in whether Hillary or Barack even have a shot of replacing the big W.

No, no, we, in extremely uncouth fashion, had to go ahead and “break party rules” and move our primary to Jan. 15. Boo-hoo.

So now I don’t have the chance to vote to give some guy I’ve never met a free trip to Denver so he, in turn, can vote that we can vote for another guy (or gal) in November. I’m sure my extreme disappointment exudes off the page.

But never fear, my fellow Michiganders, we will have the opportunity in November to go to the polls and vote for some more guys to go to Lansing on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December (whenever that is) and vote for who the 44th President of the United States will be. And we’re worried about elections in Pakistan and Iraq.

I, for one, have not missed and will not miss the mudslinging that would have inevitably been taking place at this very moment had we not “broken party rules.”

Speaking of that, since when can “breaking party rules” disenfranchise an entire state? Not that our votes really meant that much to begin with, but still.

It’s funny how every election year the talking heads are always lamenting the low voter turnout in the United States and describing how every other country has such better turnout and then our political parties tell us our votes mean nothing anyway.

I received an e-mail today (Jan. 7) from the Michigan Democratic Party encouraging “fellow” Democrats to vote for Ron Paul in the Republican primary. Will wonders never cease? Democrats encouraging people to vote for Republicans? I’m bound to see cats and dogs playing together on my way home. At least now I have a choice other than “uncommitted.”

The last time I checked, the right to vote was in the Constitution. I can’t find anything in there about Republicans and Democrats (or Whigs or Federalists or any other political parties, for that matter). So how come political parties have such great control over how we vote? When did it become a good idea for the people in the election to determine the rules?

No, my fellow Americans, our system is not perfect, not matter how much Washington wants us to think it is. In a country that touts itself as the bastion of freedom and integrity in the world, it takes no less than four votes to determine our chief executive. This year, a change in who lives in the White House is inevitable. A change in how the next person gets there is needed.

At least Ron Paul’s not complaining.

Brian Keilen is the editor of
The Town Meeting, a weekly newspaper in Elk Rapids, Michigan.

No comments: