Monday, July 6, 2009

Frankly, I blame you

Frankly, I blame you.

Politics is broken in this country, but how do we fix it? What is really important to the voters? I noticed that the two candidates that called for clean politics and fair play are the ones left standing as we close out the primary season. Why is that? The answer inside....

Our politics is broken and whom do we have to blame? The politicians, the media, or the voters: which group is responsible for this state of the state? The important answer is that it doesn't matter where the fault lies, but what we do moving forward. The Republican side is in a period of regrouping. Political blogs talk of the reorganization of the party leadership if they lose the White House and more seats in the Congress. Their party is fractured and certain large voices - ultra-conservative radio and the far-right - have found they are further out of touch with the general mood of the nation. The far-left, while as equally off-center as any right-winger, are seen as less villainous than they used to thirty years ago. The majority of our nation's electorate, while at ideological odds are finding themselves looking for a candidate that will address the looming problems that this country faces. Regardless of party, the concerned in this country want a candidate that speaks of solutions and strategies, rather than the divisive, silly character assassinations that have dominated the previous election storylines.

Nowhere is the division more clear than on the issue of the war. Not just the Iraq war, but the war on terror and the overall strategy of that effort. The architects of this war anticipated it to last thirty years or more and planned it in about a week. The strategy, either out of necessity or in comparison to the current strategy, was a pretty good one. Utilizing both CIA actions - specifically their ability to work with indigenous people to aid in the battle -- and Special Forces with military support is a good strategy when looking first at the terrorists and then states that harbor them. However, when the focus shifted to Iraq the mission changed from an assault to terror as a tactic to what could ultimately boil down to a "family feud." It did go much deeper than that; however Saddam Hussein was not only on the administration's agenda before 9/11 but truly feared by the people who put him there. Going forward, the American people are looking for someone who will assemble a staff of people with an agenda of keeping America safe and quelling the terrorist groups that bring harm to innocent people in order to force the hand of an enemy.

The future of this country is on the line and there is a ubiquitous sense of urgency to start feeling better about where we are headed. The economy is uncertain; it is shifting to the tipping point and with little effort could change the landscape of the country. The military has been poorly applied in the effort they were asked to undertake. When I was in-country, there was nothing a soldier wouldn't do if he or she believed it would save lives and ensure we never had to come back in such a fashion. Yet, the upper levels of the Defense Department did not properly prepare the soldiers for the mission in strategy and equipment. Had they been tasked properly, had the Afghanistan strategy been applied, the Iraqi army conceivably would have been able to maintain order for a fraction of the investment we have made in the past years of blood and treasure. The domestic issues from care of our citizens, the protection of the homeland, and who we allow to immigrate, have been left mired in the partisanship of the legislators. The American people are looking for a leader that can work with Congress to accomplish something. This election has the eye of the people.

The media is the media and is ultimately about the profit margin. While the intellectual content of the programs are ultimately the responsibility of the network, there is a viewer responsibility as well. The electorate must continue to be educated and not trust low-brow, loudest-person-wins theater dolled-up and packaged as news. We need to retake ownership of the process from campaign to daily activities once elected. In the age of the internet, all it takes is one well-done website (kinda like this one ... ) to keep things in perspective and speak to what is important to people and not dazzle us dumb with Jerry Springer politics, pandering, and bullshit. Citizens in this country, women and minorities especially, have literally fought and died for their right to vote. To not pay attention or even vote uninformed, insults the sacrifices made in defense of these freedoms from the Revolution to the present day. The Founding Fathers, Jefferson especially, would be disgusted by the degeneration of our politics and the willingness of the American people to let it be so. This year could be different. If Barack Obama wins the nomination and adheres to the idea of a "new politics" and John McCain, perhaps the most tragic victim of "old politics," also keeps his promise to not use negative campaigning when they compete in the general election, this could very well be the most civil, intelligent campaign we could be given. It is up to the American people to hold them and those of us that talk about them accountable.

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