What I've been doing
Here is a paper I wrote for one of my classes. Just in case you want to see what I've been up to.
I have a tendency to see things in black and white. I’m not talking about race or hues, nor do I mean to say “monochrome.” The fact is that I see things in extremes. If you’re not hot, you’re cold. If you’re not nice, you’re mean. When it comes to life, “indifferent” and “comfortable” are rare words in my vocabulary. My therapist says I should try to retrain my thinking pattern, but hey… that’s how he’s able to justify the bill he sends to the insurance company every month, so I don’t hear him complaining.
I think the same way when it comes to politics. If you’re not for something, you’re against it. “Undecided,” in my mind, simply implies ignorance or apathy. Yes, I am ignorant to a whole lot of what happens in politics today. This is why I am currently not affiliated with any party. Political Parties have a propensity to pigeonhole people. (There’s some alliteration for you; say that ten times fast.) I do not like to be pigeonholed.
Some may argue that “no party affiliation” is a pigeonhole within itself, and I won’t disagree. But as Woody Allen famously said in Annie Hall, “I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member."
Coming from a background of seeing in black and white and “undecided” indicating ignorance, I decided to learn a little more about politics, what with the upcoming presidential election and all. So when I was tasked with the assignment to interview two people on the topic of my choice, I (being an overachiever) decided to interview three. In fact, I chose the three professors who spoke at our student debate a few weeks ago.
John Scolaro, Democrat and Professor of Humanities, Jack Chambless, Libertarian and Professor of Economics, and Bill Symolon, Republican and Professor of US Government were my targets. I had a specific group of questions to ask each interviewee, and my pen and paper ready to go. But when it came down to it, I was more involved in experiencing what these gentlemen have in their minds than writing it down on paper.
In all three interviews, one thing was made abundantly clear. When it comes to politics, what concerns you most determines how you vote. Whether it is taxes, immigration reform, or the war in Iraq, you will choose the candidate with the most similar platform to the action you wish to be taken, regardless of the rest of the candidate’s platform.
The first interview was with Professor John Scolaro. A casual conversation, unstructured and yielding, we chatted for a while, getting to know each other before we started with the actual interview. One thing was made abundantly clear. His biggest concern for the platform for the next president is health care. This is why he strongly supports Senator Clinton; he believes that Hilary’s Universal Healthcare is what this country needs most. With 47 million people uninsured, I can see why. Scolaro comes from a background of living in a place that had universal health care, and he has seen first-hand how it works. He believes that it could work here as well. His argument was very convincing.
Jack Chambless, in our telephone interview, had a different perspective. Libertarians are looking for someone to let us live our own lives. It surprises me that, with the narcissistic reputation we have, this party doesn’t have a larger following. The Libertarian principle is: “Let us do our own thing, as long as we’re not hurting anyone.” Their motto is “Smaller Government, Lower Taxes, More Freedom.” If you’re concerned about the economy and keeping the money you make, the Libertarian party may be for you.
However, being registered Libertarian, Independent, or no party affiliation has its pitfalls, like not being able to vote in the primaries. Some believe that their voice will not be heard. Jack Chambless explained that it is typical of a two- party system to produce a system which does not recognize those who do not agree with it. I can see his point.
The final interview with Bill Symolon was both fascinating and informative. Bill was my POS 2041 professor four years ago when George W Bush was running for re-election. A retired Marine, Bill is a Republican with very strong feelings regarding the War in Iraq. He does not believe that we should leave until we are done. Therefore, John McCain is his man. Bill also explained quite a few things that I was confused about, like how the Republican Party benefits the middle class by letting them keep their tax dollars and not give them up for platforms that support welfare systems.
The bottom line is that I still don’t know where I stand when it comes to November’s vote, but the more informed I become, the easier it will be to make my choice. The biggest question now is: what means the most to me?