Monday, March 28, 2016

Is America Irreparable?



Over the weekend I was privileged to hear Buzz Aldrin speak at Salt Lake Comic Con’s FanX.  In that speech he said that the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing would not have been possible without thousands of people working together toward one goal. And I believe this to be true, that cooperation is absolutely essential in everything from space flight to dinner on Wednesday night.

Last week, I posted a story about my first experience caucusing as an independent in Utah, and advocated for free and open primary elections in this state.  Would you believe that I actually got flak for that?

When, in the history of the United States, would you ever hear that Free and Open elections would be frowned upon?  Amazing.

As I type this, almost a week later, I still can’t believe the arguments I engaged in on social media.  I made the decision to link that post to my facebook account, and a Republican “friend” of mine, (actually a nice enough guy, whom I haven't seen since High School, and we were never really friends back then anyway, but I digress), argued that the Republicans shouldn’t ever have open elections because the Democrats might send over spies to subvert the process. (Those are my words, not his, but that’s the gist of his comments.)

Now I understand that the political parties are private organizations, and private organizations have the right to choose their leadership. (I think that I said this once before, but it bears repeating).
If Snobby-Woods Country Club wants to elect Percy VonSnootypants the chairman of the Greens Committee, well, that doesn’t affect my life very much now does it?
But when a political party sets down a set of party platforms (Ideas on how the country should be run. Ideas that they hope to force upon me and mine in the form of legislation), and then set bunch of candidates before us, who are all vying for the chance to enforce aspects of that platform on us, without giving us a chance to vote on the one that we see as the least crazy. That is Tyranny.
I, as a citizen of this country, upon whom this platform is going to be thrust, should have a chance to say which of the candidates I agree (or disagree) with the most, whether I am registered with said party or not.
I hope that makes sense, because I'm tired of repeating myself, but I will tout this message until someone decides to listen.

In a perfect world, I’d like to see this:
On primary day, I walk into a single polling place, step up to a voting machine, which says:

Screen One:
“Which Democratic candidate would you like to see on the November ballot?” And then a list of candidates. I choose one, and then hit the “Next” button.

Screen Two:
“Which Republican candidate would you like to see on the November ballot?” And then a list of candidates. I choose one, and then hit the “Next” button.

Screen Three:
“Which of the Green Party candidates…”

So on and so forth.  That way, every American has a say as to who will be on the November ballot. We all have a say.  Indivisible, just like it says in the “Pledge of Allegiance.” Heck, maybe if something like this happened, I’d start believing in the USA again and start pledging my allegiance once again.

But no, we’ve forgotten how to work together as a country.  We’ve forgotten what it means to be united.  We are so busy trying to one up each other, trying to shout down other opinions, trying to tell everyone else why their wrong, that we have forgotten how to listen.  I’m guilty of this too.  I engage when I should be holding still.
So, I’m listening for any viable idea on how to change this country for the better.  How to have open dialogue. How to listen, instead of shout. How to repair the rift that is quite literally tearing this country apart. Or is this country doomed to suffer the fate of the other great republic that disappeared about 2000 years ago, because it seems to be heading in that direction.
I long to know, that I am not a lone voice shouting into the void.

1 comment:

Aaron said...

Ok. That was awesome. Maybe create a petition so it can be spread around to encourage utah to have a link on the state website where we all can add our opinion as you proposed.

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