Saturday, December 29, 2007

Real Christmas Trees...

Chad: Why don't we get a real Christmas tree?
Me: Because I can't justify cutting down a perfectly good tree just to decorate our house for a few weeks.
Chad: Do they just go out and cut them down from everywhere?
Me: No. They grow them in something called a tree farm.
Chad: So, they buy some land with trees, and cut them down?
Me: No. I'm pretty sure they plant the trees there.
Chad: That's good, right? Planting trees?
Me: Not if they're just going to cut them down in a couple of years. What's the point?
Chad: Oh.
(long, thoughtful pause)

Chad: If they didn't have tree farms, the trees could just grow wild there?
Me: Well.. no probably not. It would probably be turned into farmland.
Chad: With no trees at all.
Me: Right.
Chad: So.. the tree farmers are still kind of helping. They keep planting trees there, and if they didn't, there would be no trees.
Me: I... I guess so.
Chad: So maybe we should get a real tree. You know, so the tree farmers will keep planting them.

Sometimes that kid is so much smarter than I am.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Help me, smarty-pants political people!

I think every eligible voter in America should vote. I think people should know who they're voting for and why. I also think people need to take candidate's claims with a HUGE grain of salt, considering the lack of actual power the president is allowed. Blaming the president for the faults of the entire government, while placing little importance on the congress is just nutty. Voting for a party instead of a person is nutty. I also think voters should be fully informed on the issues that concern them, and where the candidates (presidential AND congressional) stand on those issues.

That being said, I'm a complete political idiot. Don't get me wrong, I'm not stupid. But until a few years ago I told people, "I don't like politics," just because the subject seemed so overwhelming and confusing I felt it was impossible to understand - so I didn't even try. I don't know the difference between partisan and non-partisan and bi-partisan.. what the hell is "partisan"? What does it mean to be "Independent"? How on earth do we have all these parties, and laws regulating equal coverage and an unbiased media, yet only hear about two parties? Why is the Des Moines newspaper endorsing Hillary? Are they allowed to endorse anyone?

I really want to know more about politics. I want to understand it, so I can be a better informed voter. I feel it's my duty to do so. But should it be so complicated? I'm convinced all these big words and fancy terms and complicated rules put in place to intimidate the uneducated (like myself, unfortunately) and discourage them from voting. I try to watch the political shows, but my head starts hurting, and I start fidgeting, and my mind starts wandering because NONE of it makes any sense to me. Am I paranoid in thinking this is deliberate? I'd like to be involved in political support, working for a campaign office or volunteering with a party office, but a visit to a few party websites only leaves my head swimming with all those weird big words again.
Ballot initiative - In political science, the initiative (also known as popular
or citizen's initiative) provides a means by which a petition signed by a
certain minimum number of registered voters can force a public vote on a
proposed statute, constitutional amendment, charter amendment or ordinance, or,
in its minimal form, to simply oblige the executive or legislative bodies to
consider the subject by submitting it to the order of the day.
Umm.. what?? I read things like this by substituting, omitting and rearranging in my mind as I go. The same way I read Shakespeare, actually. I can figure it out, but it takes forever and feels like translating ancient Hebrew.

Are there books available to normal people like myself to read and learn more about this kind of stuff? Something written for the average person now, not the average person with a bachelor's degree. I've tried just reading the newspaper and websites and such, but it seems the harder I try to understand it, the harder it is to understand. Politics for Dummies? I hate admitting to my political ignorance, but somehow I feel I'm about 10 years late in learning about it.