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.


Erin said...

Maybe this will help:

I wonder if my library has it. I'll read it if you will!

Heather said...

LOL! I was just joking about the "Politics For Dummies", I didn't know it actually existed! Thanks, Erin. You bet I'm reading it!

Anonymous said...

I couldn't help if I tried, and not just because I am a Canadian and we have a different system. What you said about not liking politics because it is overwhelming describes me also. I have made a better effort in the last few years to understand it, and have come to understand some things. It has helped to read some history of the making of our parliament with the kids and we have had a couple of field trips to the Provincial Legislature. Truly, I think it is like many things in which there is a lot of concentration learning involved, which take time, and I am limited on that right now. I wish there were a simple solution, like eating a computer chip that could give me the information and understanding.