midterm elections

person dropping paper on box
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Midterm elections take place in the States today. We get to vote for U.S. Senators and Representatives in addition to state and local officials. Here in Michigan, we get to choose a new governor and attorney general, among several other posts, and we get to decide on proposals that deal with marijuana, gerrymandering, and voting.

Normally perceived as irrelevant, this midterm election carries the hopes of people tired of the stranglehold one party has had on the federal government. I would love to see the Majority in Congress be less of an impotent cuckold to a President who has repeatedly trampled the constitution, political norms, and common decency. It’s agonizing to witness the daily mockery made of this important institution.

Clearly, I have some ‘feelings’ about our current administration and Congress but I’m not a hater. In an ideal world, I agree with much of the Republican philosophy but we don’t live in an ideal world. A lot of people get dealt a crappy hand in life and they’re not able to work around it so they need “handouts”. In an ideal world, we wouldn’t need all the regulations if businesses and business leaders automatically safeguarded their employees, the environment, the community, and their products. (Obviously, this is an incomplete oversimplification.)

That’s how I’ve tended to view the two parties: Republicans as idealists trying to operate in a utopia that doesn’t exist and Democrats as pragmatists trying to manage the shit show of reality and human nature. Unfortunately, both parties’ ideals have been corrupted by the influence of business and moneyed interests. It leaves me feeling uncertain whether my vote matters at all. That the real governing happens in backroom deals out of the public eye. Despite this, all I really know is that if I don’t vote, my vote definitely won’t matter.

That’s why I’m so excited about two of the proposals we’re voting on in Michigan: to put an end to gerrymandering which would end the creation of voting districts designed to maximize one party’s influence, and a measure to automatically register citizens to vote which is how I understand most countries around the world approach voter registration. I hope they both get passed. More than anything, I hope more people participate in the voting process. Regardless where people stand on the political spectrum, a more actively engaged population is good and voting is an important first step.

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