Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I hope both political parties are paying attention this year

I am not a political blogger. I have opinions on U.S. political matters but for the most part, I'll leave the political positions to others. I will say this.

I vote. I study the candidates and the issues before I vote. I vote in elections where the only people on the ballot are those running for the school board.

One of these years (when my kids are older) I'll start volunteering at the polling places. Although I disagree with many things about my representative democracy, I take my place in it very seriously.

With that said, as a former history major, I hope that the two major U.S. political parties are paying attention. This year, both presidential candidates and their families (for the first time) are really starting to look more like the majority of Americans. Of course there could be more women and more people of color - but I think the diversity is more obvious than ever.

My hope is that this trend continues. Families are increasingly multi-ethnic and multi-racial. Women are clearly competing in the political arena and have proven they can be strong leaders. One candidate, Senator Clinton, did not receive her party's nomination this year. That doesn't mean that the Democrats should stop trying to find women candidates.

I've firmly believed, for some time now, that our elected officials should reflect the makeup of their constituents. The officials should not only reflect the ethnic (and gender) diversity of their districts, but also the socio-economic status. Like most Americans, I have a hard time relating to a candidate from a trust fund - someone who has never had to work in food service, know what it means to be hungry, know what it means to not be able to afford something.

It should go without saying that I believe, in the end, it's the issues that matter the most.

I refuse to vote for a candidate solely based on their gender, socio-economic background, religious or ethnic makeup. Positions on the issues (and voting records) are just as important as any of those factors. And, as unpopular as this statement might be, the congressional and local elections are just as important as the presidential elections in moving forward.

So I hope that both major political parties are listening. The reason that everyone is thrilled about this election is that we hope to get rid of some of the monotony - on both sides of the aisle.

I think we've had plenty of white male candidates from Massachusetts and Texas.

This country is much larger (and more diverse) than that. We're not all descended from ancestors who came to this country on the Mayflower. We can't all afford to attend Harvard or Yale law school. Some of us still can't get a cab in New York City. So bravo to both parties (I know some of the strong Dems and Republicans will disagree with my take on the opposite party. That's fine. I'm not trying to sway anyone's vote here).

No matter what the outcome this November, keep up the trend.


Freckle Face Girl said...

Of all the political chatter I've heard this year, I must commend you on making the best point! I completely agree. I also love the fact that there is more diversity & that they seem like real people.

Aerin said...

Thanks FFG. I don't know why any person or family would actually choose to run of political office because of the scrutiny. But it is nice to have candidates (and their families) that are a little more down to earth. The more the better.