Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Giving Feedback

Well, they asked, so I gave it to them ...

Some years ago I got on a Republican mailing list. It happened like this: The first time John McCain ran for President he was facing off in the primaries against G. W. Bush. Remember? This was the primary eventually won by Dubya, leading to the stolen election of 1999 -- not that we're bitter about it or anything. At any rate, convinced that McCain would be a superior choice if we HAD to end up with a Republican in the White House, my former wife bit the bullet and registered as a Republican so she could cast her vote for him in the primary, fully intending to then vote for the Democratic candidate, WHOEVER it turned out to be, in the general election.

The Republicans got wind of the fact that lots of people were having the same idea, and accused the Democrats of deliberately and maliciously trying to poison their chances by seeing to it that the GOP would run a loser as their candidate. (How's that sound as a way to welcome new registrants to your party?) I insist, however, that our intentions were pure, and we were only expressing our Constitutional preference for the lesser of two evils -- I mean, for our choice of who should serve as our leader for the next four years.

In fact, I would argue that the country would be better served by allowing everyone to vote in all primary races regardless of their party affiliation. This would seem to insure that lesser or fringe candidates would garner more votes and be able to keep their campaigns alive longer, thus continuing to present diverse points of view and keeping the field open closer to the actual election. We might even find independents or third party candidates winning some State and Federal seats, which could break the perpetual stalemate in the legislature.

Anyway, that's how I ended up on this Red State mailing list, and why I was selected to receive a "2010 Congressional District Census" (and appeal for funds) from said Republican Party. Rather than send it to the landfill, I decided to fill it out to let them know how I think they're doing. But, like all multiple choice tests, it left me feeling the need to express things more fully, to "attach extra pages if necessary," which they did not invite me to do. Here then are a few explanations and amplifications:

"Do you identify yourself as a:" Well, I'm glad there was an "other" box with a place to fill in the party of my choice. I didn't know that the recognized parties were called Conservative Republican, Moderate Republican, Liberal Republican, and Independent-voter-who-leans-Republican. Thanks for providing a line long enough to contain the word Democrat, even if it might not have been big enough for something like Socialist Workers.

"From what media source do you regularly receive your political views?" First let me say that my views are my own, I don't receive them from anyone else. I am, however, interested to hear other points of view. I found it very interesting that while NBC/CBS/ABC were lumped together there were separate check boxes for both CNN/MSNBC and Fox (subliminal: dummy shill for the radical right ventriloquist). I had always harbored paranoid suspicions about this, but it is good to have them confirmed. The omission of PBS altogether speaks volumes. Just please note that when I say "Radio" I am not alluding to the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Pat Robertson, and Oliver North. Instad I'm thinking NPR and the BBC. And what more delightful way is there of reviewing the week's events than Wait--Wait--Don't Tell Me! on Saturday mornings?

When you ask "How much does it concern you that the Democrats have total control of the federal government?" I am really non-plussed. Does it seem that anyone has any control up there? I am concerned that they don't know what to do with power when they have it and continue to wander around in a daze, but at least they are not deliberately breaking everything and canceling the Constitution like some other parties we could mention.

You will note that I put check marks in the Democrat column for nearly all categories under "which political party do you feel is best able to handle the following issues?" The single exception is "protecting traditional values." That's because I don't know what those are, and wonder, if they are so traditional, why they need to be protected. Also, I note that the Republicans are not protecting our tradition of Constitutional freedom, except the ability to carry guns, and I wonder what's up with that. So on this subject I selected "No Opinion," even though that is not really correct because as you see I have lots of them.

Finally the one that really stumped me: "Do you believe the Republican Party should continue to embrace social issues?" This is like the question, Have you stopped beating your wife yet? If I say Yes it implies that I agree the Republicans are "embracing social issues," and that I approve of what they are doing and want them to keep it up. If I say No it still implies that I think they are "embracing social issues" but that I think they should cut it out. If I say Undecided (the third and final option) it still implies that I think they are "embracing social issues" but I'm so wishy washy that I don't know if I like what they're doing or not.

However, I noticed the follow up question that could only be filled out if I answered Yes, so I changed my choice from Undecided to Yes so that I could register opposition to the following:

  • school prayer
  • a ban on burning the flag
  • a ban on human cloning
  • a ban on all abortions
  • prohibition of same-sex marriage

I went along with "faith based initiatives" because they're not all bad. Concerning the others I'd like to point out that there is no rash of flag burnings at present, so I don't know what all the fuss is about, and that human cloning is still in the science fiction stage, so we may as well ban Unauthorized Commerce With Alien Civilizations while we're at it. At least this list clarifies what was meant by "embracing social issues." Silly me to think of things like health care, education, drug treatment programs, feeding the hungry, and finding homes for the homeless.

So there you have it. Tomorrow it will be winging its way to Michael Steele and the Republican National Committee. I feel a lot better for having taken the trouble.

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