Warning: Election Ahead

7:30 AM

This past week has been the most amazing fun, blogging-wise. Apparently you, my friends, have deep opinions on literature (and the lack thereof), and it was pure indulgence opening up my dashboard each day and reading all your thoughts. Several of you expressed interest in this series continuing, and someone even asked that I address male stereotypes  -- of which there is a glut, in my experience. But I have run out of coherent thoughts on the subject of fictional stereotypes. Now, we all knew this day was coming. Chin up. I will perhaps revisit this when the summer slows down. So shifting gears.....

.......to politics. Yes, I said the dirty word. It's as common as "not me." If you're a guest in our house, you will most likely be subjected to a robust, in-house drubbing in the political sphere. I've watched many friends stare wide-eyed as our family argued about the parental rights amendment and Scott Walker's union busting and how to take the death of Usama bin Laden. We're actually quite civil, comparatively speaking, since we all agree. (With theology it is another matter -- but those mostly take place in the Bergmann Bus on the way home from church, and there is no more room for guests.) It's how I grew up: you discussed current events and politics like it was as normal as Friday night pizza.

So my dad got up early from dinner Monday night and said he was going to try to find the channel.

"For what?" I wanted to know.

"The GOP presidential debate."

That got the table excited. "When does it start?"

"In five minutes."

And obviously I begged off doing the dishes until afterwards (which we found out could be done in five minutes, after all).

"What's GOP?" my sister asked -- bless her soul.

I've got a thing for presidential debates right now. Come November 2012, I'll be something like a four-month eighteen-year-old. And that means I'll be in the voting booth that fateful election day. Before, debates were like helplessly watching a train wreck -- I didn't like either presidential candidate and I couldn't do a thing about it, anyway. Now? Pardon my optimism, but I feel empowered, though I haven't even hit my seventeenth birthday. The race couldn't start sooner. (Sorry for all the Americans weary of the political circus. Newbie naivete, you'll understand.)

Despite my freshman enthusiasm, this Monday night debate was frustrating. Speaking of train wrecks, the moderator got run over by repeated and redundant attacks on the current presidency, far exceeding the thirty-second limit. In other news, I didn't know moderators -- or anybody -- could speak so fast and still be understood.

As I was saying, the two hours jolted on. I put together a mental debate plan for the candidates to help streamline their approach, get as many words in the thirty second limit as possible and shed the dreaded politician streak. Let me know if I missed anything.


As an up-and-coming voter, I share with many others the dislike for recreational politics and the way that is blatantly shown during debates. It has come to my attention, however, that there are certain and common sense steps to woo voters by honesty and integrity, instead of suave words and subtleties. Here is the list, in no particular order, in no particular completeness.

1. Answer the question. A simple yes or no would be a wonderful preface to further comment. It leaves no room for ambiguity and evading the question.

2. Keep in mind that debates are debates are debates. In other words, they are not political rallies and campaign parties, where content is sometimes booted out for deft oration since everyone already agrees with you. Miniature speeches on how much America means to you or childhood stories about growing up in a manufacturing town are certainly appropriate to make an answer interesting, but if the bulk of your thirty seconds is spent reminiscing or monologuing, the question still remains -- unanswered.

3. Remember Republicans don't like Obama. I cannot understand why every non-answer has to lambaste the Obama administration and complain of every single thing he did wrong and will do wrong. We haven't got to debating Obama yet. Nobody in the audience will even consider voting for Obama. They can probably express far more eloquently and ardently their abject disgust at his alleged failure. Therefore, it seems good to me to recognize that Republicans make mistakes too and how you will not be that Republican who makes mistakes. Furthermore, addressing how you would do things instead of how Obama did things is an excellent way of answering the question.

4. Understand that rhetoric should not take the place of specifics. When I wrote op-eds for the local newspaper, my mother always reminded me that I cannot just hogtie the problem; I have to offer a solution, as well. Everyone in the audience and watching on television can pinpoint, personally and generally, the economic, moral, fiscal and governmental problems. So...what are you going to do about it?

5. Go easy on kissing up to the military. Every politician running for president says he respects, admires, appreciates and dotes upon the American military. Let your actions and plans reflect that respect, not a one-minute eulogy of "the fine men and women in uniform."

6. Be willing to be honest. Embarrassing quotations -- perhaps your own quotations -- pop up in debates. When you're stuck in a rock and a hard place, honor should win every time. Words such as "I was wrong" or "I could have stated that better" or "I was misinformed" are common ways people preserve their honor.

What do my opinionated readers think?

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16 impressions

  1. What do I think? Um, I think I had better do my homework before I have to vote in the 2012 election!

    We don't have TV, so I see few debates, but I especially agree with your point six. Honesty is the best policy, people!!

  2. Yay for the debates! :P I too am rather excited. 2012 will be my first time voting in a presidential election as well.

    My main problem with the Republicans (and I admit I'm now Tea Party) is that they allowed (as did the Democrats, of course) Obama to get into office in the first place, when he has no legal ground to stand on! I mean, seriously! It was equivalent to electing the Führer as the American Commander and Chief.

    I think we should spend all of our political time before the elections, trying to throw him out of office, and make certain he can't run in 2012.

    There's one opinionated reader's take on this. ;P

  3. If I were 18, I would be tempted automatically to vote for anyone who said "I'm sorry, I was wrong."


    (Love the post, by the way.)

  4. I know how you feel about finally escaping that powerless feeling of not being able to vote... I was able to help vote in our current Prime Minister this year, and it was a really neat experience. I love your letter! I love politics, but honestly, politicians can be infuriating. Good advice there.

  5. Yes, I agree with you on all the points! I only got to see the last half-hour or so of the debate, and while I enjoyed it, I thought some of the questions were insipid (what was with that question on whether the candidates were going to require a loyalty test on anyone they appointed to office? If the person was being appointed to office, the candidate would obviously know them very well anyway!), and the answers were evasive.

    A lot of the candidates certainly did engage in excessive flag-waving and lectern-thumping. I hope there will be more substance in future debates.

    So, do you have a favorite candidate yet after viewing the debate?

    Love in Christ,

  6. Very well stated. I especially agree with you regarding everyone's inability to just. answer. the. question. Candidates are so well versed in evading the question.

    I hope and pray that we will have a set of good, honest, and capable candidates from which to choose.

    Thank you for your insight.

  7. Lizzy -- LOL! I don't really count myself a Republican either, as Republicans as a party have backed harmful and unconstitutional measures too.

    Vicki, I watched the first GOP debate hosted by FOX news and was much more on-fire about the field then than after watching this debate. You're right -- the questions and answers seemed so lacking in content.

    From an oratory and content perspective, knowing little else of the candidates, I still like Herman Cain and perhaps Newt Gingrich. But I'm much more certain who I'm NOT voting for: Pawlenty and Romney. *involuntary shudder*

    I'm still trying to decipher my feelings on female presidents.

  8. As a side note, I think Bethany Grace should run for president. She always has such profound things to say.

    {{{I wuv you, Beffany.}}}

  9. Female presidents? My dad told me once that, if everything were as it should be, women wouldn't be running for anything, but that he'd rather vote for a morally solid woman than for a morally questionable man. I think that's logical.

    (That's NOT to say that the women are just better... sorry if that got across somehow.)

    Long comment... :s

  10. Your daddy is a wise man, Allison. That's the thought process running through my mind right now.

    And I WILL get around to emailing you and Amy this weekend. ;o)

  11. Here is my question to you, Miss Bailey:

    If you believe women should be involved in politics by voting, what prohibits them from running for and holding office?

  12. This will be my first time voting in a presidential election, too! I understand what you mean, Bailey, about watching a train wreck...I felt a sinking despair when Daddy told me Mr. Obama had won. :(
    I really am not well informed, though. I should get to work, shouldn't I?

  13. Tragedy101, I've been wondering the same thing. Before recently I thought there was a blanket disapproval on women in politics or anything other than homemaking, which I don't believe anymore, and so the problem of women and politics got shoved aside until now.

    I think that women can be involved in every branch of life, but the question is whether she should be in the supporting or the authority role. I think there's a difference between voting (especially if it furthers the vote of the head of the house) and holding an office, like there's a difference between women helping extensively in the church without being elders or pastors.

    That's in theory, though. I don't know what I believe about women and politics. What do you think?

  14. There was a woman who ran for a Texas political office (I forget what it was) recently - Debra Medina was her name, I think. Shockingly, she just about supported and advocated everything that was right and didn't what was wrong. It was amazing! I would rather have seen a man come up and do that, but that didn't make me "approve of" her any less.

    (She lost, by the way. *sigh* It's just because I couldn't vote.)

    About the Checking Our Stock series, there's one stereotypical guy that annoys me to no end. He's the Pushy Hero. A guy who is arrogant, handsome, and stuck up, and naturally assumes the girl will like him - and eventually she does. I dislike him very much. *grumble grumble grumble*

    Thanks for the email. =)

  15. Miss Bailey,

    I think our government was not intended to be authoritarian. It was intended to be by will of the people. Our government serves at and by the will of the people, not acts as an authority over the people.

    [Our government serves as an authority to us by our consent.]

    Our President is an elected representative of peers. "First among peers" is a president.

    [A president is elected by peers to represent the group of peers for a time.]

    By voting, I acknowledge myself to be an equal of the person who will hold that office. If I am an equal, by right, I could serve as President. If I do not accept my right to serve as President by reason of my inequality; then I should refrain from accepting my right as an equal to vote for who should be first among voters.

    [My vote acknowledges that the person, I vote for, and I are equals.]


Hit me with your best thought! I'm very interested in your unique perspective. If you'd like to discuss things in private, feel free to email me! :)