This past Tuesday was Election Day, and what an Election Day it was! For a political junkie like me, it was like the Olympics meets the Heavy Weight Championships.
I’m not quite sure why I love politics so much. I remember being in elementary school and learning for the first time about the initiative and referendum process. I was fascinated and enthralled. It was so empowering to know that our Founding Fathers, actually built into our Constitution the ability for us, as ordinary citizens, to reform our government. Even at age 10 or so, I recognized that fact as a revolutionary idea.
Years later, I graduated from college with a degree in Political Science and left Boston, loving the political process more than ever.
So in honor of Election Day and my love of politics, here are my Favorite (Political) Things for Friday…
Dennis Prager. I have mentioned before my love of this radio talk show host. He is a conservative Jew who not only talks politics, but also discusses life, marriage, society, and culture. He actually inspires many of my post ideas. If you have the chance, tune in to him. He truly enriches my life.
Cory Booker. I first heard of Cory Booker in a political documentary called Street Fight, which chronicled Booker’s race for the mayor seat of Newark, New Jersey. Many compare Booker to Obama. I don’t, however. I find him refreshing, charismatic, and dynamic. He is most certainly a Democrat (oh, how I wish he was a conservative at the very least). Booker was offered a position in the Obama administration, but he declined the offer in favor of remaining among his constituents in Newark. He has made tremendous gains in cleaning up Newark and helping to improve the overall living conditions there. Some have even called him the greatest mayor in America. This young public servant is impressive and we will no doubt see more of him in the future.
Political blogs. I have written about these before, as well, but man, are there some amazing political blogs out there. They run the gamut too, from very liberal and left leaning to very conservative and right-leaning. I prefer Politico, Hot Air, and the Drudge Report. But I occasionally read Huffington Post just to see what the other side is up to.
Marco Rubio. Some are calling Marco Rubio a shining and rising star in the Republican Party. I didn’t know much about him a few weeks ago, but what I have learned recently is encouraging and exciting. Rubio is of Cuban descent, whose parents are immigrants to the U.S. He is a self-made man, so to speak. Many in the GOP hope that he can help bridge the gap between Hispanics and the Republican party, which have long history of not connecting . As a true conservative, he also believes in American exceptionalism, as do I. I heard his acceptance speech after winning the U.S. Senate seat in Florida. He is young, vibrant, energizing, and believes in the American values that I personally hold dear. I am enthused to watch his career, and perhaps he will one day be seated in the White House.
The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. I hate lumping these two together because each documents stands so powerfully on their own. Recently, during the days leading up to Election Day, Delaware hopeful Republican for the U.S. Senate, Christine O’Donnell was part of a debate against the incumbent Democrat, Chris Coons . She was asked by the moderator of the debate about whether the phrase “separation of church and state” was in the U.S. Constitution. She said it was not. The audience then proceeded to laugh at her. It was disgraceful. The moderator then mocked her for her answer, actually rebuking her for answering incorrectly.
The problem is, she did not answer incorrectly. She was perfectly right. The term “separation of church and state” is not the Constitution. It’s nowhere near it. She apparently had read the Constitution. Sadly, many Americans never have. The language in both the Constitution and Declaration is so plain and straightforward, it astounds me that people so often distort its words and get away with it. If you have never taken the time to read the Constitution and the Declaration, please do. It takes maybe 25 minutes and will give you a new found appreciation for our country and its values.
The Left vs. The Right. I really do love good banter between both sides of the political aisle. I think it is healthy. Public discourse is almost an American value (even though it is currently dying in the wake of political correctness and speech control). I wonder how many Americans, though, can clearly articulate the fundamental differences between Republican and Democrats and also conservatives and liberals. I saw this brilliant chart on Information is Beautiful some time ago and was so excited by it. In a genius diagram, it outlines what the two side believe. Concise and yet entertaining.
Voting. Since I just voted it is fresh in my mind. I registered to vote at age 17. I could not wait for the 2000 election to roll around so I could cast my vote for, you guessed it… Bill Clinton. A few years later my dad would sit in from of CSPAN, watching the now infamous Monica Lewinsky trial and say to me, while shaking his head, “That’s your president. That’s your president.” While a senior in college, I changed my party affiliation to Republican, and have never looked back.
Regardless of your political affiliation there is such tremendous power in voting. Without sounding melodramatic, every time I visit the ballot box I am reminded of the millions in other parts of the world who have never had the same opportunity, some who have even given their lives trying. I am determined to never miss voting in an election as a result. I vote for my nation, but also for the millions who never have.
The American political process is fascinating and full of both ingenuity and corruption. I try, however, not to focus so much on the negative side of politics–mudslinging, backroom deals, attack ads, dirty politicians. Instead, I am ever thankful and enthused by the democratic process and the power that lies within the individual. There has never been a nation like the United States of America. We are the greatest social experiment in human history. While our republic is both admired and abhorred, I am ever grateful to have been born in a country where personal liberty is celebrated, and I pray it remains that way for generations to come.
Do you like politics or avoid them altogether? What do you appreciate about the democratic process and our republic?
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