JUST THINKING: Following politics is a full-time job

Just Thinking | Julie Stafford

I don’t consider myself to be a highly charged political person.

Oh sure, I do have opinions about issues that affect us all and seem to divide the parties. But I don’t let a barb directed to one side or the other get under my skin.

Basically, I just don’t have the time or mental energy to sort through or digest all the mean-spirited back-and-forth arguments our politicians and special interest groups make – whether it’s to get themselves elected or to get their proposals passed.

What does really bug me is that these days there are so many ballot issues at the local, state and national levels, you almost have to be a full-time scholar to keep up. Not only do you have to know where to go to do your research so you can figure out what’s being voted on, but you also have to decipher whether a “Yes” vote means “Yes, I am in favor” or “Yes, I don’t want this initiative to pass.”

A recent face-to-face meeting with a couple of our local representatives left me more confused than when we started. My impression was that, on a lot of fronts, I’m not the only one who has a hard time keeping track of all the issues being considered. Not surprising, really. We’re lucky that our reps are involved in the community, have real jobs and know what our boots-on-the-ground struggles are.

Consider the process. You’ve got those issues the public would like addressed, those that are near and dear to individual politicians’ hearts, those being crafted in committees, those already on the floor, those that almost made it through the process but didn’t and go back to the drawing board.

Who keeps track? There may be some kind of order to the whole thing that makes perfect sense to someone, but for the average person who works and takes care of a family and is involved in the community, the “sense” is not so obvious.

I’m all for voters having a say. I just think our system has gotten a little too big and lot too complicated for folks casting their ballot to really understand whether what they want to say is actually being said.


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