Random thoughts

September 5, 2006

power play

Filed under: Uncategorized — by laurenvw @ 6:50 pm

So I’ve been wondering for years now why Congress has not been trying to check the power of the president.  I mean, in school we had to learn about the vaunted “checks and balances” system, but it really seems that Congress has been leaving all the “checks” up to the judicial branch.  And then the court system gets viliated for “legislating from the bench.”  Well, if Congress would address some of the issues instead of fighting about it and then leaving it the way it was, maybe the courts wouldn’t have to make some of the drastic steps they’ve had to take lately.  It seems as though most of the major break throughs in rights and other legal arenas have come down from the courts.

I think I have an idea why.  I think most Congress men and women secretly (or not so secretly) want to be president.  And when they are president, they want to be all-powerful.  So rather than checking the abuses the sitting president (who ever that may be) might be making, they will either personnaly attack them or just yell about the problem without doing anything.  Why?  Becasue they want to be able to do whatever they please as president.    Never mind that the percent of sitting presidents that came directly from Congress is less than 1 in 5.  And that not since Kennedy (i.e. 40+ years) has a congress man made it to the presidency.  Still they labor with the goal of the white house.

But politics has become every-person-for-him/herself.  None of this “Ask not what your country can do for you, but rather what you can do for your country.”  Actually, most of the country has forgotten that phrase.  For a brief time, after 9/11, there was hope that the country would pull together and call for the betterment of our nation.  But that energy and goodwill got squandered by people who wanted to have thier own way.  And we let them.  As we continue to let them.  In five short years, we’ve gone from having the support of the entire world, to almost no support.  And much as we want to blame it on a few individuals at the top, it comes down to the actions of each individual American.


July 14, 2006


Filed under: Uncategorized — by laurenvw @ 1:53 pm

What is war?  I think war is fear.  It is the fear of others, fear for ourselves.  It is fear of ideas.  Fear of peace.  For when you’ve identified yourself very strongly with a conflict, when the conflict is over, who are you?  War is fear of and for life – both living and breathing, as well as for how you choose to live that life.

 Are we at war?  It could easily be argued that yes, we are at war.  Not really the ‘war on terror,’ so much as something more intangible.  Despite the horrors of 9/11, and the fear immediately following it, the fear faded.  I felt safe living in America – partly because of physical distance, but also because our leadership did not express any fear (even if there should have been some).  But now, almost 5 years and 2 ‘conflicts’ later, I am afraid.  And it is not a little fear.  It is a soul-deep fear that diplomacy is not going to work and that soon we will be staring at a major conflict against someone who has the power to fight back on our turf.  The fear that friends and loved ones will get called up, go to war, and come back altered in some vital way that I will not be able to understand.  It is the fear that after this conflict, the world will have changed into something that we won’t recognize and won’t know how to live in.  It’s the fear that winning that war will have a much higher price tag than we have ever had to pay, and we may not be able to pay it.  It is even the fear that, if our enemies join forces, we may not win.

 But there is other fear mixed in.  Fear for our world.  Fear that the world has said “enough!” and will not be able to sustain us in the numbers we have grown to with the consumption so high.  Fear that we are literally ripping our world apart through our mines, levees, dams, bombs, rockets, automobiles.  Fear that it will not recover. 

 Franklin D. Roosevelt said “the only thing to fear is fear itself.”   Because our fear can defeat us.  We have to dig deep and not let our fear dictate our actions (and inactions).  Because by reacting to our fear, we are certain to bring about the very things we fear.  But by finding our courage, we can change the course.  With courage, we can prevent fear from extinguishing our hope.  And our hope for the future is what will sustain us through whatever may come.

June 2, 2006

Passion in politics

Filed under: Uncategorized — by laurenvw @ 2:27 pm

When did the passion leave politics?  When did we start voting against somebody rather than for somebody?  The passion is what makes democracy work.  Is it gone?  Have we killed it through cynicism and complacency?  I don't think so.  It's still there, lurking deep in the hearts of Americans.  All you need to do is read the blogs of American Idol fans to know that the passion still exists.  Whether they were rooting for Taylor or Katherine, Chris or Elliott, the AI fans were truly fans.  They voted because they were certain their person was the BEST.  Not better than, the best.  How many people can say that about their political votes?  I have to admit, I can't.

I am 27 years old, and have voted in 3 presidential elections.  And in all three, when at the poll, I shrugged and thought better this guy than that one.  I don't want to go into the poll in 2008 and do that again.  I don't want to vote merely because one is a woman, or because one is black.  I want to believe in the candidate I vote for.  I want to know that this person I am voting for will stand up for what is right, will work to his/her utmost ability to better the lives of Americans and everyone else in the world.  I want them to believe that it's not about the power OVER people, it's about the power to HELP people.

I used to believe that all the people who would do really well in the office are probably already CEOs and making tons of money doing so.  But I'm no longer sure that's right.  I think the type of person we need is the head of a non-profit agency, doing everything they can to better the world.  Because they ARE out there.  Those running the country just aren't looking for them.

Maybe, some day, passion will enter politics.  And when it does, that's when we'll really be able to change the world, make it a better place, and become a true world leader.

Idealistic?  Maybe.  Unrealistic?  Hopefully not.  But our country started as an unrealistic and idealistic idea.  We've just lost sight of what it is that makes democracy really work – the passion of the people and those representing them.

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