On March 30, 1870, the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, declaring that race would be no bar to voting rights, was ratified. On Aug. 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment, stating that sex would be no bar to voting rights, was ratified.
These Amendments were passed because of much effort and struggle on the part of individuals who were determined to have the full rights of citizenship. This year, the two-party system is offering a diverse selection of candidates for the highest office in the land, the presidency of the United States. Unfortunately, many voters want change in their government and they see the candidates offering the same old politically divisive, do-nothing governing process in the future. For the first time in their adult lives, some people are planning to boycott the voting booth, and that is bad for the country. Unless a qualified independent candidate turns up, that’s pretty much the way things stand.
With the recessing economy, the rising cost of living and the threat of being overwhelmed by debt, most people are not in the mood to listen to the petty disputes of the candidates. As much as many of us would like to see the country wake up and move out of the two-party rut, we have neither the money nor the power to rid the political system of the lobbyists who are dragging America downhill. It does no good to hope that these corporate robbers will see the light and try to save the nation for future generations. All they are able to see are dollar signs and opportunities to get more money in their tills. Their lobbyists will get the politicians to continue to pass legislation that favors their personal interests regardless of how it affects the country.
People facing foreclosure and bankruptcy are already feeling the effects of recession. The world can be a pretty cold place when you don’t have a roof over your head. Ask the homeless what it’s like to find a warm place to sleep. Those with huge medical bills who are unable to pay other expenses understand how quickly the American Dream can die. Only those blinded by greed and power would fail to share the pain of those losing their homes and property.
Even now, many food banks are running out of groceries. More and more businesses and factories are closing down, and corporations are cutting back, putting people out of work.
According to some polls, our major problems are the economy, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the crisis in health care, energy prices and illegal immigration. If it were not for the need to satisfy lobbyists, so that one can be assured of sufficient funds to run the next campaign, I am sure appropriate measures could be passed to deal with each of these problems within the next few months. The two-party elected officials must, first of all, save themselves, of course, and the country comes after that.
If there is a billionaire out there who could devote four years to serving the country full time, some of us wish that person would announce his or her candidacy. That way we could give the two-party candidates all the time they need to debate race, sex and religion.
When the country’s founders put in place the right to vote, it became the foundation on which this democratic republic rests. The two parties have chosen to tinker with that right. Who put them in charge of the political system?
I only wish the Constitution had given us the right to abolish the two-party system when it became destructive to the country. Wait a minute. Come to think of it, we do have that right. Now, how about it?
You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or e-mailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.