In the 1990's, an average of only 44.1% of the voting age population in America bothered to vote in national legislative elections. That places America, the self-described exemplar of the democratic process, 139th out of the 163 nations surveyed by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. Want to know just a few of the countries with more pride in their systems? Well, the number one nation at 96.2% is Malta (a group of islands in the Mediterranean south of Sicily, pop.366,000). 83.2% of eligible voters in Sweden vote while 81.1% in Denmark do (another reason to copy their more enlightened attitudes towards drug and prostitution laws?). Canada, our neighbor to the north, and butt of all of the Republican anger for their liberal treatment of their citizens in health care and education, had an average turnout of 63.9%. Even the Japanese have more respect for their political system and vote an average of 56.6% of the time. So, why are we so loud in our self-praise?
Did you know that in thirteen states, you can be sued if you raise questions about the health effects of agriculture grown or cultivated in that state? Known as veggie-libel laws, they completely block the First Amendment rights of anyone speaking out about the many problems in the chemical, fertilizers and genetic engineering being used in farming and ranching. Even if substantiating evidence is provided to prove a charge, the horrendous cost of defending oneself against the court actions these laws encourage will keep a tremendous amount of information out of the hands of consumers. A bunch of Texas cattle ranchers have recently sued Oprah Winfrey for a show she did on mad-cow disease. Intelligent Americans can hope that the courts will find these insane laws unconstitutional.
Newt Gingrich, in a joint appearance with Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, "OK, that is the core cultural issue of this society: Are we in fact endowed by our creator, which then implies a whole range of implications about the nature of life, or are we randomly gathered protoplasm temporarily together seeking, in some situation-ethics rational way, to temporarily make sure we're not in pain? Now, those are two radically different world views." What? Apparently, what he means, according to his spokesman, was that God is the side of those with the highest morals, which obviously means conservatives, since everyone else believes that there is no God and, hence, only wants short-term relief from their pain. If I may repeat myself, What??? Clearly, God only loves conservatives and the rest of us are on our protoplasmic own.
Cal Thomas, the author of many Column Right articles for the LA Times Editorial page, one of the larger members of the "Liberal Media", stooped to calling President Clinton a "prostitute" and the campaign contributors to the Democratic National Committee "johns". His views of the donors to the Republican National Committee and Presidential aspirant Bob Dole? Well, I guess he just didn't have the room to get around to his own party's voracious appetite for money in his respectful comments.
State Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres, in testimony in U.S. District Court regarding the fight to remove Proposition 198 from California's code (the law which allows for open primary elections in which every voter has the right to vote for any candidate they choose no matter the party affiliation), "People have to stand up at some point and take a stand on principles. I believe a party has a right to choose its nominees". Please note the defense of the party's power but complete lack of such terms as qualified or competent or honest or desired.
Let's review. Only about 44% of Americans care enough to vote for the candidates that the parties demand the privilege to produce. Some states are far more interested in protecting the profits of their farmers and ranchers than in protecting the health and well-being of Americans and Newt thinks God is on his side alone, as if any superior power would stoop to worrying about our petty little political squabbles, and a nationally syndicated columnist can't write so he uses his space to call names like children on the playground.
I'm not certain when I was transported to this alternate earth but I'm relatively convinced that none of the issues related are the products of sane minds. I dare anyone to defend any of these ridiculous propositions without laughing. In fact, I dare any thinking person to accept that we have debased ourselves to this point without shedding a tear.
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