Thanks for reading John and your thoughtful questions. Having looked at things systemically for years as well as having worked inside and outside of political systems, I have two thoughts.
My first thought is — most good, decent people don’t run for public office because the system is so corrupt is doesn’t allow you to be good and do good unless you’re working in a really small area (grassroots/community levels). You don’t change it, it changes you. Many people go into it with good intentions but learn more bad people with no good intentions have the system on lock. They end up either staying, reaping the benefits (insider trading, kickbacks, lobbyists, public perks), not adhering to the people’s will, and turning corrupt, or they find they are ineffective and stay on anyway because their egos are stroked. Every now and then you find a good person who is gets things done, but not often. The majority of political positions people hold more than 3 terms, which in my opinion is a problem. If you haven’t kept any promises in 2–3 years why are you still there? Why do people continue to vote for these people?
They do it because it’s symbolic — it’s not really about governing to them. Most people are so shallow they vote for a face, a talking point, a religious tenet they’ve been taught to believe is true.
My second thought — the presidential election is nothing more than a vote for a figure head or ornament of our government. We worry about President, then the terrible, very bad congressional representatives end up sliding in (or getting re-elected) during the off years. People don’t pay attention and have been trained to look at the big thing believing Congressional representation isn’t that important. CONGRESS are the two most important branches of government in my opinion. Nothing works now because they egotistical, narcissistic people old people there have been in Congress 30–40–50, and even 60 years sometimes. Why? Why are they still their? Because they get so many unfair advantages financially, including crafting legislation on behalf of lobbyists and getting donations/kick backs to crafting legislation and being able to benefit from it financially (there are no laws preventing this).
We are damned if we do, damned if we don’t. Washington won’t change, won’t regulate itself, won’t implement term limits, won’t get rid of lifetime salaries, and representatives won’t leave when they are no longer effective.
My thoughts are grassroots efforts, your local politics is where you have the most power, you feel the impact of legislation everyday, and where you see results.
About results — what happens in Washington that’s really impacting you right now daily? Not much. Immigration? Maybe, indirectly. Healthcare? Perhaps. Wars? Yes, indirectly but not daily? Civil Rights? Kinda, but they are addressed really more at local levels. Not much of what Congress does impacts us? Additionally, any state can decide they aren’t going to implement something the federal government has instituted which maybe good or bad depending on what that is (i.e. Medicare for poor children)
We need to begin to think about politics at the local and state levels where you see, hear, and feel change directly. Yes, more people of color and women should run locally for mayor, sheriff, state houses of representatives, city and county councils, school boards (please, please, please), utility boards, water conservation and environmental boards, college and university boards, tourism and industry boards, workforce development boards, economic and community development vehicles, city and county planning boards and committees, nonprofit boards, etc. Everyplace we’re impacted, we need representation. Some of the most powerful positions in this country really have nothing to do with politics at all.
Change happens locally and most people don’t engage enough to know what’s happening because local politicians don’t get the millions of dollars in campaign donations to get their messages out. In every area that impacts, we need to be there.
Sorry to be so long winded, but to sum it up — we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t at the federal levels. It needs to implode in my opinion. White men have held onto power their for far too long and they have done more harm than good. It’s time to give other groups of disenfranchised people a shot at governance. But locally, we have more control and more power. Good people can do good things there and fight the status quo or at least block those who want to send us back to 1940s. More people of color and women should run locally, and White people must start trusting that Black people can govern them. Convincing them to vote for us and giving us money is hard to do.
It’s all rooted in White Supremacy, our original sin. As long as it is allowed to thrive, we all lose. Thanks again for reading!