When I was 18 years old I went with my dad to our local recreation center to vote for the first time in a presidential election. The line was out the door, but I was undaunted by the sea of people because I was going to participate in the democratic process. For the first time, I was going to be heard! My excitement could hardly be contained. Then the election results were announced, George W. Bush was president, and my excitement depleted like the air in a whoopee cushion. Since then I have become even more jaded about the election process.
When they showed the map of which states went to the democrats and which went to the republicans, Texas was of course covered in red…the color of blood. It hit me like a red, white, and blue elephant stepping on my soul since I am a democrat in a republican state. I suddenly felt like my vote mattered little to none. I’m a fan of the Founding Fathers as much as anyone, but in creating the electoral college, they kind of stomped on anyone who dares to disagree with the majority of voters in their state.
The day that electors from Texas vote for the democratic candidate is the day that pigs will fly over the icy hills of Hades. As long as that is the case, anyone who would prefer to vote democrat should just save themselves some gas and not even head to the polls.
The electoral college is hardly the only thing wrong with our current voting system. Political parties cause a whole host of problems, too. At the beginning of their careers, politicians have ideas and beliefs all their own. By the time anyone decides to run for major office, they publicly change their political opinions to stay in the party line. Mitt Romney was a prime example of this kind of political wavering in the 2012 presidential election. Before becoming a presidential candidate, he said he was pro-choice on the issue of abortion. Sure enough, soon after announcing that he was going to run for president, he had seen the light and decided he was pro-life. The voting public can’t even begin to differentiate between the candidates if they are too afraid to deviate from the party line.
Voters deal with the same kind of political pressures. For the most part, I consider myself a democrat. I am pro-choice, and I believe in government regulation of big business and progressive tax rates. At the same time, I believe in the second amendment. So criticism comes from people on both sides of the political spectrum. Instead of trying to force people to fit the molds that were created years ago, we should foster independent thought on the political issues. Political parties should be a starting point where we come together to share our ideas, not something that we feel obligated to follow so we are accepted by our peers.
So what do we do to fix our political system, revolt and start from scratch? It might not be necessary to go quite that far. We just need to truly embrace the founding principles of democracy, for the first time in many ways. The electoral college needs to be removed for the tumor on our system that it is. Only in doing so can we eliminate the unfair disparity that exists between large and small states. Eliminating the electoral college would cause the government to be a true representation of the voting public. Some might argue that bigger states having more votes is fair. More people receiving more votes seems fair on the surface. The existence of the electoral college, however, drowns out the voice of the independent voter and hinders democracy.
Political parties should be a reference point, not something we feel required to follow. We need to encourage independent expression from both our representatives and our citizens. Politicians should be encouraged to express how they and their constituents feel on independent issues, not to just follow the party line. Only then can we be a nation of true democracy.