Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Keeping Them Honest

What makes politicians run for office? When they do, why do we vote for them? Politics mostly is a game that we've come to enjoy watching. Sometimes some of us join the game; we vote. It's funny how the game goes. We watch speeches on television, listen on the radio, support campaigns financially, and go to rallies. We meet these men and women, normal humans just like us. Well again, not so normal. Some don't know how to use the internet, others like George H. Bush was alarmed by the flat belt scanner at a grocery store, others like Hillary Clinton didn't know how to work the coffee machine at a local gas station. But still, we revere these politicians. At rallies, we wait in long line for that handshake, or in my case the 5 minute conversation I had with Barack Obama. On the big screen, they appear larger than life, almost god-like. We forget they have flaws. Flaws that some say are part of the game.

I discovered those flaws in an unpleasant way. I was not content to just attend the rallies and be a fan on the sidelines. I wanted to get my ears wet, so I volunteered for a campaign. Now the name Vernon Jones might not ring a bell in your ears. If you live in Georgia you may have heard of him occasionally. If you live in Atlanta, give or take occasionally. If you live in Dekalb County, then you are expected to be familiar with the persona. He is the C.E.O. of Dekalb. These days though Mr. Jones has a lot of things on his plate, like running for United States Senate. I admire his ambition. It's a long shot to go from "running" a county to the Capitol in Washington D.C. But Mr. Jones has his eyes on the prize.

As a volunteer, I made calls to citizens of a rural county trying to convince and remind them to vote for Mr. Jones in the primaries. You have to consider this; Mr. Jones has quite a platform. Ending the war in Iraq, affordable healthcare for all Americans, lowering gas prices...I was interested in affordable healthcare for I am one of millions of uninsured Americans.
Prior to making calls, I wanted to know about the healthcare plan so I could explain it better when I made my calls. I was told to direct the calls to a campaign staff fellow. Hey, if only you tell me I am smart enough to explain a healthcare plan right? "I smell fish," I thought. So, before I left the office, I asked for a policy paper or some kind of document that outlined a plan. I was told this drawn out story of how Mr. Jones would be contacted and how I would be e-mailed a paper. It's been weeks and I haven't received a paper yet. It seems to me like there is no plan. If you campaign to provide healthcare for all Georgians, then how do you plan to do it? Don't just tell us you will, show us how!

The Democratic Primaries were held yesterday. With 96% of the precincts reporting Mr. Jones won the most votes. I wonder if there's a plan for all the other things he intends to accomplish or if voters are just being swayed because they are vulnerable to these issues? I voted for Mr. Jones though I'll admit, but the incumbent Saxby Chambliss has my best wishes and I'm still waiting for my policy paper.

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