No dad, I'm not a hippie.

Yesterday I went to a lecture about Ralph Nader, not so much because I am sold on voting for him or agree with everything he says, but more because I feel strongly about the ideals of democracy, which so often are not part of a two-party system here in America.

About 2 months ago I was giving a Sunday School lesson in my home ward to a group of 14-year olds. We were discussing Mosiah 29, when the system was changed from a single ruler monarchy to a number of judges voted on by the people. I tried to explain to these kids about democracy, their place in a democracy, their right to speak up and have a say in our cities and communities and on a grand scale, in our country. They weren't quite getting it and I was fumbling to actually give them a solid answer on what exactly they could do at their age to make a difference. I was particularly struck by verse 34, which says:

...And he told them that these things [the problems that arise when there is a king] ought not to be; but that the burden should come upon all the people, that every man might bear his part.

That every man might bear his part. I've had that phrase bumpering around in my head since I taught the lesson. I've thought about the elections and my part in them. I've felt in so many ways that it is no longer enough to simply choose the lesser of two evils in an election while allowing corporations to lobby and make decisions on the politics that enter our homes. I do like Ralph Nader because he forces candidates to own up to what they profess. It's a scary thing when we can vote on a candidate simply because they are not the other person, it allows that candidate to do what they please without being accountable, simply because we are glad they are not a democrat, or glad they are not a republican.

I've been thinking a lot about politics, about the need for questioning, and the need for standing up. We often associate these questioning, standing up, not just accepting things for what they are with the notion of radicalism, and perhaps it is not entirely untrue, but radical does not mean crazy or impossible. M. Scott Peck said,

It is not impractical to change the rules of the game when the game is clearly killing you.

I agree. This also does not mean that we have to take to the streets with pitchforks and posters, it does not mean that we be vile or unkind to people with different viewpoints, it does not mean that we are always right. It means that we invest ourselves enough to know what we do believe. We care enough to know what a democracy is and how we can directly be a part of it. I feel like I'm on a soapbox that I didn't mean to get on because so much of this I am writing for myself.

I find the different viewpoint Ralph Nader provides helps me to better understand what is important to me in an election. His voice helps me not to simply accept without question the things that are told to me.

His website is www.votenader.org It's interesting to and good to hear different thoughts and ideas.


shelly said...

"It is not impractical to change the rules of the game when the game is clearly killing you."

I love this...I'm trying to think of a way I can use this in my life!

Thaddeus said...

I like that statement, too. If we have the power to change the rules, we should try it.

Of course, this is the same philosophy the lobbyists are using.

Jae said...

Is voting the most effective way of participating in the democratic process and making our voice heard in a nation the size of ours?