Voters are to Blame for Bad PoliticsWritten by Terry Mitchell
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Many voters make their ballot selections based on personal greed instead of what's best for their country, state, district, or locality. They will reserve their votes for politicians whom they think will give them things and/or make life easier for them. Of course, Politicians constantly exploit this greed by making outlandish promises. Once these politicians are elected, they either have to renege on those promises or create budget deficits in order to bring them about. Other voters, while not so much motivated by personal greed, will vote based on localized interests at expense of more general interests. For example, they might vote for a particular congressional candidate because they think he will bring a lot of goodies to their district. This mentality also helps to forge a cycle of promises, broken promises, and budget deficits. Until voters begin to put general good ahead of personal and parochial interests, these problems will persist. We like to blame news media for all of "gotcha" political stories that pry too deeply into personal lives and distant past history of candidates and therefore keep many good and qualified people out political arena. However, it is ultimately our fault because we eat that stuff up. We can't get enough of it. The more dirt news outlets dig up on various candidates, more we buy their newspapers and tune in to their TV and radio stations for more of those stories. The sad part is that we allow that stuff to influence our votes. Most of it is irrelevant to issues at hand and should not be taken seriously by voters. We do usually ignore parts about candidates or parties we like, but we tend to believe parts about candidates or parties we don't like. Therefore, news media keeps feeding us this garbage. Last but not least, one of our biggest problems is our unwillingness to vote for independent or third party candidates. These candidates generally do not have obligations to party bosses or quid pro quo relationships with lobbyists like major party candidates do. Very often, we will vote for lesser of two evils, rather than an independent or third party candidate who might be much better. Of course, when you vote for lesser of two evils, you're still voting for an evil. Many people feel like they would be wasting their vote by voting for any of those other candidates. This is simply not true. A voter only wastes his/her vote when he/she votes for someone he/she does not really like. Instead, we create a voting catch-22 for ourselves, i.e., no one will vote for Mr. Independent because he has no chance; Mr. Independent has no chance because no one will vote for him. If enough people decided to start voting their conscience, we could break that vicious cycle.
Terry Mitchell is a software engineer, freelance writer, and trivia buff from Hopewell, VA. He also serves as a political columnist for American Daily and operates his own website - http://www.commenterry.com - on which he posts commentaries on various subjects such as politics, technology, religion, health and well-being, personal finance, and sports. His commentaries offer a unique point of view that is not often found in mainstream media.
Obvious often means overlookedWritten by by Kurt St. Angelo
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The folks in charge are overlooking obvious answer to jail overcrowding and legal backlog: Quit arresting so many people!
Go back to doing government's fundamental job of protecting us from real criminals – people who steal our cars, break into our homes, defraud us, or are violent – not just our immoral neighbors who offend us with their petty needs and vices.
And quit herding people who aren't real criminals through our criminal justice system – which is for real criminals. Then, these people who have not harmed others can keep their jobs, support their families, contribute to economy and pay taxes instead of forcing taxpayers to pay for their unneeded food, lodging and supervision in jail.
This will leave space to segregate violent and dishonest people who can't live socially with rest of us. Isn't that point of our criminal justice system?
If Indianapolis is true to national statistics, we spend nearly half of our criminal-justice resources fighting vice instead of crime. The distinction between vice and crimes is fundamental. As legal scholar Sir William Blackstone wrote, 'In all cases, crime includes an injury."
The Indiana Constitution grants jurisdiction to Indiana courts based on such harm or injury. 'All courts shall be open, and every person, for injury done to him in his person, property, or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law." (Article 1, Section 12)
This does not grant courts authority to punish those who merely offend us. Article 1, Section 37 of Constitution prohibits government from depriving people of liberty "otherwise than for punishment of crimes." (See also Article 1, Section 13 and 19.) If Brizzi, Bradford and Young enforced this simple covenant, jail overcrowding would likely vanish overnight.
Every time we waste our resources policing, prosecuting and imprisoning potheads and prostitutes, then car thieves, burglars or murderers go free. Plus, we lie about being true to constitution.
Why is this so hard to understand or discuss? Why are elders of our herd overlooking this practical, moral and constitutional consideration that is so utterly obvious?
Attorney, screen writer and former chair of the Libertarian Party of Marion County.