I've been trying to stay out of the political fray in this blog because I know there are TONS of bloggers who are better at it (and many who are not), more popular, and people like a variety of subjects to read. But today, I've just had it. I've had it with the media and the taking heads of the national and local news stations yammering about certain topics while completely ignoring others and I'm tired of it. Not just tired; sick and tired. And everyone knows that's the worst tired to be. So, for today, I'm gonna rant 'cause it's my blog and I'll rant if I want.
First order of business in this rant -- there were two caucuses and a primary this week. Just two days ago on this past Tuesday for those who didn't know. They were held in the states of Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri, respectively. Rick Santorum won the majority of votes in all three contests. However, Mitt Romney, days before the Missouri primary, said that Missourians were having a "beauty contest" instead of a primary because their votes "wouldn't count." Hmmm....clever way Mitt to get people to not turn-out to complete their civic duty and participate in a right given to them by the government in a state where you weren't very popular.
For those who kept saying the Republican Party was wasting millions of dollars in having a Primary that "wouldn't count" and that it was incredibly irresponsible on the part of Missouri to allow it -- let's look at the law. The State of Missouri has a law that sets the date of the primary and for 2012 it was set, by that law, for February 7th. The law was enacted when other states had moved their primary dates forward and Missouri wanted its primary to still be "relevant" in picking the candidates for president, regardless of political party. The Republican National Committee (RNC) set the rules that required all states with the exception of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina to wait until March 6th to have their "contests" or risk losing having of the delegates for their state when it comes time for the RNC Convention later this year. That rule was enacted after Missouri and other states had changed their primary laws. Because the law is on the books in Missouri, the State legislature attempted to pass a resolution to move the date so that the primary would be in "compliance with the RNC" and that they wouldn't have to risk losing delegates. Whether you believe the statements that the Missouri Legislature just didn't act in time or that the Governor (a Democrat) helped to block the change of date in order to cause the problem, the fact remains that a change couldn't be passed and the State of Missouri was required by law to hold the primary last Tuesday.
So, of course all of the Republican candidates who weren't going to have a great showing in Missouri decided to make fun of the predicament the people of the Show-Me-State were in or, in the case of Newt Gingrich, didn't appear on the ballot at all. What people are conveniently forgetting is that the primary wasn't only for Republicans. Democratic candidates and even a Libertarian candidate appeared on their respective party's ballots in Missouri. Even Republican candidates who have long since cancelled their campaigns appeared and some even got votes! Everyone just assumes that President Obama will receive the nomination again for the Democratic Party, but technically the votes cast by any Democrats towards the choosing of a candidate would count since the Democratic National Committee (DNC) didn't make any changes to their rules/regulations regarding primary dates. So the delegates selected by the primary in Missouri for the Democrats will count. Only the Republicans have to assemble again on March 17th in a caucus to select the delegates for the RNC Convention. And, any registered voter in the state who declares themself to be a Republican can participate in the caucus -- so even though the popular vote was for Santorum, the caucus vote could change.
But to say that "Missourians' votes didn't count" is just wrong. The people of Missouri who went to vote weren't there just for a presidential nominating primary. Many cities, towns, counties, and municipalities had issues on the ballot that needed votes. Many, regardless of their political affiliation, went to vote on some controversial issues. Those votes most certainly counted. The decisions they made that day on those amendments and/or referendums impact the lives of Missourians very much and those who were dissuaded from voting by presidential candidates saying that their votes "wouldn't count" were completely misled. And they were misled by the people who want to be the next leader of the country! How despicable is that? It's like waving a flag that says, "Yes! You can trust me because I'm an honest leader but only when it suits me and I really don't feel the need to waste my time on you!" Any candidate who would directly or indirectly try to influence a registered voter to NOT vote should NOT be allowed to be a candidate for president (in my opinion, for whatever that's worth).
The second order of business in this rant is my complete frustration and disgust with the media, especially the national media, to continue their blackout of Dr. Ron Paul's candidacy. And don't act like you've not noticed it -- even major networks like CNN have admitted that they've been purposefully non-reporting anything about his campaign. Just watch the debates -- who gets pushed to the side of the group and not asked very many questions? And it's incredibly stupid for the media to do that (1) when there are questions for which Dr. Paul is more than competent to answer (medical issues come to mind) and (2) when the public is watching closely to see just how biased the network really is. And regardless if you're a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or any other party affiliation, you should be demanding that they treat Dr. Paul with the same courtesy they do the other candidates. Last night I was watching the NBC Nightly News and it was said, loud and clear, that there were three Republican candidates. Who dropped out?? Romney? Santorum? Gingrich? If they're saying that there are only three Republicans left in the fight, then it had to be one of them because Ron Paul has said he'll stay until it's "mathematically impossible" for him to win enough delegates and that time certainly hasn't come yet.
Is this a campaign speech in favor of Ron Paul? Not necessarily. I have the candidate in mind that I would like to win. I'm incredibly glad to see many of the candidates drop-out of the race and feel some of them took way too long to do so. However, I certainly know that if I were running for office that I would want to have the same coverage that the other candidates receive. I'm not saying that every single candidate should get 24/7 news feeds and you can usually tell who is and who isn't really in the race for the long-haul and committed to actually getting elected. If I didn't have enough money to put as many commercials on television as the other candidates, that would be my issue and I'd have to really work hard on fundraising. But to give a speech somewhere or participate in a televised debate and be basically ignored while the media fawns all over the "big name" (i.e. "big money") candidates is just not fair. And to be completely omitted by a national news program when you're (1) still on the ballot, (2) still campaigning, (3) haven't stopped your campaign, and (4) are the number-one recipient of campaign contributions from active duty service members and their families is offensive.
Children are taught in school that anyone (who is a native-born citizen of the United States over the age of 35 and has lived in the US for over 14 years) can grow up to become the president. The media is teaching them otherwise. And since the American people are becoming more and more "educated" by mass media and turning into sheep that follow only what the famous and wealthy have to say, I guess I shouldn't say I'm surprised at this turn of events. It still ticks me off royally, but I shouldn't be surprised. What I am doing, though, is educating my children in their political rights and making sure that both (only one is eligible to vote at the moment, though) understand that it is a civic duty; it is a right given as part of their citizenship in this nation; and that if they decide they don't want to or don't care about voting, then they really have no right to complain when things don't go their way.