Narrow Slice of Life…
Posted: 24 October 2012 06:36 PM   [ Ignore ]
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We have a part-time legislature that once upon a time was designed to consist of informed representatives from all slices of life in Kansas. Our Legislature today is a narrow representation that consists of nearly 75% males and 88% are over 50 years of age. My intent is not to express disdain or displeasure in those individuals but to question the diversity of the legislature as it was designed to be a representation of its citizens. Does any one know how many Military Veterans are elected in Kansas?

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Posted: 25 October 2012 05:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Aaron… it takes over $15,000, today, to run a campaign for City Commissioner in Manhattan.  There are congressional seats around the Country that have seem millions spent on campaigns.  The money spent to elect the President is in the billions.

It has become virtually impossible for the “common man” to run for office.  But, you will find many who suggest if you are not a successful businessman or corporate executive or college prof you need to stay away from elected office.  I’ve seen e-mails, recently, suggesting there needs to be a movement to raise the voting age in America to 27.  This would eliminate the “elite” having to put up with young marrieds and college age kids daring to elect someone who would see things from their perspective.

How many employers would allow an employee to take time off to attend all the meetings/sessions/activities required of even a City Commissioner?  Large corporations, banks, universities… Not many small businesses.

You are correct about the gender and age issue.  Military veterans??  Since the draft was abolished, few of the weathiest’s have served.  They go to college and on into coporate careers.  Those choosing a career in the military are mobile and deployable.  Not good candidates for elected office.  Upon retirement, many have to find a second career to make ends meet.  And… not you’re back in the “over 50” crowd.

You will never again see a Lincoln come from a log cabin and walk into the White House.  He doesn’t have the money.  We are very close to electing a billionaire to the Presidency.  This candidate and his wife were handed a million dollars as a wedding gift from his wealthy father.  He lives off his investment income and has most of the money “hidden” in overseas accounts to take advantage of tax dodges.  Most people who have campaign signs in their front yards wouldn’t be allowed to step foot in his front yard. 

I’m 66 years old.  The energy to change it has passed me by.  Where is that younger generation?  Why aren’t they raising motivating their age group to put forth candidates, support them, and go to the polls????  If a fraction of the dollars spent by the college aged kids for beer on Faux Patty’s Day was put into a political campaign, you could begin to make some of the changes….

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Posted: 25 October 2012 08:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Good topic, and good analysis thus far.  I have contemplated this issue for years.  We’re not likely to have an “uprising” of concerned citizens, unless and until we move away from an it’s all about me mentality.  As long as the collective we the people are more interested in our own comfort than the future of our republic, we ain’t got a chance.

Personally, this is one reason we homeshool our kids.  We do our best to foster a patriotic and service oriented mindset.  This election season has spurred many good conversations around the dinner table.

 

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Posted: 26 October 2012 12:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Larry,
      I agree with you on many of the points you made but will stray slightly on the topics of Veterans as good candidates and the amount of money needed to run a successful campaign.

First, as a combat Veteran and as someone who works with Vets from all generations I believe that at first glance your stance that many service members would not be good candidates due to their transient nature is shortsighted. On the other hand it is my view that as the longest war in American history draws to an end and the military continues to down size we will see more and more soldiers leave the profession of soldier and transition into civilian careers. Not so unlike the civilian surge after the world wars but of course on a more concentrated scale since our military consists of less than 1% of the population.  (By the way nearly 10% of Kansans are Veterans today). The value of having Veterans in office especially at the federal level is obvious. Nobody understands the consequences of war more than those that have seen, heard, smelt, and touched it. There are further tangible skills that make a Veteran an ideal candidate such as the appreciation for the greater good, proven work ethic, and integrity to name a few.

Secondly, money and super pacs are not the end of grassroots politics. Citizen’s United made it easier for the wealthiest to buy canvassers, lit drops, direct mailers, robocalls, TV ads, and newspaper space but Americans can still be organized for free if the cause/candidate is worthy. It’s certainly not easy to run a campaign on a shoestring budget but I don’t think it’s impossible, especially for young passionate candidates.

As a candidate for State Representative myself, we shall soon see if the days of citizen legislators are gone. I believe money often becomes a substitute for quality ideas and social discourse. The real question is how far will money carry a candidate before it becomes obvious that they are lacking in quality ideas. In terms of Foreign Policy I do believe that failure was displayed at the last presidential debate.

 

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Posted: 26 October 2012 05:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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“I believe that at first glance your stance that many service members would not be good candidates due to their transient nature is shortsighted…”
Aaron… My point was that many active duty personnel PCS for 3-year periods.  Our son has just short of a year left on a 3-year assignment at the Pentagon. He will then PCS for 3 years to Ft. Richardson, Alaska to rejoin an Airborne unit.  The mechanics of 3 years in one location is an obstacle for active duty to run for office and hold that office for the duration of the term.  However, today’s army also has many who will stay at a post for much longer than 3 years.  Those soldiers could, and often times do, participate in local civic funcitons.

We also must keep in mind the large number of female soldiers/military.  An active duty soldier or a veteran running for office need not be male.  We have extremely good candidates from the ranks who are female.

Good luck in the election and thank you for your service.

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