On the day after Election Day* I felt some commentary to be necessary, so I struggled to find something about our political system that is better now than in the past.

I considered the 19th Amendment:  that’s a significant improvement.  But I’m not so old that I was ever disenfranchised because of my sex, so it doesn’t really count.

The 26th Amendment did make a difference in my life, but I have mixed feelings about that one, seeing as extending the voting age downward corresponded with an upward movement of the age of responsible maturity.

Much about our political system has taken a turn for the worse during my lifetime.  (I’m not saying it was always better—we’re not longer literally tar-and-feathering our opponents.)  But one positive change I am thankful for on this third day of November is openness.

I hate the in-your-face media and constant coverage that have produced campaigning-by-sound bite and taken away any vestige of private life for those seeking to enter political service.  But recent years have also brought—through media coverage and through legislation—more light and transparency to government and to the people who run it, and that is a very good thing.

Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made — John Godfrey Saxe

True.  But both sausages and laws are good things, and the call of people like Michael Pollan and Temple Grandin for slaughterhouses to have glass walls finds its parallel in political Sunshine Laws, the Freedom of Information Act, and other efforts to bring government out of the shadows of the smoke-filled room.**  Transparency and openness bring some difficulties and inefficiencies, but do much to prevent, detect, and excise rottenness, be it in our food supply or in our government.

That’s something that’s better now than in the not-so-distant past, and I’m thankful.


I’m also thankful this morning that Daniel Webster is going to the House of Representatives from Florida—and with an overwhelming victory.  I was not able to vote for him, as we are not in his district.  But I’ve respected him for many, many years even though there we certainly have our areas of disagreement.  Quoting from the Orlando Sentinel, which despite their liberal inclinations endorsed conservative Webster,

Mr. Webster was a Republican state legislator for nearly three decades whose civility and statesmanship earned him the admiration of Democrats. He wasn't just a nice guy; he was effective. He played a leading role in raising education standards, reforming welfare and opening lawmaking to more public scrutiny.

Webster credited the results to his grass-roots support and his decision to run a positive campaign.

"Most of the time, negative campaigning works, and a lot of people cringed when I said I would run a positive campaign. We just felt like it was the right thing to do," Webster said. "I'm not going there to change places with the Democrats. We've got to do things differently. We've got to change the process."

It’s refreshing to see good character and a positive outlook win over bombast, negativity, and lots of money.

On a more personal note, Daniel Webster was also largely responsible for the legal protection home education enjoys in Florida, and for that I will always be very, very thankful!


*Yes, despite the push for early and absentee voting, I walked into my local polling place and cast my ballot on Election Day.  I also like to enter our church through the traditional red doors instead of the new glass doors.

**Is “smoke-filled room” a political anachronism in these relatively smoke-free days?

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at 9:42 am | Edit
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**Is “smoke-filled room” a political anachronism in these relatively smoke-free days?

No, I know plenty of bars that have decided that it is to their advantage to pay the fines when checked in on by whatever agency makes sure they're smoke free. Lots of people still like to smoke while drinking.



Posted by Margaret on Thursday, November 04, 2010 at 11:03 pm

True. And in some places bars are exempt from the no-smoking laws. Like in Switzerland, where eating in restaurants is now much more pleasant (at least until you get the bill) due to recently-passed legislation. Unfortunately, one of our favorite restaurants has the dining area (technically smoke-free) located above the bar (definitely not).

I guess there are not yet enough non-smoking drinkers to tip the balance.

All the more reason for Sunshine Laws, if the smoke-filled room of political decision-making is also alcohol-filled. Already it seems as if too many of our policies were made under the influence....



Posted by SursumCorda on Friday, November 05, 2010 at 9:08 am

Two nights before election day, one of the candidates that Jon was planning on voting for called with a slimy message against his opponent. Because of that, Jon did not vote for him. It's nice to hear that there are some politicians committed to positive campaigns.



Posted by joyful on Friday, November 05, 2010 at 6:54 pm
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