Mar 23, 2011

Gridlock: Whose Fault is it?

As we have circled around Boston asking questions about people's political interests and views, we have gotten some pretty interesting answers. For the most part, everyone we have spoken with is an active voter. The reason these people vote is because they believe it is important to keeping democracy alive in the United States. Most of the people that we have interviewed are against making it mandatory for everyone to vote, however, believe that it would be great if everyone who was eligible did vote. Some people believe it would be bad for everyone to vote because not everyone is educated on the issues. Therefore, officials would not necessarily be elected because they appeal to the majority, but maybe have just got lucky because the people who didn't know, voted for them! This was very interesting because as voter turnout seems to get smaller and smaller over the past few elections, only a small percentage of the whole are choosing our leaders. Most people seem to think this is okay. Since the people who tend to vote are the ones who care the most, they are making educated decisions that seem to be most beneficial for our future. We changed gears a little and wanted to know more about Campaign Finance and what people think about raising money for elections.

Most people seem to think that candidates are limited to those who have money. Since there are restrictions on the amount of money a person can donate, the candidates who are not rich are at a disadvantage. Furthermore, we pondered with the idea that money is speech, and if you can't have your own advertisements and commercials, the only way to help express your opinion is to support a candidate through a donation. If this is true and money is speech, then do campaign restrictions on the donation of money violate your first amendment rights, freedom of speech? This question seemed to confuse some people but as a group we decided that restrictions on donations limit the support one can provide a candidate, restricts information that may be given in areas that normally isn't, and puts poorer candidates at a disadvantage.

We also concluded that most people are not very fond of our current government. For instance, it was said that people don't run for office to make the country or their state a better place, but simply for he benefits of being a government employee. Furthermore, it seemed like our current gridlock in government is all the Republicans fault. Most people believe they are unwilling to negotiate with the Democrats and don't want to work for the people but only for the benefit of themselves. We agreed as a group that these response may have to do with the fact that we are interviewing in a very liberal state and very liberal area. However, it is no secret that people are not satisfied with our current government, but why?

Most people seemed to want to complain about the government. Saying things like, everyone is corrupt, everyone is greedy, the economy is bad, healthcare stinks, but no one had specific or detailed reason why all of these things are true. Therefore, we decided that the image the media paints for the public is usually as far as it goes. People don't take the time to find out why these things are bad, they just think they know they are bad. Without educating oneself and wanting to know why certain aspects of government struggle, our country will never be able to make informed decisions. That is all for now, more to come later!

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