The Constricted Nature of U.S. Politics

It’s Barack Obama wearing a watch. I know it looks like a cigar. But it’s a watch. And it fits on both arms. Don’t question me.

I’m a Democrat. But not necessarily by choice. I’m a Democrat because it’s my best option given the two very small choices. I realized during this election season that I’m raising a Democrat. And that bugs me.

I wish there were more choices. I wish, for my daughter’s sake and for our country’s sake, that we had more choices in politics. Given the diverse nature of our country, it makes more sense to have a number of viable options.

Sure, I could vote with a third party, but would it really count? That’s my dilemma.

I’ve voted in six presidential elections now. I voted for Bill Clinton twice. Al Gore, John Kerry (begrudgingly) and now, Barack Obama twice. I’ve also voted in a number of primaries, wherein I’ve voted inside my own party. As much as I like to tell myself I’m an Independent, as much as I like to think I could potentially vote for a third party candidate or (gasp!) a Republican, if I so choose. The truth is, I’m a Democrat through and through. At least, I always have been. I’m not conceding anything on the future.

Tuesday night, as we watched the precincts votes being tallied, Annika drew this picture and we watched the numbers popping up on the screen.

Before she went to bed, she worried that Mitt Romney would win because at that moment, his numbers were higher. I assured her that it was looking good for our candidate as I tucked her in and sang her to sleep.

The last thing she whispered before she fell asleep was, “Mama, I hope when I wake up in the morning, Barack Obama is still the president.”

“Me too,” I agreed.

When she awoke around 1 a.m., I whispered to her, “Barack Obama won!”

A sleepy, “Yay” followed.

Wednesday morning we watched his victory speech and she wondered if his daughters were in the crowd. We talked about how proud they must be of their daddy.

I’m raising a Democrat. I’d like to think that she’ll grow up and think for herself. Be Independent minded. Perhaps, she’ll join a peaceful revolution. Make changes in the world. I’d like to think that perhaps we could even disagree on politics. Out with the old, in with the new, as generations proceed. That’s how change comes. That’s how we progress. I believe that firmly. I want her to challenge everything and think things through. I want her to look at the past and say, “We can do better.”

We can always do better.

But dogma is powerful.

Statistically children tend to stick to political affiliations of their parents.

And as the generations pass, the two-party system just keeps becoming stronger and stronger as the parties continue to move forward with their own agendas.

And I wonder where are the out-of-the-box thinkers in politics? We can’t assume that they are all paranoid conspiracy theorists.

Even though I’m glad Obama won. And I’d gladly vote for him again. I do not wholeheartedly agree with all of the Democrats’ agendas. I think our country is missing diversity in our government. And it bugs me that I don’t have a better way to impart that on to my daughter.

Yes, I’m happy our party won. Yes, I support the basic issues on our side.

But I still think that we can always change and do better. I think we can not only move on, but move forward. But to do that, we need to be able to move.


  1. Jessica Graham says:

    November 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    I voted Libertarian this year because I figure if we all just keep voting Democrat or Republican and wishing for more choices then when will that time ever come?

    I know the theory that it “doesn’t count” is strong, and that’s what kept me from voting for Ron Paul last time, but this year I just had to push for a 3rd party even if it was “wasted” in the eyes of some.

    • Martha says:

      November 8, 2012 at 1:29 pm

      Good for you Jessica! I actually felt pretty good about my Obama vote this time around. But there are times in the past I wished I had voted more closely with my conscience.

  2. Tareeshia says:

    November 8, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    Larry and I were just talking about this last night. It is so hard to think your one vote can do anything when voting for a 3rd party; like you’re wasting your vote and only technically voting for the winner anyway. I think if more and more people start to challenge the status quo and see that society creates the systems they support, things could change. But change is slow and takes information. I think the best thing we can do is exactly what you are doing with Annika and what I am trying to do with my kids. I *want* my kids to be out-of-box thinkers, to be revolutionary, to change the world. I think my hope for the future lies in my kids and the kids of other parents who are fed up with all the smoke-and-mirrors and the broken system. “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein

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