This may be a bit of a delayed reaction, but I enjoyed voting in last week’s election. What made last week’s election different for me is that this was my first time voting as a registered voter in Monmouth County. Up until I bought my house last spring, I was registered at my family’s home in Morris County. As you might deduce, this created an annual problem where I had to drive all the way up to Morris County (and near the Sussex County border, no less!) to vote on Election Day. Sure, I could have registered to vote in Monmouth County when I began renting my most recent apartment, but I never had the security of knowing whether or not I would be in that one place for a long period of time so I never made the change.
What I enjoyed about voting last week (besides the 3 minute commute to my polling place) was that I had a chance to vote for candidates that will have some level of impact on me and my immediate community. Again, as a guy who has been voting in Morris County for the last 15 years, the people that I’ve been voting for have largely not been the Mayors, Town Councilors, Board of Education members, State Legislators, and Congressmen who have a direct impact on the community where I actually live. Last Tuesday, the votes that I cast were different in that they have a direct relationship to my daily life.
And the American in me enjoys the fact that I get to vote in the first place! Unlike most folks out there, I enjoy voting for people from both sides of the aisle – which I did last Tuesday. One of the great things about this country is that we have a choice. Frankly, I wish we had more that two viable choices and I really wish that the Libertarian and Constitutional Parties would grow to become larger players in American politics. But that’s okay – the people are beginning to realize that there are more than two answers to every political question and that it’s not such a bad idea to get people with different ideas involved.
As for the results from last week’s elections, well I didn’t think it was any big surprise. Of course the Republicans were going to run away with the Senate and increase their lead in the House – the majority of the places and states in this country are center-right and every political map proves that point. Yes, the cities and urban areas vote heavily Democratic and that’s where the President has his most ardent supporters, but most of this country isn’t filled with cities and urban areas. Thus the results from last week are no big surprise.
Plus, I’m a big believer in divided government. We have a Democratic President and I think it’s a good idea to have a Republican Congress to check his power. I thought the same thing when President George W. Bush was in charge – a Democratic Congress was good for him to have to collaborate with the other side (which he did very well at the beginning of his first term as well). The biggest “check” that I think will come out of the Republican Congress is their ability to conduct fuller investigations in the Senate. The talking heads on television suggest that there are a variety of scandals brewing from Benghazi to the fast and furious gun running issue to immigration and now to the fact that there were blatant lies told to the American people in order to get the Affordable Care Act passed.
While those are all issues that deserve fuller investigations, what I’m looking forward to knowing more about is the IRS targeting scandal. Folks, if the accusations are true – that the IRS targeted individuals and groups that they disagreed with politically – then that is going to be the biggest scandal in the history of American politics up through our lifetimes, I guaranty it. This is the exact type of issue that the colonists rebelled against back in the late 1700s and it’s the exact type of issue that makes our government ineffective in the 2010s. So… that’s what I’m looking forward to from the new Congress: a true investigation into the IRS targeting scandal.