For the Party

There is little doubt that our political system has evolved into a deeply entrenched two party system. Our “representatives” position themselves to look good for their constituents who share similar views. The unfortunate citizens that happen to be in a district with a representative that does not share their views are left voiceless.

This form of representation comes in direct contact with our founding ideas. One of which is memorialized on the solemn Civil War battlefield of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. President Abraham Lincoln poignantly addressed the nation after the bloodiest battle in North America to date with 51,000 dead, citing, “that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.” While there were distinct parties at the time, the Republican president was not trying to posture his party over the other party which happened to be Democrats. His ultimate goal was to keep the nation together.

The ideals of this first Republican striving to have a government for the people somehow have become lost in our contemporary political times. During the Sunday, May 4, 2014 Meet the Press on NBC, a panel of politicians and press sat at a long oblong desk to discuss the current events of the day. At the end of the show, Will.I.Am, a musician and group member of Black Eyed Peas, informed the panel of his work of helping at-risk youth. While his message was a bit clumsy, he identified peoples’ frustration of not understanding “the complex between Republican, Democrat, Congress.”

One of the panelists, Republican Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah attempting to agree, explained,” an opportunity for Republicans is on privacy, safety, and security.” Will.I.Am immediately corrected Chaffetz, interrupting, “it’s an opportunity for America to make sure companies like Apple are in Detroit and we’re educating young kids at an early age to learn to be technically, digitally literate.” Stressing America, Will.I.Am displayed the public’s continued frustration with how discussions of America fracture away from being about how to improve education for the country and is replaced by representatives splintering off from the issue and delineating it as an opportunity for Republicans and not the people.

Representative Chaffetz statement indicated that his purpose was to elevate the Republican party. His lack of acknowledgement for the American people displayed that he represented, “for the party” and not “for the people” like the Republican President Lincoln spoke of in his address over 150 years ago. The disconnect between the people and the representative was clear. Will.I.Am was striving to find ways to educate the youth. Representative Chaffetz sought to better the Republican party. It is quite ironic that the first Republican pushed for a government for the people and Republican Chaffetz’s ambition was to place one political party over another. The current Democratic party is just as guilty of strategically setting an agenda to make its party look better than the other.

The governed lose when representatives are only representing “for the party.” All of the issues important to the people like education, health, and jobs are manipulated by representatives to make their party look better than the other. There will be some people that will have their views represented. When only a few have representation, all Americans lose because views are not challenged and sculpted into a better idea that benefits all. Instead, we all cheer for our corner and ignore the problems that remain unanswered. When we take sides with no intent of listening to the other view, Americans become enemies with each other.

President Lincoln knew all too well how ugly America can become when we are enemies. As our country divides into sides, again, the current war of words have the potential of becoming an even more menacing predicament, an actual war. President Lincoln’s, and our, hope is for representatives to stop working for their political parties and honor their duty of serving all people, initiating a government that once again works “for the people”, uniting the splintered country.

For the Will.I.Am Meet the Press video, click here.

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Road Trip Marathon

Driving across the country is a marathon, a test of will with the optimal outcome of surviving the excursion with some sanity to spare and actually enjoy the vacation initially sought. The goal: travel thirty hours from the far southwestern corner of Colorado to central Pennsylvania, swapping between two drivers without spending money to stay at a motel that neither driver really possesses. A night stay is at least eight hours of drive time lost anyway, eight hours further away from actually beginning my vacation. The trip is foreboding and the real hope is to recover as fast as possible so the actual vacation is salvageable. I might even enjoy the change of scenery. That change is perhaps enough to distract me on the looming of the, just as long , drive home.

This is not my first time to attempt at this feat. In 2007, the same thirty hour drive commenced with me feeling more like a walking comatose patient than a vibrant full of life and ideas young adult, embarking on my first real vacation. The next year my boyfriend, Tyson, and I gained our senses and flew out. Last year we didn’t even leave our home through some great teamwork of  enticing his mom to visit us in Colorado. This year, it’s our turn to travel.

Words I now regret came out of my mouth that I wish I could have swallowed back down to the deepest cavern of ill-thoughts where they somehow escaped, “How about we drive to see your mom again, and we can see the colors?”

He was hooked. Flying east was no longer an option. Apparently the first road trip’s damaging effects lingered with an idea of 1500 miles of unending pavement actually be enjoyable. I still wish today that our previous trip of “freshening up” at a rest stop with moisture toilettes from a gas station and stuffing another dry turkey sandwich down my parched lips could all be erased. Both visions are embedded and perhaps were the culprits that blocked my sane thoughts to surface and remind me of how horrendous a road trip can be. I am unsure which is worse—being responsible for the upcoming road trip or the grueling experience of hazy vision, cramped fingers, bright headlights, and the entombing sensation of being locked up in one area for far too long with someone I determine I hate after the first fifteen hours.

The bizarre fact is I love to drive. Flying is a last option. Having no control and the horrible urge to sleep but unable to rest makes most flights a trip I prefer not to put my body through. I feel the effects of jet-lag when crossing over one time zone. If only a road trip east was that short, I might not dread the drive. Somehow thirty hours of straight driving zaps the enjoyment and any other feeling in my body. At least the first few hours will be filled with tremendous Rocky Mountain color—the hard reality of the road is likely to occur somewhere during the long, flat stretch of Kansas.

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Snow in the Northeast

As those in the Northeast continue to be bombarded with snowstorm after snowstorm, I offer to those unwelcoming this ultimate prize of winter that I would gladly take that weather if I could. Southwest Colorado is notorious for receiving an abundant supply of the white stuff.

That is not the case this here. Northern Colorado has been graciously smacked with one storm after another. Sadly our last storm dusted the higher elevation with an inch of snow (over a week ago) and nothing accumulated in the lower elevations which is at 7000 feet.

So while this may not be too reassuring to those living in the Northeast tired of the snow, if I could, I’d gladly be swimming in your snow right now. I long for the snow you are receiving. Winter without snow looks unhealthy on the land with brown patches exposed amongst the Ponderosa Pines. I find the mountains at their best when peaks are snow-capped. The snow cap is shrinking every day as I peer at the mountains’ silhouette in another crystal, clear blue sky.

It is almost shameful for me not to be able to boast about the amount of snow I shoveled in the year. Now I am forced to go to a gym to work on weights. My only hope is that the jet stream, or something, changes and brings snow back to my corner of the country. I think everybody would be happier. The Northeast may get a break from the snow, and I can brag about the our snowfall.

Hope is lingering. February and March are on the way – our snowiest months out of the year. Hopefully they don’t let me down like the rest of winter has done so far.

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