04 January 2008

Hello Iowa--How Broken is Our Process?

I've been to over twenty countries around the world, as well as most of the states in America. One of the few I haven't visited is Iowa. Here's what the 2000 US Census has to say about Iowa (with the US numbers in parenthesis).

Population: 2,926,324 (281,421,906)
% Caucasian: 93.9% (75.1%)
% African American: 2.1% (12.3%)
% Asian American: 1.3% (3.6%)
% Hispanic: 2.8% (12.5%)

I've watched the news, read the articles, and seen the graphics, and I still can't explain how any of the results in Iowa are determined. I'm sure I could try harder, but I politely decline.

In the four previous election cycles, Iowa's first place winner for each party became that party's nominee both times there wasn't a sitting Republican President running unopposed (W in 2000 and Dole in 1996), while the recent Democratic results were two out of three times (Kerry in 2004 and Gore in 2000 won, while Clinton abandoned Iowa in 1992 with Tom Harkin taking 76% of the vote).

I would submit that we haven't elected our Best and Brightest in recent years, and America needs just that now more than ever. If you listen to different candidates, they talk about the need for change and the importance of this election. I'll give you a hint: the world has changed dramatically over the last ten years, and our place in it has changed along with it. The pace of change is accelerating, and it is accelerating really everywhere: economically, religiously, socially, technologically, ecologically, politically.

There won't be one great pick from this list of seemingly admirable men and women running for President, one silver bullet that will somehow fix everything with a sweep of his or her hand. No, the years that our children give us grandchildren are going to be incredibly dynamic for them and for us all, everyone in the world.

Iowans are no worse than any of us in America. Although ethnically they may not reflect America, unfortunately their methodology for choosing their candidate to vote for looks too much like all of us. Finding irrelevant reasons to like or dislike a candidate is a good way to walk our nation into a dreadful choice. It's obviously been like this for quite awhile, but the impact of poor choices has only escalated.

Obama and Huckabee finished atop Edwards, Clinton, Romney, Thompson, and McCain. I don't think this is scandalous or Earth-shattering. Having said that, can all of us US Americans truly have a chance, an at-bat to make our own evaluation and choose who we want? Or must we let the ad agencies and media outlets of Iowa and New Hampshire get rich while their citizens spit out a couple of finalists for us to choose from?

Push back on every Media source that you read that wants to tell you what this means or that means, how Edwards is finished and Thompson should quit. Tell them all just to shut up and let all of us figure this out. Spit on Biden and Dodd for quitting the race, and beg everyone remaining to stick it out at least until Super Tuesday on 5 February. By then, Alabama, Alaska caucus, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado caucus, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho caucus, Illinois, Kansas caucus, Massachusetts, Minnesota caucus, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico caucus, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Utah will have joined New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina in casting their ballots.

It is our responsibility to add figuring this out for ourselves to our list of tasks. We really can't afford otherwise this time.
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