Thursday, October 13, 2016

USA Election 2016... things to consider...

The Election in the USA … this is a long post, but not when comparing the time to read it, and then “think” about the election, and the impact on our personal lives.

One should be sensitive to surroundings these days when ‘thinking’ about the 2016 Federal Election in the USA. I write ‘thinking’ about it because it has such a huge potential impact on the future of America… it is important to ‘think’ about what action to take in the voting booth.

The election is important because of things that can happen in the four-year term of the next President… as well as the long term impact of decisions made by the President, Congress and Supreme Court. This cycle will see significant global changes requiring the next President to wrestle with such issues as:

a)      a) in global life (human, animal and plants) because of environmental issues (weather, carbon fuels, global warming) that will strain not only relationships between countries, but between individuals within many countries
b)      b) strains in global/macro-economies because of the rise of major population areas’ (India, China, Brazil) economies through better education; lower and fluctuating wages; the impact of conflicts and resulting migration; the application of significant technological breakthroughs in machine learning and applications of the digital revolution and robots
c)      c)  the hierarchy of countries based on the ability of one of many to wage nuclear war and the change in propensity to use such weapons whether the country is a super-power or not… Russia, India, Pakistan, Ukraine, Israel, North Korea among others can deliver a weapon, somewhere in the world that could start a chain of events leading to disaster

 In the domestic cycle of four to eight years the next President has to make decisions that lean on each of the global issues above (among many others), and importantly lead and influence decisions that directly impact domestic life… such as developing and implementing strategies:
a)     *  to improve infrastructure such as highways, bridges, airports… in order to ensure there is not a breakdown in the ability to move goods and services
b)      * to protect the colossal amount of data developed by the government agencies from cyber attack
c)      to ensure the banking, patent, internet and investment systems are robust, fair and protected from conflicting influence.
d)      *to revamp the education systems and motivation to maximize the use of education by the population to regain leadership in technological and societal evolution
e)      * rebuild the delivery of quality, affordable medical services, and motivate the population to utilize more, healthy life-styles to reduce the costs of poor health on the economy
f)       * to manage the debt in a way that keeps it serviceable, without international leverage

The leverage that the President will need to use will be based on his/her ability to work through the various levels of government (municipal, state and federal), and the political parties, not to mention significant regional bias. A problem with the “big picture” issues above, is that all of them depend on the interaction of the layers of government and leadership of each, to get things done. Without effective up/down and across communications among the governments, things like policing, education, banking and so on, cannot be impacted or work effectively.

The most critical jobs of the President of the USA are in the areas of international affairs, defense of the homeland (military, environmental issues) and so on. In these, s/he can act somewhat independently as long as budgets are available. Beyond these, the President must work with Congress to accomplish the goals of his/her platform. If there is symmetry in the goals (based on the political numbers in the Senate and House of Representatives) of the two governing layers of the country, it is easier to accomplish shifts in strategy that are likely needed to move the country in a significant way.

Without getting too deep into the issues of governing with less symmetry, one can reasonably assume that it is important to have symmetry. When big change is needed in the USA (the issues listed above are “big change”) the President needs to have his/her party in control of both the Congressional House of Representatives and the Senate.

At the same time, the country needs to have a judicial system that is capable of timely decisions across the federal civil, criminal and family court structures. While this starts with the Supreme Court, it is important to have all levels of courts functioning. The next President will have the opportunity to nominate several new Justices to the courts, including the Supreme Bench… starting on Day One with a replacement that will again give the court nine justices.

So, these are large issues, and our vote in November looms larger with the reduction in days forward to make a decision… as I write this, we have 30 days before finally voting. The surroundings that I mentioned being sensitive to at the outset are important because the very process of becoming educated on the issues means listening to, watching or reading sources of information that also insert bias more than at any time in the past. The process of “reporting” is no longer pure enough to trust “reports”. In effect, much of what we get as “news” is in fact commentary.

So once one’s store of information on policies, personalities, status quo is informed, I think it is important to find a way to metabolize the available information and come up with a decision on how to vote the ticket that will be presented in the voting booth. This means voting what is called the “top of the ticket” for President… and the down ticket… for Senator, Congressman in each district, and Judges, mayors and for many different “issues” that are on the ballot around the country. There is interaction between the top and all of the others… but particularly the Senate and House… important interaction that can facilitate a rational President… or keep him/her in check if necessary.

It is very hard to get away from momentary influences and the situation this year seems more dynamic than in any election in which I have participated. But that dynamic nature means it is even more important to make an educated, thoughtful decision. The issues of personal conduct, in my opinion are important… what conduct, in what conditions are important in the elimination of a candidate anywhere on the ticket? Not for me to judge, but for us to contemplate.

This election is about avoiding a nuclear war, and the genocide of millions of people based on one or another leader’s whim. It is about ensuring resolution to awesome issues like global warming; human migration and suffering; potable water and safe food availability and so on. It is of course also about national issues… as listed here… but if America wants to be the big dog in the world, it has to get off the porch and become a welcome leader, again. Leadership isn’t about the bite anymore (too many nuclear warheads), it is about influencing rational development of our globe and beyond. 

This is what we are voting about in November… it is more than one’s personal benefit, although it is to some extent about that… if we count surviving in a nuclear environment; or one with “storms of the century”, every week; or a country turned on itself with its guns and money.

Along with these issues one can add that it is an obligation, as a citizen, to be an informed voter… and to vote. I hope each of us will.

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Grad. Saint Mary's University, 1975, got into the medical device business initially in sales, then various management positions up to president, all in Medical Devices. I prefer therapy products over diagnostic, but they are all fun, and in a way have defined my life. I have now evolved, with help from my 35 year partner Lynnda with whom I now share every hour. I am into staying healthy, photography, kayaking, bicycling, gardening and two books a week. I wish I had gotten to this stage earlier!