Kicking the hornet's nest


“Don’t poke a hornet’s nest and expect butterflies to come out.”

What a political mess we presently have in this country. I never dreamed that our nation would become so divided, and at this point there appears that no solution is in the works. Maybe it happened because the two major political parties began a war of words and actions that they cannot stop. What’s unfortunate here is that a Gallup poll conducted this past January shows 28 percent of Americans consider themselves Republicans, 25 percent Democrats and 44 percent independents. I have to guess that the missing 3 percent probably don’t know anything about politics and if they are smart, they never should. I became involved in politics because someone wanted to tax everything my wife and I own and we both felt we were being taxed to death.

The shame that I sense in American politics is how we let the two major political parties have so much control over elections, especially at the state and national levels. There are some states that don’t allow independent or “unenrolled” voters to vote in primary elections. Other states have a partially closed primary where the state allows political parties to decide if unenrolled or members of another political party can vote in a primary. This, of course, allows each political party to decide who votes in their primary elections. If you are not confused by now, then there are states that conduct partially open primaries where voters can vote for another party candidate. Some other states have primaries open to unaffiliated voters in which those voters can vote for any candidate, but members of established political parties cannot do the same. If not confusing enough, a few states conduct a Top-Two Primary where all candidates are listed on the same ballot. Some complain that system allows the possibility of two candidates from the same political party to run against each other in regular election.

Voter registration for the town of Windham shows Democrat and Republican voters are pretty well equal while the amount of unenrolled voters is much higher just like in the state of Maine as well. I read a news story that Maine had about 368,000 independent voters in 2015, while stating it was like taxation without representation since they could not vote in the primary elections. Since leaving the Republican Party and becoming unenrolled after moving to Windham, I feel exactly the same. To me our voting system in Maine needs a significant overhaul in order to give each and every voter the same power at any election for any level. When I look at our last presidential election and the huge amount of money spent by the two major party candidates, I can only become disgusted. Some reliable sources (don’t wait for President Trump to use those words) estimate the total spending during last year’s election was somewhere around $7 billion. No wonder the media outlets love election coverage.

I doubt that any established political party would want all independent voters as part of one huge political party. It’s simple to state that they wouldn’t like to lose such large sums of money, not only from their own parties but the super PACs as well.

At the same time I might as well mention that I used to think that Maine’s Clean Election system was going to keep the big donors like corporations from infiltrating our elections. Well now, there is no doubt that the politicians in office figured out a way to get around that, and so the big money is still pouring into Maine. Let’s see if  Maine legislators can figure out a way to stop the same from happening to our petition system. I would love to see billionaires be prevented from using their money and influence to push their own agendas on Maine people. I don’t care what a former mayor of a large city like New York does with his city.

Lane Hiltunen of Windham knows that united we stand, divided we fall. Someone is always watching.