Barger for US Senate

Official campaign website of Al Barger, 2004 Indiana Libertarian Party candidate for US Senate

"It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man who knows that the law is today, can guess what it will be tomorrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?" - James Madison, Federalist #62

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Campaigning begins at home

I really enjoy campaigning, engaging with individual voters at county fairs and such. For one thing, that's when I most feel like a part of the community, filling my humble role in the democratic circus.

However, that does tend to take away from other things, such as the fam. So, the main "campaign stop" for Sunday was my brother's house in Connersville for a little spot of time with the nephew and nieces that I hadn't talked to for awhile.

Turns out they were all intrigued with this campaigning and politics. They wanted to hear all about this election stuff. Indeed, my beloved 10 year old Ashtyn, who proudly proclaims me to be her "meanest favorite" drew me a special campaign picture:

Getting back to basics is generally a good idea, and explaining the federal government to ten year olds makes a good opportunity to do just that. So I tried to give them a basic five minute version of what the US government is supposed to be.

We have a basic document that explains what the parts of the US government are, and what they are supposed to do. It's called the US Constitution.

According to the US Constitution, there are three separate branches that divide up the power and get things done. On is the executive branch, which is headed by the president, who is elected by the whole country. Another branch is the judiciary branch, headed by the Supreme Court. They are the top judges in the in the land. There are nine of them, and they are picked by the president.

Finally, there is the legislative branch, which is generally the most powerful and important part. They mostly make the laws, set the taxes, and spend the money. Congress is the legislative branch, and has two parts, a House of Representatives and a Senate. The house has several hundred members elected by the people in separate small districts across the country. The senate (for which I am running) has 100 total members, two from each state. For most things, both the house and senate have to agree on something for it to become law.

Now, for all this setup, the whole US federal government has one main job under the constitution: stop people from coming in and killing us. According to the US Constitution, national defense is the main thing the federal government is supposed to do. There are also some smaller jobs specified as well, such as printing money and setting copyright laws.

Other than that, most everything else is supposed to be left for the state or local governments, or -mostly- left for people to deal with themselves.

This explanation seemed to go over pretty well. It might would be a bit much for a Democrat or Republican to digest. They often seem to think that having so much as pricked their finger means a call to Uncle Sam. Schoolchildren, however, seem perfectly capable of understanding the basic gist of the deal.

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