What's Political Snapshot all about?

Welcome to a new project here at called "The Political Snapshot." The seeds of the idea came when I looked at the California Voter's Guide, where it lists all of the proposed ballot propositions, and the reasons that have been given for voting for and against each one. The Voter's Guide is a good reference. It makes it really easy to look at both sides of the issue and figure out where you stand.

Each proposition also has a bunch of interest groups for each position. They put out leaflets and publish propaganda sites and advertisements. Those are not good references.

So I was thinking about that. Fast forward to Nov. 3. By now, you've probably seen somewhere on TV or in print that the magazine "Daily Mirror" in Britain ran a headline "How can 59,054,087 people be so DUMB?". It turns out that there are lots of questions like that floating around the internet. A 5-minute web search produced these actual quotes (from various web sites):

"How can Democrats cling to affirmative action while ignoring the schools?"

"How can Republicans denounce quotas when their immigration quotas keep so many people from competing?"

"How can Democrats blame the draft on Republicans when they sponsor the bill?"

"How can Republicans blame Democrats for many political woes when Republicans are the majority in Congress, and govern the White House, the governorships, and state Legislators?"

"How can Democrats be so ignorant ???"

"How can Republicans remain so blinkered?"

Before anybody tells me, I know the people who wrote these questions probably think they know the answers. For the last few, the questions even pretend to be answers. But I cannot believe that any significant portion of America holds their political positions out of malice or ignorance or stupidity. There are nice, smart Democrats and nice, smart Republicans. I know some of each. Democrats and Republicans split within a few percentage points of half the country. How can the other half possibly disagree with my half? How can the other half take positions that seem so obviously stupid?

A simple reference about where the various political groups in this country stand and why would make answering these questions so much easier. A reference sort of like a voter's guide, but for our everyday political issues -- foreign policy, economics, fiscal management, health care, education, poverty, etc. All we have right now is the interest groups. Their press releases, their advertisements and leaflets. That and a news media more focused on who they think will win than what the issues really are. These things are poor references. We need a good reference.

That is what I intend to create here. I've looked at our forum discussions here. I know we have lots of intelligent visitors who would (I hope) be willing to write a paragraph or so explaining what they believe and why in a friendly, non-argumentative fashion.

That's the why. Now the how.

This site has several different pages dealing with several key issues in American politics. There's also a submissions page. What I am asking you to do is go to the submissions page, pick a topic you care about, and write a paragraph explaining what you believe and why. Those submissions will show up on the page for the topic you selected.

There's a few caveats:
--This isn't a discussion. There are lots of forums, blogs, etc. to handle discussions of these topics. To keep people from trying to turn our Snapshot into a conversation, if you want to submit your own position, you have to do it before you read the topic page.
--Please refer only to your own position and it's supporting evidence and logic. Statements that try to debunk opposing positions, while they might be useful in some other context, are not the purpose of this project. The purpose of this project is not to convince others of anything, only to let them know where you stand and why.
--Please be as thorough as you possibly can. Remember that your statement needs to explain your position to people who think that you and everyone who agrees with you are complete numbskulls.
--If you know anybody with a political viewpoint, especially people who disagree with you, point them in our direction.

Thanks for your help, everybody!


The bad news: I might be insane.
The good news: If I'm not, we might actually create something useful.