Sunday, November 11, 2012

Puzzling about Politics

I am mostly happy with how the election turned out. I am thrilled Obama was re-elected, my Democratic congressperson was re-elected, and a few of the more hateful Tea Party candidates lost. (Todd Akin, Allan West, etc.) I am upset that Proposition 37 failed in California- that's the one to require labeling of GMO food. That stuff is loaded with pesticides and herbicides, people- what the heck were you thinking??? And Michelle Bachman won, but barely. I wanted to see the hateful people go, people who can't seem to say anything nice about the "other side" whenever they get a second of attention. We are all Americans, and for any one side, Republican, Democrat, liberal, conservative, libertarian, whatever, to dismiss anyone who doesn't believe the way they do is wrong, and I think a lot of voters have woken up to that. I think a lot of people rejected Romney because of his 47% comments, for instance. If you are a politician and you make it clear that you don't care about people who don't vote your way, then you have no business running for public office.

I have struggled with trying to do that very thing- finding a way to relate to the "other side". (But I'm not a politician!!) I found my common ground when I had this realization- we all want what we think will be best for our country. We have very different beliefs about what the best is, but that's what we all want. I can't imagine anyone saying "I'm voting for Candidate Y because I think he or she will be BAD for all of us", can you?

Unfortunately, the hateful rhetoric hasn't slowed down. The main place I am hearing it is on Facebook. "Shares" and comments that are downright nasty are going through my news feed; it's extremely disturbing. I'm not talking about my friends, who are all very cool people, I'm talking about the comments you see from strangers. The trolls are running rampant! There's not much I feel I can do about it; if you comment you only fuel the fire. But I can say here- I understand that we all want what's best, and it's disappointing, and maybe a little scary, to see the candidate you voted for lose, but Obama won both the electoral college AND the popular vote, so he is here to stay for the next 4 years. Please give him the courtesy and respect our President deserves, the President elected by a majority of the people. He may not do things the way YOU want them done, but he will not turn the US into a socialist country run by the UN, either. (I mean seriously- people have said that!) Republicans still control the House of Representatives, and I remember reading somewhere about how that is actually an ideal set up, economically speaking. A Democratic President checked by a Republican House- it's our best chance to fix the economy. (Well, that's IF the Republican House does their job.)

Additionally, if you are worried about the economy, don't be. Forbes magazine published an article showing the economic statistics under both Democratic and Republican presidents, and contrary to popular belief, we are a LOT better off under Democrats. Remember President Clinton? He left office with a SURPLUS. Remember President Bush? He left office with a HUGE DEFICIT, and that's just two of the examples they look at in the article. So why do the Republicans still claim the economic high ground? Beats me, 'cause they haven't got anything to back it up. Reagan didn't even follow strictly Republican economic policies when he was in office. He raised taxes 7 times, if I remember the article correctly. (He wouldn't get elected today- not hard core enough for the Tea Partiers.) I've even read a more recent article that talks about Obama's economic policies- his policies are more like a moderate Republican than a true Democrat. In other words, if you are worried about Obama as our president for the next 4 years because you don't think Democratic policies are good for the economy, then you can put your fears to rest.

If you are worried about our country for social reasons, then I don't understand you at all. I don't hate you, I just don't understand, and I'm curious about the life experiences you've had that made you feel the way you do. Personally, I am for all of the things the Tea Party platform is against; guess I'm the Anti-Tea Partier. I am for gay marriage. (BUT OMG IT MIGHT LEAD TO A SLIPPERY SLOPE WHERE WE'LL HAVE THINGS LIKE POLYGAMY... and to that I also say- SO WHAT? If it's consenting ADULTS, then more power to them. Wouldn't work for me, but if that's what makes people happy then who am I to judge?) I am pro-choice, I am for healthcare for all, I am for the environment, I believe in global warming, I think we need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, companies need to be regulated so they don't kill us all, religious groups should stop trying to make our laws, etc, etc, etc. If you want a full explanation of why I support any of those positions, I can give it to you. (And in recent posts I have, for several of these topics.) I've thought about and read about and studied each and every issue, and I feel the way I do for good, solid reasons based on the wide reading I've done, the varied news sources I've watched and listened to, and everything I've absorbed from my own life experiences. It's a growing trend, too- look at the states who finally passed pro-gay marriage laws. It's a tidal wave that's going to come to a state near you, and it's not Obama's fault! It's the will of the people, who know that it's time we stop discrimination and start looking out for each other.

I actually believe the Republicans have it right in one area- school choice and vouchers. I taught in the public schools so this is probably sacrilege, but I am all for a wide variety of choices for education. There is no "one size fits all" solution when it comes to our kids; what works for some won't work for others. I think charter schools are a fantastic idea, even though some of them don't work out. You hear about them on the news- usually when they are closing down. But there are good ones, too, the ones people fight to get their kids into. Public schools still need our support and making them the best they can be should be a national priority, and vouchers and charter schools should never take away from that, but there should also be options. My kids, for instance, all started out homeschooled. The Eldest went into a dual enrollment program when she was 16 and started taking classes at our local community college. (She's finishing up her AA degree there next month.) Martha, Jr., now that she's in 6th grade, started virtual school. The Wild Child is still homeschooling but he's working with a private tutor on his reading due to his learning disabilities. We're not purely homeschooling any of them at this point because I am doing my best to meet their individual needs. I love that I have the options out there to make the best choices for them.

So we can find common ground. We are all Americans, and we all want to live in a great country. It's not going to happen if we keep up with the hatred, because as one great Republican stated, "a house divided against itself can not stand". (And he was quoting the Bible when he said that.) I challenge you- if you witness hatred, either from a news person, on Facebook, on a web site, wherever you find it, turn it off, block it, turn away. Reject those politicians who are spewing hatred and who refuse to compromise for any reason. Remember the McCarthy era and how many lives were destroyed because politicians ran rampant with hatred, and don't let it happen again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure when compromise became a bad word in politics. I guess it was around the same time that liberal became a bad word.