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Hail Guest, we ask not what thou art.
If Friend, we greet thee, hand and heart.
If Stranger, such no longer be.
If Foe, our love will conquer thee.
-Old Welsh Door Verse

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Time for Politics

My husband met Joe Biden once.

He had a chance to talk to him at the Democratic National Convention in 2000. DH says he is much more "earthy" than he seems on television. Biden is not afraid of "plain speaking," a refreshing trait in political America. Sadly, though, television does not let us see these guys as they really are and, even more sadly, most voters base their decision on what they see on television.

It's frightening.

When you get involved in the political world you realize just how tiny a world it is. It's kind of scary, really, to realize just how much power is concentrated in the hands of very few people. My husband got involved locally about ten years ago. Within two years, state legislators (including those high up in state government) and U.S. congresswo/men were calling him by his first name. He achieved statewide fame when he told off Governor Schwarzenegger during a televised town hall meeting. (Paul Moyer, one of the newscaster/commentators, whispered to DH after the confrontation, "Man, you've got balls.")

But my point is, it's so small a community that it's fairly easy to get into it. Rank and file citizens love to complain about the government as if it's some separate entity totally unrelated to anything in their lives, like the gods of Olympus of something. Really, these are just folks, like you and me, who cared enough to get involved. Most of them are hard workers who genuinely believe that what they are doing is for the good of their country.

Most of them.

I rarely write about politics here although I have very strong feelings about what is happening to my country. I've come to believe that in many ways our political beliefs develop like religious beliefs. We are raised with a certain set of values and we make our political choices based on those values. There's really not much point trying to convince people to go against their core values, so there really isn't much point trying to convince a "true believer" to change their political beliefs.

For the most part, as an American and a patriot, I celebrate our diversity of beliefs and even if I don't agree with someone, I will speak out to make sure they have the right to express their own belief system.

But you have to base your decisions on the truth, and truth has been depressingly lacking in our government.

I'm afraid to my bones of Dick Cheney. I think that G.W. is probably a nice enough guy but not real bright (c'mon - C- average at Yale? I'm a teacher. Let me tell you what a C- means. It means you really failed, but I don't want to mess with your daddy so I'm going to give you the lowest acceptable grade and move you along.)
It's no accident that Dick Cheney chose himself as V.P. The man has the charisma of a rattlesnake. But by making himself the man behind the man with a charmer (?) like G.W. he got himself the power, if not the office. After a lifetime of failure, G.W. Bush let himself be "handled" by a group of sociopathic leaders without charisma of their own who have led him - and by extension us and the rest of the world - into more danger than most common Americans can even comprehend.

And they're still doing it.

Barack Obama is not a muslim. The end.

I'm fascinated by people's fascination with this. Newsflash! If you would vote for or against someone because of their religion, you are unAmerican. You are a traitor to your Constitution and therefore to your country. Article VI of the Constitution says that the document "
shall be the supreme law of the land" and

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States".

No religious test. You don't get to judge someone for political office based on their religion. One of the founding principles of our country is that we are at least tolerant of each other's religious choices (although I tend to think we should celebrate all our diversity) and that there is a "wall of separation" between religion and government. If you believe that religion should control your political choices, then you are as bad as the fundamentalist muslims that you are so afraid of.

So, if religious beliefs don't influence your choice of candidate, what does? Don't rely on television to tell you; another newsflash - television is entertainment for profit. They will do whatever they have to do - including manipulation for a more dramatic story - to get you to see what their advertisers are selling.

How about reading their positions? Go read the party platforms. During the last election my students were amazed when I brought in party platforms for them to read. The Democratic platform was close to what they had been hearing on TV but the Republican platform had a lot of stuff in it that never made the news for some reason.

Republicans keep saying that they don't know what Barack Obama stands for. Hello? I was clear about what he stands for after reading The Audacity of Hope. He hasn't wavered. The same positions in that book are the same positions on his website. I invite you to check it out. Then go check out John McCain's site. Decide who represents your values better.

And don't forget to vote!


Jennifer said...

Great post! And I agree wholeheartedly that voters should educate themselves before heading to the polls. Make a decision based on the position that best fits YOUR values.

I tend not to discuss politics much, but I am a registered Republican and have voted Republican in the last several elections. Barak Obama has really changed the way I look a politics, and I really believe he can effect change in our country. I think John McCain is a good candidate, and I agree with many things that he says, but really, he's another old, white male. I think we need someone different in charge, someone who can inspire the kinds of changes this country needs to make.

I don't think candidates need to be capable of making the changes themselves, and in fact, the better candidate is the one who can mobilize a nation to effect those changes.

Jennifer said...

Oh, and I meant to add.... Had his "people" let Bob Dole's sense of humor and true personality shine through during his campaigning, he would have had a far better shot at being elected. The man was funny, intelligent, witty and interesting - things that DID NOT come through at all in the drone-like campaign persona. I hope Biden does not suffer the same treatment.

DK Darci K said...

Right on! i hope those of you out there "on the fence" read this honest and fact filled blog!

People! Please get over the Muslim thing...geez. remember your history...religious discrimination has NEVER been appropriate for true Americans.

Stitcher S said...

Great post!

I am so sick of people and the Muslim thing with Obama. It is so pointless, and ridiculous.

I was raised by two strong democrats, and even though I'm more conservative than they were that's where my allegiance lies. It's how I usually vote, and it's how I'm registered to vote.

Samantha said...

You go, girl. I am so on board. I have stayed a registered independent since I was 18, because party politics make me queasy oftentimes, but, I'm a bleeding heart liberal to the core, and a patriot too! And I want to see my country be all that it can and should be... Go, Obama!