As promised, I listened to McCain's speech. Then I read the transcript. Then I revisited Palin's speech.
McCain's speech wasn't bad. He had some great points. We are all Americans when it comes down to it. He's right about that. I love that he says he wants to get the research for alternative energy going. Right on. But I still am hesitant. He just doesn't seem like the old maverick McCain. He seemed a little too 'party line McCain'. He isn't the speaker Obama is, but he did a good job.
I sent out a query to my Facebook friends for someone to explain the Republicans to me. My old high school chum Jeff wrote me back and told me about some of the GOP platforms. He's a GOPer, and was one of the smartest guys I knew back then. And he made some very good points.
Here's an excerpt from his message...
"I think Republicans want to keep the founders' hope for our country. We are a federal republic, not a democracy.The gov't is here to protect us (big military) and to stay out of our lives. Work hard and keep your earnings. Conservatives think we can take care of ourselves better than the gov't can.Liberals: if you work hard and make too much, we'll take it and give it to those who don't. Socialism never works and stifles advancement. Big government and unions will bankrupt this country.Big gov't bad: small gov't good. High tax bad: low tax good. Big military good: small military bad."
He's right that we are indeed a republic. And I would agree that I can run my life better than the government. I can see his point that the far left does look a lot like socialism. And I do agree completely with the last sentence there. The problem as I see it is that when the Republicans controlled the White House and the Congress back at the start of the reign of George the second, they expanded government, raised taxes on the working Americans while giving tax breaks to folks like big oil and other 'wealthy' needy entities, and cut the military down a bit. My old artillery unit was phased out completely and no longer exists. This happened during the Bush administration. So I guess if the Republicans would act more like Republicans, they might have my vote.
Unfortunately, we live in a land where taxation is getting out of hand, because the government - on both sides of the aisle - are more concerned with keeping their jobs than doing their jobs. Where a nurse and a paramedic with two kids DO work hard, and DON'T earn enough to really pack anything away for the future. Where people I see are not insured, not because it's their choice, but because they can't afford it. Where Republicans state that government should be smaller because you can run your life better, but then want to pass a bunch of laws restricting your ability to do so, ie: abortion, gay rights, values and such. If they really wanted to let us run our own lives, I would think they would embrace legislation to let people live their lives as they see fit.
But they don't. And that's the problem with Republican leadership. I think the Republican masses like my friend Jeff really do believe in "Big gov't bad: small gov't good. High tax bad: low tax good. Big military good: small military bad". If it were that simple, I'd be a Republican too. But the Republican leadership understands that Big Military costs money, so low taxes aren't possible. And if they shrunk government, many of them would be out of jobs. And nobody will vote themselves out of office. And fair taxes would require more from those who make more money. You can't get blood from a stone.
I also wonder about the 'conservative' mindset that seems to be 'every person for themself'. If I work hard, I should get to keep my money. Makes sense. But what about programs that benefit the society we live in? How do those get paid for? How do we justify crippling taxes on blue collar workers when oil company execs are posting their highest profits ever? How do we justify salaries for some executives that equal the salaries of 10-15 employees combined? I'm sure dressing in a suit every day and sitting at a desk making decisions is taxing. And lord knows some of those meetings I've been to are about as fun as watching paint dry. But come on! When a hospital 'consultant' (not a doc, a former administrator) makes in a month what I make in a year, that is not fiscal responsibility.
Many, many 'conservatives' also tout biblical teachings as ways to live your life. (see: Traditional Values) Yet they seem to ignore the passage where God says "To whom much is given, much is required." Luke 12:48. And I'm not really sure, but I remember reading somewhere in my bible that God actually does want us to help those less fortunate than ourselves. It would seem then, that anyone with Traditional Values would not mind ponying up for helping others who are homeless or disabled, or who just aren't smart enough or connected enough to be doctors, administrators and oil execs. Somebody has to be teachers and janitors and paramedics and military personnel after all.
I suppose if I were making $150k a year, I'd be put out if 25% of it went to the government. That's only leaving me with about $110k for the year after all. How would I survive on that?
Is there a middle ground someplace? Where conservatives and liberals could meet and agree on a few things, like not being hypocritical. (It astounds me that some Republicans are Pro-Life and also for the death penalty.)
Unfortunately both sides are divisive. I really hope Obama gets the chance to try and cross party lines and make some changes, because that's what we need. But he's going to need a bunch of new people in Congress for that to happen, and I doubt that will change. I hope that if McCain wins, he goes back to being the old McCain that I respected. The 'Straight Talker' who was more open than he is now.
For the Veeps, I think Biden would do fine in case of emergency. He'd serve out the remainder of Obama's term and that would be it. I fear greatly for Palin. I have more foreign policy experience than her. I've got more contacts in other countries than she does, and that's not many. She's been governor of a state (that is flush with oil revenues) for barely longer than Obama has been running for president. And she has ready made scandals that go directly against what she claims to fight for. Anti-cronyism? Pro-Life platform? It's great that she's a woman who knows how to handle a rifle. But is the only requirement for VP someone who won't shoot their pals in the face while hunting?
For a time I was torn between McCain and Obama. I really was. But as the campaigns have progressed, and seeing the baffling choices McCain has made, I don't think he has the judgement to lead our country anymore. At least, I don't trust his judgement.
Thanks Jeff for the short note, but it brought up more questions than it answered. So if you read this, please e-mail me with more information on why the GOP's in charge seem anti-GOP. That goes for all you dyed in the wool elephants out there. Make your case! PLEASE! I'm waiting for someone to make sense of it all!
This post is too long.
More Later (but maybe not on politics)