Life in the state of purple
A few days ago I went through our main blog and converted a bunch of my old posts from way back when. Some of the posts were more than 4 years old. Things have changed so much in that time! One big thing that has changed is my political views.
Everyone is talking about politics these days. I think it's kind of stupid that more than a year before the election we have to deal with all the hype in the media and the discussion over who will be which candidate and all that junk, but that's the reality of the world we live in. It's not my intention to throw my blog into all that crap, I just happened to notice that things I used to think were a matter of black and white (or red and blue) aren't as clear cut as I used to think they were.
Take the war, for example. After 9/11/2001 I thought everyone clearly understood what we needed to do. I don't think I really understood why we were going to Iraq, but I trusted our President to do the right thing. Now, 6 years later, we're still in Iraq, there haven't been any WMDs found and while Saddam Hussein may have been a threat to the US, I really don't think it was an immanent threat. Al Queada was, and is much more of a threat.
Which brings me to the war on terror. Don't get me wrong, I don't doubt for a moment that Bin Laden and others like him wouldn't nuke us off the map if they could. But guess what? If they could, they WOULD have already. Yes, I think we got complacent, that 9/11 could have been avoided, but not because any individual or government agency is to blame, hind sight is always 20/20. The reality is that terrorists are cowards and are more interested in spending human lives than money. They have talked or brainwashed people into blowing themselves up for... well, for nothing really. If they could get organized and get their hands on nukes, anthrax, hemmoragic fever, they would have by now. The truth is, they aren't truly interested in destruction, they are only interested in terror. Yes, we need to be diligent, but trying to go to war with an enemy we can't even truly identify and doesn't really care if they live or die seems kind of pointless.
Another one that struck me was my views on abortion. I still feel that the act of abortion is taking a human life. If you stop a beating heart, you kill that person. I pray that no one in my family has to make that decision and it breaks my heart to think of how many babies are not around because of abortion. However, I feel that overturning Roe v. Wade would be a great tragedy that would cause much worse damage than allowing it to continue. I don't like it, but overturning it would be worse. The truth is, when you really know someone who has made that decision, you learn that it's not as simple as what is right and wrong. Very few women who have an abortion want to have it. For most, it's the hardest choice they've ever had to make and they feel that when it comes down to it they really don't have a choice. Many go on to deal with feelings of guilt and depression. While I strongly feel that the church and others who are pro-life need to do more than stand in front of an abortion clinic with picket signs, I also feel that women need access to safe places to have an abortion when they have made the choice. Alternatives need to be given, not just slogans and bumper-stickers. We need to reach out in love to those who are still on the fence and to those who have made their choice on the other side, we should not condemn them. The question of whether it is murder or not is not the point and cannot be constantly thrown in people's faces. If you truly want to help women, don't villanize them.
That brings me to healthcare. The American healthcare system is broken. Lawyers and insurance companies have messed it up for everyone. To give you a personal testimony - I am on a lot of medications. While they haven't figured out what's wrong with me, the medications do help with the symptoms. I needed an allergy medicine because along with everything else that was going on, I was having severe allergy issues. The doctor prescribed Allegra, which is the one allergy medicine that would react the least with the other drugs I was taking. The insurance company filled the first one no problem. When we went to get a refill, they refused to pay for it, insisting that I use Claratin instead (which is now over the counter, which they don't pay for). The pharmacist tried to argue with them, being highly trained in drug interactions and all that, insisting that Allegra was the only one I could use. They wouldn't take his word for it. In the end we had to have the primary care doctor call and tell them the same thing. All the insurance company cared about was how much money they were laying out, they didn't care about me or my condition at all. Something has to be done to fix it. I think the government needs to do something, but I don't think socialized medical care is a realistic option. I'm not a medical expert, so I'm not even going to give my best guess because it wouldn't mean much of anything. But I am a patient who, even though he has insurance is getting deeper and deeper in debt in the process of trying to keep myself alive. All I know is, I pay out for the insurance, and I pay for what the insurance won't cover, and it's gotten to the point where I have been unable to get certain medicines and test because I simply can't afford them. Even with insurance I have literally had to choose between getting milk and bread so my 18 month old has something to eat, and paying the co-pay for a prescription. If that ain't the definition of broken, I don't know what is. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not asking for a hand out. I'm asking for a break. If my insurance wasn't so high and the doctor didn't have to ask for so much to cover his malpractice insurance and so on, I could probably afford my medical care. But it just gets worse as we go along.
So as we head into an election year, where do I stand? My voter registration card states that I'm registered as 'independent'. At the time it seemed like a good idea, but that keeps me from being able to vote in the primaries. But how can I vote in the primaries when I really don't agree with either the Democrat or Republican parties? So I have to let others decide who will be the candidate and then vote one way or another. Democrat or Republican, Red or Blue, when in fact I need a candidate that has views that fall somewhere in the land of purple. Someone who will admit they don't have the answers but will listen to their constituents and together they can figure it out. I don't like the two party system, I think it's flawed. I also think that the voting system we have in place is also flawed. Democracy can only work if people get involved. I think we need a system like Australia. Everyone is required to vote, or at least tell someone they aren't voting ( a no vote is still a vote). If we can get more people to the polls, if everyone were required to make a choice, people would take it much more seriously. Currently the source most people have for their facts about candidates is television. (Increasingly people are turning to the Internet and blogs, but that can be worse.) What they need to do is look at what the candidates say for themselves, everything they say. Then and only then can people make an educated decision. Sadly, the election for president is going to come down to who people like based on stupid B.S., like the novelty of electing the spouse of a former president or electing the first minority president. My opinion, there aren't any candidates, in either party that I feel are the best choice. So, when I cast my vote (which I will in spite of who is the candidate for which party) it will be a choice of the lesser of two evils, it will be for the candidate who comes closest to the land of purple that I find my self in.
One last thing. As you can see by my posts, I am a Christian. As such I typically am labeled 'conservative'. It seems like, especially the T.V. news can't say "Christian" without saying "Conservative Christians". I hate that label. While there are may Christians who fall into that category, that doesn't automatically mean we are all conservatives. As a student of the Bible, I listen to many speakers on the radio and on my iPod. Many of them bash "liberals", as if they were disciples of Satan himself. I don't know who drew this line in the sand, but like most other things I've talked about here, it's not as simple as that. It's almost as though some of these people are saying I am not truly a Christian unless I share the same conservative views that they do. I hate that. Life is not black and white, nor is it blue and red. It's gray and it's purple and a lot of people like me, if they are truly honest with themselves will admit they don't know. They honestly don't know where they stand on certain issues and many of them are sitting on the fence.
Well, I submit that the fence can be a stand. I think it's ok to admit that you feel one way, but can see the reality and consequences of going off your feelings. It's ok to admit that you hate something, but changing it would not necessarily be a good thing. So stand on that fence! Proudly say "I'm confused and suffering from a schizophrenic political point of view". Let's declare our city, county and state purple and not red or blue and vote for the right candidate who can go left and right depending on what is the right thing to do and not just follow the party line because that is what they are expected to do.