This political season needs to end. Fortunately in about 3 weeks it will, but until then, it's going to be a rough ride.
I am obsessed with the political races in my area and on up to the President. I can't think of anything else. It's consumed me. And I hate it, I really really hate it. Why? Because I literally can't think of anything else.
Why is it affecting me so? Am I that much more aware of the political process now than previously in my life? Am I really that drawn to the people and personalities involved? What is it that has me so engrossed in this process?
And why is it the only emotion I have associated with this whole process is 'rage'.
Since Obama was elected (well, shortly before, but certainly coming into full bloom after) we have seen the growth of the Tea Party movement. Many in my area, especially in the races for state legislature, have embraced the Tea Party, at least as far as their stance on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
I don't know much about the movement in other parts of the country, just snippets I've seen on the news, but around here, it's pretty nasty. One of the candidates for the state senate, who happens to be running unopposed, has spent a lot of money on radio ads that say something like this: "This election is about freedom and free stuff. If you love freedom, vote for me. If you think you're entitled to your neighbors money and free stuff, then you hate freedom. Simple as that.".
Really? That simple? And that's just an example.
The worst part? The Tea Party has gained a lot of ground in Native American communities around here. Many of which depend on the government for everything - that is to say, they get more free stuff than just about anyone.
It's that kind of thing that just makes me angry! I just want to slap these people!
They really like their bumper stickers too. "One and done", "Nobama", "My healthcare plan is my gun" (seriously), and my favorite "I miss Reagan". I know I've mentioned that one before. I still don't get it. I mean really, out of control military spending, the constant threat of war with the Soviet Union, record unemployment, trickle down economics... really, what is it about the Reagan era you'd like to bring back? The worst part? A lot of the people sporting that bumper sticker weren't born when Reagan was president. Granted I was a teenager during Reagan's terms, but I must have a different view of that time than what they are teaching in schools.
I'm just ranting and rambling here, I hope you don't mind. I've had a severe case of mental block for weeks now and I'm hoping that by getting this all off my chest I can break through and put this behind me. Or maybe I'll have to wait until the election is over...
Last night was the second Presidential debate. So of course it's what everyone is talking about today. I didn't watch it. I'll probably go read a transcript of it later just to satisfy my morbid curiosity as to what was actually said, but honestly, I've already decided how to vote so the debates don't have any bearing on my choice.
And yes I am voting Obama and pretty much a Democratic ticket all the way down. Why? Because I don't feel the Republican party at this time better represents the interests of the American people compared to the Democrats. Are the Democrats really the best choice? No. There never really is a "best of the best" choice, it is politics after all, but I feel that for me and my family the Democrats are actually trying to do something while the Republicans are just focused on not being Democrats and are actually being obstructive to the process of government.
Case in point, the Affordable Health Care act. No one is talking about how Romney and state Republicans put essentially the same plan into effect in Michigan with great success. Healthcare for the populace is a brilliant idea. Everyone should be supporting it. But since the bill was passed under a Democratic President, it's a horrible idea, even though Romney has already done it. Why can't they just agree that it's a good thing and not try to be the opposite?
The way I see it, the Democratic party is moving in a certain direction. The Republicans, rather than being just 10 degrees off that direction or even 90 degrees are a complete 180 degrees - trying to move in the opposite direction. Not because they honestly feel that is the best way to go but because it IS the opposite direction of the Democrats. And moving in the opposite direction just for the sake of going the opposite direction is not what this country needs. Do the Democrats have the very best plan? I don't think so, but at least it's a plan and not just the polar opposite of someone else's plan.
Am I biased? Am I now a left-wing liberal who is just opposed to the right for no good reason? I don't think so. I am a registered independent. Besides not being able to vote in my state's primaries, this is also symbolic of my commitment to always try to look at the issues and the candidates no matter what. I voted for George W. Bush - twice. I also voted for Clinton. And Perot. I've never toed a party line. Often I've voted on party for President, and the opposite party for Congress. I think my voting record shows a commitment to always looking for the best choice for the times. So, am I biased? No. At least I don't think go.
That's why ads accusing me of "hating freedom" because I think someone should get "free stuff" make me so angry. First of all, I don't think anyone should get "free stuff". I think people should take care of people. If you want to belittle that by claiming that someone gets free stuff, then so be it. Second of all, I don't see how someone, like me (yes, me, I am on disability and medicare) getting free stuff means someone else's freedom is somehow in jeopardy. What they really mean by "freedom" is "money grubbing" and by "people getting free stuff" they actually mean "worthless people who are ripping off the system".
Which brings me to my next rant.
Everyone, and by everyone I generally mean Tea Partiers who have drunk the Kool Aid, seems to know someone or many someone who is getting food stamps and or welfare that really doesn't need it and is ripping off the system so we need to do away with the system so they will go back to work.
That kind of logic says let's stop drowning by removing all life guards from public pools, that way kids who can't swim will have to swim for themselves. IDIOCY!
First off, if there are so many people ripping off the system and so many people know about it, why haven't all those people been reported and investigated? I mean really. If you "know" your neighbor is getting food stamps but is buying a new $2000 TV or an expensive car, then do your civic duty and REPORT THEM. If you don't 'know', then don't say that. How about, instead, HELP them get a better job?
And that's really what the current election has come down to.
The Democratic party says we're a community and we should should help each other. Without unity, we're going to fall apart. The Republican party, trying to be the polar opposite of the Democrats says, instead, every man and business for himself. Your money is your money and you shouldn't have to help anyone you don't want to. Healthcare? Democrats say "everyone should be able to afford it and if you can't afford it, you should get a break". Republicans say "healthcare is a business, those that can afford it get it, those that can't should just suck it up and get a better job. Let the insurance industry set the rules."
And there is a lot more to this election than healthcare, but that is the most prominent issue that people know about.
Why can't we just help each other? Why do we have to have the government tell us we have to? Because if we WERE taking care of each other, then the government WOULDN'T HAVE TO!! I mean seriously, if it was working before, the government wouldn't have to step in.
I've told my story regarding health insurance before, but let me sum up. About 6 years ago I got sick. We still don't know what is going on with me, but chronic pain, memory loss, some neurological problems all sum up to a big pile of ick. I had health insurance through work that carried over when I went on disability, at least at first. Since in America health insurance is hard to transfer from one company to another, I had to go with the plans my job offered when I signed on. I picked what I thought was a good one. Low deductible, low co-pays, covered a lot of stuff. Over the 3 years I worked there I paid in more than $4000. (This was just for me, to have my wife and kids covered would have cost more than I made in wages - and that's on the discount plan.) Then I got sick. I had to have a lot of tests. Come to find out that even though the tests were "pre-approved" - that is we actually called the insurance company and said "will you pay for this" and they said "yes" - they weren't going to pay for them. In the end, if I had kept the money that I paid into the insurance company I would have been able to pay for the tests and everything else and still come out ahead. Instead I gave them $4000 and still have about $3000 worth of bills from tests that I'm struggling to pay. Then, because I couldn't pay the bills that piled up, my insurance company dropped me for not paying "my share". I have a lot of other tests that had to be paid out of pocket - that is to say I'm still trying to pay for them - that had to be done before I could get on Medicare (a nightmare of a process that took the better part of 4 years.)
The medical insurance system is broken. We've let the industry regulate itself and all it's done is put us in debt. Now it's time that we as Americans who love freedom to step up and take care of our fellow man. Whether we want to or not. Why? Because over the long term an America that takes care of it's sick will have a stronger workforce, more money to invest in small business and big business, and a health care industry that is fully paid for will lead to research and innovation that will lead to further improvements in health care.
Why can't people just GET that? Why is there such a prevailing attitude of what is mine is mine? We are a community, whether we like it or not. We have no CHOICE. We are only as strong as our weakest link. Romney and others don't think that way. They think by making the strong stronger makes us all stronger. That's not how chains work. That's not how communities work. That's not how America and the WORLD works. We, humans, are affected by everything that affects our neighbors be they right next door on the other side of the world. We HAVE to help each other. We have no choice.
But what about abortion? What about the unborn babies? Way too many people are making their political decisions based on this one issue. I too have been swept up in this cause and I have voted for a president based on their promise to end abortion.
The sad truth is that the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in 1972 - Roe v. Wade - will never, ever be overturned. Ever. No President, no politician, can make that promise because no matter what it will not be overturned. It would take a huge, miraculous, wild chain of events that lead to a complete replacement of Supreme Court judges with others that are 100% anti-abortion and even then there would have to be a case, exactly like Roe v. Wade, for them to rule the opposite way the judges in 1972 ruled. Or, alternately, there would have to be a Constitutional amendment. A Constitutional amendment requires 2/3 of states to propose it and 3/4 of states to ratify it before it becomes the law of the land. While not impossible, it is certainly unlikely to happen in our times.
I hate abortion. In fact no one LIKES abortion, but there are some that want you to believe that supporting the abortion choice means you like it or that you are supporting the business of those that do. The truth is, even the women that are getting an abortion, for the most part, don't want it. It's a horrible, painful process both physically and emotionally. Supporting a woman's right to choose is not supporting this horrible thing.
It's not going to become illegal. It's not. Anyone that tells you different is just trying to get your vote. The only way to end abortion is to make it unnecessary. You end it by making every pregnancy a wanted pregnancy. I feel that Republicans have put so much effort into trying to convince the American public that abortion can be made illegal that they have overlooked the only real way to end it.
Simply put - the way to end abortion is by supporting the rights of girls and women to receive equal education, equal pay, equal treatment in the workplace. Also by educating young girls about sex, relationships, and caring for themselves. We teach girls that sex is not shameful, but neither is it something that should be given away casually. We teach boys that they are responsible to take care of their bodies and selves too. We teach them to respect women. We support women's healthcare by making it accessible to every woman, no matter their age. Only when every pregnancy is a chosen pregnancy will there be an end to abortion.
This is not something that will happen over night. But I do feel that only one party really has a clue as to how to begin the process and right now, at this time in history it is the Democrats.
I'm just about ranted out here. I feel much better getting this stuff out of my head. I think the fog is clearing a bit. I've been trying for some time to write a blog post about how I, as a Christian, do not and cannot support the Christian Conservative movement., It's been hard to get the thoughts down because there is just so so much that is tied into everything in this election that I can't tease out the threads to make a coherent post and I end up just ranting and raving like I do now.
Thanks for listening.