Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My "way-too-long-for-the-comments-section" comment

My friend Jason has posted a couple political discussions in the last week or so. I have plenty of opinions, but have purposely tried to avoid any political conversation of late for a couple reasons...
1. I have my mind made up and figure that most others probably do to
2. I don't want to get into a long heated battle or debate on my blog (or elsewhere for that matter) about these issues because it's really not going to do any good or make any difference anyways
3. I tend to be a judgmental person (one of my largest personal character flaws) and I would just rather not know what others think about stuff like this so that I don't even have that in my knowledge.

Still, Jason's post last week got my thoughts brewing and spinning even more than they had been. Then, when he brought it up again, I just felt the need to comment with my personal answer to his questions. Finally, I felt like I didn't want to put a mile-long comment in his comments section, so I decided to post it. I would like to point out that I am closing my comments on this post as not to discourage any discussion that I might detour from his blog. If you read this and have comment, I encourage you to head over to Already and Not Yet to read Jason's posts and put your 2 cents in.

On "Values Voting and "The Issues"
I was going to post two separate comments. I never got around to commenting on the first one. So...I'm combining them.

In "Values Voting" Jason posted a host of questions about all types of disadvantaged people all over the world and asked where is their place at the table. I read over those, and most of them were outside the country. Personally, I care very much how those people fare in life, and I hope that through missions and philanthropic efforts those who are blessed beyond measure may give back and effect the lives of those others in a very positive and beneficial way. I also feel, however, that those issues are not the responsibility of the President of the United States. They are things that are definitely global issues, and if opportunities arise then our nation definitely should contribute and help, but when I am voting for the President of our country I have our country's issues in mind. I am concerned about how he is going to run our nation. Just like the CEO of a company, outside efforts might come up, but the main concerns to that particular position are the security, welfare and growth of that particular company. Let me reiterate--I definitely do not disagree with helping others. My faith and what I believe would prohibit me from feeling that way. Many individuals and organizations-both Christian and non-Christian-have made great contributions to the state of global welfare. That's awesome. I just don't think it's our government's main responsibility.

I think being a citizen of our nation grants freedom. Freedom to have the opportunity to worship, to work, to be succesful. It doesn't guarantee that anyone will take advantage of these things. It doesn't guarantee that no one will be unfortuate in their circumstances and all will have exceeding success. Those things, to me, are not rights.

On to the particular issues that I have in mind when I'm voting...
Jason mentioned something to the effect that many people vote on moral issues, and those have been narrowed down to abortion and same-sex marriage. Also, he put up a poll that I don't really feel comfortable voting in because I do not have all my concern in one pot, so to speak. The post mentioned single-issue voting, and I think that this would be a very dangerous and neglective way to vote. Many important issues would be left unattended and unaddressed. Certainly our political system has flaws. Certainly everyone who runs or is involved does not have the best intentions, motive or experience. I think one good thing about our system, thought, is the fact that there's two parties. These two parties are very polarized in idealogy, (and another negative is that it's almost impossible for a non-partisan to make it anywhere in a large election) but most views of my big issues agree with one side of the ticket.

The big issues in the news are big, but there are also some smaller issues that are of importance to me. Like I said before, I feel that the President (and government in general) is responsible for the welfare and security of our nation. I don't think that every little thing needs to be legislated or controlled. I don't like the idea of every move of the people being under control.

THE ECONOMY--I feel that government in general has not done well managing the income (tax dollars) they have received. I don't think that the President should be able to demand more tax dollars from anyone until he shows that he can be responsible allocating that which he already receives. Along the same lines, I don't feel the richer should be taxed more just because they're richer. It bugs me when people get mad at the rich just because they're rich. Just because they're successful.
Personally, in the scheme of our nation, my family is not rich. We're pretty average. We don't have money to throw around. BUT I'm not mad at successful, honest CEOs who get a bonus because they're company has grown and it's because of their leadership. (I am not talking about dishonest CEOs who take lucrative salaries when they know their company is tanking. Man, there are a lot of topics floating around...) Those who work hard deserve more compensation. I don't think government has the right to decide that those with more money must pick up the slack for those others and redistribute.
I think the tax system needs to be reformed to be more consistent throughout. I am not an expert on this. I will not elaborate, so as not to make a democratic symbol of myself.

IMMIGRATION--Unfortunately neither of the candidates seems to be on the right side of the issue for me. I think that's why this hasn't been such a big issue since the primaries have since passed. I have no problem with immigration. I have a huge problem with illegal immigration. I don't want to say that someone doesn't have the right to be here. I don't want to sound like I think I'm more special or deserve more just because I was born here. But there are RULES. There are LAWS. And there is a way to get here the RIGHT way. Being a citizen here should involve participating in the tax system. It should involve following the laws and systems. Paying taxes helps pay for the things we enjoy in this country--education, healthcare, protection by military and police and firefighter forces, among other things. I think that the statistic being tossed around earlier this year was 12 million illegal immigrants in our country, or something like that? I think that our country paying for education and healthcare and law enforcement and imprisonment(for criminals) of these undocumented workers and non-workers may contribute to part of the strain we're experiencing in our economy...maybe? I don't agree with just taking a big gulp and making them all legal in one swoop. There needs to be a President who will enforce the laws we have in place to prevent illegal immigration, and come up with a plan to control and regulate those who are already here. This belief generally falls under the Republican ticket, but not in this particular candidate's issues, I believe.

CANDIDATE CHARACTER--I think that under this category I am interested not only in the character, but in the entire candidate as a whole. I think that our nation would like to say that when a candidate's past is good for the candidate it should be explored and publicized. When it's bad (for their particular candidate) we should not take their past into question. I feel that the past is VERY relevant in choosing someone for office--for their past is the only way to really tell who they are. They don't expect us to judge the reality, honesty and value of a candidate only based on their campaign, do they? That's like judging someone you're dating by only knowing how they acy on a date and not knowing anything about their family, their past life, their current life and habits. Crazy!
The issues of candidate character that I am in intersted and I feel are most relevant in this election are as follows--experience in leadership, experience in government, experience in life issues, past voting record, past affiliations and allegiances. I don't like the tone of "negativity" in a campaign, but I also understand that it's generally the way campaigns go. There's also an idea, I think, that if one candidate reveals something about the other candidate and it's not nice and rosy that it's negative--but it if it's the truth, I am all for knowing it!

SECURITY-- Instead of just judging the war in Iraq (I'm no war expert, but am generally in support of finishing the war) I am interested in the ability and willingness of a candidate to defend our nation if the need arises. I feel that one candidate will fully back the military when it comes their time to defend us, while the other will cut spending drastically and cripple our defenders. I think that one candidate will be tough on terrorism and terroist actions, while the other will want to sit down and hold hands and sing kum-by-ah and hope we can all just get along.

MORAL ISSUES--I'm just gonna put these in one category--Most of them fall on one side of the ticket, again. I am against legalizing abortion. I am against changing the entire image of the family. Same-sex marriage and full adoption rights for same-sex couples scares me very much. I'm afraid that if those changes are made into law that the entire culture of our nation will be altered.

A FEW SMALLER ISSUES-- A few of the smaller issues that are important to me but I haven't seen come out in a big way (except by the interest groups that it matters to) are the following:

1. Gun Control and Gun Bans--these kinds of controls would affect our family on a personal basis. I don't think we need assault weapons floating around on the streets, but a system that provides for responsible gun ownership should not be prohibited.

2. Education by vouchers--I think that our school system would be more competitive and effective if there was the option to attend any school, not just public schools in a particular district. It would allow those who are in some disadvantaged areas to increase their opportunities by choosing their school. It would cause schools to want to be a 'chosen' school and up their standards and more closely evaluate their educators. I have lots of 'teacher friends', so I don't want to offend anyone...but I think tenure is one of the worst aspects of our school system. There is no other job that once you're in, you're in. I think teachers, just like doctors, lawyers and other professionals, must compete and try to remain the most effective in thier positions.

3. The Fairness Doctrine--This is legislation that is highly supported by Democrats to force radio and TV stations to spend time equally broadcasting conservative and liberal sides of issues. This is ludacris--No one is forced to listen to TV or radio, and this legislation would, in effect, put most talk radio hosts and many TV hosts out of business and off the air, because so many of them talk about the conservative side of issues and have conservative listeners. These listeners won't listen if have the programming is liberal--then no sponsors, no shows. I don't see anyone trying to get liberal media, like NY Times and Washington Post to go half-and-half. Let the listeners decide if they want to hear it--if they don't they can turn it off. It doesn't need to be legislated.

ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES FOR ME--One of the most important things to me is what kind of judges will be appointed to the Supreme Court. Most of these other issues can be changed from president to president (and often are, such as tax increases/cuts and education benchmarks). To me, that means that while issues are important, they are often pretty temporary as the person in office changes. One thing that will last for possible DECADES is who will be the appointees to the Supreme Court. If liberal judges are appointed, while they are not supposed to legislate, they will continually rule in favor of more liberal issues--like abortion and same-sex relationships and gun control, etc--so much so that the precedents will allow for more liberal legislation. Over the course of years and years, the possibilities this presents scare me. With more and more legislation, what kind of govnerment are my children and grandchildren vote under? I want judges who will vote to uphold the conservative beliefs that I personally hold.

Jason...In your GREAT sermon Sunday (I really, really enjoyed it) you talked about where our hope lies. I completely agree with you--in whatever state our government happens to be in or headed towards, my hope lies in the grace that I am provided through Jesus. However, while I am a citizen of this country, I still feel that I have a responsibility to vote the way I believe when it comes to those running for public office. There are roles that I believe the government should play, and those that they shouldn't. As a public citizen, I need to support those with whom I agree, and I fear the repurcussions of liberal government will have in the leadership and lifestyle of our nation. No matter what happens here, though--recession, depression, war, cultural liberalism--I am ultimately a Christian who knows that our final judgment and ultimate reward is not here.

Remember, I'm disabling my comments b/c this is really just meant to be a comment. If you want to chime in, go to Jason's blog.