Journaling about Politics

I am about to take a risk…a big one. I am going to share with you what I have written in my personal journal about politics in the last month. I don’t know why I am doing this. It is rather long and I tried to just put a link to what I wrote in word, but couldn’t do it.
I used italic when I was quoting a phrase from whatever book I was reading at the time. This was often the impetus to the reflection. When I used ( … ) it was because my writing was so confusing you’d think I’d had a few too many. If you have been following my blog you will notice that some of what I wrote did make it into my blog in some form. Sorry about the repeat.

Here goes (feels like the first hill on a roller coaster):

October 4, 2012

The debates last night. Obama did poorly. Romney did a good job presenting the classic Republican view of economics. As Bernie and I reflected this morning, I realized that I am discouraged by what I did not hear. I am tired of hearing about the middle class. As Bernie said, “Nobody wants to be called rich. When we were working, we thought people who made $100,000 were rich.” Meanwhile I am saying, “Middle class is when a full time job provides enough money to provide adequate housing, health care, food and clothing for your family.” Who is speaking for the poor? Mother Theresa’s mantra (was) about preferential treatment for the poor. Jesus: “Whatsoever you do to the least of your brethren that you do unto me.” The role of government? (They say government should) protect citizens from (harms from outside our borders) but (I think that government should also) protect citizens from abuse and misuse within our borders. Government control? Yes – by establishing guidelines and enforcement! Government doesn’t have to run health care but it should set standards so that every citizen receives adequate care for their families, (as well as) standards for work safety and wages, for protecting the environment and as, part and parcel, oversight, penalties, and enforcement.

I am weary of this. Neither the president nor Romney spoke to what I believe. Where is the voice of the voiceless?

October 9, 2012

In this political time before an election, it is a crushing place to be. Obama, in the first debate, crumbled under the weight of the strong opposition – He was taken off guard, I think, by the shift in positions by Romney. Obama was ready to argue certain points only to find Romney no longer held on to that point whatever it was. It was a little like watching Tai Kwan Do. Obama attacked, Romney pulled back, Obama was swinging at air. At the same time, he was not prepared to argue what Romney threw out that was new. So unlike what I thought Obama was.

I wrote in my blog about how I don’t hear anyone talking about the poor. Here is where my heart is: Do we need to defend everyone’s right to own a house, cars, afford vacations – when there are those among us dying of diseases because they cannot afford medical care, those among us who cannot pay their rent or their heat bill, those unable to learn and grow because of the fearful conditions (in which they) live? I get weary upholding the rights of the rich over the mercy of the poor.

I don’t know – I am just tired – disappointed, disillusioned, discouraged…

How about a national discussion: What is the role of government? What is an American foreign policy? By smart people who are educated in history, in democratic principles and in science.

October 14, 2012

We watched a debate between John Stewart and Bill O’Reilley on TV last night. It was relieving to hear Stewart give voice to my beliefs. When challenged to throw his support for one candidate over the other, he hesitated. “You just have to choose between these two men,” he said. Neither are a perfect scenario, he implied. This is where I am at, too. I have my own sense of where we are as a nation. My solutions are vague for the simple reason that they are beyond my brain capacity. I hear candidates throw numbers around (trillions?) and I just collapse. But I do have this: a philosophy of life based on my Christian beliefs – but shared by other religions. It has to do with caring for the poor and sick.  I believe in what Jesus said when he said, “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” I believe these words are to be taken into my individual heart and into our collective heart as a nation. So, if I want health care for myself and those I love, I want it equally for those who haven’t been able to find employment with companies that provide it. If I can have the privilege of preventive health care in a clinic instead of going to the emergency room each time I get sick, I want the same for my brother. This is a no-brainer for me.

The words of Jesus ring true of me also in the world of foreign affairs. Am I satisfied with children having to live and die in war zones as long as my own grandchildren are safe? Are you kidding? “Bring the children to me,” Jesus said. I almost want to say, “Bring the children to my house and you adults can whack each other to bloody pieces.”

I know what I believe. I don’t know the answers of how to solve our national problems. I weigh the solutions offered on the scale Jesus constructed for me. I will vote the best I can on the day set aside for my voice to be heard, though it feels a little like a voice crying in the wilderness.
October 15, 2012

All answers are flawed. We’ve been at this democracy thing for 250 years! And we still don’t have it right. Democracy only works in theory – better or worse but never perfect. Too much greed and self-interest and disregard for the other guy. For individuals who are addicted, recovery only begins when one tells the truth about the addiction. I don’t think America will ever recover unless it tells the truth about its collective greed, self-interest, and disregard for the other guy. My solution today – let go of my own greed, self-interest, and disregard for the other guy. I am only one person – but it’s a start.

Once someone begins to think they are right, they begin to lose the battle. They shut down. In the election process – a candidate has to hold on tightly to their rightness or they can’t convince the electorate. What if one candidate said to the other “What a great idea! I never thought of that.” What if a legislator, already elected, said to another, “I am wrong”, “I am still learning”, or “Thank you for helping me see another perspective”. People without egos never get elected. Humility won’t fly.

October 18, 2012

I watched the town-hall style debate yesterday. I did not like either candidate – the election process brings out the shadow because candidates sell their souls in order to win – to deceive – to control the electorate. What seemed to be strength looked like weakness to me. I kept watching the faces of the people sitting in the bleachers – how would I have felt sitting there? Trapped! Joyless! Hopeless! I stayed with it to the end. It was hard to sleep. Last time I looked at the clock it was 12:45 am. The election could not come soon enough for me. I will vote because there are two constitutional amendments in MN on the ballot (I want to vote against) and two local candidates I want to support. But I think I’ll vote for Big Bird for president.

 

 

 

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6 Responses to Journaling about Politics

  1. Mary says:

    Thanks for sharing what you’ve written in your journal about politics, Judy. I think your honest and conflicted view is exactly what most of us are feeling on both sides of the political spectrum. The operative word here is spectrum, which is what politics should be about, not the extremes at the ends of the spectrum. I mentioned on Facebook that I wish we’d do away with political parties altogether and let candidates run as individuals. We need a major overhaul of the way we elect leaders in this country. Narrowing positions down to two parties with a binary “right” vs. “wrong” does not take into account how the vast majority of life runs on a spectrum.

    • Judy says:

      Thanks, Mary. I followed a movement for publicly financed elections a while back. It is still alive. There are a few states that have gone to it including Arizona. Here is what I recall about its advantage: Candidates no longer have to hold fundraisers and can use their time campaigning among their constituents. It evens the playing field and folks who have talent but little money have a chance. As I recall, in some places, candidates had a choice which method to use, this one or the traditional big money supporters method. The ones who chose the latter ran a risk because their choice was noted by voters. I plan to revisit the idea after this election is over. After the fiasco of this cycle, maybe citizens will be more open to the idea.

  2. Chris Jeub says:

    This is great stuff! I think you are explaining the frustration of countless numbers of people, particularly 2008 Obama supporters. For instance, in the last debate, when Obama tried to paint himself as a pro-tax cut, pro-drilling, pro-business guy, I thought, “I wonder what my mom would think? I bet that ticks her off.”

    You know I’m rooting for my childhood friend Paul Ryan, but I must admit, I was skeptical of Romney at first. After the debates, I honestly can say I am impressed by Romney. If Obama was taken off guard it was this: Romney turned out to be a different man than the media made him out to be. It wasn’t a trick, it was an honest platform and explanation for his ideas and solutions to the problems we have today. In my opinion, its vision INCLUDES helping the poor.

    Have you seen Ryan’s speech on this? Mom, you gotta watch it: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/309027-1

    • Judy says:

      I shared what I wrote as I wrote it. My thinking continuees to evolve as I watch and listen. What I think my journaling reveals is that I am at heart a sceptic. I also have values that I look for as I listen. There have been campaigns in the past in which I never once heard about the issues that were important to me. I have stopped being surprised by the humanness of humans, especially those who have power. I may have come off as more negative toward Obama in my jounral, but I tend to be pretty even-handed, I think. I can be critical as well as affirmative of the same person. Just ask my friends. PS. I don’t think it is just Obama supporters who are frustrated.

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