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.