Sunday, September 30, 2012

Politicking: Part Three

Something else I want to take a look at is the level of division between Americans today. When President Obama took office, he said he would unite us. I remember fondly when he said in his election night victory speech, “It's [democracy] the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled – Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.” This was a powerful statement, revealing what I thought would be a show of unity and an olive branch between the president-elect and those who did not favor him. I thought, along with most other Americans, that this would be a president who would unite us like never before. Four years later, I can sadly say that that hasn’t been the case.
President Obama has been one of the most divisive presidents we have ever had. Not only has he refused to work with Republicans (which sparked them to refuse to work with him), but he has even refused to work in cooperation with members of his own party. He has pitted the poor against the rich, blaming the rich for all of their life’s woes (reminding me of the Bob Rumson character in the movie The American President), and initiating a full scale class warfare the likes of which we haven’t seen in over a century. Mitt Romney’s taxes have recently come into question just to play into this narrative, the President and others pointing to Romney’s taxes to try and say he is rich and therefore the problem with America. To begin with, Mitt Romney paid what he was required to pay or more in taxes, which is what the majority of Americans do. He’s no different in this regard. Now, some have had a problem that he’s paid so little in taxes, but they forget that Romney has not had a real job since he was governor of Massachusetts. What he has paid taxes on is his income made through investments, which this country generally has always taxed less for than regular income, and still more so than most other countries. This comparison to what he paid and what most other Americans have paid is a false comparison. You’re comparing two separate kinds of income. If I made $30,000 dollars teaching this last year, for instance, and made an additional $2,000 from investments, I would pay a higher tax for that $30,000 than I would that $2,000. Not because of the different values, but because of the differences in how they were made. Mitt Romney didn’t have that $30,000 dollar comparison, because he didn’t work. If he had worked, he’d have paid much more in taxes than he did, and that would probably been more than most Americans. So, if people have a problem that he paid less on his investments than they did on their regular incomes, they must realize that to remedy that, they would have to receive a tax increase themselves for all of their investments, matching their investment tax rate to that of their regular income tax rate. This is a ludicrous idea considering we do pay more in taxes in this regard than most other countries, and that having it even as high as we do, has been proven to prevent some foreign investments here in this country already. To lower that rate would actually spur new economic growth in this country through investments. So, what the President is arguing against Mitt Romney’s taxes is foolish and demonstrates that he either doesn’t fully understand how the economy works, or he is betting that the American people don’t in order to sway their vote.
We have also been told to look at Mitt Romney’s time at Bain Capital. By all accounts, Bain Capital is just as much a capitalist company as any other in this country. If you can find a major company who acts differently, I’d love to know, because I have yet to find one. Now, this is a company that specializes in investments, for itself and other companies as well. In that process, they have bought or invested in many failing companies over the years. Some of these companies, like Staples, Dunkin Donuts, and the Sports Authority, Bain Capital was able to invest in and save, or turn around. Others, however, were not so lucky. Some companies were forced to close their doors after Bain bought them. Some have argued that this was done purely for a profit. Perhaps it was. But I would remind people, this is capitalism. It happens that way. In a capitalist economy, not everyone is always going to keep their job. In a capitalist economy, each company is going to try all they can to make as much money as they can. Sometimes this may even come at the expense of others. I’m not saying I like when that happens. But it is an inevitable part of capitalism, one which cannot be remedied, lest we no longer have a capitalist economy. And we’ve already seen the total collapses of enough other forms of economies around the world that I surely, for one, do not wish to abandon capitalism just yet.
When President Obama demonizes Bain Capital and Mitt Romney because they acted as capitalists (successfully at that) to make as much money as they could for their company, a concept which most all other companies in this country have embraced since our very beginnings (one that we used to celebrate rather than denounce), it makes me wonder why. Why has this president influenced his supporters to condemn capitalism? I think there is a very simple answer for that: either President Barack Obama does not like capitalism, and truly is a socialist or communist at heart, or else he’s only doing it to garner support for himself, playing off of the hardships of others. Either way is bad, and harmful to our country.
We can look at the Occupy Wall Street protests as well. This was a group supported by President Obama and other high ranking Democrats, whose main objective has been to essentially demand from the rich their “fair share”. On the surface, one would think this was a noble effort. However, it has served more to create an even further distance between those who would support capitalism and those who would see us fully change to a socialist/communist society, first and foremost, pitting the poor against the rich. When we demand something for nothing, or even demand no riches for anyone, we destroy the very fabric that has held our society together for ages. We encourage individual prosperity for no one, and begin down that very path of destruction that so many in Europe and elsewhere around the world have experienced time and again. It is not a path I would want to go down.
But there is something to be said for the way this president has consistently worked to apply a one-size-fits-all policy of economics, education, and healthcare in this country. He has consistently worked to take power away from the states, particularly when it comes to education and healthcare, so that what used to be under state control, for each state to work at their own local levels to try new ideas in competition with the other states, simply no longer is allowed. With Barack Obama, there will be one healthcare for all, one education for all (which continues to woefully fail our children, and it is far from being the singular fault of teachers—it’s the inadequate standards, first and foremost) [I want to also express that our First Lady’s school lunch policies have created a one-size-fits-all lunch program, wherein many kids who only get one meal each day (from school) are now starving and begging for more food], and one economy for all, dictated only from the highest level of government. This is not what our founders had in mind when they created our Republican system of governance, with both state and federal branches of government having their defined roles of authority. One-size-fits-all has never worked, and particularly in a nation as diverse and as large as ours continues to be. One-size-fits-all, I would argue does indeed place a burden upon all those who would seek the freedom to live in different ways.
We must also look at the way this President has pitted Republicans and conservatives against Democrats and liberals. In this election, President Obama would have us believe that Mitt Romney and the Republican Party are anti women, anti middle class, anti immigrant, and anti all forms of government assistance. This is far from the truth! Republicans have fought for the advancement of women from Sandra Day O’Connor, America’s first female Supreme Court Justice, appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan, to Condaleeza Rice, America’s first female National Security Advisor (and only second female Secretary of State) appointed by Republican President George W. Bush. If this party in the past has fought against women at all, it has been predominantly concerning the allowance of women to fight in the military. It was not for fear that they couldn’t handle their assignments, but because men know the wages of war, and have wanted to prevent women from experiencing all those horrors experienced by men in wars past. Perhaps Republicans have kept in place a sense of chivalry that is no longer wanted, but if they have fought to exclude women from anything, it has been mostly for this reason.
Some would argue that our Pro-Life stance, concerning abortion, is also an affront to women. I would disagree. It is not so much an affront to women as it is a defense of those who cannot defend themselves. Whether one agrees with abortion or not, you must realize that Republicans are not against abortion to punish women. We are against abortion because we believe when the constitution guarantees the right to life, this is meant not just for those that are born, but for all innocents living from conception on. I know several in America and around the world would argue that life does not begin at conception, but the way I see it is that if almost all scientists around the world can call a piece of fungus growing on the side of a tree something living, then surely we can all call a human being living from the point of conception, when we are in our very first stages of development.
A most absurd view of Republicans being against women has come in the suggestion that we are out to ban contraceptives. That is not true. It is a lie if there ever was one. Republicans are not in favor of banning contraceptives. We are, however, against the provision of Obamacare that would provide contraceptives to people free of change, at tax payer expense. Republicans have always tried to adhere to principles of personal responsibility. This is certainly an area in which people can be responsible for themselves. No one should ever have to pay for someone else to have a good time, as such. Not unless you’re a parent buying condoms or birth control for your own child/children. But no one is trying to prevent women, or anyone else, from being able to purchase whatever contraceptives they see fit to purchase. We just don’t believe others should be forced to fit the bill for what you can easily take responsibility for yourself.
Immigration is another area I want to address, because there has been this false belief for years now that Republicans are anti-immigrant. I tell you now that this is a lie. Republicans are not anti-immigrant. We are, however, anti-illegal immigrant. I’ve heard some say that we should just allow anyone to come here who wants to, but there are many flaws to this train of thought. Population control is always something that should be taken seriously. At this time, we can sustain the 300 million or so living here in the United States to a relatively good degree. But if that number suddenly jumped to 400 million in less than a couple of years, for instance, we may see severe economic hardship for people all across the country. Demand for products may far exceed supply, causing prices to sky rocket, thereby crippling the economy. It is a very real concern, and one that has dictated our limits to the number of people we allow to come to this country each year. I would agree with many, including Governor Romney, that we can allow far more than we have though. We must also deal compassionately with those who have come to this country only looking for a better future, and especially with those who were either born in this country to illegal immigrants or who were brought to this country from a very young age. This is why we need immigration reform. I was amazed a few days ago to hear President Obama say that the greatest mistake of his presidency was that he hadn’t been able to achieve immigration reform, and to then blame this on Republicans. The Republican Party has called for immigration reform for years now. President Bush even fought for it, but it failed to pass in Congress. There have been members on both sides of the aisle working for immigration reform. It is one of those issues that the President should have bipartisan support for. However, he has not chosen to work with members of Congress to create any such reform. Again, he attempts to pit immigrants against Republicans though.
On one more topic concerning immigration, Republicans have been questioned for their lack of compassion. I would argue against this to the death, because I know nothing could be further from the truth. Democrats seem to think it should be okay for immigrants to come here illegally. The problem with this is that by doing so, they die in record numbers in that endeavor, they are forced to hide in the shadows of our society, and they are often exploited by businesses and others who would use them in drug trafficking and in the sex slave industry. That, to me, is far less than compassionate. Republicans, on the other hand, are against illegal immigration because we know it is not what is best for the immigrant who comes here. We would prefer they come here legally, safely, to benefit fully from the American way of life, and better able to avoid exploitation. And yet we are considered the party less caring?
We can also consider Harry Reid’s most recent assertion that Mitt Romney has “sullied the Mormon faith”. As with the tax issue, this is nothing more than our Senate Majority Leader trying to distract Americans from the real issues in this campaign, as well as to drive a wedge between Mitt Romney and those of various faiths. Harry Reid presumes, incorrectly, that a large number of Christian conservatives will be turned off by Romney’s Mormon faith and so if he reminds people of it, it will drive a wedge. Again, this is all in an effort to divide and conquer. At least in this regard, I do not believe it will succeed. Harry Reid incorrectly assumes that Christians are far more intolerant of other religions than we are and, unlike President Obama, Mitt Romney has never attempted to impose upon those of religious faith. We understand this.
Race has also been inserted into our politics by President Obama and his supporters. Vice President Biden recently made a comment that if Republicans took back the White House, we would put blacks back in chains (a nice way of saying we’d reinstate slavery). I would say President Obama’s failed economic policies have already placed blacks in economic chains, but that’s just my opinion. The fact that African American unemployment has far exceeded that of whites during President Obama’s presidency is a pretty good indication of this. But Republicans do not in any way, shape, or form wish to put African Americans back in slavery, or to even unfairly put upon them, or take away from them.
In all these ways President Obama and his party have attempted to drive us apart. His is truly not a nation, as I hoped he meant, made up of young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled, and not disabled, uniting together as one people, but a nation in which he obviously believes works best when we are fractured and divided. I, along with most Americans, would disagree. For as Kentucky knows best as its motto: united we stand, divided we fall. I am not yet ready to see our nation fall because Barack Obama has decided it’s best to divide us purely so that he can obtain a few extra votes come election time. I stand with Mitt Romney who would work far greater to bring us together in our most principled basic goals—that of building our economy and standing strong for our values and freedoms.
As I watched the Democratic Convention this year, I kept looking at the overall themes being presented. Those themes were that big government is better government, Republicans are anti everything and borderline evil, and that the Democrats will actually give you everything you want. Thinking on those themes, I was reminded of two quotes. The first is by a Democrat President, John F. Kennedy, who said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” The second is by a Republican President, Gerald R. Ford, who said, “A government big enough to give you everything you want, is a government big enough to take away from you everything you have.” I thought about those two quotes and about what was being presented at the DNC and the following came to mind. I don’t want all that I have to come only from the government. And I don’t want a government so large that on a whim or by default, can take away from me all that I have. I want a government that encourages individual growth and prosperity, not a government that promotes failure and dependency.
Under Barack Obama, our nation has become more dependent upon government, our government has expanded to become much larger than it ever should be, our economy hasn’t improved, we’ve become further in debt, and our foreign policy has become an outright disaster. This is not the direction I want our country to continue on the next four years.
I’ll be the first to agree that President Obama has done some good. I think that signing legislation that guaranteed equal pay for women was very important. It was something that should have been done years ago, and it was something my party should have supported overwhelmingly. I also support President Obama helping to end discrimination of gays and lesbians being allowed to serve in the military. Discrimination should be fought wherever it raises its ugly face. But it just hasn’t been enough.
In my opinion, it’s time for a real change, and for real hope. Not mere words, but honest action, and honest results. I’m ready for a President who will seek to honestly unite us, who will improve our economy, and who will fight for our values and our freedoms at any cost. And that is why I am a Republican, supporting Mitt Romney in this election. I’m ready for a change.

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