Tuesday, July 27, 2004

 
Politics, Again...
 
Why does everyone assume that since I’m a Mormon that I’m also a Republican? 

I don’t really consider myself to be a Democrat, either, but I’m definitely NOT a Republican, and I’m definitely NOT voting for Bush.

Frankly, I’m not sure who I’m going to be voting for.

But some people talk to me about issues like the war, and so on, and they talk like they’re assuming I agree with them.  And they go on with their views, and they don’t ever pause to consider that I’m not buying it.

Maybe it’s the fact that I let them.  I don’t like arguing politics.  I LOVE watching politics.  But I don’t like to argue about it.

I like the strategies, the posturing, the speeches, the conventions.  But I don’t buy that either of them will really be able to accomplish all they promise.

But I digress. 

I’m not undecided, fundamentally.  I know what I believe, and I know where I stand.  I just can’t find anyone to vote for that represents me.  At least not as fully as I’d like.

I like the idea of a constitutional amendment defining marriage.  I don’t like the idea of deconstructing the family: Republican

I think the invasion of Iraq was one of the biggest foreign policy disasters of the last two decades.  I don’t think it had anything at all to do with preserving freedom (ours OR theirs):  Democrat

I think government should take a role in the support of its people:  Democrat

I think government should stay off the backs of business (especially small business):  Republican

I find it very interesting that, in spite of the label “tax and spend liberals”, the only administration to balance the federal budget in my life’s memory was Democratic.

I think abortion is the same as murder, and I also think that the solution to unwed parenting and STD epidemics isn’t made of rubber:  Republican

And so it goes, on and on.

I’m just disenfranchised.  Nobody to vote for. 


 *sigh*
 
MRKH
http://markhansenmusic.com

3 comments:

  1. Mark,

    Some responses to some of the things you brought up:

    “Why does everyone assume that since I’m a Mormon that I’m also a Republican? “

    Because most Mormons are Republicans, obviously.

    “ . . . I’m definitely NOT voting for Bush.”

    Neither am I, but maybe for different reasons than yours. And I’m a registered Republican!

    “ . . . I don’t buy that either of them will really be able to accomplish all they promise.”

    I completely agree.

    “I like the idea of a constitutional amendment defining marriage.”

    Me too, though on my list of desirable political priorities, it’s at or near the bottom, know what I mean?

    “I think the invasion of Iraq was one of the biggest foreign policy disasters of the last two decades. I don’t think it had anything at all to do with preserving freedom (ours OR theirs).”

    Here I have to scratch my head a little. I agree that our reasons for entering the war were a little shaky. And I know that we should always view war strictly as a last resort, only when all else fails. But I also think that Saddam was given plenty of chances to come clean, and he didn’t. And I’m sure that his removal will have a lasting, meaningful impact on the Middle East and on long term efforts to curb anti-American terrorism. That the USA isn’t at the top of any European popularity list right now means absolutely nothing to me.

    My perception is that spirits are generally high in Iraq, both among the troops and the native Iraqis, the vast majority of whom are grateful that Saddam is gone. I suspect that the American media has been extremely unbalanced in their reporting of conditions in Iraq, focusing almost entirely on the problems there and never on any of the good that is happening.

    I will venture to guess, Mark, that you have never been to Iraq, and that you are neither an expert in international relations nor a Middle East scholar. Neither am I, of course. Your characterization of the war in Iraq as “one of the biggest foreign policy disasters of the last two decades” makes me therefore wonder how you can make such a confident, sweeping assessment of a situation of which you have little or no personal or direct experience or expertise.

    I have to assume that you are basing your view on an underlying trust that the American media coverage has been thorough, balanced and accurate, something I would strongly call into question. I certainly respect your right to voice your opinion, but I disagree with your assessment. Just last week I heard an obscure news report in which it was noted that countless American military personnel are mystified when, upon returning to their home soil, they find that the Iraq war is being characterized in such a negative light. They are apparently fed a steady diet of positive press in Iraq (which is as it should be, I suppose) which makes them feel as though they are doing a great service there. They then come home and discover that, at least in the minds of many Americans, it is just the opposite.

    My view is that the war and its underlying reasons and methods are highly complicated, difficult subjects in which there is a lot of grey area. On the whole I am supportive of the war effort, based on my current and admittedly limited knowledge, though I am open to the possibility that I may be persuaded at some future date to change my view.

    It has long fascinated me that many American intellectuals, most of them liberal Democrats, stubbornly cling to the notion that the viewpoints of individual Americans, measured collectively in the form of a poll or a survey, are infallible indicators of right and wrong in such matters as international politics, regardless of the obvious lack of knowledge of the vast majority of us. These same liberal thinkers also tend to believe that individual Americans are utterly unable to make correct or wise decisions regarding items of personal utility, such as what kind of toothpaste to buy, where to buy cuts of beef, and so on; hence, the existence of regulatory “consumer safety” agencies such as the FDA, etc.

    “I think government should take a role in the support of its people.”

    This is a pet peeve of mine; you happened to hit a hot button, which prompted this entire response to your initial blog. The problem is that this view is stated so broadly that it is almost devoid of any meaning, though of course I know (by reading between the lines, so to speak) what you are really talking about here. After all, who in his right mind would say, “No, Mark, governments should not support their people?”

    But if I reword your sentence to say what I really think you mean, and all that it implies, it will suddenly become distasteful, and you will back off from it or disagree with my word choice or something. Here’s what I think you really mean:

    You think that the employees of the federal government have both the right and the duty to make judgments as to whom they think is most in need of property, and that these federal employees also have the right and the duty to forcibly compel law abiding American citizens, against their will and under pain of potential imprisonment or even death, to permanently surrender substantial amounts of their justly owned property for governmental redistribution to other Americans, based on governmental judgments, whether such actions are provided for by the constitution or not.

    Like I said, I doubt you would be as enthusiastic about endorsing my statement as you would your original, abstract, innocuous one. It’s really hard for me to hear politicians using euphemisms and double speak to cloud issues and cause innocent voters, such as yourself, to arrive at faulty conclusions because you were unable or unwilling to consider matters for what they really are, rather than for the spin that is put on them. I remember when President Clinton kept talking about “making an investment,” rather than raising taxes. Such doublespeak is, to me, blatantly dishonest and appalling.

    If you really think that the government’s job is to force people to pay taxes to support those whom the government deems to be poor, then so be it, but please state your view accurately, rather than saying something like “take a role in the support of its people.” What the heck does that mean, anyway?

    “I think government should stay off the backs of business (especially small business).”

    Again, maybe you were just trying to be succinct, but your meaning is anything but clear. I own a small business, and the worst government intrusion, by far, is the huge federal tax we have to pay. I could interpret your statement to mean that you are opposed to government taxation of small businesses, but I don’t think that was what you meant, was it?

    “I find it very interesting that, in spite of the label “tax and spend liberals”, the only administration to balance the federal budget in my life’s memory was Democratic.”

    I think that “tax and spend” conservatives might be as apt a description as “tax and spend” liberals, but in either case, the shoe definitely fits. Your statement implies that the balanced budget was somehow the result of a Democratic president either cutting taxes or cutting government spending or programs. I can assure you that such was not the case. Government has grown steadily under both parties, which has frustrated me to no end. And I understand that you probably don’t equate tax cuts with balancing the budget or reducing the deficit, unless you buy into supply side theory, in which tax cuts spur economic growth which increases the tax base and brings more money in overall, despite the initial tax cuts. If a balanced budget is important to you, as it is to me, I surely hope that you are not naïve enough to suppose that a Democrat in the White House will somehow magically bring us closer to a real, permanently balanced budget than Bush will. Neither is committed to the kind of serious cutting that would be required; both will react to prevailing economic conditions, rather than proactively working to eliminate deficit spending.

    “I think abortion is the same as murder, and I also think that the solution to unwed parenting and STD “epidemics isn’t made of rubber.”

    This is another complex and sticky one, even for priesthood holders like us. Think about it. If abortion is murder, then fetuses are citizens with constitutional rights (at least with the right to life, correct?). Our court system defines murder in different ways, ranging from manslaughter (you didn’t mean to kill anyone) to hot blooded (you killed in a rage, and now you’re sorry) to first-degree, cold blooded murder, in which you planned everything out in advance, calmly and coldly. Abortions would, by definition and by actual practice, have to fall into this third category, if they were defined as murder. Hence, every doctor, patient and accomplice would have to be found guilty of murder in the first degree, for which many states have a death penalty. Are you prepared to execute tens of thousands of people for participating in abortions?

    On the other hand, though the Church is opposed to abortion (except in special cases), and though the Church has not hesitated to espouse specific positions on various laws and proposed laws (such as the proposed Equal Rights Amendment, for example), the Church has never, to my knowledge, taken a specific stand on any proposed anti-abortion legislation. Further, while a person who has committed first-degree murder either cannot be baptized or has to first interview with an apostle or the prophet, people who have had abortions get baptized all the time and only have to interview with mission presidents. Clearly, there is a difference.

    I’m not saying I support Roe vs. Wade; I don’t. It’s a horrible abuse of the constitution. But I’m not sure the proper role of the federal government should be to ban all abortions, either. It’s a complex issue, just like the war in Iraq.

    I guess I’m just trying to point out, Mark, that these issues are not as black-and-white as they might seem on the surface. It’s great that you’ve given them thought and that you have taken some positions. I hope for every position you take, you can argue as eloquently and persuasively for the opposing viewpoint, just to be sure that you thoroughly understand it.

    “I’m just disenfranchised. Nobody to vote for.”

    Then I guess you need to run for office yourself, huh? (wink, wink) As for me, I’m closely eyeing Michael Badnarik, the libertarian candidate. (www.lp.org, if you’re interested.) He’s far from perfect, but I’m so frustrated with Bush, not because of Iraq, but because of things like No Child Left Behind, steel import quotas, and huge spending budgets.

    Anyway, pardon the rant, and keep your chin up!

    - Mick

    ReplyDelete
  2. but I’m definitely NOT a Republican, and I’m definitely NOT voting for Bush.

    Frankly, I’m not sure who I’m going to be voting for.
    If you're definitely NOT voting for Bush, then there aren't really that many other alternatives.

    But I hear you on feeling disenfranchised... I feel the same way.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm not elated with Bush or Kerry. I've been reviewing other candidates and will probably vote for one of them. Doesn't matter that they won't win. It's a matter of principal. With the electoral college, it doesn't matter anyway in my state. It will go for Bush (and I did vote for him in 2000). I don't think I'll be better or worse off whichever one of those 2 gets in. Plus, after 8 years of Clinton, I'd say the chances of us turning this country around morally are gone anyway. :^/

    ReplyDelete

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