Monday, November 1, 2010

Election Spying

In light of the upcoming election, I wanted to be an educated voter, so I went online to research the candidates in my area and stumbled across a handy little quiz that pairs up your views on the issues with the best matched candidate. I knew where I stood on all the issues, but decided to take it anyway just for fun. I about fell out of my seat when the results revealed that I share the most views with Libertarians. WHAT? I went back and reviewed the questions and realized that I had misread a question regarding laws and marriage. I changed that one answer and the results threw me back to where I suspected, smack dab in the middle of conservatism. Phew! Dodged a bullet there. But then I started to wonder how could one teeny, tiny answer could cause such a rift between both sides. If we truly have that much in common with members of ‘the other side’ why are the emotions so animated over the few things that we don’t agree on?

So, feeling like a spy, I decided to go to websites that support the other sides. I started with the Libertarian party’s website since the quiz almost catapulted me there. At first glance, it seemed promising because its slogan is ‘Minimum Government, Maximum Freedom’. Sounds good to me. I dug deeper. After searching its website, I quickly realized where I had problems with their way of thinking. It lists 5 points of Libertarian belief referring to: America’s heritage, caring for others, politics based on self-ownership (these three points I more or less basically agreed with), but then a couple of points threw up red flags for me: free and independent, and tolerant. I have a romanticized vision of the wild west and am pretty much for marshal law in times of crises, however, this idea of ‘live and let live’ seems a rather irresponsible approach to governing. It reminds me of the phrase, “you got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything.” Another one of my biggest complaints is their opinion to legalize drugs. It would be like a parent who knows that their child smokes pot, but then is shocked when their child begins to do other illegal activity or loses all motivation to do anything but smoke pot. Responsibility is not a bad thing. I want a responsible government representing my family and me. I have since learned that the previously mentioned handy quiz was created by the Libertarian party to change the way others see them. They may have initially done that in my mind, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that almost half of their platform is ridiculous.

On the particular quiz I took, Statism was listed as the opposite of Libertarian. While there is no Statist party in the U.S. (mainly because that belief system is essentially as un-American as you can get), I peaked at Wikipedia’s definition only to confirm my sad belief that economic statism (a.k.a. socialism) is alive and well and is seeping into the mainstream of the foundation of the U.S.A. Maybe President Obama should refer to that the next time he wants the government to purchase an automaker. Quite frankly, I had nothing in common with the Statist belief. Oppression was the heavy word that came to my mind.

And on to the opposite of most RR readers, I looked up Liberalism (a.k.a left wing, Democrat, crazy—oops wait, not that). I really have a hard time saying this, but some of my favorite people are Democrats. That is why I get so confused when someone that I would obviously have much in common with otherwise could possibly be on that side of the quiz. How different are we? Well, the Dem’s website has a very sweet sentiment when you read what they believe in.

Here’s a quote from the website, “Democrats recognize that our country and our economy are strongest when they provide opportunity for all Americans—when we grow our country from the bottom up…Democrats stand for an abiding faith in the judgment of hardworking American families, and a commitment to helping the excluded, the disenfranchised and the poor strengthen our nation by earning themselves a piece of the American Dream…Democrats believe that each of us has an obligation to each other, to our neighbors and our communities. Each of us has a role to play in creating our future—and while we have made great progress as a nation, we know that our work is never done.” Or rephrased from my observation: “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

I can easily pick apart that paragraph alone: provide opportunity for all sounds nice, except when they step all over my freedom to do so. It’s like grading on a curve, the person with the highest grade always gets the bad end by making their hard work not as valuable because their grade is not based on the work, but on the comparison of everyone else’s work. Grow our country from the bottom up…yeah right. I’m sure there are certain circumstances that all politicians have had to overcome, but don’t try to fool me when the majority of people in power who are trying to grow the country from the bottom up were born with a silver spoon in hand. Helping the excluded…by earning themselves a piece of the American Dream. Have they forgotten that is what free enterprise is? That is the American Dream. You aren’t doing anyone any favors by giving that which they should do on their own. You can’t give gumption. You can’t give creativity. How ridiculous does it sound to “help someone by earning themselves”?!?!? They are missing their own point of earning themselves. That means without help.

That does explain why I am so fond of several Democrats! I truly believe that most Democrats (minus Nancy Pelosi—she’s E-V-I-L haha) think that influence and money is enough to change others. It is a common pattern in life, but the truth always dispels that belief. They are the governmental version to enablers to drug addicts. They are the nosy and meddling aunt whose intentions are good, but the plan is flawed. They are the ‘Helicopter parents’ as described in the book “Parenting with Love & Logic”. They hate to see the natural consequences that others receive for making wrong choices. They are the wives that think controlling their husbands will change them. I won’t even go into their stance on the issues because I feel as though they look at problems in an idealistic view versus reality.

All in all, I see we have many similarities with our political counterparts, but the differences are valid. It is important to know who you vote for. If you vote because you like a guy’s personality rather than his belief system, you will be disappointed. Just look at all the angry people who voted for Obama. He was the most likeable presidential candidate, but that saavyness ended up polarizing most of America. We as a free society, do need the liberals even though they can frustrate us. They can provide a sense of balance (when debating on a mud-free platform). I can’t help but allude to the example that sometimes my husband and I don’t agree on personal matters and he can frustrate me. In our personal ‘debates’ we usually come to some sort of compromise or when he has a valid point, I submit to that stance. In the end, when we are respectful of each others feelings, the result is better than what I originally imagined. My idealistic hope would be that we as a country could somehow go back to the common ground and not demonize each other, but have healthy debates that could get our great nation back on track.

Since that handy little quiz was taken, I received my handy little voter’s guide in the mail. Quite honestly, it wasn’t worth the paper it was written on. The majority of candidates didn’t even answer the questions. So, with Election Day right around the corner, I encourage you to really take some time to research who and what is on the ballot. I guarantee it won’t be easy, but being an informed voter is a good thing. Don’t just vote for your party just because. I think that is how so many crooks snuck into Congress to begin with. It always stinks when you are voting for the lesser of two evils, however, knowing that is empowering and can give you ammo for the next primary.

Happy Voting, RR! Grab your tea and have a party!

1 comment:

  1. I am surprised at the research you have toiled with this election. Our country has survived and thrived through different political believes. I believe that the Four freedoms are a solid benchmark. My favorite is a statement in the FFA Creed. Less need of Charity and more of it when Needed. This tells us to get off our butts and get to work and remember our priorities. No Politics is going to win over hard work. Success is when work , sweat and opportunity meet