Friday, October 10, 2008

Election Time - Just a ton of Complaining

Well the election is drawing closer and I just can't help but wonder..."Are these really the only two choices that I have? Seriously?" I hate to say it but I'm more then just underwhelmed. I guess perhaps I should explain my political upbringing. I grew up in a very republican state the daughter of an illegal alien* and a rebellious white girl who came from a very conservative Republican family. At some point she became not so rebellious and found herself more in a conservative frame of mind but because she is a teacher also held a lot of ideas from the democratic party. She isn't always as well informed as she should be but for the most part she tries to vote for what she thinks is right, not just along party lines. In her family that is not always the case. When I first turned eighteen I registered to vote but it wasn't until I was twenty that I got a full taste of a presidential election. I remember talking to my grandfather. He told me I'd be an idiot to vote for a democrat. I think that was actually the day I registered myself as a democrat. It was easy to do. First off I lived in a state where concealed weapons were legal, super Republican. I could see the flaws and figured why not try something else. Probably just as important though was the fact that I'm a rebellious spirit myself and that was almost like a dare to me. It was hard not to find security in my decision though. Yes Al Gore was a wet blanket but people I'm telling you even then I could tell George W. was bad news. I also felt like abortion was a non issue. Not that it isn't a personal issue for me, I think it is wrong and wish people would just not get pregnant in the first place but as a political issue I think it is not something to pick a party on. I doubt it will ever be possible to outlaw abortion completely so I felt like there were other issues I should choose on and for me personally I felt like Republicans (at least the ones I ate Thanksgiving dinner with) were in serious denial. Plus I'm Christian and in my naivety I thought the Democratic party was the one that took care of the poor, which seemed like a good thing to me. Then came the Iraq war. Dr. J and I wrote so many letters. This was his area of expertise and for me it just made sense that this wasn't some easy thing to do so both of us saw this was a huge mistake. Do you know what responses we got back. We got back letters from senators and representatives that said , "The Government has information you don't. You don't know all the facts." We told our friends it was a mistake and they pretty much said the same thing. They said, "Well obviously the government knows what they are doing. They have to have information." But then it turns out they didn't, and Colin Powell a man who I hugely respect and think all people should, regardless of party was left holding the bag of crud on that one. So when the 2004 election came around you had better bet I did not vote for George W. Bush. But as time has gone on I found that my opinions have shifted a little. Some of this I believe has to do to the fact that I now live in a Democratic state and guess what, the grass isn't necessarily greener. We might have health care for all the kids in the state (which by the way sounds suspiciously similar to the plan Barak Obama is touting) but most doctors refuse to take it because the state is over a year behind in payment, and these are payments that are already too low. Then we have a budget which in 2006 let us be the state with the largest state deficit. I think California has blown past us in recent months but we are still in the top ten of states on the brink of implosion. Our schools are run by Unions that every year strike over things like a couple extra vacation days. We have huge amounts of disparities in school spending so how did we solve the problem, instead of distribution of the wealth we came up with school of choice which means that we have five different buses picking kids up in the neighborhood. Meaning all the little kids have an hour long bus ride to school, just not necessarily the same school. A total waste of tax dollar money and bad for the environment. Plus it means kids don't go to school with the kids in the neighborhood. Crazy. And while we are on schools let me say the unpopular thing. Even if you do equal money (and I do feel money should be equal) that doesn't necessarily mean equal education because if I a college educated mother am working with my son everyday on his letters and sounds, if I'm bringing him books about art, music, if I'm teaching him basic pathology and encouraging his interest in anatomy then regardless of IQ he is going to be 100 times better off then a kid whose parents don't have the time or the ability to do that kind of work. And you can't throw money at something like that. I've also come to realize that the Democratic party does not have all the answers. I still think we should take care of people who lack the ability to take care of themselves. I still think we should offer people the opportunity to better themselves. What I don't think though is that the government should fix every persons problems because as I've grown older I realize some people created their own problems. You can fix them over and over and over and it isn't going to do any good. Thank you bankruptcy laws. Thank you government bail out plans. Thank you politicians who say this is what your country should do for you, versus people wake up and do something for yourselves. You know what my generation has learned, eat your cake and someone else will pay for it (oddly enough it is going to be us in the end we just collective can't see far enough into the future to grasp that). And so here is my problem. I still think people who want to succeed should be given a chance and education is the best way to do that, so make the education good. Unfortunately that doesn't just mean throw money at it. That means invest in stuff that works and too few districts are doing that. I think a college education should be affordable so that people who want it can work to get it. I don't necessarily think everyone should get it. I paid every cent of school through scholarships, a job, and one unfortunate loan. I got 250 bucks from my mom when I left home. That was it over five years. You had better believe that made school important to me. Grading for the University I've seen plenty of students who could care less. Why should tax payers have to waste money on kids who just come to school to party. I think basic health care should be provided but people should realize that if we are going to provide health care for everyone it will be impossible to provide high quality care for everyone. People who tell you it is possible are lying to you. If you want health care for all you go to a socialized state. If they want the best health care in the world they come here. Med school cost 250,000+ dollars. Applying cost 1500 or more. Boards cost over 1000. Our first year in residency we will be making probably 40,000. Malpractice insurance for an optometrist in this state is 41,000 a year for an OB over 100,000. The hours are ridiculous. You spend most of your life surrounded by florescent lights taking care of seriously the most complicated systems/machinery/thing known to man in the world. If you are going to do everything for everyone it is going to be costly. So here is where this leaves me:

For the Republican Party we have John McCain. I'll be honest I liked John McCain on a personal level if you ignore the whole adultery thing with his former wife. I thought he had interesting stories and I liked the role he played in the senate. But seriously he is 72. The comment about not using e-mail? The fact that he won't update his face book page. That he makes no attempts to connect to younger voters. He is easy to connect to George Bush. He seems really quick to make decisions, sometimes you wonder if he even thought about them first. Sometimes he reminds me a pit bull maybe acting before he looks. Palin seems like an interesting person. Nice, pretty, smart? I seriously have no way to judge. I think she could definitely have a career in politics but is VP the place to start?

For the Democratic Party we have Barak Obama. I'll be honest here as well I didn't like Obama from before the election. I read his book "Dreams of My Father" and thought it was annoying. I hated the story line he played out. It felt overdone. I then got a little more irritated in the primary. I'm sorry I liked Hilary Clinton. I thought she was smart and vicious and I wondered how long it would be before there was another chance for a woman like that. Plus I realized how manipulative Obama could be. Case in point the election money promise. Remember when he challenged the Republicans to use public funding, and then after he realized his funding was much greater he came out and gave some speech about how he wasn't going to do that because the system was corrupt. I think I would have like him a whole lot more had he just come out and said, "Well I was going to do that but then I realized I'd raised a whole ton more extra money and I want to win so I'm taking it." Also another pet peeve of mine, getting rid of the Iraq war is not a way to pay for things at home...seeing as thanks to George W. that was deficit spending already.

And what I believe...that we are going to go through a squeeze in this country. We are the first generation that will live worse off then are parents. We are there already. I don't think either candidate is remotely prepared for the fall out. Both have some good points, both have some bad points but mainly both have made me question what type of person wants to be president of the United States. So what do I wish they would do for the next election. Stop with campaign commercials. They stink! Stop with biased news reporting. Give me a break CNN we know where you stand already and as for Fox news, do you even really count as news? And finally stop spending millions of dollars on garbage. Have your televised debates and then put up a platform online with what your plans are for trying to accomplish the things you say you are going to be able to do and then I can decide if I think you are worth voting for because right now, after millions of dollars of spending I don't want to vote for either of you.

*In all fairness the man has been a citizen since I was four. Spent my younger years in the Army, spent my teens in the reserves, and the only year I consistently got weekly letters from him happened in my twenties when he was serving in Iraq. He may not have been born here but he gave his time, his blood, and sometimes I think his sanity for this country.


Joanne Scaglione and Suzanne Stitz said...

Great blog... your confusion is shared by many. Thanks. It sounds like you have paid close attention to the presidential candidates by the summaries you laid out. H/e you have left out the 2 vice presidential candidates. Your analysis of Sarah Palin is way too superficial...and she is so important to look at in depth. As Sarah Palin is a heart-beat away from the Presidency of a 72 year old man with a continuing history of health issues including cancer 3 times,torture to his body that clearly will take its toll at some point...and a man whose party refuses to release his health records. In short, to me one of the scariest possibilities facing this country after researching in depth Gov the slightest possibility that she could be the president in the event of a Mc Cain illness or death. I challenge you to continue your research into both presidential candidates, the v. presidential candidates and then ask yourself 2 questions:
Was this first major decision of who a running mate made by each candidate an exercise of a responsible president thinking about the country? Could this VP become an effective President...?
Hope this helps you in making your decision.

Jackie said...

I'm not particularly excited about this election either but you gotta love the SNL episodes...

Nana Elizabeth said...

Wow! That was a ton, but since you are the daughter of a conflicted democrat, not counting a short 4 year episode, you have a right to your doubts. I agree, and have a ever really felt I could get behind any candidate! No! And yes, I did not vote for McCain either. It's not a fair competition to win a game prize, it's a dirty fight for bringing one camp or the other into power, so special interests can control the future.