Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I need your thoughts and advice on politics

Hey all

This is a letter that I wrote to a friend regarding socialism and the presidential campaign. I've filled out my entire ballot already except for the presidential election. This is my take and I need some advice on your thoughts and feelings. I hope that I don't offend anyone here and publicly admit that I can be swayed one way or another.



Thanks for the dialog. I don't think that most republicans are talking about kicking the poor to the curb and cutting them off. I don't believe that taking care of the poor is socialism. I do believe that our current system is meeting many of the needs of the people in that it doesn't give them everything but does support basic needs. No one in the US needs to starve or be without the basics and I think that few actually are. I don't believe that everyone needs a college education. I don't believe that everyone should be able to get fast food to eat every day. I get the feeling that this is where some left side policies are going. People should struggle. It's been that way for all time.

Socialism is when the government controls all monetary transactions on behalf of the people. I believe that the republicans recently have taken more steps in the socialist direction then any politician in the history of the U.S. I don't believe that socialism is an issue in this election. Both parties are leaning towards it regardless of what they say.

When it comes to the big issues though there is a difference between the candidates. I'm looking at where they stood in January of 08 as I believe that both candidates have publicly adjusted some of these views since then and their original views may be more revealing.

Roe v Wade Obama supports, McCain does not support. I'm on the fence. There are times when abortion is appropriate and Roe-v-wade allows for those times in addition to others.

Education, Both candidates support similar reforms in addition to No Child Left Behind

Energy and Oil Neither candidate support additional drilling in ANWAR or off shore in Jan of 08. Both have moved on this subject since then. This is an issue that I have with both candidates. I am a member to the T. Boone Pickens army and believe that comprehensive energy reform is the answer to many of our future issues including the middle east. Neither candidate actually has any idea how to solve this big issue. Their handlers have had the play lip service to energy but neither actually believe in it.

Guns, Obama supports additional gun bans. McCain does not. I am a member of the NRA and a gun owner. My wife is editing a book written by a holocaust survivor. In that book he speaks about how in the beginning of the nazi power struggle some saw what was happening and wanted to fight back but the government had banned all personal weapons so the only people with guns were the nazis. I'm not suggesting that we're going to be the next Empire or anything but I do believe that we will experience difficult times in these last days and I want to have in my possession the tools and knowledge to protect my family from those who would destroy it. This includes assault rifle style of arms which are designed to defend protect and intimidate. Which is what I need them for.

Immigration- Both support a path to citizenship for Illegals and a border fence. I support both these views. But this is a bigger issue to me then anyone except Sharif Joe is making it.

Iraq- Obama apposes the war and supports troop withdrawal McCain believes the inverse. I'm on the fence here and actually see both sides. We do need to get out of the mess we are in there but we need to do it in a way that is supportive and respectful to the people who we have ditched to their own problems with the Soviets before. Most people don't understand the history of the U.S. in that region very well. I don't assume to have a clear picture myself but I respect that we have had a hand in making it the unstable place that it is and we have had a hand in creating the fierce hatred by our past actions. Besides. all those who believe in the second coming of the Savior understands that there will be a lot going on in this region in the time to come regardless of our political views. If we pull out and it destabilizes the area bringing the second coming sooner I guess I'm ok with that but I still think that we need to do it in a respectful manner and I believe that McCain would actually do better at this. Even though he comes across as a bit of a war monger.

Minimum wage- Obama supports and increase and McCain does not. I've never been a support of the minimum wage.... well since I was 16 that is. I'm a free market capitalist even though we screwed up the housing and lending markets I think that in most areas free market capitalism gets it right. Besides I believe that the minimum wage is supporting illegal immigration.

Same Sex Marriage- Neither support same sex marriage and neither want a constitutional amendment to ban it. Obama supports civil unions and McCain supports something like civil unions. These guys are both taking a politically safe middle ground on this subject. I'm actually a little torn here and wish that I actually had any idea where they each stand on this.

Taxes- Both of these guys are going to raise taxes. I believe that the small business people will be hit the hardest and it's tempting me to scale back some of my own business ideas. It just isn't possible to do the things that we are doing today without raising some capital. This is depressing but I believe that Obama has a more feasible plan.

Finally the VPs Biden is a career politician and comes across as slimy as ever and it's fun to see Obama have to tell him to sit out campaigning when he says stupid things. Pailin is awful. She has been portrayed by the McCain camps actions as a weak stupid woman who can't speak for herself. There are more effective choices he could have and should have made.

I still don't know who to vote for. I believe that Arizona will turn out to be a swing state even thought the poles don't show it to be there are a lot of people here who really don't like McCain. I'm trying not to be a pawn to the media but I have a doubt implanted in my head about Obama and his past/present relationships. Both sides are pushing to either downplay or up play these relationships but I don't know if I believe Obama when he simply brushes them away as nonsense. It just feels fishy to me.

So what it comes down to for me is guns, iraq, energy and free markets. This would put me in the McCain camp but then I just feel like he's a grumpy old man who does some stupid things.... which reminds me of a current president who I'm not very happy with. So do I do as the politicians do and buck my beliefs for someone who appears more intelligent and much more polished?

That's my struggle.


Monday, October 6, 2008

Holly's Utah Trip Commentary

I received the greatest shock and surprise of my life this weekend at the wedding of Phil’s brother Chris. A few months ago, Chris called us and asked us if Natalie could be a flower girl at his wedding. Phil, confident in our daughter’s abilities, bluntly stated, “Sure, as long as you don’t need her to do anything, because if it requires more than just standing there, it won’t happen.”

Well, the fateful morning eventually arrived. We begged, cajoled, and pleaded with Natalie for us to let her do her hair in a respectable bun. She was very excited about her beautiful blue dress and “diamond” necklace that the bride-to-be, Kiersten, had graciously provided. We showed up at the reception center early for a quick rehersal before the main event.
The mansion was beautiful. The wedding was to be held on the lawn about 50 yards away from the house alongside a waterfall and in a picturesque gazebo. The bride and her entourage, including Natalie, were to walk from the house down about three flights of stairs, pausing for three seconds at each landing, and then walk across the lawn and down the aisle to the front of all of the guests and stand for the duration of the ceremony next to the bride and groom. I stood at the top of the stairs with Natalie (Phil had Alana on the lawn with the other guests) picturing our very opinionated daughter alone with strangers and thought, “Yeah, right! Good luck with that!”
To top it all off, the two flower girls were to descend the staircase immediately before the bride. All sorts of visions of various calamities crossed my mind. I saw Natalie, walking with the older and, we soon discovered, much faster flower girl and falling down the stairs, breaking a limb right in front of the bride, severely crippling the ceremony. I saw her sitting down half way down the steps resolved to go no further, with Phil and me a hundred yards away with the other guests unable to do anything besides helplessly watch. I saw myself, a big pregnant lady, running across the lawn to chase her as she ran, throwing the tantrum of her life, in whatever path would make us most visible for the longest period of time. I saw her jumping into the fishpond and splashing in the waterfall. In my mind’s eye, I saw her doing everything besides walking graciously down the aisle, delicately dropping petals from her silk-covered basket.

And yet that’s what happened (just about). Now we know that miracles happen in our times! She was amazing! She walked without stumbling down all of those stairs, pausing at approximately the right times. She made it all the way across the lawn and even stood with the line of bridesmaids for the entire ceremony! Phil and I just sat there with our jaws on the floor. It was the surprise of our lives. The only hiccup was that we hadn’t practiced dropping the petals, and Natalie had grown so attached to them that she would throw a handful and then stop to pick them up. She didn’t hold up things too much and frankly a lot of people thought it was cute. Since she didn’t destroy anything, we were more than pleased with the way things turned out.

What’s the moral, you may ask? Well, I think that Phil and I will have to work on not standing in our children’s way. We don’t let Natalie try things because we don’t have the confidence that she can do them successfully, when she might have more talents that we are stifling. The bride and groom had more faith in her than we did, and it turned out to be a great experience, both for us and for Natalie. Thanks, Chris and Kiersten!

Some other highlights from the trip were hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa, seeing Buddy and the cat, going up and down all of the stairs hundreds of times, visiting with good friends such as the Graves family, Aslynn, and Jodi, and seeing all of our great aunts, uncles, and cousins, and hanging out with Great Grandma. The girls had a fantastic time.

Alana also gained the confidence to walk at the airport. She has been walking short distances for a while, but she just couldn’t make the switch from crawling to walking full-time. When we were trying to keep her contained near our luggage, she saw her opportunity and made a break for it. She wanted to get out in the crowd in the main aisle of the terminal and walk with all of the people. We got looks that could melt iron from busy travelers as I followed this little girl around the crowded terminal and Phil followed with the video camera. Alana has been running around ever since.

Overall it was a fun trip. Thanks, everyone!