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Monday, December 17, 2012

Introspection


Although The Oxford Tea Party is still on vacation but I wanted to say Merry Christmas and Happy New year to everyone…. Maybe even add a though or two since I was at the computer. 

When I see the ducks on the pond I finally give in and accept that it's winter. The ducks are now on the pond every morning. Yesterday, I got the last of the one hundred and twenty trees and shrubs in the ground which finishes the landscaping for this year. Thank goodness, I can now turn off the irrigation wells, drain the lines, and call it quits till next spring.

Don't have any winter travel plans so far. Went to Costa Rica last year and hated it.  Americans are more or less targets in the many of the under developed countries so they are off our to-visit list. We like to escape the cold in January or February so there is plenty of planning time.

 Introspection: How much does it cost and where do I buy some?

Does time change principles, alter values, and does time move on?

The answer to these questions is , YES. (For some but never all.)

When we look around everything we see has changed. Even the cursed bathroom mirror tells us daily that we have changed as well as the skyline of our cities,  TV,  value of money has changed along with food and gas prices. Change is everywhere. Our best trick in managing this change has been to make judgments on what is acceptable to us or not acceptable to us in this changing world. So at best no more than half of what's going on is OK but the other half of the changes aren't and it leaves us anxious and angry.  On top of that is if the changes aren't acceptable to us , we don't want those to be acceptable to 'THEM" either. THEM is everyone else including the man next door, family members as well as our dually elected. It's everyday. It's in our faces nightly on our newscasts, newspapers, and discussions at the local coffee shop.

 The Tea Party finds its roots in this worry, fear, and anger. At the core of this last election what happened was not acceptable to Tea folks as well as many other conservative.  Obama being the icon of this change and change won.

In every experience, good or bad, there is the opportunity to learn. Usually if it is really bad the experience jars us enough to reevaluate our desires, wants, and beliefs. More often than not the opportunity to learn is lost through our denial and rationalizing trivial details of what should or shouldn't have been done by this or that candidate.  The outcome  of this  election created an undeniable and profound loss. The loss was our belief that conservative ideals, beliefs, and values were still most American's values and beliefs. Well, clearly they are not and there is no way we can make it so. This group of American citizens that don't hold what I call traditional values and beliefs is growing and is reflected in their voting numbers.

 There is another election is twenty three months. Who and what the Tea Party is  has been sullied and viewed as a liability by many voters along with a large group of politicians. We are seen as the extreme group within the Republican Party. Ask yourself if any politician will embrace the Tea Party support in the next election cycle. To hold the House and hopefully add a few senators in 2014, all the Republicans will rush to a more liberal center with a more centrist encompassing message. (This might be done without giving up 'smaller government' principles.)

For their own purposes the more conservative writers are turning out article after article  placing the blame for the loss on the mistakes they feel the campaign people made in their directing Romney…. Mistakes were made. So, are we to believe that Obama was reelected because of these mistakes? Not hardly. We ran a good principled man who lacked the ability to articulate a message that encompassed all Americans. Period…. 

Obama was/is seen as a strong leader with a vision and goals. Right or wrong that is the perception by majority of voters. Romney was seen as one more white, well educated,  nice rich male who didn't seem to understand that the campaign was a war. Certainly he was not perceived as a man of action. In times of trouble we look to a strong decisive leader. We all know people who just didn't vote. There was little enthusiasm inside the GOP or the Tea Party for Romney.

How far back can you remember people saying, "Oh, I voted for him because he didn't seem as bad as the other one?" That was in the background thinking of many voters in this election…. Surprise… How many men, just like Romany, has the GOP run for president in the last thirty or forty years. All lost and we wonder why. Looking back at this campaign the conservative vision was missing.

Within our families and friends we will find a whole bunch of people that want government to take care of them at one level or another.  They just voted. Even in the group that voted against Obama with their vote for Romney most want some level of active social government programs. We know this because this same group of voters keep reelecting the same good old boys and girls in both parties that created the warm fuzzy social caretaking programs…The story goes that one of the national political parties wants a smaller less intrusive government and not as many social programs as the other party. WOW...How does one measure the differences? By imagining there is a difference! 

I don't care very much how the rest of the world see us and I seldom read foreign press. But every now and then an article published half way around the world finds it way into my computer.

Here is a article from Czech Republic newspaper Prager Zeitungon.

 "The danger to America is not Barack Obama, but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of foolish voters that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama but less likely to survive the multitude of people such as those who made him their president."

Over the past three years I have suggested in numerous articles that the problems in our government is our responsibility. We elect someone and expect them to live up to their campaign talk. They don't… They run again and we reelect them again and again… Where and when do we realize we have to punish these people for failing us? After each of these articles I get a variety of comments. Such as  how dumb I must be to all the way to take me off your mailing list. At the core of our form of government is the notion, "A government for and by the people." Not one that is for and by the elected people. Somehow we have to get this straight. It is not their government it is our government.

Has anyone wondered why so many Republican voters stayed home in this election? The mantra had been that this election was the most important election in our lifetime. I'm sure there are at least three and a half million reasons why they  chose not to vote. (Maybe some of the three and a half million who didn't vote  had more than one reason.)  Many voters seemed to choose not to vote because they confused government and governing with their personal beliefs, social and moral values. The Republican voters who stayed home and did not vote did not connect the dots. They effectively voted for Obama. (While wailing and beating their chests about the current government.)

 Government is about protecting the people and the country as well as supporting social laws needed for a group of people to live together who have different values and beliefs.  At the core of the American experiment is personal freedom. You cannot have a free country where people are not free to make their own choices about their personal and family lives.

If the power of government is used to impose beliefs and values on certain citizens not only they but we also lose our freedoms. This is a very fine line and often we don't notice when its been crossed.  

Old Hebrew law and Muslim law gives the right and obligation to judge others.  One religion was not more strict than the other in terms of controlling the beliefs and behavior of their citizens.  What gets missed in this translation is the individual who is judging does not question the wrongness in their judging others. When HE was asked, the answer was simple, "He who is without sin cast the first stone."

Stones were cast during the last presidential primaries. We lost Newt Gingrich as a potential president because many could not get past their moral judgments.  He may or may not have won but he would have fought the fights and his beliefs very much aligned with conservative beliefs in governing. Primaries are sorting out process and I have no idea if his loss was a good thing or not. My sense is that the  national  GOP will shun any candidate that has a strong stance on conservative ideas of government. Clearly we lost two conservative men running for the senate in this last election over what was seen as  women's rights and clearly morally based. Abortion seemed to be the focal point  for  many in the Tea Party as well as many Christian groups. There isn't any reason to think this will not be an issue to the same voters next time and leading to the same political outcome. 

To what extent and in what areas of our lives are we willing for government to, through laws, dictate our values, morals, and behavior. Liberal voters don't want government involved at all in their private lives. Conservatives say the same with a big BUT at the end of the sentence. 

This is not a question of one side or the other giving in on social issues. It's a question of knowing what the reality is. Women won the right to vote in the early part of the last century. In the mid-sixties NOW was established and women movement began in earnest to assert women's rights in every area of family, community, business, and government. Women, as a whole,  never will, nor should they, give up any of the rights and privileges they have struggled so long and hard for.  Any politician, group, or national party,  who threatens any of their accomplishments will fail.  It’s a done deal.

What does this mean to the country, the economy, and our future? We can't draw on history for answers or guides. This has never happened before. It is the women's vote that will decide who will be elected in every election cycle.  Challenge them at your peril.

Our economy hasn't been good for the last couple of decades. Congress being congress they were able to hide so much of the slippage by tweaking the governmental systems and borrowing money. John Lenin said in a song, "One thing you can't hide is when you are crippled inside."

Our crippling process has been slow but consistent over many congresses and election cycles. The question facing government and the rest of us is do we want to  accept what we have done with our spending spree and pay the price that has come due or simply add it to our credit card? Hard core conservatives might say accept the consequence and pay the bill. However, when has American citizens or their politicians ever made difficult decisions unless they are pushed to the wall?
Most Americans do not have a clue as to what the financial cliff is…. Many of us have lived through a numbers of recessions. We know that the lower middle class  and the lower income earner, as well as the folks on social programs are the ones who are hit the hardest by recessions.

Our history tells us that Americans stand up for what is right, try and right every wrong, and will fight to protect their country…. The main difference between now and back then is we can't identify the enemy or who or what we need to protect the country from. If we jump back a few feet to get a better look we see that it is we the people. It can't be anything or anyone else. The American citizens  elected these government employees…. (Pogo: I have seen the enemy and it is me.)

Not just in America but in different parts of the world countries are dividing, floundering, many collapsing financially. The prayer President Museveni prayed for his country has a ring to it that resounds for so many people in so many countries around the world.

Ugandan's President Yoweri Museveni 

“We confess these sins, which have greatly hampered our national cohesion and delayed our political, social and economic transformation. We confess sin of idolatry  which is rampant in our land. We confess sins of shedding innocent blood, sins of political hypocrisy, dishonesty, intrigue and betrayal.  Forgive us of sins of pride, tribalism and sectarianism; sins of laziness, indifference and irresponsibility; sins of corruption and bribery that have eroded our national resources; sins of sexual immorality, drunkenness and debauchery; sins of unforgiveness, bitterness, hatred and revenge; sins of injustice, oppression and exploitation; sins of rebellion, insubordination, strife and conflict,”  So Museveni prayed a prayer for his nation.

Our opponents, whoever they may be, in this 'crash-the-nation' game imagines they have won. They imagine this because they don't understand that the outcome in this game is everyone loses. At the core this is a battle over the beliefs and values that were the foundation this nation was built on. This battle can never be over. These very issues have has been fought over many times in our history.  These are not just Tea Party values or conservative beliefs. These are basic American beliefs and are the only anchor we, them, and the nation have. 

Enough said….. Maybe too much…. Now lets take a look at one man's effort to say Merry Christmas….


Ron

docnick37@gmail.com