"A wise man attacks the city of the mighty, and pulls down the strongholds in which they trust."
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
View From A Blue State Independent
By George W. Sarris
I am not a Democrat. I am not a Republican. I am a registered Independent.
I voted for John McCain in 2008, but I was not unhappy when I learned that Barack Obama won the election. I was glad that the country made the historic step of voting in an African American to the highest office in the land. I was hoping that he would succeed in providing a good role model as a husband, father, and wise leader – especially for many in America’s inner cities who don’t have strong male role models in their homes.
I listened to some of the speeches given at this year's Republican National Convention, and I listened to some of the speeches given at this year's Democratic National Convention. As expected, some in each were powerful and delivered well. Others fell flat. They occurred at political nominating conventions, so I expected them to be partisan.
As I look out at the landscape of this country right now and try to understand what is the best course for us to take in the future, three things really concern me.
A Moral Concern
There is something disconcerting about the moral stand of one of the great political parties.
Our country and the world are facing major problems. Out of control spending in Washington is threatening to completely cripple our economy and hang a millstone around the necks of not just one, but several future generations. The debt crisis in Europe is causing upheaval and division within the European Union that may bring about its complete collapse. Governments in the Middle East are literally falling apart. The potential for a nuclear Iran is looming large over the landscape. Acts of terrorism against the United States and within the US seem to be commonplace events . . .
. . . And, the Democratic National Convention chose to focus its energies on telling us how they will defend the rights of women to kill their unborn babies; how they will work hard to have the government force insurance companies and religious organizations pick up the tab for contraceptives; and how they will promote the rights of men and women to have sex with anyone they wish.
The sheer strangeness of all the talk about abortion, abortion, contraception, contraception. I am old enough to know a wedge issue when I see one, but I've never seen a great party build its entire public persona around one. Big speeches from the heads of Planned Parenthood and NARAL, HHS Secretary and abortion enthusiast Kathleen Sebelius and, of course, Sandra Fluke.
. . . What a fabulously confident and ingenuous-seeming political narcissist Ms. Fluke is. She really does think—and her party apparently thinks—that in a spending crisis with trillions in debt and many in need, in a nation in existential doubt as to its standing and purpose, in a time when parents struggle to buy the good sneakers for the kids so they're not embarrassed at school . . . that in that nation the great issue of the day, and the appropriate focus of our concern, is making other people pay for her birth-control pills. That's not a stand, it's a non sequitur. She is not . . . a slut. She is a ninny, a narcissist and a fool. And she was one of the great faces of the party in Charlotte. That is extreme. Childish, too.
I am not down on sex. I have 5 children. Sex within a loving, committed relationship between a man and a woman is a wonderful part of God’s gracious design for His creatures. It brings joy and fulfillment on many levels.
My problem is with those in leadership positions within a major political party who have decided to focus their priorities on championing activities that are considered by many even within their own party as irresponsible at best, and clearly immoral at worst.
A Financial Concern
The United States is spending money we don’t have at a rate that cannot in any way be sustained without disastrous consequences . . . and we don’t seem to care! What I mean is, we speak oftrillions of dollars of debt as if it were no big deal. Let’s look at the numbers:
Yearly US Tax Revenue – 2,170,000,000,000 dollars. Yearly US Expenditures – 3,820,000,000,000 dollars. Yearly New Debt – 1,650,000,000,000 dollars. Total National Debt – 16,054,000,000,000 dollars.
To give you an idea of what those numbers really mean, we need to drop the zeros and think of it as personal income and spending.
Yearly Income – 21,700 dollars. Yearly Spending – 38,200 dollars. Yearly New Credit Card Debt – 16,500 dollars. Total Credit Card Debt – 160,540 dollars.
How long could a family with that level of income and spending continue to operate? How long can the US Government with its level of income and spending continue to operate? A basic principle of economics on any level is that you can’t consistently spend more than you make in the present without experiencing major negative consequences in the future.
An International Concern
Anti-American protests are sweeping across the Middle East and Asia. US Embassies in Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, Pakistan, Sudan and elsewhere have come under violent attack. The US flag has been forcibly taken down and burned. Representatives of our government have been murdered – including a US Ambassador.
It has become increasingly clear that the attacks that came on the anniversary of 9/11 were pre-planned. The diary of slain Ambassador Chris Stevens confirmed that he was concerned about the lack of security around his embassy. The popular-backed regime changes last year in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and Yemen that were supported and encouraged by Washington have become the scenes of some of the greatest anti-American demonstrations.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are both in New York this week. In a speech Monday, Ahmadinejad likened Israel to minimal disturbances that appear on the historical scene periodically and are then eliminated. Netanyahu requested a meeting with President Obama to discuss the Middle East situation. That meeting was declined.
A Strong America
I’m a Blue State Independent. But, I’m also an American citizen, a father, and a grandfather. Other issues and concerns are clearly important, but these are the ones at the top of my list.
I would like to see America strong – even more for my children and grandchildren than for me. In order for that to happen, America needs to regain its moral footing. America needs to get its financial house in order. And, America needs to gain back its position of leadership and respect in the world.