San Diego – As you may have noticed I’ve not added anything here lately. To be honest I was burned out on what I feel is a nearly pointless activity, that is, trying to get anyone to actually think about it. And that goal is made all the more difficult when the options to think about are both so far less than ideal as to easily render the whole process pointless. Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dum had it far more together than the options we have allowed ourselves to run for the most powerful job in the world. Shame on us.
But I was roused a bit once again by a query from my great friend from High School, Gary, asking, following the second debate, what I thought. And here, with some further editing and thought, is my answer.
I’m still absorbing and processing last night (the second debate between Romney and Obama) and waiting for the next one so my position truly is “in process” in terms of details and announced policies. My bottom line “for today” is as it has been actually for the past number of elections: I would prefer another choice and will likely end up voting against a candidate rather than for one.
Both seem to have a pretty cavalier attachment to the truth or to the facts on the ground except as it serves their interest. And that, a characteristic of every politician I can think of, and to our serious and profound discredit as a people as well as possibly our doom as a country, seems to be where we have brought ourselves these days. But that is an indictment of US more than of them since there have always been sleazy politicians but in the past of some decades ago, the people, even with far less communication and information flow, seemed to be dedicated to seeing through it.
In terms of policies, at least as Romney has annunciated his and Obama has implemented his, I would prefer to individually select and discard policies from both sides far more than to have to live with either in their entirety. I think we have let the debt/deficit crisis and economic issues go so far that on their own, neither the minimalist or maximalist views of government are, in the short term, practical or likely to succeed getting us over this mess.
There is no medicine for this fiscal illness that it not wretchedly distasteful and without unpleasant side effects of its own. This cancer has spread so far that the chemo and radiation that will be required will take a serious toll on the host body even if, in the end, it manages to eradicate the disease. And there is a frightening chance that any really viable medicine will kill the disease but at the same time, kill the patient. That is the pitiful and pathetic and stupid place we, the people, have allowed ourselves to reach.
There was a time when, had we had people smart enough to continue to “stay the course” walking a tight rope through all of the competing interests influencing policy both domestically and foreign, when I would prefer new policies to be much nearer the minimalist ideal. TR was perhaps my ideal in that approach; and the last of a breed.
But following first Wilson then FDR then Johnson our government had so changed into a lightly socialist balancing act, that approach grew less and less likely to work all by itself. As I have written, liberals pine for a world that never existed and conservatives pine for a world long passed on and neither seems willing to truly face squarely the world as it is (or, to be honest, as it seems to me to be).
One item of critical need not even directly mentioned in the Constitution is education. If Justice Brandeis could fabricate a “right of privacy” out of whole cloth from issues of general welfare, then I think it a much smaller leap to construe the government’s interest in education though it is not specifically mentioned in the Constitution either. With the availability of low tech unskilled jobs evaporating as we watch, the future of this country’s prosperity lies directly in the lap of education.
And no, I do not believe in free education as a right; I see it as a responsibility of each citizen. But I do believe that in a country where the federal government has essentially usurped form the states the right to oversee education, then it brings upon itself the responsibility to make sure that the education available for the citizens, at least from those institutions it supports and aids, is absolutely top drawer and aimed at preparing students for the world as we see it evolving.
California has demonstrated, however, that education is a priority somewhere near the bottom rung of its ladder of interests. When money falls short education is the first thing to be cut. The community colleges are, let’s face it, the bulwark against such rampant unemployment as it is the most used institution to prepare individuals to enter the workplace. But even in the proposition (30) being pitched to bring money to schools, the actual wording states that of all the money to be generated (assuming some is) only 11 percent is targeted for education and of that 11 percent only 4 percent is targeted for Community Colleges. And even that can be dipped into if the state feels a need.
If that is how a friend of education implements policies then we have no real need for enemies.
So in the Presidential race, today, and that is the only time frame I can speak to, I am straddling the fulcrum of the balancing board tilting ever so slightly toward the Romney side but only because I sadly believe that there is something malevolent underpinning Obama’s reign; malevolent, that is, toward the notion of America as I believe it was founded. Were his policies genuinely implemented in the single interests of getting the country back on track then the truth is some very better economic minds than mine have disagreed over it and continue to do so: some would agree with him and some do not. That means the jury is out and a final position is far from being determined even among those in the discipline that should be able to give us some definitive answers.
But I do not believe his motives are benign or are genuine. I believe rather that his real interests, as his books state and as he clearly stated before being in the public spotlight, are not in rescuing the country and returning it to a former state of glory but in transforming it into a far different place than I want it to be.
He believes that transformed place to be a good one. So did Marx. I do not.
So I will vote against him but on any numerical scale of comparisons, the difference would probably be in very small numbers.
But that vote against Obama should not be construed as a vote FOR Romney or read as if I think Romney’s policies are, in total and exclusively, what it will take to get us back on track. I simply see Romney as less damaging to our future than Obama.
Partly that is because though I am merely and only slightly tilted toward Romney’s policies economically, I think Obama’s foreign policies will, if continued as they have been, make the world and our corner of it a far more hazardous place. As critical as our economy is (and it certainly is reaching critical mass for the far more unemployed than Obama will admit to) it is not the only issue of the America facing the 21st century. I think Obama has ZERO grip on that portion of our interests. More on that will be revealed, I hope, in the final debate.
The key to our future, in any case, rests less with the presidential outcome than with the outcome of the races for congress and in the composition of the court that will flow from the result of the presidential election. Or at least it used to. But Obama has taken the authority upon himself to send the military into acts of war, he has taken it upon himself to determine which lawfully passed laws he will direct his administration to enforce and which to ignore.
I read one of the simpletons on Facebook declare that America would never allow a dictatorship to occur. What is it of importance about a president openly ignoring and countermanding congress that is missing from the definition of dictator?
The world has seen, though probably not since ancient Greece, that it is possible for a benign dictator to be good for a country. But the ease with which that slips into abject tyranny is so well documented in history that even if I were comfortable with the specific policies involved in Obama’s usurpation of congressional powers, I could not ever feel at ease with the precedent it sets.
And I simply cannot bring myself to vote for someone who has shown the willingness to act in such direct violation of constitutional authority. THAT is something I will always vote against even if I happen to agree with the specifics of the policies being enacted, I cannot accept a president assuming such personal power.
So that is where I stand at the moment. Once again being very angry over having to vote against someone and not for someone.