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"Happiness is not an accident. Nor is it something you wish for. Happiness is something you design." ~ Jim Rohn

Make Mine Freedom

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Presidential Politics

Every day, every individual is faced with choices. Some choices require that we accept what seems unacceptable. Usually, like the toppings of a pizza, it’s a matter of perspective. To one individual anchovies are appealing while another finds them repulsive. At other times, there appears no alternative choice like pizza toppings that double as food allergens. At other times still, it’s like eating nasty, chalky lima beans only because your mother told you to, not because you like them and know they’re full of vitamins and nutrients. Political choices more often than not fit into the first category where the choice is comprised only of perspective.

This year’s Presidential campaign is no different—No matter how much you’d like it to be. It’s not that this is not a critical election cycle because it is. But then, how many previous Presidential elections were deemed “The most critical election in the history of the United States”?

Barrack Obama has taken the United States further to the Left than Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt combined. Each President since has assisted in the growth and nurturing of the seeds they planted in various ways. Obama has been reaping the harvest. These are unavoidable facts. The federal government has done nothing but grow since Woodrow Wilson occupied the White House. There have been overreaches of power and a blatant disregard for the Constitution and Constitutional checks and balances with every President and Congress since Wilson. Some have been more severe than others, but all have aided in the destruction of the Republic and the Constitution in one way or another.

This year’s Presidential election is critical because most people realize that four more years of Obama is akin to signing the death warrant on Liberty, Free speech, the free market and the American dream. Can you guarantee that in four years when the Presidential term limit expires that Obama, who has flouted the Constitution at every opportunity, will leave office quietly or at all? I can’t.

That means we need someone else to step in and take his place. This means we need someone who can defeat Obama, but who can also lead the nation back to a better time—say 1789-1799. So. We come full circle. Who is the man to do the job?

The task of the Republicans this year is, first, to select a Presidential nominee then, second, to rally support behind him enough to win the general election. The same can be said of Democratics when a Republican is the incumbent in the White House. (Yes, I know spell checker! Democratic is an adjective defining a process and cannot be pluralized, but I did not change the party name. They did; hoping to fool the American people into thinking that they are the party of the democratic process. I disagree, but I digress.) It seems to be a fickle process.

Consequently, mixed in with the refrain of “Vote for Romerrinchaulorum!” is the cacophonously deafening refrain of “Not Romerrinchaulorum!” And, of course, a Vote for Romerrinchaulorum is a vote for “Anyone but Obama!”

In the vein of “Eat all of your lima beans because they’re good for you whether or not you like them,” and To help guide you through the frustration and anguish that is Presidential politics, might I recommend a few nonpolitical supplements?

First, if hypocrisy isn’t cool on Liberals and Democratics, it’s revolting on Conservatives and Republicans. I’m sure you know the drill:

One candidate has a clean jock strap while the others are covered in flies. Oops! Sorry, wrong kind of supporter. You know what I’m talking about though. Individuals supporting any specific candidate tout his accomplishments and platitudes to the detriment of any other candidate all while at the same time denigrating individuals who favor other candidates. Ironically, the same individual, whether an ardent or tepid supporter of Perromninchaulorum, tends to overlook the shortcomings of his or her candidate while at the same time shouting down another candidate for no less than doing the same thing he or she has overlooked in his or her candidate.

If you are a hypocrite, you won’t understand why this is so bad. If you’re not, you should be able to illustrate the reason yourself. However, in fairness to the hypocritical reader, Conservatives more than Republicans are held to a higher standard because they represent a higher and better philosophy, and personal responsibility is at the apex of this philosophy. While it is not hypocritical to be critical and air grievances, it is hypocritical if your candidate is guilty of the same infraction of which he’s accusing other candidates.

Second, try a little forgiveness. It remedies a lot of the issues that occur from hypocrisy. True, the realm of politics is one that needs to scrutinize its participants rather well. Still, there is this tendency to take every word ever uttered by a politician whether candidate or elected and hold it against him or her like it is key evidence in a murder trial. However, none of the candidates that make up Romerrinchaulorum are baggage free. They have all done or said things that will bite them in the behind. They have all taken positions that are guaranteed to alienate some element of society.

There are no two ways about it. Sanerrinchaulney is a flip-flopper on every ideal conceivable. He is simultaneously Pro and Anti Abortion, Pro and Anti Gay rights. He is a Warmonger and a Peacenik. He has been called every name in the book and a few the book hasn’t learned yet. Ginerraulorumney seems to be sturdy on respecting others, protecting the borders yet argues with himself about what is Constitutional. He’s also the only hybrid available for the job.

While we need to hold aspiring and elected politicians’ feet to the fire and vet them thoroughly, it’s important that we not cling to past statements as evidence of future performance. Wise people, including politicians, tend to change their minds as evidence and new facts become available and/or relevant, or simply as their understanding of issues changes. Therefore, it’s best to adhere to Sergeant Joe Friday’s advice: “Just the facts, Ma’am” which means past performance is more likely indicative of future performance than anything a candidate might say now or might have said in the past.

By the same token, everything a candidate says while campaigning should be taken with a grain of salt and a healthy dose of skepticism.

Third, dial back the rhetoric and see supplement 2 above. Most people, however will perceive that to do so is to limit free speech. But, they are wrong. Yep! Flat out and dead wrong! Restraining vitriol and diatribes from the dialog allows people to actually think about the subject at hand rather than simply responding to inflammatory remarks. Using facts and effective, if not courteous, language, on the other hand, is the most effective method for winning a debate on a particular issue or for generally changing others minds.

This is not at all to say that an opposing candidate’s positions cannot be attacked. Rather that the attacks should always have a firm basis in truth, fact, and reason which usually means they are limited to positions on issues. The founders eviscerated each others positions using language that did not sound offensive then or now, but was understood for what it was.

Fourth, character matters. Scooby-do is important, but that’s not the kind of character being discussed. Instead, what is it that makes up Paulerrinchneyorum? What makes him tick? And, what will motivate him to take specific actions? These are important questions that should be asked, verified and signed in triplicate. However, these are the more subjective of Presidential qualifications because they intrude on the very personal areas of life. Accordingly, then, they should be treated with delicacy, care, and respect. This is the area of Presidential politics where those asking the questions must apply that golden rule above all others. “He who has all the gold makes all the rules.” No, not that one! Well, okay. Maybe that one too. But it’s critical for people to treat with kindness and reservation those questions which they themselves would be uncomfortable answering.

Ask yourself the same questions you ask of a Presidential candidate. Do you pass your own tests for the President? If you answered “Yes,” ask yourself two more questions: Why aren’t you running for office? And, would you hold up under the same scrutiny and punishment that is heaped on Romerrinchaulorum?

A President, like all other elected offices, is first and foremost, an individual with unique thoughts, values, and principles. When elected, that fact doesn’t change except that he or she will now have the added responsibility of doing the will of the American people—something Obama has not done and in fact has patently scorned. While I’d like to think that the will of the American people is in the direction of Conservative Libertarianism, I’m neither arrogant nor stupid enough to believe that mine is the only faction in America, a position I would hope is universal among all US Citizens. That, too, I realize is unlikely.

Because Presidents and Presidential candidates are individuals, they are very much like food: sometimes they’re desirable; sometimes they’re like lima beans—good for you even though you don’t like them, and sometimes they’re down right nasty and rotten resulting in a sick America if eaten. Where Mom force fed you lima beans, the media tries to force feed you candidates and Presidents. The difference? There is only one: Americans don’t have to accept the force fed option. Ignore the vitriol, become informed, and elect a President who will do the right job and do the job right—even if he or she is not on the ballot yet (Keep in mind, anybody not currently on the ballot will require a giant tsunami of united citizens to win a write-in campaign, and General Washington has been unavailable for two hundred years or so).