As far as I can remember, I have always been a conservative. Even in college when I think the natural tendency was to be a liberal or have liberal inclinations. I remained a conservative. All my friends in college were liberals. And by liberal I don’t mean left of central. I mean, hardcore, bring on the commies, flaming liberals. I remained a conservative. I believed in less government. Self-reliance. Accountability. People who needed handouts were lazy. I believed you made your own fate.
With one exception, I always voted Republican. The one exception was Bill White for mayor. I certainly never voted anything but Republican for any federal position or judgeship. It didn’t matter whether I knew anything about the candidate or not. An “R” next to the name was enough for me.
It’s not that I agreed with every Republican position. Far from it. On social issues, I am a liberal. I favor a woman’s right to choose. I don’t want prayer in school. I don’t think sex education should be limited to abstinence. I believe in science. I don’t believe creationsim is a a science. I think gay people should have the right to marry and be afforded all the rights (or miseries) other married people have.
But I was able to set that aside because me and the Republican party were simpatico where it really mattered. Finance and defense. I believe in fiscal responsibility; less taxes and even less spending. I believed in free markets and capitalism. I want smaller government. Strong defense. Absolutely. You are with us or against us. Yes, I believed that, too.
So I set aside my differences on social issues, which I considered secondary to the big two – fiscal responsibility and strong defense. But over the last year I have come to a slow realization that I have been had. Not only did I not get what I would want on social issues but I got royally screwed on the fiscal and defense areas. What can I say about the financial mess that hasn’t already been said? What an absolute cluster fuck of mythical portions. Yeah, I blame the people who took loans that they could not afford. But those people are going to lose their homes and have their credit screwed up for years. What about the people who made the loans and drove their companies into the ground. They may be out of a job but they get to keep the millions they made and will never need to work. Lehman’s ex-CEO made $500 million as CEO. The company is bankrupt, most of it’s employees out of jobs and it’s investors lost everything. But the ex-CEO gets to keep his $500 million. And don’t tell me it was only $350 million. I don’t care. Either way it was an obscene amount of money. The legislature is to blame, also. Both Republicans and Democrats but mostly Democrats. They passed laws pushing for greater home ownership, which they hoped would convert to votes for the incumbents. A few spoke up about reining Fannie and Freddie in. But they were too few and spoke too softly. It was easier to pass legislature to build a bridge to nowhere than to actually lead on something. Finally, the administration, both the Clinton and Bush White House, pushed for federal preemption when some state AGs sounded the alarm about subprime and predatory lending. Any attempts by these states, were overturned by both administrations, helped by lobbyists from the financial industry.
By voting Republican I knew I wasn’t getting what I truly believed on the social side but I could live with that because I was getting what I wanted on the other two – finance and defense – and that was what was more important to me. But I wasn’t, was I? I’ve been had? The Federal Government has never been bigger. The deficit is huge. And as far as defense goes, are we really stronger? I don’t think so. The Iraq war is a quagmire and we should never have been there. I have to admit that I was in favor of the war but I believed our leaders, both in the administration and the legislature, when they said Iraq had WMDs. And yes, now that I look back at it, some of my feelings for invading Iraq were driven by vengeance and a need to lash out for 9/11. I’m afraid that we have created more terrorists than we reduced by the war in Iraq. And the 4000+ troops killed in Iraq. What did they die for? Do we really believe that there will be democracy in Iraq once we leave. In fact, that area will be even more dangerous. We did Iran’s dirty work and got rid of a Sunni regime on it’s border. More than likely Iraq will have predominately Shite government. So, now we have Iran and it’s mini-me, Iraq, to deal with. I see now why Bush, the father, never went all the way to Bagdad during the first Iraq war. The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.
NO MORE. Enough
For the first time in my life I will vote for a Democrat for president. When I originally made this decision a few weeks ago, I hoped to make a statement. Kinda like a 2×4 across the RNC, hoping to get their ttention and bring them to their senses. But now I am not so sure. I am voting for Obama because I want him to be president. I am also going to vote against every incumbent. You’ve had your chance. Now, it’s time for new blood. I’m not sure that our system isn’t irretrievably broken. But what are my alternatives? Vote for Barr? Not vote at all? No, I am still going to cast my vote and make my tiny, little statement.
Early voting starts tomorrow.