Unity and Values

The family I grew up in, with a Republican mother and a Democrat for a father was interesting. They never argued politics, at least not in front of us; but they always joked about canceling out one another's vote. There was also a notable love for one another, not in the mushy way, but in something that nothing could crush.

Now, of me and my four siblings, I am likely the only Democrat, though I have one sister who doesn't really say one way or the other. My favorite brother-in-law regularly sends me anti-Democrat and ant-Obama email; but I always send him a response from http://www.snopes.com (The Urban Legends Page) or elsewhere about the truth behind them. He may not be learning anything from my responses; but, at least, he gets a positive response to his negative email.

I must admit that some of the absolute trash going around about Obama may hurt him in the fall; and there is no doubt that racism will have its effect on white voters, especially white, low information, voters. I know there is plenty to say about Hillary; and a lot of it is lies as well. That is the way the political process is played out in this century so far. Anytime I get an email that is a false statement about either of our candidates I "reply all" and send them to Snopes, an article in a major newspaper, or elsewhere for information about the truth behind the lie. (Yes, Obama was wearing native attire; but so was George Bush.)

I found success in bringing family members to Obama, though, on one close relative. Our only son (who tells me not to argue politics with him or his wife) called me and wanted to talk about the election. He is registered Republican; but, after a very long conversation, he has decided to support Obama in the general election. (It isn't difficult to undermine McCain's supposed strengths, since they are so few.) He finally agreed with me that Obama is the best chance we've had in a long time (at least in my lifetime, I believe) to create major change in how politics "works" (or doesn't work) in the USA.

For most of my family voting Republican is seen as a "values" issue; but they don't really look at the actual values of the Republican or Democratic candidates themselves.

Hillary Clinton, for example, knows that her husband cheated on her; but they have remained married through a lot of crap and, I believe, still care for one another even with Bill's "problems." That, to me, shows they have some very good values when it comes to marital commitment overall. Obama is married to his first wife as well. McCain, OTOH, had an affair with Cindy before they ended up married. For the Bible bangers I would think this would be enough to discredit him; but he's a Republican and "Republicans are the party of values." I should also add that I know a lot about Hillary's Washington Church and Obama's Chicago Church; but I don't remember hearing anything about McCain's Church if he has one. If they're so interested in having "Christian" candidates, I would thiink they'd look at that as well. For me, though, their good deeds, their beliefs about the possibilities of the human race, their ability to make fair judgments, etc., are much more important than whether or not they claim to be Christians.

Yeah! Right! Values like hate, hypocrisy, homophobia, eliminating the rights of Americans to make choices related to reproduction, etc., always waving the flag as though they own it while dismantling the constitution. They have values that say it is a good thing for the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer. They apparently believe that God wants Republicans to kill a lot of innocent people in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. (It is more likely to occur, though, if there is oil under the land.) Values that believe virtually everything in the USA should be privatized so there is competition, which of course, is supposed to cause prices to get lower. (I guess you've noticed how well that's worked in the health care arena.)

They have values that relate anyone who doesn't agree with them as "evil," and not just wrong. (I got to admit that after the first four years, though, evil and Bush virtually became synonyms for me.)

Right after 9/11, when everyone started wearing flag pins, I copied the UN flag from the Internet site; and I managed to make it into a lapel pin. Most people (I mean almost no one) didn't know what it was; but I was making my statement about the fact that 9/11 wasn't just an American tragedy, but a world tragedy. To dismiss those from all the other countries working in the World Trade Center towers as though they didn't matter is a sign of the tendency of the USA to dismiss others from other parts of the world as unimportant. Some folk asked; and, after telling them, just looked at me like I was from outer space.

Right after 9/11 the world, virtually every country, was on our side. There were pro-USA rallies all around the world; but, after Iraq and other empty gestures on the part of the USA most of that world is angry with us instead of siding with us. Those of you without friends in England, Canada, Australia, Gambia, or Austria or other parts of the world may not hear about the anger; but I do. I live in a mini "UN" in my apartment community.

During the attempted and successful campaign of lies that would get us into the Iraq War, I regularly emailed my friends about what a mistake it would be for us to invade Iraq. I predicted everything that would happen; and I was only wrong because it was even worse than I imagined. I had studied that part of the world in seminary; and I knew the hostilities between the subgroups would be a problem for our troops and for building any new government in Iraq. Meanwhile we kept hearing that we were "winning." "Mission accomplished!" The lies kept coming; and eventually even the "less than mainstream" media weren't even giving us a good idea of what was really happening there. Many, perhaps most, of those friends became angry with me for being "unamerican," not being patriotic, etc. The whole "Freedom Fries" concept amused me and angered me at the same time. Just because they were smarter than we were about Iraq doesn't mean we should be hostile to our long term allies, does it?

Somehow, though, I don't see War as a positive value. Yes, there may be some wars that ought to be fought---like stopping Hitler, for example; but most of the wars we have fought in the last 100+ years were unnecessary. They weren't to protect us or even to protect our allies, but to prove our power or to prove we were right about our ideas and to keep the military industrial complex making lots of money.

Then there is the cost of the war and the way it is being fought with civilian contractors who make a lot more than the soldiers and live in more comfortable situations and who also SEEM to not have any rules. How did that happen? Oh, yes. We want to privatize everything: Medicare, Social Security, the army, the navy, building roads, building bridges, etc. "Let the people who use them pay for them." If the trend continues I'm afraid I'll live in a home where I cannot afford to pay the fire department for protection and lose my home; and I KNOW I'll never be able to afford my own police protection. In America right now millions of people cannot afford life saving ROUTINE health care because of our insurance system that makes the rich richer and the poor poorer.

This is what we'll get with John McCain. He may not be quite as bad as Bush; but he could also be even worse.

So I am going to the poll next week to vote for Barack Obama. In November I expect I'll be voting for Obama; but, if not, I'll be voting for Hillary Clinton because Democrats are the party of real values: equality, looking out for the little guy, support for unions, religious freedom, freedom of speech, and, best of all perhaps, FREEDOM. George and his flunkies may continue to try to take it away from us; but with a Democratic President and Democratic congress the world and America will all be singing, "Let freedom ring."


This has also been posted to uniteddems.com and bluegrassroots.org