October 18, 2012

Hope & Change 2: "It Doesn't Have to Be This Way....

I've put this off, and I've put this off.

Now, it's time to comment on the upcoming presidential election, and the whole process that's occurring this time around.

If I don't, I'm gonna pop!

First, let me say, for the past 35 years or so, I've considered myself a moderate. Not a moderate Republican, nor a moderate Democrat. Just a moderate. In the past couple of years, however, I've found myself increasingly thrust to the right – and not by any conscious effort on my part. The news media, too many of my liberal-leaning friends, and the actions of our current president all seem to want me there. On the other hand, the tendency of my right-leaning friends to see government conspiracy under every rock dampens my urge to shave my head, grab my survival knife and run off into the woods screaming, "My country, right or wrong!"

Incidentally, I, as I suspect most Americans, don't enjoy either candidate or his minions calling the other a "liar." The presidency is supposed to have a bit of dignity attached to it, and name-calling and character defamation is NOT dignified.

At this point, I believe the Left (read, "Democratic Party") is worse. What I've considered for most of my adult life to be reasonable, common-sense views, the Left now characterizes as "right-wingnut." They don't attack only the Right, nor even just the Far Right. Instead, they go for anyone who does not agree wholeheartedly with our president. Personally, I experience very infrequently the once-common "Everyone-are-entitled-to-their-own-opinion"  attitude. Now, it's "You don't know what you're talking about!" "What are you, nuts?" or worse. America's version of Britain's "loyal opposition" is now labelled "racist" or "whackjob," if the press are to be believed.

I gotta tell ya, that offends me – deeply.

What really has kept me near the middle, though, has been the combination of the shrill bumper-sticker mentality of my fellow Americans all along the political spectrum, and my own search for reason and sanity in this sewage-strewn field of politics.

And note, People.

If we don't have the ambition, or intelligence – or if we just aren't at least curious enough to do a little digging to examine the candidates' qualifications and records, so be it. We're just like more than half of our fellow Americans. But then, we have no right to attack someone else because he/she doesn't agree with what we accept as fact because we saw it in a TV ad or heard someone repeat it.

That's every bit as wrong – and evil – as bigotry.

Me, I'm fed up with being labeled a racist because I don't love our president. I'm fed up with being painted as a fanatic because I believe in traditional family values. I'm fed up with being described as intolerant because I am a Christian. And I'm fed up with being viewed as un-American because I see the frustration from which the Tea Party rose, just as I see it in the Occupy... movement, and I agree with certain things each champions.

As I have mentioned many times before, I did not vote for our current president. He came out of nowhere, and his campaign seemed built on fluff. He seemed too ready to promise anything to everyone. I voted for his opponent, but only because I knew more about him. I knew nothing about Mr. Obama.

Once we elected him, though, I promised myself that I would support him until he gave me reason not to. That reason came in the manner he jammed the health reform bill, "Obamacare," down our throats. Since then, he has gotten worse. He has circumvented Congress; he has "ruled" by executive decree; he has exhibited no real desire for bipartisanship; and he has proved to me that he is not up to the job of President of the United States. In short, he is a small-time Chicago ward-heeler politician steeped in cronyism and in over his head.

"Hope" and "change" were bywords of our president's successful election campaign four years ago. In the months and years since, blame has been the name of his game. Our president and his administration has been quite eager to take credit, but exceedingly reluctant to take responsibility. We've all heard  ad nauseam his "excuse" that "It's my predecessor's (or the Republican Congress's) fault," until the utterance now is a whine rather than a defense.

The topper, however, was the vice president's "Intelligence never told us!" – he crybabied at the vice presidential debate.  I may be wrong, but I believe the recent second presidential debate was the first time I'd heard Mr. Obama man up for something (the Benghazi fiasco) that wasn't a positive.

I personally now embrace Mr. Obama's 2008 election slogan. I hope the American people change presidents.

If not, we probably won't feel like dancing....