Saturday, August 30, 2008

Going "Full Re-pub"

Yes, that title is terrible. I just couldn't help myself. Should I copyright it?

I detest politics. I detest what it does to me, emotionally. I'm admitting to you all that I am immature in the respect that I can't reconcile the heated debate about ideas and concepts that ultimately becomes personal, divisive, mean-spirited, and cruel. I saw an interview program, a couple of years ago, where Bob Dole and Bill Clinton, post election and post-presidency, gushed on and on all over each other with admiration and praise, joking like old war buddies. I was flabbergasted. I so wish that they'd shown one iota of respect for each other during their incumbencies. That was disgusting to me. I'm also, then, admitting that I'm naive in the ways of the politico, growing up in a household where people were pretty transparent. I have been the victim of this naiveté a couple of times in my career; I have also held steadfastly through those events to the principle that I'd rather be me than 'them'.

So, independent, naive, immature citizen that I am, I find myself seemingly in the midst of a dilemma.

I asked Sam to watch Barack Obama's acceptance speech, last night. I told him that it was a historic occasion, and that he could tell his Grandchildren that he'd witnessed it. He shrugged and complied with all of the enthusiasm one would expect of a nearly 12-year old for a speech from any adult. The best news for me was that it was no big deal to him, an African-American earning the candidacy of a major party for the Presidency of the United States of America. He hasn't really grasped what it means to me, to us as a society. With any luck, the event won't ever have to bear the weight for him that it does for me.

Emma has changed just about every aspect of my existence, my personal political views, too. Here's a bit of it, in a nutshell - and I do mean nut. I've already told you that I'm immature and naive, so either keep reading or dismiss yourself.

I've always seen the Republican view as one of both personal responsibility and public compassion. The current party's representation to me has been merely selfishness and greed. While the Bill and Melinda Gates bunch are being generous with their more-than-we-could-ever-spend fortunes, I'm pretty sure that the bulk of those between those like me and those like them are keeping the money to themselves. The Bush administration (small a) has been myopic with its policies, unwilling to even participate in a reasonable dialogue with the electorate in a dogmatic march that poorly represents both their supposed faith as well as what it means to be citizens of this republic. "Corporate Responsibility" is a sham. When HMO CEO's have million-dollar golden parachutes while denying ten-thousand dollar claims, our society is severely awry.

You see, to me, leadership is about servanthood.

I've not been a huge fan of increasing government assistance or expensive social programs. Well, guess what? I need them, now. One lower-middle class income is not going to provide well for either of my children's futures. My bootstraps are busted. So, does that make me a Democrat, now? Perhaps. Should I be practical, or philosophical? Can I be both, or none, or something in-between?

Yesterday, John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate. Gov. Palin has a four month old son, Trig, who has Down Syndrome. She has been an inspiration to many of us, confidently revealing that she knew about the Trisomy 21, did not abort him, and describes him as "perfect." I am, frankly, saddened by how many parents in my little community have just unabashedly thrown their support to this ticket based upon that one reality. Perhaps, true Republicans, they just needed this perk to justify their own dilemmas. I don't think that it's enough; that this should be the deciding factor about how I cast my vote. No more than voting for Barack Obama due to the color of his skin. To finish the thought, yes, it's about the content of their character.

I'm convinced that our government is sick. It wallows in the throes of it's own bureaucracy, rules, and party machinery. To morph what Benjamin Franklin said at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, we are all now hanging separately. Necessary change idles while resolution after non-binding resolution are passed like gas and the bad checks that they're writing against the future. Will freedom become "just another word for, nothing left to lose?" It's beyond my scope, but I feel a need to influence it, if only by my one vote. That's my responsibility.

So, just by stating my thought processes, have I set myself against you? Have I convinced you of anything? I hope the answer to both questions is "No."

I sometimes envy those who have a clear grasp of the world, how it should work, and passionately drive themselves and others toward that vision. Problem is, it usually means that someone else gets trampled or left behind. I think that's the ultimate American (US) dilemma - Freedom vs. Responsibility.

I'll let it go, at that. I just hate politics, that's all.