October 13

thoughts on a conservative education

so, it’s Columbus Day, which means I have the day off. I wanted to spend today doing something “fun” or “useful” – but instead, I’m convicted and compelled to write a political commentary. please hear me out.

I grew up in a strongly Republican household. even though I considered myself very independent and free-thinking before college, it wasn’t until I went off to Virginia Tech that my views were really challenged. I saw things, and they changed me. there’s a laundry list of issues on which my stance differs from the “traditional” Republican view: gay rights, drug legalization, stem cell research (as long as abortion is legal, which it probably will always be), drinking age, censorship… to name a few. I think Pakistan was justified in shooting at U.S. troops when we conducted raids across their borders without their permission. I have even been pondering the idea that Iran should be allowed to have nuclear technology for energy use (preemption is a toughie – see Minority Report!). these are two sovereign countries, with borders and rights.

basically, I have a universal belief in universal freedom. this puts me squarely in the political realm of libertarianism – fiscal conservative and social liberal (to an extent). but, this post is not about libertarianism – sadly, my boy Ron Paul has dropped out of the running, Bob Barr doesn’t have a realistic chance at winning, and so as to not waste our vote, we are once again left with two choices – red and blue.

most of my friends say they will be voting for Obama in three weeks. to that, my first response is “I’m glad you’re voting! And I’m glad America is finally getting involved in politics!”. my second response is “Why?”.

for many of them, the answer is simple: “Because we don’t need another George Bush in the White House.” fair enough. you’re voting against someone you disagree with. I disagree with both Bush and McCain on some key issues. by now we have all heard the opposition to the alternative. have we actually listened? why do these things not bother us?

Barack Obama is a smart, well-spoken man. I am proud of my country for finally choosing a black man (and a white woman, for that matter) to run for our nation’s highest offices. I am ashamed of all those who have made an issue out of his middle name, to the point where he refuses to use it himself. the same goes for those who have called him a “Muslim” when he in fact calls himself a Christian. even worse, I find it appalling that he has been called a terrorist – he is none of these things, and these opinions don’t represent the majority of the Republican party, and I hope the few bad apples don’t spoil the bunch. still, there are a number of problems with Obama which, for some reason, are non-issues to many of us.

Obama is friends with a known terrorist. he had his political coming-out party at Ayers’ house. Obama has done what he can to distance himself from this fact, but the point remains. this is not fearmongering, this is the truth.

Obama’s preacher of 20 years is a self-proclaimed hater of America. this is a man who thinks the 9/11 attacks against 3,000 of our own men, women, and children were justified, and Obama passively endorsed this kind of rhetoric for 20 years. Obama has done what he can to distance himself from this fact, but the point remains. this is not fearmongering, this is the truth.

Obama has almost no political experience. he is in many ways less experienced even than the VP candidate from the opposing party. he’s a name. and yet, we are in the midst of voting this man into the White House, on his promises of “change”, and does anyone even know what he’s about? I guess he really is a magician. here is my response:

it’s like those SGA elections in middle school, where the candidates always said they would get new vending machines, and make breaks and lunch twice as long, and all the nerds would be able to hook up with the hot chicks now. that was change, too!

Obama wants to steal from the rich and give to the poor. Utopia is nice in theory, but not in practice. just today, I saw this clip: Obama Tells Tax-Burdened Plumber the Plan is to ‘Spread the Wealth Around’. here is my response:

would any Obama supporters care to either
a) defend the idea that he is not a full-blown socialist, or
b) go ahead and admit he’s a full-blown socialist, and explain why you think socialism will suddenly work after thousands of years of proof that it won’t?

I realize we already practice some socialist ideals as a country, but when you admit that you want to be a modern-day Robin Hood, you have to call a spade a spade. it might work in Disney movies but not in the real world.

right now 30% don’t pay taxes, and under his plan will get money back anyways. when that number gets to 51%, we’re in big trouble.

my confidence in either candidate to fix our nation’s problems is close to zero. my hope is that, by the next election, America will take the blinders off and think outside the box for a minute, and realize that neither Republicans or Democrats are changing anything for the better. we must decide for ourselves whether we want to be more like Cuba, or more like the United States of America that the Constitution was drafted to govern, the visions of our founding fathers. until then, here is where McCain and Obama stand on the issues, straight from the horses’ mouths.

I’ll leave you with a quote that will sadly remain my greatest consolation if Obama is elected, in the hopes that our Congress would continue to flounder, as it has done so well for many years:

“An efficient bureaucracy is the greatest threat to liberty.” – Eugene J. McCarthy

comments welcome. my mind is open.

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