I received a letter from a dear old friend, a Republican, for whom I have the greatest affection and respect. He found it somewhat incredible that I continued to be an Obama supporter and sent me a number of articles questioning and criticizing the President's programs. I thought it fair to re-examine my own views. Too many of us cling to party loyalty without really knowing why. We applaud what we hear or read in support and ridicule what we hear or read in opposition---- that is if we listen to or consider the opposing view, which we rarely do. Except for a very small number in the middle, most everyone seems to have made up their mind. Because of the inquiry from my dear friend, I tried to listen to every speaker at both conventions in order to see whether my views were strongly held or merely stubbornly so.
I thought the single most convincing factor was the presence of President Clinton at the Democratic Convention and the absence of President Bush at the Republican Convention. Not only for what President Clinton said and how he was received, but what an admission it was for the Republicans. Though espousing virtually the same policies as President Bush, his absence was an admission of their failure. How else to explain the absence of a former President? Contrast that with President Clinton who could speak of the prosperity and surpluses during his administration.
As to the issues that mean the most to me I remain steadfast in my support and respect for the Democratic Party. I know everyone says: "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs" and that the economy is paramount and will determine the outcome, but forgive me, it is way down on the list for me. Don't get me wrong, I know how important jobs are and how employment affects everything else, but I have difficulty blaming or praising any president for the state of the economy. They can influence it indirectly, but they cannot control it. Too many other external forces do---witness gasoline prices.
No - but what really matters to me is the humanity of a political party and a political candidate, particularly one running for president, and to me, in this regard there is no contest between the Democrats and the Republicans. I find it hypocritical and even despicable that the party that deplores government interference seeks to impose barriers to abortion by women; opposes giving opportunities to children of illegal immigrants; denies climate change and the dangers to humanity and fights ways to limit it; opposes regulation of banks despite the havoc they caused to individuals and the economy; opposes increasing taxes on the rich and restoring old rates leaving the middle class to pick up the slack; signs pledges not to raise taxes or reduce loopholes no matter what the circumstances or the needs; insists on reducing spending no matter the consequences, but refuses to increase revenues in order to reduce the deficit; opposes health care for all citizens without offering a valid alternative; engages in voter suppression under the guise of voter fraud; blames teachers, the police and firefighters for the state of the economy; impugns the birth and citizenship of the President; mischaracterizes his foreign policy; criticizes his bailout of the auto industry and the jobs saved; and finally opposes his plan to bring the troops home and his reluctance to go to war elsewhere.
Yes, I admit I don't know enough about economics and the various plans being discussed to determine what the best course for this country is or whether the current health care plan will work or not. It certainly is the product of Republican pressure, and not the plan initially envisioned by the President. But I do know that I want a president who cares about the poor, the elderly, the sick, the unemployed, the veterans, women, gay and lesbian and other minority rights, yes even illegal immigrants, education and the environment more than he cares about corporations and the free market. Although I recognize full well the importance of a strong thriving economy, I guess it boils down to --- I want a President who cares more about people than he cares about corporations, even if he claims corporations are people.
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