Saith Me… Debate or Tirade

Differing perspectives can elevate our comprehension of complex issues, but they can also drag us down into a pit of malevolence when discussion and debate are replaced by an unbending quest to convert or conquer.

Saith Me… King of the Hill

Does the enemy attack when we are weak? When we are distracted? Yes, historically there have been attacks when we have been weak and distracted. But we are also attacked when we are arrogantly standing on a hill declaring our greatness to the world.

So when did arrogance begin replacing weakness and distraction as the invitation for an attack? It happened after the First Gulf War, when the US people had shown they supported a fight. After that war, it became clear that the US public had changed since the Vietnam War. Kudos to President Reagan for reestablishing a fighting mentality in the people.

So why is arrogance and the willingness to fight an invitation for attack? In simple terms, the Cold War was a war of economic attrition with both sides betting that military spending would weaken the other side first. Enemies of the US took note, and knew that if the US was drawn into a protracted conflict, it would further weaken the US economy. If the US could be drawn into a preemptive or unilateral fight, then worldwide public opinion would also turn against and weaken the US.

This is the strategy of terrorism, peck at the king on the hill until he is overtaxed, spread too thin. Not so that victory can be achieved in a decisive battle, but so that the king will fall; fall from his own inability to stop reacting to the threat. Fall because rather than sharing the target on his back with allies, he will want to stand on the hill all alone. His arrogance will defeat his kingdom and not the enemy.

Lives versus Pocketbooks

In the debate tonight, Romney may have been more aggressive in his debating, however, I think Romney may have reminded us of some concerning issues. Two issues that really concern me are,
  1. Consolidating bureaucracies = firing people;
  2. A stronger military = government paid for developmental military contracts & arms build-up.

These are the two points that still really make me uncomfortable voting for Romney. You see, Romney wants me to vote for him over President Obama, but he won’t clarify these points.  Unlike the president, Romney has to sell me on the fact that he would be the better president. So while I will look past the pained expression he always wears, (I give him the benefit of the doubt that it is a pained and not condescending expression), I can’t look past these points.

So can someone explain to me how you cut the budget but not cut military spending, medicare, or educational funding, as Romney promised he would do if elected?

What does that leave? Foreign aid, arts, Post-It notes, what am I missing here? Because my understanding is that the real ‘pork’ is spent by Congress, and the President is limited in his influence in that regard. The President can only change the ‘discretionary’ funds, not the Congressional pet projects. He can veto, but that is tough when the pork is attached to the salaries of men and women serving their country, or other vital spending.

So, as far as I can tell, unless we rapidly and substantially downsize govt, which puts people out of work, Romney’s plan involves two things: a magic wand coupled with really scary, Reagan-like military build-up, which by the way will not make us safer, but will make some developers rich. Will they employ people? Of course, but 12 million people? Or even enough to offset bureaucratic downsizing? Even with a trickle-down effect, I can’t fathom how Romney’s plan will work without magic?

I am not looking at this from a partisan point of view, because I agree that the bureaucracy is too big, and because I don’t care whether the military spending on new war machine development is a Republican or Democrat idea. I’m looking at this from the point of view of someone who was really glad to see the Cold War end. I do not want to see another arms race started by our actions. If Romney really intends to ‘fix’ our economy and create jobs through military build-up, I am very concerned. Because historically, when the US fixes its economy with military build-up, it soon after, goes to war.

FYI – replacing old machines with new is not the issue, but dumping loads of money into experimental development beyond what we already spend, is the issue.

Think about it – we won’t pay to keep our people healthy, but we will pay to create machines that will kill, not only our enemies, but also our own people. How is this right?

I am a proud supporter of the military and the purpose of the military, but I really want leadership who will think of the lives of people before the pocketbooks of people. There has to be a way to achieve health, safety, and economic prosperity, but I did not hear solutions tonight.  And as far as I am concerned that does not make anyone a winner, but all of us losers.  We just have to decide how we want to lose, healthy but poor in the short term, or rich but facing the potential of another arms race and war in the future all because we, again, only see US national interests, and not the world’s.

A link on the deficit crisis supplied by Leigh Ann.

Meet the Mooch

I have just found out that I am a mooch on the American Dream.

Worse yet, I am a mooch many times over: a military wife living off of a government pay check and receiving government healthcare, a stay-at-home mom not paying taxes, and a recipient of government assisted education. (But at least I don’t mooch off of the public school system with my kids, right?)

And here, I thought that by supporting my husband, and raising my kids to be productive members of society, I was part of the American Dream. But maybe I was just a dreaming.

Maybe I was wrong all along in not realizing the only American Dream that matters is how large your bank account is when you die?

Or maybe the other guys have it all wrong…

Win or Lose: It really is how you play the game!

In a politically heated world, it is easy to forget that it is not whether you win or lose but how you play the game.

When we focus too much on a goal of winning, we may falter in our understanding of what we perceive we are up against.  It becomes too easy to for us to let emotion sway our reason, sway our perception of truth.  In the end whether we win or whether we lose, we still must be able to move forward.

When we become polarized in our ideas of right and wrong, ferocious in our belief that the other side is not only the opponent, but desires the destruction of all we hold dear; when this happens we run the risk of our own ruin. For no matter the outcome of the election, the world will no longer meet the standards we have set, no politician will ever make us happy, and no law will satisfy our thirst for a sense of perfection. Politicians will promise, platforms will declare, but in the end disappointment will be our companion if we do not learn that the political apparatus cannot supply a sense of wellbeing. Only we can supply that feeling, that sense of prosperity, that sense of safety.

When we vote in an election, especially when the election is close, we must focus on the value of the process and not simply on the outcome we desire. This will ensure that win or lose, we will feel good about ourselves, our efforts, and our opponents, once the game is over.

My Two Cents – Politically

My ability to affiliate with a political party has always been constrained.  My grandfather, who served two term as a county commissioner when I was young, was a Democrat in a predominately Republican area.  He was a farmer, and while he was staunchly Democrat at the local level, he never voted Democrat for president.  He said, “They always mess up the agriculture policy.”

Well I am not a farmer, and I have struggled, until recently with the idea of being politically affiliated.  I don’t struggle any longer because I have embraced being an Independent. Some may say that I can’t make up my mind, but that is not the case.  I am a moderate who like to choose each election who I think is the best candidate.

So 2012 – I have tried to keep an open mind and evaluate the candidates based on their wisdom, advisors and when possible, their policies.  I believe that if the “new guy” can’t improve upon the “old guy” in office, then leave the “old guy” in  to finish his job.  (Luckily we do have term limits on the office of the president).

So while, many things have bothered me about Mitt Romney over the election cycle, none have disqualified him until the convention this week.  The sum of his faults tipped the scales during his convention speech, specifically when his Cold War rhetoric resonated as he spoke of foreign policy, and when he projected the idea that only ‘for-profit’ business experience was of value.

So here is my two cents worth for the record.

I am beginning to really think all Romney knows is money and money friends. None of his political and certainly none of his Foreign Policy decisions seem to be coming from a well thought out position. He seems to be cutting and pasting pieces of past presidential ideas and creating a Frankenstein. Now if he is so good at making money, why doesn’t he A) tell us how he plans to create 12 million jobs, and B) higher some younger, more modern advisers. (Also, why didn’t he make more jobs with all his money, while in the private sector?)

He projects the idea that only expensive old guys are worth the investment and as advisors. This seems to be completely ill conceived when it is the ideas of the old that keep us in this economic state. The economics of the 50’s and even the 80’s can’t possibly work for the world today. Have they all forgotten that A) the baby boomers all had kids, exponentially increasing our population, B) the baby boomers are not retiring fast enough to open at least some of the jobs needed to decrease the unemployment, C) that the world has changed tremendously in the last 20 years, and D) the economies of the past were bolstered by military buildup. On that note, the military buildup created jobs, and during the Cold War we were a major exporter of military tech/machine. While the Cyber Technology growth helped offset the decrease in military sales, it could not replace all the jobs.

No one argues that the economy is in a less than happy state, but just as I don’t think Cold Warriors should be deciding Foreign Policy, I don’t think that “old” thinkers should be steering the nation’s economic or legal courses.

Oh, and I seriously question his judgment when he surrounds himself with press advisers who can’t keep their mouths clean and respectful, especially in public.  Especially since I am rather familiar with the standards of his faith.

Wisdom is for advising, but youth is for innovation. Romney seems stuck in the old – not wisdom, just old.

So this is my two cents, I appreciate the courage Romney has shown in his decision to run for office.  I value his desire to serve, but if he wins, I anticipate more war and less peace.  For while the economy is struggling, and innovation is required, he does not seem to understand that we cannot return to the 80’s where strong rhetoric was backed by huge military development, constant fear, and little sense of security.  The world is filled with conflict, but the policies of the Cold War do not work for the world we live in today.  He should ask President G.W. Bush about this, because right or wrong, his administration proved war had changed, and the ability to bolster our economy through war has changed as well. We cannot go back and Romney does not seem to know how to go forward.