A Letter to Ron

My cousin Ron is a Southern Baptist preacher, and a fine one at that. He wrote me an email this morning that I could not agree with more…

The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.
— Cicero, 55 BC

So I started to write him back. Then it got long, real long, and finally I gave up 🙂 But here is my response, and my basic take on the election Tuesday.

And Cicero was right. When Bill Clinton left office we had a $123 billion dollar annual surplus. We had a huge debt of course, but the federal government took in more money than it spent. We had about $4.3 trillion in debt at the start of 2000.

Bush, even though a republican, has run up the national debt to $10 trillion dollars in 8 years. And that is not due to interest, though a part of it is. It is mostly due to the fact that the government has spent far more than it took in the entire 8 years Bush was in office.

And I always thought republicans were supposed to be the fiscally responsible party, and the dems were supposed to spend, spend, spend. It sure hasn’t been that way under Bush.

I voted for Bush, twice. At the time it seemed like the right thing to do. I like how he handled 9/11, and have always supported (and still do) the invasion of Afghanistan following it. I supported going into Iraq based on the information we were given at the time, but now think that Bush knew all along that there was no justifiable reason to go to war with Iraq. Yes, I think he flat out lied to us and we should all be pissed off about that, republicans or democrats.

But my vote this election is not really based on any of these things. John McCain is a good and decent man, I have no doubt about that. I just believe Barack is a better man, a more decent man, and the type of person we need in office right now. We need some young blood in Washington, someone that has not spent a lifetime there. We need someone that has proven time and again that people are far more important to him than money or job title. Obama has spent his entire life working in community and political organizations with little monetary gain, even though with his credentials he could have been making some serious bucks.

Obama is a Christian, but that does not dictate how he will lead. I know you would like to see a president that leads by his moral belief and teachings of the bible, and I respect that. I don’t agree with it, but I do respect it. I would rather have a president that actually leads this country based on the Constitution, and I doubt anyone in government knows and understands the US Constitution better than Barack Obama.

Leadership based on the Constitution includes separation of church and state, and I believe extends to separation of church FROM state. Not every citizen of this country is a Christan. We have Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Scientologists, and every other religion known to man living here. And some good Americans are atheist and many more, like me, are agnostic. It is perfectly fine for a US president to have strong religious convictions, but those must remain personal to him, this country is not ruled by religious law. The ones that are appear on the State Departments Travel Warnings list, or the Axis of Evil. We must be better than them.

The way other countries view the US must change. We must be respected again abroad for all the good that we do in the world. We cannot be the worlds police, and always sticking our nose where it doesn’t belong serves nobody.

We need to get out of Iraq and let them govern themselves. They will likely never be a democracy, nor look anything like the United States. They will continue to be governed by Islamic law, and as long as they don’t harm us or our allies, they should be left alone.

Our efforts should be concentrated on Afghanistan for right now, specifically Taliban and Al-Quida. They must be crushed, because they have attacked us, in their typically cowardly way. Iran must be watched, same for North Korea and Venezuela. I am all for a strong military and support military action when justified. We just have to pick our battles much better than we have in the past 8 years.

I see in Bush the same flaw that I saw in his father, the reason I also voted for Bill Clinton, twice. His head is so far outside this country that he seldom looks in to see what is happening right in his own backyard. Our economy is a mess, big banks and financial corporation are collapsing due to greed, and now the US government is going to bail them out. They will do this with money we DO NOT have, and do you think anyone will ever be held accountable for the mess? I don’t. And the republicans are accusing Obama of being a socialist? Exactly what do they call this?

Did we ever think and oil man from Texas would ever do anything to curtail rising gas prices and record profits by the oil companies? Trace the cost of gasoline to all the other industries that are now hurting and the damage is truly amazing. Our food prices have gone way up, air travel is so expensive (and annoying) that airlines are hurting, Ford and Chevy cannot sell a truck and factories are closing down. Exxon is posting record profits while GM and Ford are trying to figure out how they are going to survive.

On the environmental front, Bush barely acknowledges that global warming exists, certainly not recognizing it as a serious and potentially catastrophic problem. Now I can hardly be accused of being a tree-hugger, so I am not really in a position to cast stones here. I quite happily drive my Ford F-150 and Ford Explorer all over the place, even though they get pretty dismal gas mileage. I still feel like a better American sitting at a stop sign next to a Toyota Prius. I may be burning more gas, but at least my ass is inside an American made truck! So I am part of the problem (we all are), but I am doing things to change as well. I am not going to give up my truck, but I do use CF light bulbs throughout my house, and try to cut the power to things when not in use.

My point here is that I don’t know a lot about the problem, and barely understand the affect of inaction. I do know that the US needs to change drastically, and the leaders on the environmental front come from the democratic party.

The conservatives keep hounding about Roe V. Wade, gay marriage, and Obama’s ties to Ayers. Ok, 1 out of 3 of those may be worth fighting over, but seriously… Who really gives a damn if homosexuals marry each other, if you are straight like us it does not have any bearing on our lives. Personally, the republican side of me says that I don’t believe gays should be allowed to marry, that is just my view. But I don’t think it’s worth 1 minute of fighting over when we are facing the problems that we are right now. Ayers? Seriously, is that McCain’s only talking point? A guy Obama met a few times, it’s not like they were buddies or Ayers is up for a cabinet position. Pretty lame talking point, and only serves to hurt McCain more, though they don’t realize that.

Roe V. Wade was decided decades ago. It’s done, over with, let it sleep. Nobody is Pro-Abortion and I think everyone can agree that the need for abortion should be curtailed, through education and public programs. But it’s legal, and there is no point arguing about something that is legal in this country. It is not up for the courts to re-rule on this every time a new justice is sworn in.

Ok, I could go on forever, but I am just tired of typing… 🙂

I love you guys, all bible-thumping, right-wing conservative, preaching and moral high ground takers that you are 🙂

Love Todd”

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