Thursday, March 20, 2008

My theme song

With the spiritual turmoil of the last couple of years, I find this simple song expresses where my heart is.

Jerusalem, My Destiny
I have set my eyes on your hills,
Jerusalem, my Destiny.
Though I cannot see the end for me
I cannot turn away.

We have set our hearts for the way;
This journey is our destiny.
Let no one walk alone.
This journey makes us one.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

How McCain needs to campaign against Obama

If Obama is the Democratic candidate, there is, imo, only one way to win against him. No, it won't be to go negative as Hillary has. Maybe that will work for her, who knows, but it won't work for McCain. I think a negative campaign by a Republican against the mild-mannered Obama will be a disaster.

And McCain doesn't need to harp too long on the experience factor. Everyone knows how long McCain's been around and how long Obama hasn't. People aren't too sure long experience in Washington is such a great asset, anyway. One of the things McCain has going for him is that he's been a maverick; he's been different. Harping on Obama's lack of experience may end up hurting McCain in the long run, since he needs to look "fresh" and different than the present administration. So a few reminders of experience should do the trick there.

What McCain needs to do is tackle the issues. Over, and over, and over again. Simply line up the issues and show where they differ and how he (McCain) is going to achieve his goals. The reason this could work is simple. When all the dust has settled and the stirring oratories are getting less fresh and effective, people are going to realize Obama is simply a very liberal democrat of the old school.

I once thought Obama was a lightweight on substance. I've read through pages and pages on his website and now know he has very definite ideas about the changes he wants to see. (He's still weak on details, especially how you pay for all this stuff, but he's got definite goals at any rate.) The problem, at least for those of us on the conservative side of the spectrum, is that he holds the same agenda as every liberal for the past 40 years. The failed policies of Carter. The "government as nanny" policies of Clinton et al, and the liberal social agenda of Ted Kennedy. All rolled into one.

In the end, many Republicans who have been sickened by the present administration may very well wake up to the fact that replacing one political extreme with the opposite isn't going to change things the way they hope. Things will still be hopelessly deadlocked and polarizing politics will continue to reign. I think some eyes will open to the facts of national security, immigration, our moral duty in Iraq, the idiocy of turning health care over to the government, and all the other issues that Republicans tend to feel strongly about. People are going to take another look at McCain. Yes, the Bush administration has screwed things up royally, but what we need is a concerted effort to come together in the middle.

So McCain needs to show America exactly what Obama is. A nice, well-spoken, passionate, and very liberal, Democrat. Nothing more, nothing less. Not the "enemy," not evil, not anything except wrong on where this country needs to go. We don't need to go off the cliff on the other side. We need to find common ground. I believe McCain has the potential to do just that, in fact has already proven he can. With someone in the White house willing to work on both sides of the aisle, maybe we can truly get something done on these issues.

I hope Republican, and independents and moderate Democrats as well, can see the need for a moderate in the White House and give McCain a chance. And I hope McCain can see that his best bet to get there is to simply lay the facts out and let the people decide.

And even if McCain doesn't win, America will benefit greatly from a campaign run on the issues instead of negative emotions.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The role of government

This election year has caused me to ponder a lot of questions about the true role of government in our daily lives, as well as their role in national and international affairs. Here are random questions and thoughts, which may or may not make sense.

* Ours is a democratically elected government of a pluralistic society. That means, in part, that no one part of society gets special treatment.

* So what role should that government play in things such as protection of one segment of society from abuse of another? Obviously, we've decided no one should discriminate on the basis of race, creed, or sex. Who decides what constitutes "abuse" of one party by another?

* Can it be argued that the government's job is to see to the welfare of the country? At all costs? At some cost? In other words, can't it be argued that if it is in the country's best interest to protect it's oil supply, it should do so?

* Who decides what's in the county's best interest? The voters? A 51% majority? The courts?

This is what is stumping me, but I'm not able to articulate it well. I've been reading how the government shouldn't legislate "morality." You can't force people to make what other people think are the "right" or moral choices in life. Abortion, homosexual rights, and stem cell research are just a few examples. But at the same time, social justice issues are seen as the proper domain for the federal government. Welfare, food stamps, child care, health care, education, head start, etc. We've tried affirmative action as well as other social programs to level the playing field. Isn't that legislating morality, too?

Is the job of government to ensure their international trading is "fair" trade? If we say it is in the best interest of any country to deal compassionately with other countries and peoples, aren't we making moral judgments and therefore asking our governments to legislate morality instead of ensure the safety and survival of the country? What about illegal immigration? Should we possibly weaken our defenses and drain our resources by dealing "compassionately" with those who have come here to seek a better life? Perhaps immigrants are making the country a better place, but I think it can be argued rather effectively that that's not a universal truth and there are real and costly problems involved. Should compassion for an individual (or even many individuals) dictate national policy? Should it dictate how everyone must deal with something like this on a national level? Isn't it best to accommodate the needs of the many, not the few? Isn't that legislating morality?

It just seems we want to pick and choose what we see as the legitimate moral grounds for the federal government. Most, if not all of you who read my sporadic blog should know me at least a little. Yes, I have a conservative bent in politics and social issues. But I'm letting my mind run here, and I want help thinking through this issue of what is the legitimate role of government and who has the right to chose which areas the government meddles in, and which it doesn't?

Here is a concrete example. Should a government be compassionate at all costs? Isn't it the federal governments' primary job to secure our borders and to keep our country safe? If you don't see that as a primary function, what do you think the primary function is?