Tuesday, September 13, 2011

CNN Tea Party Debate

** This is my blog and these are my opinions.  While I am leaving this open for comments, I do caution you to respect our differences, should your opinion differ.  I will only publish comments that perpetuate a conversation, because while I know you should not discuss religion and politics, the blog world is perpetuated by discussion and information sharing to educate ourselves on these pertinent topics.  But remember, the reason for not discussing these subjects is that relationships are easily severed when not respecting differences. **

Did you watch the debate?

I had the pleasure of watching the debate while tweeting (both publicly and privately) with my friend Janet, who is a professor at UT Dallas and who wrote her dissertation on the candidates' use of social media in the last Presidential election.  I was aware of various points in her dissertation and it definitely makes watching these debates more interesting!  Especially when you follow all of the candidates on Twitter!

I tend to be rather liberal in my parenting style, I also watched the debate with my almost 12 year old.  It made for great discussion.  I had no problem discussing the HPV vaccine with her.  We discussed sexually transmitted diseases and a virus that can lead to cervical cancer (and of course what a cervix is!).  Although I tried really hard NOT to put ideas in her head, I was happy to see that she thought like I did: it's wonderful that such a vaccine exists, but it should be up to the girls and their parents when they get it.  Eleven, twelve seems too young.  I can also see this from a social perspective, not all parents are as involved in their children's lives or comfortable with their sexuality, but I think doctors suggesting the vaccine and parents making the final decision is imperative.

I found myself explaining what issues meant, but trying to allow A the room to form her own opinions on the issues.  I did, however, explain that while I didn't necessarily favor the original stimulus, I didn't oppose it either, but I do oppose the current jobs package and think it is time we try something else.  I explained the debt situation in our country and how I don't agree with spending more money than you have (I live within my means, I don't have debt and I don't want to pay the government's debt; I also feel that the government sets the pace for a society and I find the "get out of debt-pennies on the dollar" radio ads infuriating!).  I explained that the Democrats do seem to think throwing money at a problem will make it go away.  I explained that I had been raised a Democrat, raised to believe that the Republicans are for the wealthy and the Democrats are for everyone else, but I am not pleased with the size of government and government spending.  I was raised to believe that being a liberal meant that I thought people could make their own decisions, maybe at one point it was, now it seems to mean that I think everyone should do what they want and I will pay for it.  And I am sorry, my friends, but that does not bode well with me.

Allie enjoyed Perry's evasion of Romney's question about Social Security being a Ponzi scheme.  "Why won't he answer it?"  she wanted to know.  She then asked if she had done something but didn't want to admit it if she should do that.  I had to laugh and tell her that if she was practicing for a career in politics, yes, but most people do understand the admission of guilt.

Social security and Medicare, creation of jobs and sustaining the middle class are my big issues this election.  I know many of you will disagree with me, but I don't want to rely solely on the stock market for my retirement income.  I have no problem with contributing a percentage of my income now to a government fund PROVIDED that the money is actually put in the fund and the government does what they are supposed to do with the money.  That was obviously the crux of Perry's Ponzi scheme argument as I understood it last week.  I like that he seems to have changed his wording to wanting to "fix" social security.  Governor Christie recently passed legislation here in New Jersey to save our pensions.  It is now illegal to put our pension money elsewhere in the budget and it is illegal for the government NOT to contribute the allotted amount to our pension system.

I think a lot of the candidates have good ideas for jobs creation.

My other issue is with sustaining the middle class and unfortunately that was only addressed briefly last night.  I am the person that I was raised to believe (and indeed have found numerous articles to support) that the GOP does not believe exists.  I am contentedly middle class.  My husband and I could both work a lot more, take on more stressful jobs and make more money, BUT we want to enjoy our lives, watch our children grow up and not tax our health.  Balance is key and we are fine being middle class.  That is not to say that we don't believe in hard work, we do.  My husband breaks his back five-sometimes six- days a week.  When I consider the possibility of bad things happening (and I do, often...xanax anyone?) I always consider how we would get ourselves out of a situation.  I don't even consider government assistance.  I don't even consider asking family for help.  I believe we need to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and deal with our lumps on our own.  We have never asked anyone for help, we have always found our way on our own.  If we can't afford something, we don't do it or buy it.  Quite frankly and this may seem judgmental, but I don't have a lot of respect for people who expect others to help them out of a jam.  I think we need to raise our children to think things through thoroughly and act responsibly.

I am concerned about the fate of unions in our country.  While I do understand there is a lot of corruption in unions, there is also a lot of corruption in government and corporations.  My concern is with the idea of a "living wage".  Most union members are middle class.  Middle class Americans will need to make a certain amount of money to sustain the middle class.  If that does not happen more people will lose their homes, not be able to save for retirement, not be able to afford to live.  It will be destructive to our society.  But, I have faith that will not happen in the United States of America.  In all honesty, it doesn't seem like it would be good for business to let this happen.

All of this being said, I think the last 12 years have been fascinating politically.  I have been exchanging emails with a good friend of mine from college.  We were both very liberal in college.  He is now very politically active with more conservative leanings.  He pointed out that although the Cold War was a threat in our youth, by the time we became politically conscious the issues were more about abortion and military spending; terrorism seemed to be an isolated threat by small "fringe" groups; lying in the White House about sexual proclivities was the most widely discussed political topic.  In the last twelve years that has all changed dramatically.  As adults, who grew up in a period of feeling that nothing could hurt us politically as Americans, we are now faced with challenges that make us look more deeply at our core beliefs in ways that we never had to before.  It is no longer enough to say: this is my stand on this social issue--so I am this.  There is much, much more at stake here.  We may not have been thrilled with George W. Bush, but we are equally unhappy with Obama...where does this leave us?  Watch the debates, read the articles, do your own research and pray for the United States of America.

As Bruce Springsteen said, "Blind faith in your leaders or in anything will get you killed." (intro to the song "War" on Live 1975-1985).