Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Americans Need to Think

The last few days have had me thinking a lot about my political views and where I stand on a lot of issues.  I've been interested in politics and followed politics since I was a senior in high school and took a Presidential Politics class.  I firmly hold the belief that if you are politically minded you should be constantly questioning your own feelings and what various political parties stand for, you should be constantly researching and understanding all sides of the issues.

The last three years I have read a lot of politically conservative homeschool blogs which made me question my thoughts on things and research things more and really think about how I felt about things. My dear Uncle always encouraged me to watch CSPAN saying you can learn so much more from directly watching the House or Senate in their negotiations than just in reading about it.

I know a lot of conservatives don't like the idea of government intrusion and big government and in a lot of areas, I agree with them.  You should be able to have chickens or add on to your home or make choices about vaccinating or how to educate your children without any government interference.  I don't think many conservatives would disagree that law enforcement and road and bridge maintenance are important.  But the area where I differ with conservatives is that I like the idea of a government provided safety net, I don't mind providing that for someone else and I like knowing it is there for me if I need it.  I understand that if we were taxed less we could save more, but I don't know that we could ever save enough.  I understand how the government subsidizes things and how that can increase costs and yes, I would like to see what would happen if that stopped, not just on paper but in reality.  I respect people whose views differ from mine and I would be upset if politicians who represented my point of view held the country hostage because of something they did not like.

As a pseudo-stay at home mom (I work 10 hours a week at the library but make little money) my husband is our primary source of income.  What if he got so sick that he could no longer work?  We would lose his employer sponsored health insurance.  We own a home and we have investments so we would not be eligible for a lot of programs, we could potentially lose everything trying to pay our mortgage, health insurance, for gas and groceries and electricity, not to mention the medical bills.  It could devastate us.  I see a lot of flaws in Obamacare, but I like that Obamacare provides for this and I don't mind paying a little extra to help someone else who may be in this position.

This week, I was annoyed when Harry Reid didn't call Senate back on Sunday.  I was irritated that the Senate would not agree to repealing the medical excise tax or agree to the bicameral conference.  I understood why conservatives felt Obama was being arrogant in not wanting to negotiate.

But I was more annoyed that the House was attaching a bill that they had tried to repeal 40 some odd times at the tax payers' expense to a continuing resolution for 11 weeks.  Extortion.  Blackmail.  Intimidation.  Violence was not used, but intimidation was definitely used.

I thought of my uncle as I watched the House negotiate bills and the Senate vote and listened to each politician state their case.  Over and over I found myself agreeing with Jim Moran, Bernie Sanders and other Democrats on the unfairness of attaching a law that was upheld in the Supreme Court to keeping the government open.  I loved Reid's letter today, Democrats had reservations about the Iraq War, but they didn't attach that to a CR and hold the government and American people hostage over it.

I am outraged at conservative media downplaying this as a "Slimdown", ridiculing "biased mainstream media" for concerning themselves over hardships faced by families on furlough.  One of the things I have noticed about conservative media is that they often take what Democrats say out of context , Reid never said he didn't want to help kids with cancer, he was asked about passing certain bills to fund certain parts of the government.  Sure, I would love for them to open the National Parks so we can go to Yosemite as planned, but Americans need to see what the Republicans in Congress have done by attaching the repeal of a law -- a law that they have unsuccessfully tried to repeal 40something times, a law that was held up by the Supreme Court, a law on which Obama ran and won the last Presidential election--to a funding bill and get mad about it so that change can happen.  People need to open their eyes to who the Tea Party really is and what they are all about.

If anything comes of this, I hope it is that more American realize that the Tea Party vets candidates and provides substantial backing, eliminating any competition (otherwise known as gerrymandering) --can you say special interests?  Hello!  In my opinion, the objective of these people is to protect themselves and their interests and to hell with everyone else.  It really frightens me to think about what can happen if these people get too much control.  They use scare tactics to frighten gullible people who don't realize how ludicrous some of their assertions are--just look at the intimidation tactics they are using in Congress to hold our country hostage, they don't care at all about the environment and The Christian Science Monitor calls the Tea Party "An Existential Threat to America".  The Tea Party points to a "flat tax", I looked over the formula and tried it with our income and found we would pay significantly more.  I understand repealing loopholes for the wealthy on their fourth and fifth homes, but the Child Tax Credit and the Property Tax Deduction would also be repealed and without those many families would pay a lot more in taxes which would reduce their buying power.  Don't just drink the Tea Party Kool-Aid, do the math.