Because these thoughts are plaguing me, I thought it would be therapeutic to just blog about them. I have a dirty little secret I want to share with you: I am seriously thinking about voting straight-ticket democratic in the next election, a year from now. Those of you who know I worked for Senator Hatch (R-UT), (Shelly, Alicia, other former Hatch employees that are my good friends: I think I may have gone to the dark side) and also a non-profit that is dang-near libertarian, and my husband even worked for a conservative think tank when we first got married. A few years ago, I used to listen to nothing but conservative talk radio. My dad was in the military all growing up, which makes me lean conservative, and I'm from Utah, niece of former State Senator Arnold Christensen (Rep. 1979-1994). Oh yeah, and the schools I went to for both under-grad & grad (see sidebar) are both very conservative.
So I just want you to know that I'm a thinking voter. I consider myself pretty educated about many issues. Although I have grown up conservative, I don't vote blindly. Despite my past conservative leanings, I have sort of realized that you don't have to be one or the other permanently. Different times call for different problem-solving approaches and different policies. My work in politics has cynically taught me that for the voter, it's not usually as simple as voting by candidate instead of voting by party. Candidates often need to band with one party to a) get things done, b) ensure that they stay in office. The last several years, I have felt that Republicans would do a better job, but now I have my doubts. I realize, that by blogging about this, I am inviting people to argue with me, but don't get too upset if you disagree. Actually, I hope that lots and lots of people agree with me. That's kind of my point. But if you don't, it's okay. I know these issues are tough and many-faceted. I'm just blogging about things that are important to me. The pros and cons below are just for me. They may not be for you.
Pros of the typical Republican standpoint
- Pro definition of Marriage being between a man & a woman. The church has actually ASKED members to do what they can to politically support this. I do it whole-heartedly, just like I oppose gambling, pornography or any other church-based belief.
- Generally, supportive of lower taxes
- School vouchers. I wish my tax money could be coming back to me to educate Eli in the school of my choice.
- I'm not much of an environmentalist. But I'm getting better.
- Ezra Taft Benson has said that our government "cannot claim the power to redistribute money or property nor to force reluctant citizens to perform acts of charity against their will." This confuses me a bit, because what do we make of the welfare program, then? Sure that, too, needs reform, but isn't it extremely necessary? I listed this as a "pro" because I would want to side with a party whose philosophy is similar to an LDS prophet. But the church has said they are non-partisan.
- They are usually constitutional originalists.
- I hate guns.
- I can't afford our horrible, horrible health insurance any more. Arggh! They don't cover anything! Chris and I are going broke! All the developed countries in the world have universal health care, except us. I think I was naive to how disastrous this current health care (lack of) system is because I've always had good health insurance. Now that we have sucky insurance, Chris and I have both decided we support universal nationalized health care. If it's disastrous for us, I can't even imagine how much people are suffering who have a much smaller income.
- The stereotypical Republican candidate is in bed with "big business." To me, this is alarming. (Also click here for another source.) I have always supported a free market. But I think the pendulum has swung way too far, and it makes me physically ill that there is such a pay discrepancy between the top and the bottom workers in the same company of most all of the nation's large companies.
- Speaking of being ill, why can't we reform the Farm Bill???? To me, there shouldn't even be a debate on this. It is so clearly wrong, as it is now.
- What can be done about the Iraq war? I just want someone to explain to me without rhetoric and re-used PR phrases why we are sacrificing so much? I just want some hope.
- As my son enters the public school next year, I am wondering, who has the better educational policy, democrats or republicans? I honestly don't know. But I do know that democrats have the better over-all stereotypical reputation for being more legislatively friendly toward our kids' educations.
Whether or not you agree with me, be sure you take action. It doesn't matter if you lean left or right, as long as you don't sit around and do nothing about the problems surrounding us.
Be informed about The Farm Bill... Grrrrrrrr...
Do something about crappy School Lunches
Don't be ignorant about our nation's economic well being. Click here, here, here, here, and here.
Weep with me that it's too easy to get guns.
Ask yourself whether we are being wise about our Iraq policy. Here's a thought-provoking podcast.
*Although, realistically, my voting strategy might look more like a Yahoo Pick 'Em strategy than anything else. It may go something like this: Barak Obama vs. Any Republican- vote for Obama. Hillary Clinton vs. Any Republican- vote for Any Republican. When Bill Clinton got elected, I cried. I thought the Apocalypse was coming. I just don't think I can vote for another Clinton. But we'll see!