HISTORY AND POLITICS have become my favorite sports but, unfortunately, both tend to drive me up the wall once in a while. When I take the time to think about why, I end up reflecting on the following: There's no good reason I am registered as a Republican. My father was - and I suppose I just followed his example. Over the many years since I signed on, I've been upset with people in both political parties more or less equally. Dad's only advice on the subject was to vote for honest men. Perhaps he wasn't just a rubber stamp Rebulican.
The first politician I was aware of was F.D.R., a very liberal Democrat who took office in the midst of a depression, at a time of conflict that was soon to become a war, and he was a man who really believed a bigger government could do more for America. My father didn't agree with F.D.R.'s steam roller politics - but his complaints stopped the day we declared war.
Recently I was comparing those thoughts to politics today. Mr. Obama walked into several similar situations. I don't agree with Mr. Obama's idea that America can spend it's way out of the current recession, nor his efforts to socialize our government, nor his indefinite leadership of the war in the middle east. Should I overlook my complaints because America is at war? I have thought long and hard about this, and concluded that I should follow my instincts regardless.
President Obama is no more of a liberal Democrat than F.D.R. was. The issues are no more difficult or controversial, and America is at war (again) - but the reasons for this conflict are not clear. When the Bush Administration was provoked into a pre-emptive war with Iraq, the action was very controversial. When no 'weapons of mass destruction' were found, it became even more so, then as the war dragged on, the constant criticism turned public opinion. Our military efforts in Iraq began losng support.
This was the situation when Mr. Obama took office. He assumed leadership of an unpopular war, the Islamic terrorists were gaining strength, the American economy was in the midst of a serious recession, and the narrow victory of his election did not give him the mandate for change that he needed to create a dynamic Presidency.
One by one his actions were considered wrong or ineffective. Within his first year in office the voting public realized that they had unleashed an Obama revolution they didn't want and would no longer support.
The unintended and unwanted consequence of Mr. Obama's election has been has been the trashing of America's historic traditions, the destruction of free market capitalism, and a perceived lack of military leadership.
President Obama is taking a lot of flak. Is it justified? After serious thought I have to admit that it is not. He is a fairly typical product of an Ivy League Liberal Arts education, who learned Chicago style politics at the grass roots level. He acquired his administrative skills as a community organizer, and had only a short exposure to national politics as a Senator. His pre-election speeches described what he would do as President. The voters were fully informed on his solutions for the issues. They got exactly what they voted for.
The way I see it Mr. Obama was elected by MODERATE liberal and ULTRA liberal Democrats. After his first year in office he has lost the moderate liberals, and the support of the ultra liberal Democrats is not enough to advance his agenda. Instead, he faces increasing resistance to most of his ultra liberal proposals.
My take on the political scene is more or less the Conservative view. Several of the liberals I know, both Republican and Democrat, have turned luke warm with their Obama support. His only real strength now is from the ultra liberal Democrats. To me, this is extremely interesting. I do not understand the ultra liberal view - and those I know as friends and acquaintences are intelligent, well informed, and universally terrific people that I highly respect. People like Dr. Ken Bell, George Elsey, and Betty (Rain) for example. I thoroughly enjoy a political debate with these friends.
(1) Is it important for average citizens like myself and my friends to debate the merits of political issues? I think it is.
(2) Do such debates separate friends? I don't think they so . . . if the debaters remember to be civil and to make an honest attempt to understand the opposition.
(3) Do such spirited but freindly political debates add to the knowledge of each side? I think that is exactly what happens.
(4) Finally, do such debates ever change the opinions of the other side? I would think only rarely, but I do believe they add to a person's understanding.