Thoughts on Obama

I commented on an old neighbour’s page (Merideth’s third brother) yesterday in favour of John McCain, having been linked there by his older brother, Joe, also a friend of mine.  Maybe he wasn’t asking for my response, but I don’t like being preached disagreeable ideas without getting the chance to answer…  It was a sad day for me when I found out Joe was an Obamaist earlier this year, since I view him (and his siblings) as among the most thoughtful young people I know.  Anyway, it made me reflect on my changing political opinions.
 
This year and last, of course, I was a backer of Mitt Romney.  First, he was my people, and second, I liked virtually all of his platform, as well as his party.
 
It was during the Bush-Gore race, or shortly after it, that I became politically sentient.  I think I was a conscientious objector for that election, believing that neither politician deserved my vote.  Since then, I’ve reflexively become a Republican voter after studying a little history and seeing so much cultural radicalism from Democrats in this generation.  This development was not without sacrifice, since I had been indoctrinated by my public school towards scientific and environmental devotion.  I think the education was a benefit to me, but only because I was gifted with enough skepticism to spit up much of what we were forced to imbibe in those classrooms and take a closer look at it.  Anyway, Democrats have always seemed like the more scientific party to me, which has left in me a lingering sympathy.
 
Well, I think mine was a common experience in this state, which is losing its religious homogeneity to the same creeping atheism that has already infested much of the rest of the country — which, by the way, has pressured me more and more into voting Republican, since the growing unchurched (or anti-church) segment of Utah population is, as far as I know, almost entirely Democrat.  So, they opposed my religion and church, an organisation I knew uplifted mankind, leaving me no recourse but to oppose their politics.
 
Anyway, as I grew, and as I saw more and more of his detractors, I turned in favour of Bush.  Almost none of the attacks or criticisms against him have been fair, and most of them can be answered without much personal effort of research; but it seems that closing one’s mind is much easier than juggling with logic.  These days, it’s hard for me not to be disgusted by Bush-haters, an unscientific lot completely at the mercy of their own biases.
 
Let me be more specific.  I can think of two things… three… that have robbed Democrats of their intelligence in my eyes.  The first, obviously, is the religious issue which I already mentioned.  Democrats have been the voices calling for the overthrow of faith, which is a sure pathway to amorality.  Morals are necessary things in the world.  "Respect" for differences, that’s a moral; so for Democrat-liberals to try to tear down the moral framework, or at best, gag morality and lock it in a closet, and then to continue preaching their own moral of "tolerance" is a losing gamble.  Removing the basis for "right" and "wrong" will not somehow increase brotherliness and respect.  All crimes and offences have in fact been departures from religious morality, while Democrat voices instead believe they have been exercises of religion.  In this they show a total failure of perception.
 
Second has been the "global warming" scare.  Originally, I was ambivalent about it.  I agreed with the environmentalism that kept the streets free of garbage and my air and water clear of poisons.  But hearing it preached more and more by people who, I expected, intentionally poisoned themselves for purposes of recreation that "we were killing ourselves" by ozone depletion, I was doubtful.  And looking into it, I couldn’t immediately see a threat.  It already seemed reasonable not to pollute the skies, anyway; but why the scare-tactics?  Why the prophecies of doom?  The more I looked at it from both sides, the more political it became — two sides fiercely struggling to discredit each other.  And the side I liked less was the liberal side, so I gave them more skepticism.
 
It was around that time that, after taking an astronomy class at school, I developed the idea that "global warming", apparently well enough documented, was because of a cyclical climatic shift.  Since then, I’ve seen others put forth the same idea.  Well, it’s just a theory; it’s possible, and it ought to be looked at.  But oddly enough, the scientific Dem-libs refused to give the idea any credit, because it went against their scientific model and blunted their political attacks.  I found it extremely dogmatic and offensive that scientists should disallow rational, scientific questioning because it wasn’t "politically correct" (or here, "scientifically correct") enough.  I learned later of the Bjorn Lomborg incident (and many other such have taken place), a story right out of the middle ages — scientific theories being silenced by the orthodoxy.  And suddenly, the thought that Democrats (the ones perpetrating the closed-mindedness) were a more "scientific" party didn’t make them seem any smarter.
 
Third has been the Iraq conflict.  I was in Hong Kong when that all happened; 9-11, and the entire year after that.  I wasn’t worried about it at all.  Some of my companions were, I think.  One of them, on the day that we got that news of the plane attack, expressed some comment about military retribution.  But I didn’t care for that.  I wasn’t angry.  Destruction is never underserved, according to scripture; if it is, it will be averted or avenged.
 
Anyway, I will never forget the strange fact that shortly after that attack, not American only, but WORLD opinion turned against terrorism and toward George Bush and his response, leading to war… and eventually began to waver… and at last turned almost entirely in the opposite direction, as soon as sacrifice began to be required.  It has been an immense disappointment to see this people make a scapegoat out of Bush for doing the very thing they themselves had wanted to do, but who, unlike them, stood firm in his choice, because that’s a choice you have to follow through with, even if it gets difficult.  I myself was not inclined to make war, and neither were some others; but I recognise that the exigence virtually demanded that reaction, and I won’t blame one man for enacting the will of the people he represents, even if the people themselves start to blame him.  I consider them all hypocrites.
 
And then, it became a simple matter of popularity.  You weren’t cool any more — more than that, you were an idiot deserving of the rudest criticism — unless you went along with the polls and opposed Bush.  But I have never opposed him or blamed him, and so all of his other accomplishments have not been obscured to me by bias.  He has been an extra-ordinary leader.
 
Anyway, there have also been the homosex and abortion issues, which have revealed exactly the same Democrat hypocrisy as the others.  I don’t even need to get into the morality of them here, because most of their supporters already believe the acts are wrong — they themselves would never do them.  How dishonest, or else ignorant, for people to say they don’t personally support something, but then to vote for it anyway and swing the door wide open to it, or vote into office the government that will embrace it.  It’s a sin against democracy, to vote against your own morals and desires for governance, especially just to satisfy the lust of popularity; and it’s about the dumbest, most failure-prone plan you can invent.  Even if you don’t personally want something, if you vote for it, you definitely will get it.  And if your government doesn’t preserve your rights of conscience, you can bet your philosophical enemies won’t.
 
How could I possibly associate with such a party, or uphold such people in office?
 
But this year, I thought twice.
 
This year, I saw hypocrisy coming from the other side.
 
It was during the primaries.  Mitt was doing fairly well; McCain was on the ropes.  Naturally, there were some extremists condemning Mitt for believing in MY religion, but I didn’t think it would amount to much.
 
And then came Huckabee.  He never had that big of a chance; but he made his mark nevertheless by inflaming the passions of prejudice.  Those who had first accepted Mitt flocked to Huck instead — for what reason?  For NO reason, except that Mitt believed in MY religion.
 
…And Mitt lost some very close contests to a reviving McCain.  And suddenly, it was all over.
 
I mulled over that sabotage by those anti-Mormons…  I wrote it on this page, how I felt betrayed by Republicans, and how I couldn’t imagine supporting the party that hated me…  I thought I would even have to pick Obama, who at that time was the underdog.  Why?  Because he seemed more "scientific".  Ha ha…  He seemed smart.  And I would’ve gone with him, too…  But very soon, Mitt Romney was back, giving his support to his former competitor.  And around that time… I forget how, exactly… I heard some doctrine from Gordon Hinckley.  Maybe it was in one of his obituary editions of the paper.  He was saying something about… working together with our enemies for a common cause.
 
My, that was a hard pill to swallow.  I had to work together with anti-Mormons, who hated me, because there were things we both believed in?
 
But, even Mitt himself was saying the same thing… so I began to notice John McCain.  I wasn’t sold on him, of course, but he WAS the only Republican in the race, so…  And I was sure I didn’t like Hillary.
 
…When was it that I stopped liking Barack?
 
I think it was when I watched a video or read some article about a speech he had given in Israel, or to some pro-Israel group.  He basically was giving his support to them without reservation…  I thought it was kind of unexpected, since his party and campaign had seemed to be opposed to antagonising Arabs.  And right then, I realised the truth about him.
 
Obama was being all things to all people.
 
With awareness of that single fact, every imagination one might have of him being a great reformer evaporates, and one is left to stand against the flood of evidences that Obama is a smooth talker, a salesman, and is not constrained by truth.  And the man who supports two sides of a question immediately becomes totally unpredictable.  He was no McCain, consistently and openly saying things that half the country would hate him for.  He was no Mitt, offering his complete representation to his party, even if he had not always done so.  Here was a man who would say anything he could behind closed doors so he could get votes.
 
Well, last night, after my post, I started to ask myself…
 
…Wouldn’t I do the same thing, if I were Obama?
 
Wouldn’t I try to appeal to every American, knowing they were opposite?  Wouldn’t I try to build bridges by sympathising with all sides of every question?
 
It would be tempting.
 
But I decided, no, I would not do that.  I might be more polite than usual, as is appropriate anyway.  I might try to have sympathy.  But faced with the decision to support something I didn’t support, just so my audience would cheer… and to say something I didn’t intend to do…
 
…No, I wouldn’t.  I might pull a Ted Kennedy and very tactfully acknowledge the other side, and put forth my case softly… but I would not make false promises, and I wouldn’t offer representation to groups whose purposes I would arrest, if I could.
 
And since that day when my eyes were opened to him, Obama has only gone downhill in my estimation.
 
Well, if you look for mistakes, you can find them on any side.  If I’m honest, I’ll admit McCain’s.  I didn’t even agree with Romney 100%, only about 90% — I guess he was right about Jihadism being our greatest current military threat, but I just don’t think it’s that terrible of a threat.  I would like to ban assault weapons, too.  I think it’s ridiculous that normal people should have stockpiles and arsenals in their homes, more aptly prepared for offence than any defence.  I wouldn’t mind so much with simple handguns and hunting rifles, but even then, a lot of them are in the hands of the wrong people, and I would try to address that.  I don’t think it should be a universal right to bear the instruments of death, to the insane and the criminal as well as the honest man.
 
But really, I’m not voting for politicians or points of policy.  I’m voting for, and against, a culture.
 
In the end, I had to admit that liberals hated my uplifting, exalting, God-given religion just as much as anti-Mormons did.  Democrats were as likely to stab my people in the back as were Republicans.  I had to choose the group that shared more of my goals… and more of my culture.
 
I would appreciate it if one of my people participated in the other party for the sake of pulling it in a more humane direction… but not if it’s just because they’re blind to the times.
 
-Steve
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