Thursday, October 16, 2008

This is URGENT!!!

My mind is on the future today, and I'm nervous. I am just a mom who stays home with my kids and tries daily to do the best I can. I don't pass myself off to be an expert on political issues, but I do know my heart. Because of that, I have to unload what lies there this morning. I hope that if I'm completely off-base, you will put me straight. I want to feel good about my vote. I want solid fact to build on, not one-sided opinion, so I hope you will offer some of that truth to me.

I am not seeing how we, as American's, can be so blind. Is it that we're so in love with our political parties that we're vowing to be loyal and true no matter what the cost? It truly is like being in love with a loser and not seeing it because, somehow, that lust for him just won't let us see past our feelings to the obvious.

Once upon a time, there was a group of men who entered our country. We didn't question their intentions, we allowed them to live and work and gain educations just so they could turn around and attack us on our own soil. We have somehow forgotten the devastation of those events and the feelings of vulnerability they left us. "But, this is America, we are the greatest country in the world, no one can beat us," we seem to say. Hmm. Sounds like we need to swallow our pride before it swallows us, wouldn't you say? We are not safe.

Another once upon a time, there was a man who advocated for change in his economically depressed nation. Change he did bring, but that change altered the world for the worse. The world paid a devastating price.

I heard someone once comment about how he was going to vote for Obama because of his educational background because that's what he believes makes a good leader. To me, this is foolishness. I am not a party-line McCain supporter, but I have to say political experience is so much more important. Sitting at a desk listening to lectures and poring through textbooks does not a good leader make in my opinion.

How did this man, Barack Hussein Obama, Jr., who only spent 143 days in office as senator rise to a place of such importance so quickly? How does someone go from being a nobody to running a country? Who's financing him? I think of those men who choreographed the 9/11 attacks, where did they come from? Who knew that was going to happen? I'm sure that on paper they looked really good and that they said just the right things to get where they wanted to be. We think the terrorists of the world are going to come at us with an obvious, out in the open attack when they come at us next time? They didn't the first time. This is building to be the ultimate surprise attack--an attack from the inside, not just that, but an attack from the top. Do you think Germany saw what was coming when they put Hitler in charge?

It has been alleged that Obama has had ties with some who have "despicable acts with a radical domestic group" and others with ties to terrorism.

These are facts that cannot be ignored. If we vote for Obama, we seal our fate I fear.

12 comments:

Rory Baxter said...

Jules,
I completely agree with you. After the debate again last night I am sure that I dont want to vote for EITHER candidate. It is VERY scary that we have come to the point where the people are choosing to put wicked men in places of leadership. Reminds me of BoM - we still have not learned from history - from the scriptures or the world....
We too are trying to do the best we can every day - these are trying times and I fear that I will not be able to do enough to keep my family safe as I watch the world - and our nation spin - spin out of control at an alarming rate.
All we can do is live the gospel to the best of our ability and keep our prayers turned to heaven that the Lord will preserve us in this challenging time.
What a drastic difference is showing between the world and the church when the prophet speaks of peace and preparation, of light and life - and the world continues to choose darkness. The prophet knows what is coming, what a blessing for us to be able to follow his words and example and hopefully heed all that we heard last weekend.What a wonderful blessing we have to know of the truth of the gospel and be able to feel peace in its light!

Darilyn said...

I have a lot of feelings on this but they are just that, feelings. I don't pretend to be an expert in this area. I am far from it. I watch the political debates and occasionally watch a report or two on CNN. So when I try to have political discussions I end up feeling washed over because I dont have enough 'FACTS" to go on. With that said I'm not going to comment on my political feelings.

What I will say is that we should take the advice of the letter the 1st Presidency of the church sent to all wards and was read a few weeks ago in ours: We should pray about it.

vaxhacker said...

Yeah, kind of what Rory said... We've long since left the point in time where the party a candidate belonged to meant much in terms of the kind of character they would show (and please don't misunderstand—both major parties have had people of real character and conviction, just differences of focus on exactly what would be best for our country). Now it seems more and more evident that it's more about amassing and wielding wealth and power on either side of the floor, and little about what will be best for us. I wish either option was a more clear win.

I have to say I think McCain concerns me more, for a lot of the reasons you mention here, than Obama does. I like some of what both of them are standing for (or claiming to while campaigning) and will do in office (or claiming to while campaigning). There have been relatively inexperienced senators who became legendary Presidents (like Lincoln), though, so that in and of itself isn't a deal-breaker for me. Had I lived in the 1830s I probably would have voted for Joseph Smith, and he would have less experience than Obama, but his ideas about good government would have been good to see in action.

I really believed the Bush administration was saying the right things and had the right principles and moral standings back in 2000. And yet, as you so rightly point out about not repeating the mistakes of pre-war Germany... once someone is in office, what will they truly do? I look back and the last 8 years of our great nation (and I say that with deep sincerity, not irony, this is a great nation I'm proud to be a citizen of) and what we've done in that time to our constitution, where we openly assert the right to capture anyone, anywhere in the world, even here at home, imprison and torture them without charges for an indefinite period of time, where you can look throughout the halls of the house, senate, and executive branch and see people more interested in their power and money than maintaining the rule of law... and I really wonder if we as a people fully understand the road we're heading down.

Not to mention that I have to question either my ability to identify a good leader, or the ability to really trust anything they say while trying to get elected.

Are there things about Obama which scare the willies out of me? Yes. Are there things about McCain that scare the willies out of me? Yes. Things about each I admire? Yes. So... which one scares me the least? Interesting choices we're forced to make here.

One of the tough things is the level of mud-slinging going on between the parties during this. You sometimes have to dig hard to see the truth behind the ad hominem attacks. Obama is friends with a man who was involved in subversive activity (when Obama was 8 years old), but has in the years since apparently repented of that position. Palin's husband belongs to a group (which Palin has attended meetings of) which is calling for Alaska to pull out of the USA and whose leader has said he hates America so bad he refuses to be buried under its flag. They go on and on and on, and are usually spun to sound so bad that you'd have to be insane to vote for the target... until you unwind the story and get at the facts and find there's not usually much of a real controversy there.

And I think sadly there's plenty of damage that's undermining the future of our country which has been done over the last several years by Republican and Democrat leaders alike which has hurt us far, far more than anything any terrorist has done or is likely to do. I'm every bit as concerned by that as I am what someone's middle name sounds like.

But you're right... it's tough, and our future hangs in the balance. I'm not convinced the people in the political parties have our best interests in mind at all when deciding who we get to vote between, but we really have serious thinking to do in this choice. Neither candidate is the ideal choice. Neither party can even be said to stand for our standards as Christians or LDS so we can just blindly vote party lines and feel good. Each party upholds some of the standards we value, and violates others. Which do you pick? And which do you even take for granted that the candidate will really uphold once elected when lobbyists are standing there with piles of cash?

In the end, I think the best advice is to pray about this. Fast, pray, and meditate long and purposefully. Because the one thing I know for sure is Heavenly Father is infinitely more aware of everything going on in this puzzle than anything I can see from down here.

Josh Alder said...

I think the most important thing to remember is that during a presidential campaign, there are the candidates' campaigns... and there are special interest groups who are usually pretty aligned with one party. These special interest groups like to dig around for any type of interesting association they can find, and then exploit it.

With Obama, that has included people bringing up associations with Bill Ayers, who committed acts of domestic terrorism when Obama was 8 years old, and whom he later knew when they worked together on an educational committee at the University of Chicago that included Republicans and Democrats.

Emily and I have looked at this presidential campaign the same way we did while going through our various years of college (Emily has degrees in English and Psychology from both Westminster College in SLC, and the Univ. of Oregon, and is now hard at work on her masters and doctorate in clinical psychology; I have two bachelors degrees from the Univ. of Oregon in News Editorial and Public Relations).

We read a lot here in the ShepAlder home, everything from The Oregonian, Time, Newsweek in print, to The New York Times, CNN, MSNBC and more online. I've also read one of Obama's books, as well as several, eloquently written pro-McCain articles.

We have looked at the race as we would a huge research project, where facts our gathered from reputable sources and cross-examined with various opinions. Those are also taken with a grain of salt; As a former working journalist who now labors in the much more scrutinized world of public relations, I can tell you that journalists are not the same as pundits, and work by a different set of standards. People like Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Alan Colmes, Bill Maher, Bill O'Reilly, etc., are all pundits with a pretty specific agenda (Fox News, for one, is known for being heavily conservative, and generally not considered what we in the journalism field deem a “hard news” entity). Their opinions will rarely reflect well on the opposition.

Therefore, I like to go to non-partisan, unbiased sources that merely fact check. There are some fantastic ones, which I'll include here at the end of my post.

Also, I do recommend that you pray and ask the Lord about both candidates, whether they are good men and whether they have the country's best interest. It's easy to get immersed in the rumors that plague both candidates... but, it's important to remember that both of these men have been put through a great deal of scrutiny in the past two years as they have run for our nation's highest office.

In my extensive studies, I've determined that all the evidence against either candidate -- whether it be through previous associations, business deals, work experience, etc. -- has been replayed and investigated over and over again, with little damning evidence (i.e. McCain and the Keating Five; Obama incorrectly being deemed a Muslim).

Some of the best fact-checking organizations in the world have found that, while neither candidate has a spotless record, neither of them is a fascist, a terrorist or unpatriotic (I was actually amused last night in the debate that it was McCain who was not wearing the flag pin, while Obama was! Not that it really matters... I wore a Weezer pin to church on Sunday, and I'm still proud to be an American!).

After much study, coupled with lively discussions and prayer, we've both decided to support Barack Obama. He's not perfect – but neither are any of us! I admire the fact that he's admitted that on many occasions. I like that he chose to work as a lowly community organizer, when he could have taken his incredible educational credentials and lived the high life quickly. As an ethnic minority myself, I appreciate his knowledge of other cultures through various life experiences. His meteoric rise to politics, I believe, is a testament to his experience as a state legislator and a leader among many supportive constituents, and his ability to appeal to broad base of people. Some of our most revered presidents – Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson, Kennedy – have few years of experience in the federal government, but did amazing things.

I must add that I think it's very unfair to both Senator Obama and our nation to compare him to Hitler, as our American government is not even remotely like 1930s Germany. We have an incredible system of checks and balances designed by many righteous men, as mentioned in the Book of Mormon. It's not a flawless form of government -- that will only exist when the Savior returns -- but it is the very best we have on earth. The president is an important part of our country, but he is only one portion of our government. Ideally, we will elect a president who is open-minded enough to work with Congress to create opportunities for the American people that will allow them to enjoy freedom, security and happiness. Even if you don’t like Obama, comparing him to Hitler is a preposterous stretch and a horrible likening.

While I think John McCain is an honorable veteran and legislator with a mostly commendable record, Barack Obama is, hands down, my choice for president... and I've honestly never felt better about an election decision. He does not scare me... he inspires me and many Americans to do things that will make this country even better! That is a wonderful thing and something, I believe, this country needs now.

Ultimately, each one of us needs to study the candidates, the issues (remembering not to just focus on one or two controversial issues!), while forgetting the smears and
fear mongering that is continually spread. Then, we must make a decision, asking for God's guidance in choosing a candidate.

Here are some great Web sites that offer clear, non-partisan views on the candidates and various issues.


Snopes.com (debunks email forwards, supposed "facts" and urban legends). They have specific pages on both
McCain and
Obama.


CNN Elections: Issues (provides concise breakdowns of the candidates' position
on various issues)

FactCheck.org (a
non-partisan, consumer advocate Web site that goes through almost EVERYTHING
said by or about the candidates).


A chart from ElectoralVote.com comparing great presidents vs. their years of
experience

Heather said...

I appreciate Josh's comment. I am not nearly as well studied on the candidates as he, but I feel that Obama is genuinely a good person who has the best of intentions for our country (not to say that McCain is not a good person). I think comparing him to Hitler or linking him in any way to 9-11 is completely absurd. We all have the right to our own views and opinions, but it is dangerous with regards to American media to listen too much to all of the sludge and accusations that are brought up and usually exaggerated to the extreme.

Julie said...

Thank you all for your input on this. I'm sorry for the extreme I went to in documenting my feelings, but I really wanted to have you read this post and comment on it--thus the reason for the title. I wanted as much input as I could get.

Thank you! Thank you! You haven't let me down, and I feel that I have received the beginning of knowledge I didn't have before that I have craved.

Josh, I respect your input so much! Thank you for presenting it in such a plain and well-informed way.

vaxhacker said...

Actually, it's posts like this that make the blogging experience personally rewarding. To be able to post up your honest feelings about something you're struggling with, and take feedback from your friends, and discuss it openly and candidly without offense. I feel honored to be included in the group you feel comfortable doing that amongst.

Julie said...

Okay, so tell me what scares you about both candidates. A number of people mentioned that they were concerned. So, what do you stand for? What for you is "scary?"

vaxhacker said...

What scares me in general is that while we have real problems facing this nation, we seem intent on running headlong into dangerously short-sighted solutions which could hurt us far more in the long run than the dangers themselves. For example, I'm in total agreement that we need security from threats domestic and foreign. I'm not willing to shred the Constitution (which I believe is a brilliant, divinely-inspired document) or grant the President unprecedented, sweeping powers with the attitude that his decisions are immune to review or oversight by anyone, in order to get that security. We're already heading down that road way too fast. Whether it is out of a sincere but misguided desire to find a quick brute-force fix to the problem, or an opportunistic grab for power by exploiting a moment of weakness and fear, it's wrong and is hurting us.

So one of the big issues for me is to try to predict which candidate is more likely to continue down this road, or to back off to reinstate the checks and balances our government has dismantled or diluted at an alarming rate in recent years, and find a more sane way to keep us safe without sacrificing the fundamentals of what makes America the greatest nation on God's green earth. Honestly, I can't bring myself to believe McCain would do anything but keep that power if not expand upon it further. From what I've seen of his record, character and positions, I think he'd generally keep us on our current course.

What scares me about Obama? Probably my own cynicism, I suppose. I'm very seriously leaning toward voting for him as it is. He seems to have (more of) the right answers, the right attitude, and I like a lot of what he's saying. I'm just looking at the mess we're in, how both parties in all branches of the government have either actively pursued these policies or stood passively by and allowed them, and knowing that at some level politicians are weasels :) So I'm wondering if he's really as good as he sounds, or what (like any politician) what he'll really do once in office. As of this moment, he still looks strongly better to me than McCain, all things considered.

What do I stand for? For my nation and our leaders to be people of honor and character. For us to preserve freedom and liberty amongst our own people and advocate for freedom throughout the world. To be able to choose to live and worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience, but to allow all people to live as they believe is right before God, even if I think they're gravely mistaken. To have the freedom to be a voice advocating what I believe is right without being censored for having a politically inconvenient point of view, and to have others make moral choices in their lives because they are free to do so of their own volition (and to LDS, there are very strong doctrinal reasons this must be so), and not because they're being threatened under pain of law to choose a certain way.

I stand for moving toward a Zion society, where we choose to live righteously of our own accord, and provide for each other so that there are no poor among us. That doesn't mean stifling innovation and hard work by taking away the rewards of success or redistributing wealth to create a welfare state encouraging sloth but it also does not mean rewarding unethical predatory behavior by the wealthy class to concentrate wealth to widen the class gap until we are back to just aristocracy and serfs.

And since you've already invoked Godwin's Law here, I'll point out that you're right, Hitler didn't rise to power by storming in and forcibly taking over. He was welcomed as a popular, charismatic leader who was going to do what was best for Germany, just trust him and let him have all the power to decide what's best and do them...

The scene from Star Wars VI: Revenge of the Sith where the Emperor assumed command of the Republic, and Padmé's comment, “So this is how democracy dies... to thunderous applause.” are starting to look chillingly realistic these days.

I caution that this demagoguery can come from the Right or the Left just as easily, and just as devastatingly. Any tyranny can be made to sound good by wrapping it up in the flag or around a cross. Just because a candidate (on either side) claims loyalty and devotion to the ideals, standards, religious beliefs or politics I hold to, I always want to see if they really do, or if they're using smoke and mirrors in front of their actual character on the assumption that most Americans will listen to the 60-second sound bite, hear the words they want to hear, and stop thinking beyond that point. Sadly, that seems to work.

I really appreciate Josh's response and the resources he linked to. Seek unbiased sources. Seek the counsel of the Lord. Make your best judgment based on as much hard data as you can, and your intuition supported by that data. Re-watch the debates again. Which candidates seemed to be openly and frankly answering the questions? Which seemed to want to give non-answers and move back to pre-set talking points they had prepared?

I'm not sure if this is way more than you wanted to hear, and hope I didn't offend in any way, but you asked and I'll give you a fully honest answer to your question. I do respect your feelings and political choices too, and hope to hear and discuss more about this and other issues with you, although even I was a bit surprised how much came tumbling out when I started here... guess I needed to say that for some reason. Maybe I should go post something in my own blog, but I've kind of avoided too much political content lately for some reason.

vaxhacker said...

Apparently I can't type today. Of course that was Star Wars III I was referring to, not Star Wars VI. Oops. Mea culpa, science fiction fans.

Anonymous said...

wow Julie! look at these COMMENTS!?!?!!?!

by the way...
i tagged you on my blog ♥ come see :P

Alyson said...

But don't you think this has been coming for a long while? W just pulled off the last election by the skin of his teeth, and he has blown it. I voted for him, I jumped for joy when he won his second term, and he has sucked like a Hoover the entire way along. Even conservatives (I won't call us all Republicans) are disillusioned as heck with him, with his "accomplishments", with our current choices.

I feared John Kerry would be victorious, and it was a nail biter. Even then, there was discontent, there was the beginnings of the great swing. The economy has burst, the housing bubble has burst, and I think, though I don't rejoice, though my heart is heavy, that an Obama victory is inevitable. It's a natural correction in the system for W's failure to be a President and a man of conviction.

I'm having a hard time praying in faith for a Republican win. So now I'm just praying the democrats will only get a four-year crack at it.

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