Sunday, January 17, 2016

More Debate Thoughts

Against my better judgment, I decided to turn on the Democratic Candidates Debate while I'm checking out various social media outlets.  At first I was just shaking my head here and there at a couple of statements, but eventually I reached the "head explosion" stage.  I'm still viewing but I almost have to disconnect myself from what's being said in order to fully tolerate it.  The same can be said for friends of mine on social media, as well as some of the random tweets I'm seeing.  Every day I find something that makes me shake my head in disbelief.  As I'm watching these three candidates state their opinions to answer (or avoid) the questions proposed by the moderators, I see where they have their differences that make their campaigns unique.  They each have their own agendas that have gained them supporters.  But, at the end of the day, when the smoke clears and the dust settles, there will only be one nominee by the Democrats to run for President.  This is where the Republicans can learn something from the Democrats, as I have said for many, many years.  When it is time for a decision to be made, the voters that identify with the Democrat party will back whomever gets the nomination.  I can't say the Republicans have done or will do the same.  So, having watched the Republican debates and now with watching the Democrat debate tonight while I'm on Facebook, Twitter, and others, I would like to offer some opinions.  Take them as you will, but as they are opinions, I am entitled to them.  I will discuss or debate them as long as the discussions and debates are fact-driven and civil.

To my friends voting for Donald Trump:  please be careful.  I have not yet picked one candidate that I want more than others and I'm not against voting for Trump, but I have my reservations.  He has tapped into a frustration that we, as Republicans, have all been feeling.  We're ready for someone to lead who is not an "establishment" candidate, someone who doesn't need the money from the special interests to get the job done.  Why I'm so cautious about Trump is his willingness to change with the wind.  He's used his own money to back political campaigns on both sides of the aisle depending on who he thought would do the best for his business.  I'm hoping that as president he would see "his business" as the country and do whatever it takes to prosper, but I don't want that to be at the cost of losing our values or by going against those who will vote him in office just because he feels he knows best.  We currently have a president who does what he feels is best for America without listening to the majority and it's getting us nowhere.  I need to see more of a commitment from Mr. Trump to stick to the positions on the issues and policies that have gotten him the lead in the polls thus far.

Fans of Ted Cruz:  I like what I see, but I'm also worried here.  The die-hard Cruz fans I'm friends with or I follow on social media are steadfast against Donald Trump.  Please realize that the main election isn't against Donald Trump.  Yes, Ted Cruz will have to get past Trump at this point to become the nominee based on the polls, but enough of this in-fighting is going to create more problems than it solves.  I'm glad to see Sen. Cruz take the high road when it has come to the shots fired by Mr. Trump, but the rabid fans Mr. Trump has amassed are eating it up, which eggs on the shots even more.  On social media, the Ted Cruz supporters have become almost as angry as the Trump supporters have.  Every day I see a Cruz vs. Trump post and, again, I just shake my head.  I don't see any Sanders vs. Clinton posts because the Democrats realize they have to work together and not tear each other down.  As a side note, I would suggest that you not back down fighting against the "natural born citizen" argument.  If John McCain could run, as well as others in history, Ted Cruz should have the same chance.  I'm not one to play the race card, either, but isn't it odd how someone can call out Ted Cruz in a "birther" scenario for being born in Canada to two US citizen parents but anyone questioning the validity of the questionable Obama birth certificate was an automatic racist?  Seems to me that there's a deep double standard here.

To the supporters of the rest of the Republican candidates:  you're fighting the good fight, but it will ultimately be a losing battle.  I see something I like about everyone that stands on the stage for the Republican debates, but unless something BIG happens that causes the bottom to fall out for Cruz or Trump, those are the two the Republicans will have the best chance with to get in the White House.  I've heard many on talk radio say that when it comes to the primaries and the general election, you should still vote with your conscience, even if it means to write-in someone.  While you can feel better walking out of the polling place, it will be a short victory when you wake up in the morning to see "Sanders Elected President" or "Clinton in the White House Again".  Both of those outcomes will be far worse to deal with than swallowing some disagreements you may have with the Republican nominee to vote for that person.  And before you just decide to stay home and not vote, please remember that's how we ended up with a Barack Obama second term.  God knows I didn't really want Mitt Romney as my candidate out of all that were running, but I agreed with him much more than I did President Obama.  If those who had stayed home had come out and voted for Romney, we may not be in some of the messes we have today.

My friends who are voting for the Democratic nominee:  choose carefully.  Up until I watched this debate, I had only gone off of what I have seen on the news, read on the Internet, etc... Now I get to see first-hand how these candidates are and I am worried for our future, especially for my friends in the Democrat party.  Senator Sanders is very knowledgeable on every topic and speaks with conviction.  The problem is that he's throwing his support behind a failed ideology that has proven time and time again to not work.  He wants to be Santa Claus for every man, woman, and child without realizing that the money has to come from somewhere.  The gap between the poor and the rich has lessened over the years due to the hard work of the lower and middle class trying to raise themselves up.  To have the government step in to "help" that along would be to work against those lower and middle class Americans helping themselves.  It would be taking away the credit they deserve for the hard work they've put in.  I'm not against providing assistance to those less fortunate, but let me make this absolutely clear:  I will NOT let someone in the federal, state, or local government tell me that I have to forfeit my hard earned money to help others because THEY know better where the money should go.  I have a brain and a heart.  Between those two, I think I can decide where my charity funds can be best put to use.  Secretary Clinton is just to the right of Senator Sanders, but she's not far behind on the road to socialism.  One thing she does have that Senator Sanders doesn't have:  a noticeable and very real penchant for lies and borderline criminal activity.  All of the distractions casting doubt on her truthfulness should be enough for anyone to discount her as a candidate.  While Senator Sanders is the "cool" choice of the moment, though, Hillary Clinton is the choice for the beltway insiders that have a (D) next to their name.  They will continue to back her because they feel she has the best shot at pulling the party together for a run at the White House.  Who they should be looking at right now is Martin O'Malley.  I live close enough to Maryland and have heard enough about his taxes to know that I definitely don't agree with everything he does or says.  However, watching this debate I can see that he appears to be the most level-headed of all three candidates.  While he still might have the radical viewpoints they do, he sounds as if he can still be reached via a friendly discussion or debate.  Democrats always talk about someone that can reach across the aisle to get things done.  From where I'm looking, Martin O'Malley would be that guy.  Unfortunately, those in the DNC are too blinded by the fanfare surrounding Sanders or the strong-arming of the Clinton mafia to see it.

I'm hoping that blogs like this will get a good dialogue going, one that's full of facts and has none of the name-calling that so often happens with disagreement.  Most of the time, though, all I usually get is ignored or completely raked over the coals.   It's one extreme of the spectrum or the other.  Regardless of what happens, I'm glad to have the freedom to get my opinion out there.  In some countries, this would be a cause for arrest and punishment.  Here in America, I'm hoping that my voice can be a voice of reason.  I want to be someone that brings up points to make people think, not blindly follow.  Don't automatically believe what the media wants you to hear.  Do some research for yourself and form your own opinions.  We were given a brain to think and make sense out of information we take in.  Hopefully we haven't let that muscle atrophy to the point where we expect someone else to do it for us.

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