Sunday, September 14, 2008

Who can you trust?

With all of the talk, back and forth, among the presidential tickets, compounded with all of the spin put on it by the various media, it's pretty hard to know who you can trust. Be you republican or, be you democrat, do you really know if the politicians have your back?

We're pretty much used to two "teams" in the United States; republicans and democrats. They battle back and forth, disagreeing on nearly everything and standing together for almost nothing. In the 2004 presidential election, there were many issues to talk about, such as immigration policy, government spending, and of course, the Iraq War. All were issues of the utmost importance. Unfortunately, to cause more division between the teams, and to blind the voters, the election was turned into a choice about gay marriage and abortion. Oh brother! Those aren't issues! At least, they certainly weren't issues of any precedence when thousands of people were being killed in a war. Both "teams" were to blame.

I love to read history, particular U.S. history. Having read some great books, I've found that, number one, the democrats and republicans began as the same team. And two, that The Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution, in great part, to create and maintain divisions among Americans. Basically, they know that, if they can create divisions between us---economic class, race, sex---we'll take our eyes off the ball while they whip a strike by us. How about that Patriot Act? Strike one!

I don't think things in government are so different today. In fact, we don't seem to have come very far from the birth of our great nation. Not only do we have the rich at battle with the poor, the whites versus ethnic minorities, and males against females, we now have republicans versus democrats, so-called "conservatives" versus "liberals." I lived in California during my two year mission for the LDS Church. The political division wasn't that apparent. However, I've also lived in Utah, Montana, and Alaska---all very red states. In these states, if you aren't republican, you're a "leftist, tree-hugging, liberal, bleeding-heart, gay-loving hippie," as someone once called me. Are you kidding me? To be fair, in these same places, if you lean left, you consider most of the republicans to be far-right, ultra-religious rednecks. But are we really so different? On a side note, if you're a Mormon, may I suggest you read, "Why most Utahns are democrat but just don't know it?" I cannot think of the author right now. He's a bishop in the LDS church. Look it up.

The point I'm trying to make is, are we really polar opposites? Or are we just told that's what we are. And, are there really two teams? Or is it all a facade, to make us feel divided and like we have to choose one side over the other? Because the democrats and republicans have traded the same lobbies back and forth over time. And liberal and conservative are no longer accurate descriptions of the two main political parties. I've wondered to myself, "Maybe, in reality, there's not really two teams. Perhaps the legislators aren't really divided. Maybe it's all a big show and, instead of left versus right, it's really the lawmakers versus We The People." I'm starting to believe I'm right about this. I really don't believe there are sides, which is why I'll always register as an independent voter.

I hope people will really study the issues of right now: the war, the economy, the situations in the rest of the world, education, health care, etc...and I hope they'll really choose a candidate who shares their positions on the real issues, rather than choosing the candidate who has an "R" or a "D" next to their name on the ballot. We The People need to rise up, wake up and take the reins back in our own hands. Let's not fall for the trickery of these divisions. Let's not battle amongst ourselves, when we should all be focusing on how WE are going to make our country and the world better.

So, pick your battles, and pick a candidate, rather than a party. Who can you trust? Well, that's a conclusion we all must figure out. But, as a helping aide, I'll tell you to trust the person, not the "R" or the "D" by their name.

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