Friday, September 11, 2009

Why I Lean Blue

I have yet to broach the topic of politics on my blog, which is surprising since I would consider myself a fairly political person. So here it is - my first, of probably many, political rants and raves.

Everyone who knows me is aware that I'm a Democrat and support President Obama (love him!). Most of my family on my dad's side is pretty much in line with my left-of-center ways, but somehow I always seem to find myself surrounded by the apathetic and very right-wing.

Maybe this is because I'm no longer in the Bay Area or Eugene, Oregon (a.k.a. a mini version of Berkeley), and maybe because I live in the suburbs. Sacramento is vastly Democratic, but on the outskirts here in Roseville and other areas of Placer County, I am surrounded by red.

This isn't new to me since I experienced half my childhood in the quaint town of Gardnerville, Nevada, where some people's minds were almost as small as the town's population. And while I'm not presuming that all small-minded people are always Republicans, I do notice a correlation between small-town living and the infatuation with Reagan, Fox News, Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh.

I once watched a documentary on how bogus Fox News is - it revealed that the majority of people who watch the network regularly are more misinformed than those who watch other networks, like CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, etc. For example, in a study, they found that more people who watched Fox News believe Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11. Ludicrous!

Anyway, what I'm getting at is that I live in a very conservative area and work with very conservative people; therefore, I get to experience first-hand the barrage of conservative propaganda that is so unfortunate in this modern, progressive world we live in.

I have gotten in too many political discussions with Republicans to count, ranging from the misinformed and idiotic to the extremely intelligent and educated. Whether I was debating with an imbecilic Repo or a smart one, I've noticed they all tend to regurgitate, practically verbatim, the rhetoric of Fox News and its oh-so-talented talking heads - Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. Notice how practically every Republican will drop the same buzz words and phrases (e.g. Obama is turning our country into a socialist nation), and debate with the exact same argument that these talking heads spew out in the headlines?

Why not come up with an original argument, people! I enjoy watching Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow every now and again, but do you hear me mouthing off their left-leaning arguments every time I talk to a Republican? No, you don't (and yes, a couple of those people are more comedians than news reporters, but I still manage to form my own opinion regardless). And for the record, just because I support Obama does not mean I agree with everything he says and does (more of these parroted buzz words from Republicans include how Democrats view Obama as the second coming of Christ and how we think he can do no wrong).

It's always the same sound bite - "Democrats just want to tax us all up the wazoo and let government control everything," "Hitler was a good speaker too," "Sonia Sotomayor is a reversed racist" or "Sarah Palin is better suited for office than Barack Obama because she has executive experience."

All of these statements are bullshit, yet Republicans continue to spread the propaganda and ignore the facts. They repeat what these right-wing assholes say without even forming their own opinion. Why not consume media from both sides of the aisle? Or read a book for crying out loud? I do, and I feel better informed because I don't just watch MSNBC for my news.

The thing that really rattles me is this idea that Obama is a socialist and that he's trying to pass off the idea of "socialized medicine." The proposed healthcare plan is not socialized medicine, and it's nothing like the Canadian model. This would be a hybrid system, which still includes private insurance as well as a competitor (and aren't the Repos ALL about healthy competition?).

And since when does anyone need to defend the business practices of private insurance companies in this country? "Oh no...this new health plan will put insurance companies out of business because who can compete with the government?" Umm, how about every non-government funded private school? They still exist even with public schools. UPS and FedEx are are still alive and kickin' even with the U.S. Postal Service. Or how about every Barnes & Noble or Borders that compete with libraries? They're still doing fine.

Of course, these examples are not the same as healthcare, but I just don't understand why Republicans are coming out as if they are practically in favor of private insurance companies continuing to screw us?

This whole healthcare debate really solidifies why I am a Democrat. I've noticed a lot about Republican principles, and I just can't relate. Why are Wall Street, big business and large corporations more important than our actual citizens? Why is the focus on profit and not people?

I'm not saying I don't believe in capitalism, because I do. I believe businesses should compete and that the marketplace should act on its own accord. Yet, I don't think we can trust the greed of some of these companies when it comes to self-regulation. I'm not about Big Brother either, but why not create a competitive world that doesn't allow only those with money to rule?

That's the other thing with Republicans - money. "Let's not pay taxes so we can have more money to ourselves." OK, but what about paying to live in a good society with nice roads, clean parks and better schools? That's why I'm glad public schools exist - yes, the education system needs work, but it's part of the trade-off of having a more educated society.

So why not a healthier society too? Why not a country where we can all afford healthcare and take care of ourselves? Why is healthcare a privilege, not a right? It appears to me Democrats care more about individuals and how to have a better quality of life. Republicans, in my opinion, seem to only care about their money, guns, the Bible, abortion and their precious marriage rights (because if 2 dudes get married, then your marriage is awash, right?). It's always about privilege and class and pushing for one group to succeed over another (which is why I continually wonder how any woman could be a Republican!).

That selfish outlook is just not my style. And of course, I know many of these points I'm making are not applicable to every Republican. It's just the underlying theme I've seen in many of their ideas, politics and beliefs.

One of the funniest things I hear a lot are people claiming they are "socially liberal and fiscally conservative." Come on! Do you know what it means nowadays to align yourself with the Republican Party and finances?? Just examine the amount of our national debt during both Reagan and George W. Bush's presidencies.

Sometimes I get discouraged being around so many conservatives - I wonder, "Will this country ever change?" I have faith that it will, just more slowly than my patience can handle sometimes. But as Supreme Court Justice Ginsberg said, "Time is on the side of change." This country is evolving and will continue to evolve, and I hope we all become more open-minded with that change.

And I don't want us all to align politically, but I do think there are basic things we can all agree on - education, health and happiness. So how about we cut the shit and increase education funding, provide health insurance for everyone and let the gays get married already!

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