Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Political Post...BEWARE!

Well, I'm breaking the eleventh...or twelfth...commandment. Just gotta do it. Gotta talk POLITICS! All Presidential elections are of historic importance, and since this blog is my little piece of history, I wanted to post the things that are popping up in my own mind as I watch this process unfolding. Maybe you won't even want to continue reading, as these things can produce fireworks sometimes!

So, digging right in....I'll begin with my thoughts on last night's NH primary. For the first, and no doubt last time, I found myself cheering on the likes of Hillary Rodham Clinton. (I can hear the startled gasps of horror.) Let me explain. First of all, I was exceedingly annoyed with the political pundits in all of their arrogant predictions of her downfall and mockery of her slightly teared up eyes. GIVE ME A BREAK! I don't like the woman, but COME ON! She is human. But my cheering was not so much for Hillary, as it was against Barack Hussein Obama. This man has become the latest media darling, and receives such rockstar treatment that he was becoming a little too cocky for my taste. So I felt that it was imperative that there be a Clinton win, in order to take him down a couple of notches, and force the media into a more honest (cough, cough) inspection of his qualifications. I know everyone is ga-ga over his "fresh" "hopeful" message of "change." I'm just not on the bandwagon. Show me the substance, please.

Now, as for the Republicans: again, found myself cheering for the supposed underdog. Still examining myself on that; I'm not usually an underdog kind of gal. All that to say, I was rooting for Mitt Romney. Alas, it did him no good. While I am deeply respectful of John McCain's honorable service to his country in the wearing of the uniform, I am not comfortable with the prospect of a McCain presidency. This is mostly due to disagreement on a few key issues, such as immigration, but also attributed to what I perceived as a petty, somewhat nasty attitude during recent debates and forums. Total turnoff. As for Mr. Romney....I know, he's a Mormon. And that should probably bother me more than it does. My hubby and I go a few rounds on this. :) I'm not saying that I'm rooting for him or that he has my vote. I'm just not ready to count him out yet. I'm intrigued by his business savvy, thinking that could be a real plus. And, frankly, I think his wife would make a good First Lady. There is something to be said for Mormons and family values, after all. I think having him in the race ensures that there IS a race, and keeps discussion going.

Whew...I'm on a roll! So let's talk Mike Huckabee~! As one of those famous, or should I say infamous, "self-proclaimed born again conservatives" (don't you just love the way the media makes us sound like extra-terrestrial beings or something?)..I should be singing all the praises of Gov. Huckabee and volunteering for his campaign. Who knows......a few months from now, maybe that's exactly what I'll be doing? But for now, I'm still a little reluctant and hesitant. I love his sense of humor, looking with great interest at his Fair Tax plan, love his easy going "preacher-speak"....but does that a President make?? I'm still not sure. And, of course, also pleased with his long-term marital commitment. Sadly, the Dems seem to have that issue over the Repubs. this time around. National security is very important to me, no matter which candidate we're talking about. That's a biggie, since we need to be alive to protect our culture and way of life.

Thinking also that we should wake up and stop putting so much stock in the poll-people, and news-makers, etc. I mean, really we should have learned a while back....after all, shouldn't we be wrapping up a four year term for President John Kerry right about now???? That's what we were told would happen back in '04. Power really does go to the people, doesn't it?!

Sidenote: I was very disappointed in FoxNews for excluding Ron Paul from their Sunday night Forum. This is America, the man is holding a 10% range of support, and his voice deserves to be heard. I will also say this: many people think he's just a nut, but I appreciate one thing about him. He talks about important things that no one else talks about, and has caused me to think hard and research some of those issues, and I always appreciate that, no matter where it comes from.

Well, bless your hearts....if you're still with me. You made it through this post! Please don't disown me....if necessary, go read Kimberly's latest post with its quote on friendship. :)

The interesting thing to me will be to see if/when I change my tune on any of this in the coming weeks and months. But I do promise not to do many posts like this one....only when it's so pent up it's just gotta come out. It's a long way to November!

Have a great remainder of the week. Blessings on you all.

66 comments:

Leah said...

I have been fascinated as well by all that's going on lately in politics. Tonight's another republican debate, and I'm anxious about that. You gave some new thoughts on Romney. I'm still not sure who I'll be voting for next Tuesday at our primary in MI. --- definately NOT McCain... I marked him off almost as soon as he started. I hope in the national election that I don't have to eat my words. :-) Hope you're all doing well. Tell the family "hello" and I was thrilled to receive the Christmas "wedding" photo. Love ya!

Tara said...

Aw, Leah....I was relieved to find my first comment on this post was gentle on me! I would LOVE to hear what it's like living in one of those primary states. We're not in one. Good luck choosing a candidate...I don't think it's too easy this time around.

Kelly S said...

I enjoyed your political post! Very interesting. I agree with you on the Clinton win. Obama is scary.

But, I have to say that so far, I'm favoring Huckabee. I like how he gives straightforward answers. I like his personality too. Who knows. I should probably get into politics more than I do. I'm probably not as informed as I should be.

Josh said...

Tara,

Great post!

I agree that Obama has been the unjust beneficiary of media overexposure, though in many ways it’s not entirely undeserved. Many in America (myself included) are frustrated with both congress and the administrations lack of solutions to real issues. Obama offers a positive, yet not unrealistic message of growth, and for that I think he deserves real kudos. As to “family values” why does Obama not receive the same degree of praise that you offer Romney and Huckabee? He too has been a faithful father and husband and, like Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul, regularly attends church.

Your post expresses a great deal of frustration at many in the media’s method of coverage. I couldn’t agree more. Outlet’s like FOX, the “big three” and, even at times, the NYT tend to preen over the front runner at the expense of others. Exemplary of this is the FOX News decision to exclude Ron Paul. I think that the NPR programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered provide more balanced and contemplative news offerings.

Anyway, just a few my reactions. Thanks again for a post full of candor and good thoughts!

Best,
Josh A

Tara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tara said...

Kelly: thanks for weighing in! I appreciate your thoughts. Although, I would submit that Obama is not necessarily "scary"...I just don't share his philosophies or endorse many of his policies. Those that he bothered to explain, that it is.

Josh: Goody! A little reparte' here...fun! Thanks for making me feel better about my little foray into political posting. I nearly deleted it a few times. First, let me say that my aside comment about the "Dems having it over on the Repubs this time.." was indeed a reference to the fact that ALL of the top Democratic contenders are in long-term marriages. Even the CLINTONS! HA! So of course I respect the Obamas for that, if nothing else. But my point was not to point out the positive things I was seeing in the Democratic candidates since I have no intention of voting for any of them. As to Barack's faith: it's not something one generally thinks of in regards to him. Doesn't mean it's not there, just not anything of note.

As for Ron Paul, I was already annoyed by his being excluded from the last forum, and now, fresh from having just watched the Fox Debate tonight, I AM APPALLED at his treatment! Completely disgraceful. I know the man doesn't speak his views with much eloquence, but to tell you the truth I am wracking my brain to think of anything he said tonight that was actually WRONG! Maybe on the Iran speedboat issue, but who knows? I think he's probably right about a lot of stuff....and whoever the new President turns out to be, would do well to pay better attention the matters that he raises.
That said, I still don't see a clear frontrunner. I think Huckabee proved tonight that he can certainly hold his own under tough questioning. Romney still answered questions clearly. McCain repeated himself incessantly in a monotone, as usual. Giuliani was actually the only person tonight to say something that I hadn't heard him say before. In answer to a question on national security qualifications, he referred to his experience in dealing with terrorist nations back to the 1970's. Answered the question without even a reference to 9/11. That was cool.
Okay, I'll stop and breathe. Thanks so much for stopping by. I welcome more discussion!

jenny said...
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julie f said...
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Anonymous said...

Interesting, interesting, Tara. Regarding Romney & Huckabee's religious leanings, I heard a commentator say, "We're not electing a national pastor- we're electing a president." Just a thought.

Charity

Toots said...

Oh boy, does this ever get my wheels to turnin’.

Tara, your post didn’t bother me; I was glad for the thoughts. You seemed fair, thoughtful and to the point; but what I often find missing in political discussions is an understanding of economics. Now, I don’t have that deep of an understanding myself, but my hubby is forever teaching me, and I do believe he has an accurate grasp on the issues.

Sorry Josh, no offense please, but I have to disagree with your statement “Obama offers a positive, yet not unrealistic message of growth.” Everything I hear from Obama is socialism, i.e. take from producers and give to those who don’t. Socialism is definitely not a message of growth. Socialism is government redistribution of wealth, and Obama is among the biggest proponents of it among the candidates. We might as well believe in Santa Claus as to think his is a pro-growth message.

Along the Santa Claus line, Thomas Sowell recently wrote:
"[Candidate] Clinton's Christmas commercial, showing various government programs as presents under a Christmas tree, was a classic example of calculated confusion in politics. Anyone who believes that the government can give the country presents has fallen for the oldest political illusion of all---the illusion of something for nothing.” (By the way, there are Santa Clauses on both sides of the aisle!)

We know Obama from his record in Illinois. He IS scary! He is one of the most anti-life, pro-abortion politicians ever--smoooooooth talker indeed! We heard him live in Springfield before he ever showed up on the national scene. I told my husband (and he instantly concurred) that this was a seductively smooth speaker who would go a lot farther than the IL legislature.

Folks can read my hubby’s blog at http://truthis.townhall.com. He’s just started it recently, but has some great posts.

Freedomnomics, by John Lott is a great read on these issues. An elementary understanding of economics--and Christianity--tells us that when people reap the rewards of their efforts, they put out more effort. That is pro-growth. Other good sources on economics:
Walter Williams
Thomas Sowell
John Stossel
Milton Friedman

Sorry this is so long, but this topic just demands it! : )

Feel free to email me at lauralavon@gmail.com if you want to discuss anything directly with me. Curt loves to discuss this stuff as well; he can be contacted at cwf@ussonet.net. I don't mean to clog up your comment box, Tara!

Oh, one more thing I just can't leave alone...I am amazed that NPR would be thought of as balanced by any conservative. I get mad every time their news comes on. I have to turn it off. Once again, nothing against you Josh, maybe I'm just on a different page.

Tara said...

Charity: too funny! I made an almost identical observation recently in response to one of Kimberly's posts. It's either "great minds"...or not.....!:)

Laura: SO glad you weighed in here, too. It's good to get some perspective from someone who lives in IL and has seen Obama from that viewpoint. I think the ECONOMICS side of it is what I have been far more tuned in to this election than any other. Again, I hate to sound like I'm a Ron Paul groupie, but when I made the statement that he has made me look into "things" more, that's really what I'm referring to. I think it's so important that we realize the ramifications of all sorts of policies, even the foreign ones, from an economic standpoint. I will definitely check out Curt's blog. I couldn't agree more with the author you quoted about Clinton's Christmas commercial. NOT the right way to look at things at all! You don't have to say "who" if you don't want, but do and your hubby have top pick yet this year?

Thanks so much for contributing to the discussion! Oh, and one more thing...I can't really comment on NPR, since I've listened to them very rarely over the years (music only)...but I would love to hear what defense of NPR news that you fans could give! :)

Derek Hickman said...

I was wandering around blog world, minding my own business, when the smell of political discourse wafted my way. So . . . I now put my meager thoughts here for your analysis.

1. Any person who believes in abortion does not have the slightest idea what true family values are. Sure, they may love their wife and kids, just as a mass murderer loves his or her family, somehow being able to separate them from the awful atrocities he or she commits or BELIEVES to be acceptable. However, as with any person who takes a life without remorse, there is that one very significant flaw in the otherwise perfect picture: The psychological and mental warp that allows a person to accept the killing of innocent life. So, in response to the question of why we do not include Obama with other "family values" candidates, the answer is summed up with one word, "abortion". That's the difference and the reason. May God have mercy on him.

2. Religion in politics. I believe it is always appropriate to vote for the most able candidate. The catalyst for our values and actions is our belief system. Therefore it is hard, maybe even impossible, for us to honestly vote for someone who doesn't hold TRUE to what we believe in. This includes our faith values. It is therefore important that we not get caught up in the popularity contest that a Primary can be, but instead DEMAND to know the policies and values our candidates hold.

3. NPR has the appeal of smart and interesting features. I can definitely see both sides of the issue, and fully recognize the liberal tendancies of the daily news. However, when I tune in on a feature, more often than not, it is very informative and unique. Go figure.

Peace out . . .

Derek

Toots said...

This is fun! So glad to hear your hubby's voice on the issues!
We're leaning toward Huckabee, but feel so unsure,...dissatisfied with the options. Thompson is another consideration for us.
Derek,
I do agree that every so often when I've listened to a special feature on NPR, I have found it unique, but after having my blood pressure shoot up one too many times due to the extreme liberal bias--paid for with my tax dollars!--more often than not, once the beautiful music is over, I turn it off.
Of course, as violin and piano is practiced in segments all throughout our 5-day school week, many days I don't turn ANYTHING on. If I do, we end up turing it off every half hour or so. The girls do about 2 hours each day on violin and 15-20 minutes on piano. Between the two of them, that's several 15 to 30 minute segments!
Have a good weekend!

Anita said...

Tara,

My respect for you has gone up a few more notches. I am glad you are taking the time to think about what Ron Paul says and you are doing your research.

I am a member of the Holiness forum at MyHoliness.com and am amazed at the debate going on regarding the presidential campaign. It seems more people are concerned about their future president's physical appearance and have marked Ron Paul off as an old crusty looking guy not worthy of a second thought. And somehow someone just saying they are a Christian and pro-life automatically makes them president potential.

The US Presidential campaign is being covered very thoroughly here in the UK mostly because whoever becomes president affects the rest of the world since it is the most powerful position in the world. So, I've been watching closely. What I have noticed is that so many of the candidates talk about how wonderful their message is....but what is it? But, when Ron Paul is given the air time he spends every second of it telling what his agenda is. I don't agree with him on everything...I don't think there is a candidate that I see 100% eye to eye on. But, I urge everyone to give him consideration. He has seriously done his homework. America's economy is in a mess and he has a plan to get it back on track. Respecting the constitution and what the for fathers laid out for us....that's what we need to get back to.

Well, I better step down off my box and go over to my own blog to write more about this.

Kimberly said...

I see I'm late to the game..but you're right this is fun! but would be more fun if were actually together for the discussion!:)

A few thoughts:
YAY for NPR....love it and certainly able to realize when things are biased...things are usually biased WHEREVER we are hearing them, and we should remember that!

RP: Won't even get into how arrogant and unreasonable I think he is.

Abortion: Absolutely matters (As one who has done all kind of work in pro-life area, I definately am againt it) but let's remember that a president really has little power over it....EXCEPT of course for the Supreme Court and that's why ALL of the R are a better alternatives to any D...that reason alone!

Totally agree with the not electing a pastor comments. My reasons for liking H are pragmatic...and I also STILL like McCain...(sorry!:)

As for the tears...sooooo manipulateive..."Maybe" 1% genuine!! What a poor example of feminism...(read Maureen Dowd in the NYT on "crying all the way to the White House"...good stuff!)

Economics are SO important...but so is the need to regulate out of control industries that are in bed w/the politicians and have free reign with destructive to family policies...THAT'S bad economics too...and if the R don't realize this, they'll lose and we WILL get some nut w/socialistic tendencies (btw, can't stand Walter Williams...so arrogant, in my opinion)

OK...enough ranting....it IS a long time yet til November, God help us all!

Kimberly said...

PS....YAY for friendship...so much better than politics!:)

Kimberly said...

PS2: Go read Peggy Noonan's post from yesterday...great!

Toots said...

http://www.townhall.com/funnies/cartoonist/ChuckAsay/2008/01/6
You might enjoy this Ron Paul "not so funny" funny, Tara. When it comes to limited government he practically stands alone, where WE would like all the candidates to be!
I finally pursuaded my hubby to share some thoughts...here goes.

Kim: Agree on abortion, of course, and Hill's manipulative tears. Gag!
But regarding "the need to regulate out of control industries that are in bed w/the politicians..." The problem is that there are already too many "regulations" crafted by industries that are in bed with the politicians. And "more regulations" will come from the same source. This is where Ron Paul is RIGHT ON, and the free market (i.e. reduced regulation) would solve myriad problems. The current problems you are alluding to are the result of added regulations that make competition less effective, less free.
The government is suppoed to be like an offical in a ball game: disinterested, doing nothing but keeping the competitors playing according to the rules. What increased regulation does is put the officials on one team or the other; they start changing the rules of the game (often based on which "team" gave them the most money in the last election cycle). Every added regulation ends up favoring one team or the other, eliminating a "level playing field." Deregulation takes the officials back to their appropriate place, just making the teams play by the rules. All additional regulations reduce the consumers choice, which is the ability to "regulate" by taking their business to a company that serves them better. (See my long, rambling post around Christmas time on my blog.)
I agree that R's need to stop playing the game; doing so means DEregulation, tho, not attempts at "better" regulation. (Tara, if Ron Paul appears to have any chance of getting the nomination when our primary arrives, we might still vote for him!)
Curt

Tara said...

First, I want to apologize that I failed to acknowledge Jenny and Julie's comments before. NOT worthless, Jenny!

Anita: I do agree that it can be easy for Christians(holiness people especially) to get so caught up in the choosing of a Christian President that they fail to thoroughly examine all issues that we face. Some good, honest introspection is so necessary, and ultimately so beneficial for our Country. There is no such thing as a perfect candidate. And I honestly can't picture Ron Paul in the White House, but I value his contribution to this campaign very much.

Derek: thank you, my husband, for pointing out very gently that I had failed to address the most key flaw in Josh's statement about Obama! I was ashamed when I realized it....you're right, I should not feel obligated to offer any praise for the family values of one who supports the murder of the unborn. Good job.

Kimber: You're not late...glad you could join us. NOW.....YOUNG LADY! As for NPR, all I can say is *in the words of Bill O'Reilly* "you can't justify bad behavior by pointing to other bad behavior." :) As for Hillary...I still can't believe you buy that whole contrived line fed by the media who built her up just to tear her down. Now, I can't pretend to know WHY she cried, but I certainly know that she choked up FOR REAL! (you can't even imagine how annoyed I am to find myself defending her..thanks a lot!) Even the body language experts agree to that fact, with the self-comforting gestures, etc. And I simply refuse to enter into the feminism discussion about her the way I refuse to enter into the race discussion with Obama. I find both of those issues so irrelevant, and insulting!!! I do not think we should walk on eggshells if we have a bone to pick with Hillary or Barack...just because one's a woman and one is black. Preposterous! I can see how you may conclude Ron Paul is unreasonable, but arrogant????I don't see that at all. He just knows that he better rush straight to answering a question with no dilly dally b/c he never knows when he'll be allowed the "privilege" to speak up again. The bias against him is staggering. Again, I'm defending a person I don't even have any real affection for! But you are right about this....friendship is better than all the politics in the world. Love you!

Laura and Curt...thanks SO MUCH for jumping back in! Curt, I'm pretty illiterate in the sports arena. But you made this make sense even to me. Excellent analogy. You know, even a year ago, I probably wouldn't have even grasped the importance of understanding this part of how our system works (or should work.) My eyes have really been opened to some things regarding limited government. I love our nation, and I'm proud as can be to be an American...but as a parent I'm coming to terms with how crucial it is that the government not have their hand in my HOME! This is one of Ron Paul's best points, and probably why many homeschoolers support him so much. Do you think the Republican party will eventually have more of a split leaning towards Libertarians? I don't know much about that either, but with the HUGE gamut presented by this years' R candidates, it makes you start to wonder....will the REAL Republican please stand up???

I hope everyone knows, I am not claiming any great authority on this issue. I consider myself a learner on the issues, and I do think it's important to strive for better understanding of these things to be an informed voter. I do think it's possible to turn things around, but it really does take the PEOPLE standing up and demanding a return to the Constitution. We have subtly accepted some forms of socialism into our society....like the Public School System..............!!!!!!!!!!!!!Ready for ROUND TWO! HA!

Anonymous said...

Nathan is wondering if Derek has any experience being a mass-murderer and loving his family... ;o)

Charity

Derek Hickman said...

That's hilarious! Tell Nathan I'll be seeing him soon . . . when he least expects it . . .

he may want to talk to Curt (toots' husband) about estate planning beforehand . . .

Kimberly said...

Charity and Derek...you made me laugh!!:)

Yes, Tara...I am a bit shocked that you KEEP defending HC:)...as for gender and race...whether or not we like it, those ARE factors and you can believe the "war rooms" of these candidates are discussing and figuring out how to best use them for all they're worth!! (And I said I wasn't going to say much more!!!!)

Re Economics: NOT an expert (unfortunately or I'd be rich!!!:) but (obviously) the free market in theory does work "beautifully". Unfortunately, in reality and in the lives of real peole "theory" is often not as pretty and may benefit from (gasp) "some" oversight.

That's my final thought(hopefully:) here....how interesting that even in such a VERY small and similiar group there are real differences in opinion. That's more than likely a VERY good thing!

(Not to stir up anything else, but what's up w/Huckabee saying Thompson needs some Metamucil??!!)

Kimberly said...

PS yes it's late..."people" would be the correct spelling!

And Oh Tara...you have sunk to the depths quoting O'Reilly!!!! I'll take NPR ANY day!:)

Toots said...

Keep in mind that during our lives, free market has only been "theory"-we've already been regulated to death, and all of our experiences are under tons of government regulation.
I really do care about real people and real needs. Kim, I would be interested in hearing (on this string or privately if you prefer) just what additional "oversight" you would ask the politicians to impose. I think if you mentally tested it to its logical conclusion you would find that it has a domino effect that would do more harm overall than good.
Curt (posted by Toots--When ya get him goin', he doesn't stop!) : )

Anita said...

Tara,

While reading your replies I find myself nodding my head vigorously, saying yes, yes and Amen sista!

How on earth someone could find RP to be arrogant... Well as they say in England...I'm gobsmaked! As Tara said...when he's given the chance to speak...he delivers his message rather then just talking about how wonderful his message is.
I somehow think he won't be our next president. But, I think that has less to do with what the general public want or don't want and more to do with the way the media is hiding him under a rock.

There are so many socialist ideas in the US that people take for granted. Public schools, public libraries, paved roads, highways, interstates...etc.

On the Hilary issue. I don't really think Hillary was playing some sort of trick with her tears. I just think she was tired and weary. She had been on the campaign trail for quite a while with little sleep. She's human.

A friend of mine who is a feminist said....to vote for Hilary because she is female is just as wrong as not voting for her because she's female. And even though I'm not a feminist I agree with that statement. I have a whole other list of reasons not to vote for her.

Regarding NPR. Oh how I miss it. I should listen to it on the internet more often. I never have found them to be all that biased. If anything I find Fox News to be extremely biased and spreading their propaganda. (Fox is owned Rupert Murdoch and he is close friends with Bush and Blair.) The trick is to find your news elsewhere...dig deep into the internet. If your judgement of the way things are going is based on what you are fed on the 3 or 4 main media outlets then your decisions will be out of line.

I am so proud to be in the blogging circle of some real thinking people.

Juwah said...

Grrr. I left a comment and then lost it before it posted. I'm sorry I'm so late in reading your really great post. You really are a wordsmith. I can't add much to what has already been said, but of course I'll try. :)

I'd encourage anyone to move to Illinois and then we'll talk Obama. He is EXTREME pro-abortion. He voted for pulling a baby head first out of the mothers body and then sucking it's brains out. (aka Partial Birth Abortion). Pro-family my eye.

My beef with NPR is that I have to fund it. If it espoused my political views, I'd still be offended that I am forced to fund it's existance. In this matter they seem to not be pro-choice. I have also noticed that their approach to delivering the news is more emtional. They seem to call me to feel as oppose to think.(sorry NPR fans.)

Have a happy day!

Ps. I read that RP supports an immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Is this true?

Anonymous said...

Just curious. Are any of you over 35 yrs of age?

Toots said...

Yes.

Tara said...

Welcome, Julia! And you are too kind to me. :) You make a great point about HAVING to fund NPR. I always say "each to their own" as long the "they" are supporting their own habits. Derek and I proudly joined the ranks of homeowners 3 yrs ago. And so thankful for it....HOWEVER, you can't IMAGINE the loathing I feel each year knowing that a portion of our homeowners' taxes goes to support Public Schools. I feel my blood beginning to boil just thinking about it. Our local schools are pathetic, and oh, wouldn't I LOVE to have that money come back to my own pocket to choose curriculum to educate my OWN children the way that WE SEE FIT!!!!!! Talk about GRRRRR!!!! Oh, and about RP...he is not anti-war, but he IS anti-IRAQ war, and does support immediate withdrawal. You may all find it confusing to learn that I still don't have a dogmatic opinion on the Iraq war issue. I am pretty sure that we should never have gone there in the first place (should have eliminated Saddam in '91). But how to handle the situation now....? I do think Gen. Petraus is doing a great job, now that there has been a change in leadership. And the Iraqi government needs to step up, and show some guts. Accept the gift they've been given.

Anita: don't give me too much credit, girl! I'm just trying to work myself and my thinking through this convoluted maze. I find the majority of reporting on Fox News to be perfectly balanced. Not always. But mostly. That is another one of those things where you have to watch, because the preponderance of negativity leveled at Fox from all the other news outlets can be contagious. But it doesn't necessarily mean it's true. Although, I will completely agree that you have to keep an open mind NO MATTER WHERE YOU GET YOUR NEWS FROM!

Curt: I was curious if you have any opinions strictly from an economic perspective on someone like Romney, with his strong business background.

Kimber: I haven't heard about Huckabee and the metamucil comment. Shocking, since I've missed little these days of the word wars.:) Don't you love Bill O??? I'm aghast! I have a love/hate relationship with him. Actually, he reminds me a LOT of someone for whom I do have affection.....Nate the Great!

Anonymous: I think the majority of us are just slightly on either side of 35. But would you mind identifying yourself, at least by a first name? It's unnerving to receive anonymous comments. And as my husband pointed out, it's a pain to have to type the word "anonymous" out. :)

Kimberly said...

I will "slightly" break my own declaration of being finished here as I stated earlier:) to say any additional regulation I would desire would be to actually "keep the competitors playing according to the rules"..(of course we could go on forever on what the rules should be!)...but I do not believe that is happening in just about any area one could think of...no need to list them all. As for "regulation" in general...obviously it is often overdone...but to go back to the very beginning of why it was necessary at all (ie the Industrial Period) certainly gives us a glimpse of what markets completely free of oversight look like. And with that pearl, I really am finished!:)

PS...still loving NPR!:)

And a final thought on RP...(please understand how much I am NOT saying what I really think here!) I would feel better about his honesty if he ran as what he really is....a libertatian...

Anita said...

In response to Kimberly on RP. He tried running as a libertarian before and got even less media time. RP has been asked if he really represents the Republican party and his response was that the Rep Party has changed and really doesn't know itself any more. And I agree with that. The Rep party has sold out on so many issues.

RP is for immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq. I'm not sure of the numbers but we have way too many troops in Iraq. I would never want the security of the US to be put in jeopardy. But, we can afford to reduce the size of the military meaning that more money could go to health care...etc.

"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defence with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together." Quote from Military-Industrial Complex Speech, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961

Anonymous said...

From: Randy Huff
(no, I am not the other anon. poster -- I post this way b/c how can I remember my account name, etc. in blogger? :))

Tara,
My wife said, "You really need to get over there and see what's going on on Tara's blog." So I did. Interesting reads and you really stirred something up. I'm afraid I am a carmudgeon in all of this. While I vote and I care about the issues and even think about the candidates, I do not have the same passion about those things as I once did. Maybe I will come back around in time. Part of my reasoning there is a shift away from putting so much stock in the political process. Instead the US is its people and primarily its families. The values that families live and hold will determine the course of a country, or so I believe.

And of course government matters in all of this and so we should vote, etc; and no one asked for my opinion anyway, but I wanted to join the foray! :)

FWIW I'm amused at Kim's objection to RP and Walter Williams b/c of their arrogance. Of course I know she is thinking beyond that but it sounds vulnerable to a counter that she is thinking about tone rather than substance. I've not looked into RP but I have heard Walter Williams and he does sound arrogant at times and it would help folks accept his rightness if he could avoid it.
As to NPR it is love/hate all the way with me. A friend said they sound "snobbish" and I think he got it right. So who's worrying about tone over substance! :) But their worldview is not evidently overweighted, shall we say, with a view to considering verities of the non-secular type. That bias is clearly there, I think, and is a snobbish position in light of the constant place religious considerations have played throughout cultures throughout history -- something integral to life.

O well -- you see I am not getting fired up, but wanted to join in FWIW. As to my leanings, I am scared about what the options will be in November. I will not vote D, but will probably end up voting the R nom. while holding my nose. I do not yet have the convictions of those who vote 3rd party. I like Huckabee -- wish more politicians would say it like it is as he has tried to so, e.g., stating his own unpopular view on evolution. We've all had enough with smoke and mirrors -- and I think he tries to move in that direction.
Randy

Allana Martian said...

Interesting post, Tara! This election is proving to be quite the horse race. I have to say that after watching some video of Huckabee on U-Tube, I am really rooting for him. As I was listening to him talk, I just kept thinking that he strikes me as a "Daniel". I can see him praying over every minute of a presidency.

I love the quote by O'Reilly that you mentioned..."you can't justify bad behavior by pointing to other bad behavior".

Anita said...

Drum roll please......

I now present you with the big red ribbon of the most comments on one post. :)

It's good to see passion instead of apathy.

Kimberly said...

I am unimpressed with both WW and RP not because of their arrogant "tones" but because they arrogantly spread "know it all" non-solutions that subtly diminish the personhood of others...they above all LACK substance and spew discord (in my humble opinion:)

I, too, am disillusioned in general w/the political process(you wouldn't know it from how I keep letting myself get sucked into this discussion:) and greatly dislike politicians who seem above all self-impressed rathar than striving to actually affect some change in the system.

(and yes Tara you get the "award" here..as for myself, I have vowed to not bring up politics again on mine...likely to break that vow in the coming year!:)

Kimberly said...

And that, my dear....will be my FINAL comment on this...no matter the temptation...aren't you glad?!:)

(and I just drove this up to 36!:)

Harold Martin said...

I do NOT blog! I do not have the time nor the energy. It is not that I do not care what you all are up to it is just that my wife keeps me informed. You may have heard of her. Her name is Kayla.

However....a political blog was one I could not pass up. Here are my feelings in a nutshell (whatever that means)

Obama - too inexperienced
Hillary- too female
Edwards - too pretty

McCain - too old
Romney - too Mormon
Huckabee - too Baptist
Ron Paul - too off the wall
Gulianni - too slick
Thompson - to boring

NPR News - too anti-American to derserve discussion

My endorsement for 2008 is Click and Clack the Tappett Brothers. If you have never heard of them listen to NPR on Saturday mornings at 10AM EST.

They will probably be lousy presidents but they can't be any worse than anyone running this time around and we will certainly learn to laugh more.


I am holding out for Bobby Jindal in 2012. What do you think Kimberly?

Tara said...

OHHHHHHH.....Harold Dean....WHAT HAVE YOU DONE???!!! Boy, do I feel honored that you lowered yourself to join the ranks of bloggers on my blog! Ha!

I found myself laughing very hard a few times, and wincing a few times, and even going "oh no!" a few times while reading your assessment of the esteemed candidates. I also love the way you contradicted yourself all in one breath by denouncing NPR while endorsing it all at once. Interesting strategy. Is there a such thing as "too female"? wouldn't it be of deeper concern were she "not female enough"....ew! And, clearly, Mitt Romney is NOT too Mormon. I'm sure there are many more Mormonly Mormoner Mormons out there. Yeah. Other than that, I pretty much concur with your analysis of the other candidates. Especially McCain and Thompson...sure wish Thompson would drop out already. I like the guy alright, but find myself shifting uncomfortably for him every time he talks.

FRESH OFF THE MICHIGAN PRIMARY RESULTS: GO MITT ROMNEY! I was very pleased he won there tonight. I can't help myself...I like the guy. Not ready to crown him king or anything like that...but for some reason, like the guy. Still would love to hear some others weigh in on him from the economic perspective. Like I mentioned before, I really don't care that he's Mormon. Sorry, Derek.

Thanks to all of you who have joined in the discussion. It enriches the thought processes. Nice to "see" you Allana! Thanks for joining in! And you too, Randy. Poor Kimberly.....now you may feel compelled to break your vow of silence again....you gonna Harold draw you out like that unchallenged?!

Well, this has been fun. Interesting to see what is going to happen in the coming weeks. Looks like we may be making some Presidential election history here, what with having no sense of a frontrunner heading into So-Called Super Tuesday. Looks like a lot is riding on Florida in a lot of ways. What say you Floridians?

Anonymous said...

Randy said:
Gotta keep this thing going, though I'll leave the WW thing alone. But...if I were going to say something....... Nah.

Too funny, Harold! Just too funny!

I'm done for now. Michigan, Super Tuesday...it is looking like a mess. This is probably my last politics comment until November.
Randy

Leah said...

Reporting from MI...
I'm glad to have had a part in Romney's win tonight here in MI. Never in my life have I gone into a voting booth with such feelings of vacillation, but I honestly did today. I came down on Romney's side. (I think part of me was swayed by the fact that it was looking mighty close between he and McCain... I just don't think McCain has what it takes to come out on top in Nov. Not to mention the myriad of other reasons why I hope he doesn't become our next president.) I think Romney's track record on the success he's had in taking failing organizations and making them profitable again could be a deciding factor for some. I believe that clicked with people here in MI in a big way. Lord knows, of all the states, we need any encouragement we can get in regard to the economy and new jobs!
I can't say my feelings are mutual when you say, "I like the guy." :-)There's just something that has never clicked with me. From what I've seen of Huckabee (religion aside), I think I "like" him better. :-) But since I know that likability is not what we're voting on, I guess that's why I went with Romney. :-) When comparing him with the other candidates, his overall view of the issues just seemed to align with what I think I would most want for our country.
So captivating and unprecedented!!!

Anonymous said...

OK, I have to respond to three posts. Like Laura, er, mean "Toots" (need to remain anonymous!) said, it is hard for me to stop.

First, to the question about “any opinions strictly from an economic perspective on someone like Romney, with his strong business background.” Knowing how to run a business doesn’t translate into knowing how he should run a country, unfortunately. (As for personal experiences, Randy will remember some of our experiences on the school board...) His “RomneyCare” Mass. mandatory health care system gives me the willies. How can we think it is OK for the government to tell anyone they MUST go buy health insurance, that they cannot assume the risk associated with their own health needs? This is not a conservative principle. How about sending you to jail if you don’t buy a gun to protect your family? Or fining you if you won’t put in a floodlight to deter burglars? Or punishing you for not buying a car that gets more than 40mpg? The logic behind RomneyCare is, of course, that the government has already committed itself to paying for health care for those who don’t take care of themselves, so that justifies this further intrusion into the lives of those who do take care of themselves.

It is a slippery slope, and we are waaaaay down it, folks, and picking up speed. Everywhere that the government “gives” a handout, it provides its own justification for an intrusion into your freedom. (Note below for Kim on “freedom”!) Perhaps you have heard about the legislation proposed in parts of California to limit the number of fast food joints in a neighborhood. How can this be? Well, the justification is, since the state pays for your health care if you don’t have other means, we therefore have a vested interest in your health, and we don’t want you eating so much unhealthy food.

All that said…I hate the idea of having Romney as the GOP nominee, having flipped on various issues to appeal to conservatives. Will I vote for him in the Primary. No. General election. I ain’t sayin’ publicly.

Randy: nice to see you! I want to offer this thought in response to your “Instead the US is its people and primarily its families. The values that families live and hold will determine the course of a country, or so I believe.” Certainly true, as far as it goes. And most of us probably don’t think of “economics” as a moral or family value issue. But it is. I would submit that the economic policies of a nation—think socialism, handouts, etc.—have a terribly important, insidious impact on the character of people, of the values of families. I see it in my work from time to time, how embarrassed people get when they talk about something like Medicaid (public aid to cover health care, nursing home, etc. costs for people of very limited means). If you comply with various rules, you can actually divest yourself of assets (i.e. give the farm to your kids) and within a few years, qualify for Medicaid. People who would never stoop to applying for welfare…are now thinking seriously about applying for welfare. People who had a rugged independence, self-reliance, God-reliance attitude for all their life are now looking at a handout, thinking “well, I paid in all of these years, probably more than most of the people who are getting this aid, so…well, I am entitled to it if I can get it”… they are sacrificing their integrity, and “positioning their assets in such a way” so that they can legally (yes, it’s legal) soon apply for public aid, while a multi-million dollar farm remains securely in their family. And this is just one government program. How many people in the world are lured into similar compromise of values and character in order to qualify for the hundreds of different handouts being dangled before them by the local, state and federal governments? Is this chipping away at the “moral fiber” of our nation? People who should be maintaining a personal accountability to God and fellow man, are now saying “well, I guess I could sign up for that and take the handout… the source of which is involuntary contributions from my neighbor.” It is devastating to a family and it’s moral and spiritual standing to buy into the idea that we can voluntarily become a burden on our fellow man. Think about it: we would never rob our neighbor, but how moral is it to let the politicians “rob” the neighbor for us…just because a majority of those Godless (great book, by the way) “congress-persons” decided that it was a justified welfare program?
Making abortion more legal, or legalizing gay marriage, or taking away my arms [by-unwrapping-my-cold-dead-fingers], or eliminating the death penalty, all of these are important moral issues, of course. But the subtle, carrot-on-a-stick lure of welfare in all of its forms is, I think, a danger to the character of our nation by being temptation to a far wider spectrum of people than would ever “gay marry” or even consider an abortion.

Kimberly: I trust your heart and believe we’ll be together in heaven for eternity, but I cannot disagree more strongly with your humble opinion that “WW and RP … arrogantly spread ‘know it all’ non-solutions that subtly diminish the personhood of others...they above all LACK substance”. First, confident knowledge of the substance of the matter can sound like arrogance. Second, if you examine the solutions in light of the Biblical teaching about mankind—self oriented, self centered, motivated by personal gratification, etc.—you would find that what they teach is right on, they have real solutions to real people’s real problems. No handouts, but the freedom of self determination. This includes the freedom to succeed or fail. Third, but most significantly to me in your line, these men and their conservative principles are totally about reinforcing the personhood, the God-likeness (free will), the freedom and independence of the individual. Their solutions are to quit acting like people “can’t” take care of themselves. Liberals cajole people into accepting failure—“I can’t do it without help, wah!”
When politicians say how the government is gonna “give” you something (give you health care, give you education, give you unemployment compensation, give you food stamps, give you interest-free loans, give you a bailout on your subprime mortgage, give you a new house because the CA fire burned it, whatever!) it is reeling you in, denying your personhood, making you less than human, making you a toy, making you inhuman, making you.. well, a chicken! (Ravi Zacharias tells a sickening, true account of Stalin torturing a live chicken by literally plucking all its feathers by hand, then offering it some chicken feed; the naked chicken takes the feed and rubs pitifully against his pants to try to warm up, and Stalin tells the man he’s with that no matter what you do to the people, if you promise to feed them they will come back to you. Now THAT is dehumanizing!) Fourth, lets talk seriously about the substance. Saying they lack substance doesn’t make it so, and I would gladly discuss (here, on my “political” blog, or just via email—any way you prefer) any specific substantive issue they raise that you disagree with, or think lacks real substance. They espouse more freedom for the individual, including freedom to live or die, succeed or fail, make it big or make it small, on your own merits and efforts. Adam Smith in “Wealth of Nations” meticulously laid out the facts of how free markets encourage more productivity, increasing the overall wealth of the nation by increasing the individual wealth of its citizens. RP and WW are applying those same principles to today’s world. (I am not suggesting we go back to the Industrial Age, of course; I am talking about rolling back perhaps 20 to 40 years of ridiculous, Big-Daddy-is-watching-over-you regulations...you know the ones I mean, the ones that deny my personhood. :-)
China is becoming powerful economically, and how? By allowing more freedom in consumer, employment, and business transactions. Their productivity is way up, by giving people more of the fruit of the individual’s labor, their actual output. At the same time our country is regressing ever more quickly toward their failed socialist policies, policies that deny the individual the fruit of his or her labor, and thereby discouraging effort beyond the mere minimum, reducing productivity to a minimum…slowing the growth of personal AND national wealth.

Well, this has been fun, invigorating and all, but it’s way past bedtime. I would welcome any and all of you over to a blog that is focused on this stuff, at http://truthis.townhall.com (a pretty arrogant name, huh? it doesn't assume anyone of us knows all Truth, but assumes that there IS TRUTH to be known, which is my pursuit) and encourage you to take issue with what I and others are writing, help clear up what is wrong so we can all learn what is true. That is my goal, not to prove I am right, but to find what is true and align my wife, I mean my LIFE with it.
Curt (like Randy, don't know the secret codes)

Tara said...

Whew...Curt....your wife WAS right about you. :) You give me pause to think about the healthcare scenario of Romney. Your version of it was not my impression of it. You certainly make it sound sinister. I was not viewing it as government healthcare, but more like taking a system that was already set up, and using it to allow families to purchase their own real insurance. Sort of like a voucher for schools. Is that a fair analysis? As your comments have progressed, you are sounding more and more like Ron Paul, or a Ron Paul supporter. Is that because you have been gradually espousing his candidacy more and more...learning more about him that you like? I liked Randy's quip, that he may have to vote Republican while plugging his nose! Ron Paul certainly won't be the GOP nominee...and the race is still wide open, so we'll just have to see what happens.

Leah, thanks for filling us in a little of what it was like in MI! Perhaps I overstated myself with "liking" Romney.....I just admit that I'm not ready to see him bite the dust before some of the other gazillion (ha!) GOP candidates do. I can certainly see why someone would "like" Huckabee better than Romney. Also agree with you that it's important to make that important distinction about voting on the issues as much as possible. This may all be a moot point for us, as I'll be SHOCKED if America gives the White House to another R.

Kimberly said...

Yay for Harold!!!
Yay for Click and Clack!!!
Still Yay for npr!!!
Yay for Bobby Jindal!!!!!
Yay for refusing to enter again into this "debate"!!!
(but CHINA as a positive example??....good grief!!!!)

Anita said...

Just when I thought I would not comment on this thread anymore...I can't resist.

I'm right behind Harold with the Click and Clack the Tappett Brothers.

Just the kind of humour I needed to pull me out of this feeling of hopelessness and despair at the thought of America's future.

Derek Hickman said...

Aahh, the smell of political discourse is starting to smell more like burned popcorn. I think we have overcooked the issues for now . . .

I am feeling very ChinarpaulhuckomneyNPRian right now.

Let's all say it together . . . . ChinarpaulhuckomneyNPRian!

Since we are promoting our sites, go check mine out by clicking on my smiling face above. I promise there are no politics discussed!

Kelly S said...

Tara, you actually got Harold to blog!! I knew he'd come around sooner or later! Glad to see Derek's comments on here too.

Tara said...

Well, as you can see....I have moved on to posting something else, much more on the lighter side.

As was noted earlier, it is a fascinating and no doubt VERY GOOD SIGN that among all the commenters here, we are all within close age range, spread out all over the country (and around the world), and have mostly similar heritages. Quite similar, really. And yet look at the diversity of thought represented. That should serve to encourage us all that it is possible to have honest intelligent discussion, and maybe even make some headway into learning new things. I have had great fun with this thread. I am not officially closing it, or anything like that. I will continue to check it over the next few days, should any stragglers still have a voice to add. You are certainly welcome to do so.

Thanks, everybody!

p.s. Derek, I love it that you still make laugh so much after all this time together. (What I wouldn't give to hear everyone trying out your mantra!) Love you, Babe!

Tara said...

Okay, I know this is probably a really bad idea.......but I just can't stop thinking about something since reading the last few posts. With all the talk on limited government, and the "slippery slope" of handouts and mandates.....I wonder where one draws the line? Is it wrong for the government to require that we wear seatbelts or place our infants in safety seats? Do we really think that welfare is more dangerous than abortion or gay marriage? Where do states' rights come into play here. Because there are lot of these things that are put to the voter in the privacy of their voting booth....and the PEOPLE decide. These candidates have a chance to put their message out there...we listen, we decide. So in that sense can we say that GOVERNMENT has done all these things, when many times these things have been voted on. Such as using taxpayer money for paved roads. They voted FOR it in AR. Or the so-called RomneyCare...they voted FOR it in MA. So the people that lived in those states made those decisions.

I don't know. Certainly not trying to justify things. Just thinking. Really just thinking.

Anonymous said...

[from Curt I-don’t-know-how-to-sign-in-except-anonymous]
Tara: A “really bad idea”…what, to get me going again? Can’t tonight, so here’s the short version.
It is perfectly legitimate to debate where to draw the line. I LOVE to see people thinking! There is a general lack of it in the world, way too much public policy made on feelings instead of thinking.
I would say it is wrong for the state to require me to wear my seatbelt, but I have less aversion to state requiring parents to fasten a child.
Abortion/gay marriage vs. welfare. On an individual basis, clearly an abortion causes more harm than the same person accepting welfare. But as for the overall effect on our nation, welfare is a genuine temptation to a much wider range of people, thus its overall impact on our nation might be more profound. I am not arguing specifically that it is worse or whatever, for how can worst-moral-impact be measured anyway? My point is that welfare IS a serious MORAL issue, much more subtle than the obvious ones we Christians get so revved up about. Economics sounds so dry and businesslike, but my beliefs on economics are based on my understanding of the Bible, the heart, the nature of mankind. Same thing with gay marriage; easy to condemn those who want it, since we are not only not tempted but find it repulsive.
State’s rights: I believe the state governments should be quite left alone to regulate many areas of life. But sound policy at the state level is not that different from sound policy at the Federal level. State-run or State-sponsored health care is a terrible idea just like federally-run or federally-sponsored is a terrible idea. It is bad economic policy at any government level. In the present discussion, it is fair to make a distinction for Romney: he says RomneyCare is something that he believes is good at the state level but should not become federal policy. Okaaaay, that’s his opinion. But considering the heart of man and his willingness to let someone else pay his bills when possible, government should stay out of health care! (see a long discussion of this on my blog, posted on Christmas day when I had a lot of time on my hands)
If a rich acquaintance invites you to join him or her for lunch at a very expensive restaurant, would you go? How about if the rich acquaintance assures you that price is no object, he or she is going to buy? Honestly, can any of us say we are not more likely to go if the other guy is buying assuming all other factors are the same? That is exactly the instinct in mankind that makes socialism unworkable, and makes government-sponsored health care a disaster.
As for voters bringing it on themselves: it is easy for politicians (they typically initiate the proposals that go on such ballots) to appeal to a majority of voters if they convince a majority that they are going to get more back than they pay in. It is the free lunch problem! Conservative leaders should not initiate such proposals, as they appeal to the base, fallen instincts of the populace. (See Tocqueville quote on largesse, on my blog)
Roads are a classic example of doing something for the COMMON good. National defense, a court system, police. It is very hard for a person to selfishly abuse their access to the roads, national defense, courts or police. These are the appropriate role of government. There is plenty that should stay, I am not a libertarian. A “conservative” means government power should be used sparingly, only where it is necessary…such power should be “conserved” for the common good. There I stand.
Curt

jenny said...

Curt says, "...if you examine the solutions in light of the Biblical teaching about mankind—self oriented, self centered, motivated by personal gratification, etc.—you would find that what they [RP & WW] teach is right on, they have real solutions to real people’s real problems."

So we are to appeal to mankind's sinbent nature...and that is a "real solution"? What about the Biblical teachings of the early church where the disciples owned nothing (Acts 2:32f) and "there was not a needy person among them"?

I'm not against free market at all...but I do think that an understanding of the total depravity of man should have come into play in this discussion.

Only Christ redeems people. While free market theory in some cases may promote justice, it shouldn't be baptized as the Christian ideal.

Tara said...

Being a stay-at-home Mommy of four: I am inclined to accept a lunch invitation of any kind...especially to a nice expensive restaurant! :) And don't mind a bit if you pick up the tab!

Okay, that was my "funny" for the day. But, call me dumb, I don't see the correlation. I know you're referring the "no such thing as a free lunch" concept....however, receiving an invitation to lunch by a friend or acquaintance? I don't see the harm.

Thanks for coming back Jenny! I think you and Curt are arriving at the same idea from different avenues. But getting into any of this from a Biblical perspective is really quite tricky, and a little depressing. We're nowhere near a New Testament kind of society. And we can talk a big talk, but I doubt any one of us attend a church where there is a massive effort underway to end welfare in our local communities. Could be wrong there, but I doubt it. And then there's that pesky little fact that Jesus said the poor would always be with us.

These are just some thoughts from my cloudy, baby-up-way-too-early, brain this morning.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful observation. The free market is NOT the "Christian ideal" nor am I suggesting it as such. Among a private group/body of believers, sharing and looking out for one anothers needs is a Christian trait. In addition, we are all instructed to help the poor, widows, orphans. This is the role of private charity.
The distinction muct be made between private charity and government welfare. When government attempts to do the "charity" it can't. It is not "charitable" on the part of the giver to pay his taxes, nor is there an appropriate connection between the recipient when a welfare check comes from Washington DC.
If a member of my church falls on hard times through no fault of his own, I believe our church family would and should contribute to help him get back on his feet; and as the recipient of charity, he will feel acountable to the rest of us, which motivates him to do everything in his power to get another job, tke care of himself, carry his own load again and ASAP. This works among people of shared Christian values, or other charitable situation where positive peer pressure is applied and felt.
When the government tries to do the same thing, there is no similar sense of connectedness, peer influence, etc., to motivate the recipient...rather, the average person (Bible tells us wide is the gate that leads to destruction, and most will follow that path, i.e. most citizens of a country are not going to act like a Christian and take responsibility for themselves just as quickly as possible) will take what they can get and push it to to the limits of getting as many handouts as possible for as long as possible.
Read The Tragedy of Compassion by Marvin Olasky sometime.
Thanks for thinking out loud and challenging me to think and grow as well.
Curt

jenny said...

Curt says: "Among a private group/body of believers, sharing and looking out for one anothers needs is a Christian trait."

You REALLY believe that only people we should help are Christian people? That is incredulous to me.

I am totally with you that welfare needs to be reformed. As the neighbor of some who have become crippled by the victimization mentality America has created I could write books...but I'll just summarize by saying that is not my beef.

Tara: I know the church is not doing what it should be doing...but until it does I think it would be wrong to deny all government aid to truly needy people. Christopher Wright has a great book on OT ethics that I've been meaning to read for a while. The Bible is quite scathing in it's admonitions to feed the hungry, care for the widows and orphans. I've never, ever heard that only implied to God's chosen people.

"There is no holiness but a social one." John Wesley (how different his ministry would have been...if he only helped those in his church)

Anonymous said...

From Randy:

Wow -- where did all this energy come from?! After speaking with Walter Williams about it....Well, not really.

But I did want to respond to Jenny (BTW, Jane and I love your blog, Jenny) by saying that I think the distinction Curt is making is only between Church and government, not between providing for Christians vs. providing for non-Christians.He can speak for himself, of course, but I don't think he is suggesting there is no place for Christians to provide charity for unbelievers. I do think Curt opposes the idea of government providing entitlement benefits, but that is such a foreign concept, as Laura alluded a few posts back, that we can hardly consider it. I have a hard time going there completely, and do not want to put words in Curt's mouth.

It does, however, seem a sound ideal -- government stays out of the way, encourages private charity all that it can, etc. How do you feel about this, Curt? Any basis in sound thinking for a gov. safety net of some kind? Or should they withdraw altogether over time?

I have read Olasky, BTW, and find the history and discussion fascinating and informative.

I'm staying plugged in here, though the time budget is overspent. :)

Randy

Tara said...

Jenny, please don't misunderstand me. I in no way meant to imply that because we're not living up to a biblical standard that we shouldn't be trying. I also don't believe for a minute that we should only be helping other Christians. And, to be fair, the quote from Curt that you referred to did continue on to say, "In addition.....widows, orphans, etc." So I took him to mean looking after the household of faith first, and then on to the other needs. But he can defend himself so I'll stop there!

I think I find myself somewhere in the middle of the views I see expressed here between the two of you especially. I search myself deep down to see if I really believe that the government should never provide assistance to those in need, and frankly come up short. Not everyone in need of that help is a stereotypical low-life seeking every hand-out they can find. There are legitimate heart-breaking needs that must be addressed. But on the other hand, I can completely understand the frustration with the out-of-control entitlement mentality. And also see the sincere logic of the difference between charitable giving and faith-based helps vs. government helps. The former is clearly the better choice...but no matter which way you go it won't put an end to the initial problem of need. So I guess you do what you can, for whom you can, when you can...and try not to be overwhelmed with all you cannot do.

Good discussion.

Anonymous said...

Randy sees my point, Tara is reading a bit too much into it (household of faith "first" then).
The point of emphasizing Christian there was responding to your observation about the early Christians trying to live communally.
My bigger point, tho, is not limiting the gifts to only certain categories of recipients, but the source being one where values, character and compassion are involved and emphasized, something that "value-neutral" government checks can not do. Study of human nature (spirit, psychology!?) tells us that there is more accountability felt by the recipient to NOT linger in the receiving role when he sees directly the pockets from which it is coming, the sacrifice being made by others out of the pure love/compassion in their heart...as compared to the way a person feels when they get a check from this thing called "government" and after all the recipient might have been forced to pay something in taxes himself, which makes him feel entitled to take as much back as he can get!
Voluntary, compassionate charity helping those in need is a totally different sort of process/relationship/impact than involuntary, forced contributions doled out by politicians.
Back for a moment to Christian communism. In history we have at least two noted examples (the early Christians you cited and the Pilgrims who nearly starved in America their first year) where EVEN among Christians--people who should be willing to subordinate their personal gain to the good of the whole--Communism didn't work! When you try to apply it across the board to Christians and non-christians alike, as government has to, it SURE won't work! The takers will always exceed the givers.
Thus an economic system at a government level must, not because we like the fact but because it is the fact, be built on the recogniztion of the fallen nature of mankind.
Hope that helps! Now I have to get to work so I can pay my taxes and support my family! ;-)
Curt

jenny said...

I'm not defending any view...simply questioning some I see presented here. I am definitely not a communist, not a supporter of big government...just a realist who is becoming increasingly more aware of a very needy world the older I become. I would rather fall on the side of the issue where I'm accused of feeling too much than too little. And I'm the first to admit I am doing too little to help those around me.

Good discussion on all sides...thanks for hearing me...I'm out.

Kimberly said...
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Tara said...

I do believe there is an issue with an entitlement mentality; how much it is overstated...I do not know. Truly sorry if I sounded like I was throwing around lofty ideas...I have more questions than answers! Working in the social system should in no way open you up to attack, Kimberly! It is only to be admired. I'm not sure this is all really a debate, as much as a discussion...since I, too, have no care for whether I come off as a good "debater"! (evidenced by how poorly I've phrased some responses). Who has the time or energy for that! I think it has been well pointed out that there are real differences here, too. My reference to Jenny and Curt arriving at the same "idea" turned out not to be the case, as my initial reading was wrong! But it has been clear that while we all come from similar backgrounds, our views here have been quite varied. On one hand, I feel like I know less than I did before...and on the other hand I have been challenged to think on some things differently as well. Also aware that there are a couple of "biggies" where I don't have a concrete view one way or the other. Strange as that may sound.:)

And, yes...I plan to see you all in Heaven. And, yes...should go without saying.

Derek Hickman said...
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Toots said...
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Toots said...

From Curt:
If we can inspire more voluntary, efficient and effective charity, helping the needy, by this discussion, wonderful. We individually, as Christians, are charged with helping our fellow man. The main issue is, how is that most effectively done. Running it through the government is not it. Private charity gets roughly 75 – 90% of its means into the hands of the end user, while government programs do about 1/3 as well.

Toots said...

From Toots:
It's amazing how many comments this post has! I appreciate your willingness, Tara, to bring up the topic. It has helped me dig, think, reflect, & grow. I want to follow your example in being thoughtful and yet not emotional, defensive, or reactionary. I have learned that once I get in a reactionary mode, I cannot hope to find truth.

Thinking clearly really takes time! I hope what I'm thinking here is accurate. I don't like to muddy the waters.

From what I presently understand, emotions and reactions can throw us into a non-thinking self-focus. They can push us into over-generalizing, feeling like we’re being attacked, dwelling on thoughts of whether we are a good this or that, & labeling the other guy. None of this is productive in the search for understanding truth. (I may be guilty of such somewhere and not be presently aware of it. I am truly trying to avoid it, and I don‘t mind being told if I have made an error in this area. That accountability will bring forth growth--which is what I think is a major part of the essence of life as defined by our Lord.)

Labeling someone as “throwing around lofty ideas” conjures up a negative image that in effect puts the other person down, rather than focusing on the issue and the truth of or evidence for what is being discussed. It denies that there is any validity to what the person is saying and totally ignores whether there is evidence on either side.(Sorry, Kim, I love you but felt I needed to point that out. I assume you did not even realize you were labeling after you have said we shouldn't.)

I do not consider myself to be an authority on ANY issue; I am a student. But as I work to become a more carefully thinking individual, I do believe sound reasoning demands that there be some evidence to back assertions I make. If I hope to find the best answers and help anyone else see it as well, I must be willing to discuss the evidence. I don’t want to make blanket statements in an authoritative attitude with no apparent interest in further examination of the evidence, for I don't believe that will ever promote my successfully coming to truth. Addedly, If I do believe there is truth, and I do, I can not hope to find it if I have an agenda or a desired outcome. I have to hold my beliefs with somewhat of an open hand. Of utmost importance, those beliefs must not define me. (That's a big topic in itself which I have found requires a constant demand of honesty with myself...for another time, another place...)

Like I said, I do believe there is truth to be discovered--one of my basic assumptions. I also believe that there is a best answer to nearly every issue. I don't believe any one person will ever know all truth in this life, but I do believe that if we start in the same place--same assumptions--and follow clear and careful thinking, we have hope of discovering many "best answers" i.e. truth--together. We need one another, and discussions like this are very helpful as we strive to think clearly, are open to provide evidence, lay aside emotions--refusing to just react, and do not connect our worth with what we presently hold to be true. By the way, I also have learned that just saying my worth is not connected doesn’t make it so.

I say all of this to encourage us to continue in our pursuit of finding truth together, to not pride ourselves in being unique, to learn from one another and to graciously, thoughtfully help each other as we seek the answers to the myriad questions that are ever before us.

For what it’s worth... let the discussion continue.
Thanks again, Tara, for a lovely example. : )

Anita said...

This is a subject near and dear to my heart so therefore I feel the magnetic power drawing me back into the discussion that I said I would leave alone and only read. I have people dear to me in my family and friends also who due to health issues have become dependant on the government. I wish I could say that I trust the Church to take care of the widows, elderly and poor in their communities and the government could stay out. But, I don't trust the Church that much. I've seen Christian brothers and sisters reach out to a few in their community around Christmas time and on special occasions. But, I've never seen it happen on an ongoing basis so that a person in need would have no need to rely on the government. I remember hearing Larry Berket (spelling not sure) say on the radio that the Church will never experience true revival until it fulfils this commission.

Acts 6:1, And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.

James 1:27
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Deuteronomy 24:14
Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates:

Doing a Bible gateway search on the words widow and poor brought up so so many verses on what we are to do as individuals and a body of believers. I believe there must have been far more verses on that then I could ever find about the length of sleeves.

How convicting this is for the church and me on a personal level. Are we really prepared to take the responsibility and tell the government they can stay out?

Anita said...
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Anonymous said...

I really appreciate the thoughts that have been coming through (even if I didn't count my wife's!) in this string.
Anita, what an indictment (and I agree with you) it is against those who call themselves "Christians" when/if we are ready to trust the Godless (I choose that word specifically because of the literal separation between church and state, and the religious-values-neutral way the government must act) government more than the Church! As the Church has failed to live according to the Word, the Godless government has moved in to assume our duties. What a shame!
My passion on this topic is not to dwell there, however, or be frozen in "oh well, can't do anything about it"...but rather to cry out for change, a change of direction. We must stop condoning the politicians' usurpation of the church's role. Why? (1) because it's just not their job, (2) because they mis-use it for their personal gain, and (3) because when they try, they cannot do it effectively or efficiently (see previous post on effectiveness %). I Pet 2 is pretty clear as to the role of government: "Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him TO PUNISH THOSE WHO DO WRONG AND TO COMMEND THOSE WHO DO RIGHT."
This discussion has worked around from business and free markets to charities, but there is a huge parallel. Just like the free market is the most effective way to create goods and services, private charity is the most effective way to deliver goods and services to those in need. The government doesn't do these things well; its role is to punish evildoers and commend the righteous...clearly justice system to arbitrate disputes & police/army/defense.
The nature of man (fallen, depraved, etc.--raised by some of you earlier) is such that power should not be consolidated into fewer hands, which is what socialistic policies do. The power to take and redistribute to others what a law-abiding citizen owns, against his will, is the most abuse-able, corrupting power. Free markets and private charities keep the power widely dispersed, where interaction (buy, ell, give, take) is voluntary ("free").
Am I advocating an immediate withdrawal of all government programs? (I think Randy asked that long ago.) Hardly. But I firmly believe that a strong and definite trend reversal is in order. As the government slows the welfare programs, those who could/should fend for themselves will be motivated to do so ("if they don't work they don't eat." - Paul) and those who truly cannot (the "widow and orphan" sort) will be helped by people of good will who will be better able to afford it as their tax burden is reduced.
My pursuit is truth. These issues are serious; there are clear, Biblical principles that should inform our thinking; and the issues are complex, not subject to simplistic answers. I plan to continue studying, examining evidence, and exploring...and that includes taking your shared comments, questions and thoughts into account as a refine my understanding. Thank you all for your help.
Curt