Freedom’s light is burning warm in my heart, because I voted today. Today I felt pride like I feel on the Fourth of July and an overwhelming sense of patriotism much like I feel on Thanksgiving. Nothing could stop me from having a good day today, because I was able to exercise my God-given right to express my beliefs with a vote for the candidates of my choice.
This election, I requested and received an early ballot. I enjoyed the freedom to complete my ballot in the comfort and privacy of my own home, but I specifically held on to my ballot for a couple of reasons. I enjoy the experience of going to the polling place, for one. Also I don’t believe it is wise to cast my vote before election day because one never knows what sort of information may become available at the proverbial 11th hour, as CBS proved with the release of that clip they edited out of their September 12th ’60 Minutes’ broadcast.
It was with great pride I took that early voting ballot to the polling place as is allowed in my home state of Arizona. I drove to the school which is my polling facility (located up the road from my home), walked up to the building and through the door with my chest puffed up and my head held high, said hello to the gentleman at the door, and within about one minute I had deposited my ballot in the box as required and was walking out the door and on my way to work.
The early ballot deposit box was near the door as I walked in, but the procedure is for all voters to walk completely through the polling place and exit through a door at the rear of the building. I was surprised by the fact that I was not required to show my ID as I deposited my ballot, although the gentleman monitoring the early ballot deposit box did ask to check the envelope to make sure it was signed and sealed.
It has been interesting to hear the reports throughout the day of various issues; an electronic ballot box apparently was mis-calibrated and the voter captured the problem on his cell phone. The machine was re-calibrated and reportedly put back into service. The New Black Panthers were at it again this year in “The City of Brotherly Love,” and I heard some chatter that some Navy Seals might plan to go “deal with” that situation. In my opinion it is shameful the way our Attorney General handled that mess four years ago, especially when he threw in the “My people” line when asked about his position on the case. After all, I thought the Attorney General was appointed by The President, and The President is the top law enforcement officer and primary representative of ALL Americans.
For one night some sorrow will affect the loser of this Presidential race and his supporters, while joy and relief will be felt by the victor and his backers on the other side of the aisle. I know many conservatives will feel the desire to celebrate if Mitt Romney wins tonight, and likewise liberals will feel cause for jubilation should Barack Obama prevail. But regardless the results of this years' election, there should be very little celebration by either side, because there is much work to do in America.
We have some painful decisions to make, and we must hold our elected representatives accountable. We have over $16 trillion in debt, an annual deficit over $1 trillion and rising, and our government has not produced a budget for the past three years. Millions are unemployed or underemployed. We have an underground society of immigrants who are inside our borders illegally, most of whom are good and decent people, but all of whom we have no account. Immigration reform is absolutely needed in this nation of immigrants.
We must be critical of how much foreign aid we offer, to whom we give that aid and under what guidelines it is extended. The issues with our ‘entitlement’ programs MUST be dealt with, and they must be dealt with quickly. We have had our credit rating reduced, we have had Americans killed by terrorists on American soil overseas at our Consulate in Libya, and generally speaking our nation is more divided than any time in my lifetime.
Good people with good hearts have been accused of racism simply for opposing the political beliefs of the man America elected President. I have no doubt some racial animosity still exists in America, but I believe that is largely on the fringe of society. Thankfully we have come a long way in my lifetime toward racial harmony, and I believe we will continue to improve. That sort of message being perpetuated by our politicians and some in the media is irresponsible, given that it took a lot of non-white Americans voting for Barack Obama to elevate him to The Presidency in the first place.
On the other side, there has been a misconception that a large percentage of Americans just want free stuff. Mitt Romney’s “47%” comment was made in a context that was unfortunately twisted out of context, because Romney was attempting to use real numbers to present a case against the perpetual growth of entitlement programs when what America needs is more individual responsibility. However, in the process of making that comment Romney exposed what many believe to be the uncompassionate element of the Republican Party. Even though studies show conservatives are more charitable than liberals and Romney personally presents this case as well it can be made with his massive charitable contributions of both his money and his time, that comment made behind closed doors is something that may haunt the Republicans moving forward.
Our problems are not all the fault of either party. For the past four years we have been told by the current administration that it was the fault of the Bush administration that our economy collapsed in 2008. But I’ve found plenty of information by searching “barney frank chris dodd housing crisis" on YouTube that shows the housing bubble issue was being cited by Bush and the Republicans through the early and middle part of Bush’s tenure, and that high-ranking Democrats like Barney Frank and Chris Dodd pigeon-holed their efforts to bring the situation to the floor of their respective chambers in Congress.
Additionally, Barack Obama is not responsible for everything that led us to the troublesome place we find ourselves in today. However, should Barack Obama win reelection he must accept more responsibility for the problems that exist than I believe he has accepted to date.
First and foremost, the words “Bush administration” need to be removed from his and his administration’s vocabulary should he win this election. After all, we have gained nearly thirty percent of our national debt during his term, and projections are that should he win a second term our total debt will be nearly double what it was when he took office. The amount of spending Obama and the Democrats in Congress did on just his ‘stimulus’ plan could have put nearly $2500 into the pocket of each individual American. Instead we are all paying interest on a handful of companies owned by Obama bundlers that mismanaged our tax dollars, some ridiculous research on things like “why monkeys respond negatively to inequity,” and a “turtle crossing” in northern Florida. We were told the stimulus was for “shovel ready jobs,” and then we all got to watch The President laugh as he told us that “Shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected.” Coming from the man many people believe has more empathy for their plight, I found that comment and quite a few other actions by President Obama and his administration quite disconcerting.
If Mitt Romney wins this election, America must hold him accountable as well, and I plan to do exactly that. Romney is a proven business man with a solid understanding of America's economic engine. And as displayed by his time as governor in a majority Democratic state, Romney also has the proven ability to bring together people from all sides for the common good. Those two factors are largely why I chose to vote for him. I believe his value system of individual responsibility is much more in line with America’s core values than our current President’s redistributive beliefs, and I believe Mr. Romney’s Faith guides him in a way that gives him a moral compass perhaps not seen since Ronald Reagan. In this time in our history I am very concerned about the decadence and lack of self responsibility I see in society today. Yet Mr. Romney has been very inconsistent throughout his career when it comes to issues like abortion and firearms, which are both issues I believe the government needs to be less involved in, and he has generally been seen as the type who follows whatever direction the political wind serves him best.
In my opinion Planned Parenthood should not receive federal funding if it continues to sponsor abortions, and at the same time I don’t believe it is the place of government to enact laws outlawing abortion, even as I find late term abortions morally reprehensible. I have a personal history of choosing to save a life through adoption rather than taking a life through abortion, so the issue hits very close to home.
In addition to monitoring every move our government makes regardless of which party holds what office, America has an incredibly irresponsible and highly partisan media which must be held accountable. The partisan fashion in which the majority of our “mainstream” media has treated the Benghazi terrorist attacks is abhorrent, with only one network and a couple of other rogue reporters willing to address the issue in a truly investigative fashion. The behavior of Candy Crowley during the second Presidential debate was an offense worthy of termination from her workplace, yet her employer CNN has stood by her even after she admitted her own fault in that instance.
While predictable, the headline “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” penned by The New York Times editorial board was incredibly deceptive and misleading; anyone who reads the entire Romney op-ed should understand he would have done at least as much for the auto industry as did President Obama. In fact, many people smarter than I have said that what Obama ultimately did was very much in line with what Governor Romney recommended in his piece.
And I personally believe that "Superstorm Sandy" has been played down for the express purpose of assisting Barack Obama win reelection. There is no question residents of Staten Island and other parts of the New York / New Jersey area have suffered at least as much loss as did the people of New Orleans when Katrina hit, but elected officials at all levels seem to be getting a pass thus far. I sincerely believe if we had a Republican president and the same situations as Benghazi and Sandy came to pass at such a critical time in an election cycle, the media would have acted in a completely different manner.
It is about 10:45 Eastern Time as I close this and the races in all the swing states are too close to call. Ohio, Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, Iowa, and Colorado are all tight races. I’m personally disappointed in Wisconsin; I wore my favorite Harley Davidson shirt today with the pride of “Made in America” running through my mind as I put it on. I had faith that Paul Ryan and Scott Walker’s prominence and success in Wisconsin might make a difference, but it looks like the home of the “progressive” movement held for liberals.
I hope not, but it may be a long night. I know myself well enough to know I’ll crash on the couch if it goes that late, even though I have a very busy work day waiting for me tomorrow.
Regardless the outcome tonight, I am proud of those Americans who stood up for their beliefs and participated in our representative democracy. I will stand by my principles moving forward and hold either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney accountable. I will support our President when he is right and call him out when necessary. I will also hold accountable my elected Congressional representatives, and I will keep a close eye on all of Congress.
And each and every day without fail, I will pray for The United States of America.