Guest post by Roger Caldwell
As we get closer to an election year, I find myself watching politics more closely, and I’m noticing something familiar about the interactions of Congress and the president. There have been several issues lately (the debt ceiling, the jobs crisis, heightened tension in the Middle East) that have given us a great opportunity to see how these great lawmakers, these descendants of the great men who founded this country and bound it together with the very Constitution that our current elected officials now serve, are basically just a bunch of spoiled, bickering children.
Watching the debt ceiling debate, I tried to follow the deep meaning and far-reaching implications of what was being discussed, I really did. But in the end all I heard was “You said there would be tax increases!” “Did not!” “Did, too!” “You said you would cut Medicare and Social Security!” “Did not!” “Did, too!” “If you make me raise taxes I’m going to sick my rich lobbyists on you!” “If you make me cut Social Security, I’m telling the AARP on you!” Specifically, Congress reminded me of two young children close to each other in age. If you imagine that cutting Medicare and Social Security was a “Buzz Lightyear” toy that the Republicans wanted, and tax increases (on the rich) was a “Singing Spongebob” that the Democrats wanted and raising the debt ceiling was bath time—neither child really wanted it, but they knew it was going to happen anyway, so they just tried to milk their dislike of it to get some extra playtime with their favorite toy.
Where does the president fit in? In the debt ceiling debate, I see President Obama as a babysitter, an inexperienced babysitter, maybe only a few years older than the oldest child. He has a favorite, the Democrats, but he tries to be at least appear fair to both because he has a job to do. More importantly, his job involves getting both kids to take that bath (the debt ceiling increase), so he is willing to promise the moon and stars to get them to do it if he has to–he wants the parents to hire him for another night. Maybe a more experienced babysitter would have more tricks to use, more authority to exert pressure, but he does what he can and eventually they get into the bath water, even if it’s an hour past their bedtime and they’re hitting each other with toys while they’re there.
Now the bath is done and the babysitter needs to put the kids to bed—in other words it’s time to put through a jobs creation plan and a formal budget. The babysitter tries to coax both kids by saying “We play 3 minutes with Buzz and 7 minutes with Spongebob, then we go to bed.” The problem is that the Democrats want all ten minutes with tax increases on the rich, I mean Spongebob, and the Republicans want all ten minutes with Buzz (cutting Medicare and Social Security). The Republican child will threaten to stay up all night and not pass a jobs plan if they don’t get what they want and the Democratic child will threaten to tell the parents if they don’t get what they want. In the end, we have to hope that they settle somewhere near 50/50 and everyone gets to bed before midnight.
So who are we in this? You guessed it—we’re the parents. We’ve been out and had a great time and have come home to early to find the kids fighting, the house is a mess, and somebody put a saddle on the dog. Who do we blame? The babysitter? Maybe. They certainly own a share of the blame. The kids? You bet. They’re unruly and taking advantage of the babysitter and we raised them better than that. Or did we? We raised these kids (voted for them, in this case, often for multiple terms). Maybe we failed to give them proper discipline; maybe there should have been some more time outs before it got to this point. Maybe it’s not too late to start. One thing is clear—if we ever want to go out and enjoy ourselves again, we have got to get our house in order.
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Yesterday my husband showered, put on his favorite Gap button down, and headed down the road to vote. I was in my home office, sipping a coffee, and wished him the best of luck because I chose not to go.
Some people tell me to fuck off for not voting, that I’m the reason the bad guys get elected. That people like me are the reason this country has fishy politicians in office. Thanks dudes, way to put the weight of the world on my shoulders. The truth is, I didn’t vote because I don’t LIKE either Obama, or McCain [I'm a Ron Paul kind of girl] and I didn’t feel like choosing what I believe, is the less of two evils. Am I glad Obama is in office? Sure, I think it’s a huge step in the right direction for this country. I think it’s great.
But apparently, I can’t skip around like everyone else because I played Oregon Trail when I should have been sipping free coffee, and voting democrat. I’m okay with that. Someone told me yesterday that I “suck” for not voting, and when I asked them why they were voting for Obama they had no good reason..I mean, besides the fact that he’s “better than such and such..” and “has a nice smile”
So, I’m glad this election is over. I’m glad that I won Oregon Trail, and I’m glad it’s raining. I love rainy days.
Okay, while The Imperfect Parent strives to be non-partisan, we thought we’d give our readers a rare opporunity on this blog to express their opinions and give you a forum to support and respectfully debate the current issues leading to a critical decision this pending election.
Please keep in mind, — be civil and respectful and remember, just because someone has negative or opposing opinions about your candidate, doesn’t mean they’re a “bad” person or that they’re dumb. The only dumb people are those who don’t vote. Be there or be square on Tuesday, November 4th and post your reactions here.
Who wants to predict the outcome? Will we know today or even at the end of the week? Could this decision change everyone’s life forever?
Please, take advantage of our precious freedom and vote!
Also, be sure to check out Julie’s new column today, to see who’s voice she’s really missing right now.
Over the past few weeks I have been in several elementary classrooms. I love seeing the differences between grades and ages. The maturity levels, the way they express themselves, and the way the communicate with their peers. Each grade level has certain distinctions, its own personality. But something that has served as a constant has been the interest in the presidential campaign.
Of course, a large chunk of their understanding is incorrect or skewed. Nonetheless, it is wonderful to see. I know that their opinions are in large part a reflection of what they hear their parents and caregivers discussing. I try my best to act as a moderator, filling in the gaps. Of course, I do my best to remain impartial. I’m a democrat. I know who I’d like to see in the White House, but I keep my opinion guarded in the classroom. I also know that John McCain could very well be the 44th President. However, very few of the students that I encounter seem aware of this fact.
I live in New York. We’re a blue state. Not a surprise that students debate with each over “Hillary!” and “Obama!” Today there was even chanting in a fourth grade classroom, each child showing their support with full-on fist pumping. But what about McCain? I spent 20 minutes informing the students that either Clinton OR Obama would be in the race for presidency, and would be competing against McCain, the republican candidate. Most students seemed very confused by the new info.
What are the kiddies saying in your neck of the woods? How interested are your children in the race to the White House, and what are their schools doing to prepare them for the election?
After pointless months of shuffling his feet and telling the media, “Gee, shucks, I just don’t know,” Illinois Senator Barack Obama has finally thrown his hat into the presidential ring. OK, sure, it’s not exactly official as it’s more of an announcement that he’s going to announce, but barring some sort of huge negative backlash (highly unlikely, but hey, even Jesus’ followers wound up turning on him), he’s definitely in the running. The official fund raising starts right about… NOW, and Hillary Clinton just wrote on her to-do list, “RAISE $50 MILLION MORE FOR CAMPAIGN FUND. Also, buy milk.” As a resident of Illinois, I’m just THRILLED that we got a good 2 out of 6 years of service from our junior senator before he ran off to campaign for higher office. I mean, really, what more could the people from the Land of Lincoln ask for?
Can someone explain to me the appeal of Barack Obama to be President? I mean, I clearly understand Obama’s appeal as a person, and even as a politician, but President? I don’t get it. I almost feel like a large number of liberals subconsciously want to vote for him because it would be really “cool” to vote for a minority. That way they can say, “See? We *told* you we were super-duper progressive!” But voting for Obama solely because of the color of his skin is clearly misguided, for obvious reasons. So, Obama fans, tell me why I should vote for him? And try to do so without invoking Bush’s name, if that’s possible. We saw how successful Kerry’s platform of “I’m not Bush” worked out.
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