October 19, 2012

Labels: What Am I ?

This is a tough post for me to write because I'm not sure how you will react. A set of beliefs that I thought were unchangeable are showing some cracks. I write a lot about change being the only constant. I understand that we adjust as we age. A satisfying retirement is not a static state. But, to think I would admit to this would have been unthinkable even a few years ago: my liberal views are shifting.

Beliefs and My Parents


This really isn't about politics or political parties. I find most of what occurs in that arena to be disheartening and upsetting. No matter how much we think someone is being honest with us, power corrupts absolutely. Seemingly no one is immune. So, this is not a Democrat or Republican or Tea Party or whatever message. I guess this is an example of how what we believe is foundational to us can change.

Through my early life, until I went to college, I followed whatever political beliefs my parents expressed. That is pretty normal behavior. If they thought the Republicans had the right path to prosperity, so did I. If they became disenchanted with a presidential candidate in a certain election and shifted allegiance, I was right there with my vocal and moral support. Of course, I couldn't vote so it really didn't matter much.


A Very Low Draft Number


Off to college and a more radical me emerged. I received a very low draft number in the first national lottery so I made sure I kept good grades in college. I marched on Washington and was half-heartedly involved in a campus sit-in. My primary motivation was really that the girl I was dating at the time was quite passionate about these causes, so I was too. Frankly, though, I was more interested in my job playing records on the radio.

I completed my college studies and then had a friend of a friend get me into the Army Reserves. Six years of monthly drills and a two week summer "camp" every year was a small price to pay for not going to Viet Nam. Politically I stopped following my parent's path and found the message of the Democrats a better fit to my mindset. My votes went to the party of the donkey.

As I moved from my late 20's through my 50's I gravitated toward an Independent label. I would vote for whomever I thought was least likely to disappoint me. Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton got my vote, but so did George W. Bush in 2000. Without rehashing all the stuff that happened, I shifted to John Kerry in 2004. Even though Kerry was about as inspiring as a cold bowl of soup Mr. Bush had lost my trust. He wasn't doing what he had promised to do in 2000. Barack Obama promised a change from the 8 years of Bush and he earned my vote. I think there are about five Democrats in Arizona so it was a lonely time.

Within a year, his rhetoric faded and his delivery of  hope and change started to sputter. While the Republican-dominated House said "No" to everything, Mr. Obama's lack of experience and leadership became painfully obvious to me. My belief in his ability to deliver took a serious hit. Then the fiasco of the Republican primary process last year cemented my belief that neither party has my interests at heart.

My Beliefs Start to Shift


So, I began to examine what I thought might be best for our country, regardless of what that mean for my political affiliation. I slowly realized I was coming around to some of the positions held by those who think of themselves as conservatives. Now, I must quickly add that the more extreme views of these folks leave me cold. The ideas that people who are poor just aren't trying hard enough, or that those without health insurance are on their own doesn't mesh with my belief system. The idea that tax cuts for the well off are good and similar cuts for the middle class and poor are bad makes me crazy. The fact that the word "conservative" has come to mean an extreme world view is unfortunate and not helpful.

But, what is shifting is my sense that the government can protect me from those bent on playing the system or that a government-run program will always be fairer than one run by a private company. For example, I no longer think the new health care law is a panacea. In fact, while it has some very important features and some elements that I welcome and strongly support, it also has serious flaws. That doesn't excuse the gouging that health insurance companies are engaged in. It doesn't explain why the U.S. has some of the most expensive and least effective health care in the developed world. But, government isn't on track to solve some of the underlying problems with this one bill in its present form.

Fewer regulations and less government interference in our daily lives are now more attractive concepts to me. I don't mean a "survival of the fittest" mindset. Protection of the disadvantaged and those down on their luck is part of who we are as a country. I paid into Social Security and Medicare for 35 years and I am anxious for my payback to begin. I expect regulations to keep the greediest among us from having a free hand at milking the system. I expect government to help protect the air I breathe and the food I buy. But, the government simply piling on more regulations alone can't fix everything and their solutions can make a problem worse.

It is too bad we have come to the point where we attempt to pigeon-hole folks with simplistic labels. While I no longer fully fit the "liberal" label, I am not willing to be called a "conservative" either. Both tags have way too much baggage (get it?..baggage..tags...never mind).


So Now What?



So I guess I am an American hoping  that we will right our tilting ship, we will work together to solve the problems that are bigger than any one of us, and that we will build bridges instead of chasms. The last decade or two doesn't exactly fill me with confidence, but what other choice do I have?

The general election is only a few weeks away. The signs by the side of the road will go away and the insulting TV commercials will cease. Unfortunately, no matter who wins I doubt the unproductive name-calling and finger-pointing will stop. I doubt the concept of cooperation will suddenly have an overnight re-birth.

I am left to use my blogger and author-friend Galen Pearl's idea: I hope we can somehow find our happy place as a country and as people. Frankly, my satisfying retirement (and probably yours) probably depends on it.

Vote on election day and then do your best to be civil the day after. Win, lose, or draw (think hanging chads) we are in this together.

OK, your turn. Just know that any political name-calling or blaming a person or party for the ruination of our nation will never see the light of day. We should be gown up enough to express an opinion without that. 

47 comments:

  1. I, too, have voted all over the board- for many years.
    What I dislike the most is the constant mis speaking of items to get the other guy pulled down.
    When I taught civics, my students could never figure out which side I stood for because of my ability to talk both candidate's position. This has been the most difficult year to do that- because I do not really trust that I know those positions are any more.
    When I take "those quizzes" I turn out a Libertarian every time.Why does our system of spending so much money on two sides prevent the middle from popping out?
    I'll vote. I will encourage everyone else to vote, but I suspect that only about 20% will and the other 80% will then sit down and shake their heads ---whomever is elected.

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    1. Getting elected, even on the local level, has become a game of who is best at making the other candidate look bad. Rarely are actual positions, goals, or ideas put forth. Instead go for the perceived negative spin, take words and decisions out of context and spend money like a crazy person.

      That person will win....win what is the next question.

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  2. Every four years we go through all this hand wringing and arguing. I hate it. I have close friends who I hate to see right now because they can't stop talking politics for one minute. I prefer to just keep doing my art, and ignoring it all but of course the closer we get, the more it becomes impossible to ignore.

    Soon it will be over, at least for another four years and we can all try and get along again.........sigh.

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    1. Unfortunately, it is never over. Mitt Romney has been running non-stop for 8 years. Barack Obama has been running for a higher office since he was a community organizer.

      Congress is so messed up those folks spend every waking hour trying to make their "friends across the aisle" look bad.

      I'm pretty sure than on November 7th the drumbeat of doom and gloom for America's future will be as loud as ever, regardless of who comes out on top.

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  3. I know Bob that this type of post is very unusual and probably uncomfortable for you so I salute you for having the courage to doing it. I thoroughly agree with you that our views should change to reflect our experiences as we mature.

    I know you are a fellow altruist and that has a lot of effect on how we see and approach life. As you say there is no one party that aligns with all our beliefs so we tend to pick and choose from each. That is better than stubbornly refusing to bend at all.

    Thomas Jefferson said a democracy depends on an informed electorate. Being informed means seeing all the possibilities and choose the best. It doesn't mean gridlock and stubborn insistence on always being right. I fear that is what we are losing in our country today.

    Thanks again for giving us a different insight into what makes Bob Lowry tick.

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    1. Thanks, RJ.

      I actually wrote this 4 months ago and sat on it until today. I wasn't sure it "fit" this blog and worried about reactions. But, I finally decided that it is part of who I have become. If I write about evolving and changing during retirement then this did belong.

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  4. I had a Dem. mom and a Rep. dad, so I've been confused ever since. But seriously, thanks for a post that gives us a lot to think about, and for the courage in putting your views out there -- it seems a lot of people have been criticizing the independents lately. But I guess in the end we will cross our fingers, and despite all experience . . . hope for the best.

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    1. I am still confused because I don't really understand how we got to place where we are or how we will move forward.

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  5. I agree with you that the new health care law is not perfect. However, I believe it is a big step in the right direction.

    As a young retiree (52 years old), I had a gut-wrenching time finding health insurance for my family because of pre-existing conditions. This problem would be eliminated with the new law. Every other industrialized nation has nationalized health care. We are playing catch-up.

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    1. My wife and I have been self-insured for over 30 years. If we ever miss a payment or make some other paperwork mistake we could never get insurance from anyone. The pre-existing condition provision is one of the most important parts of the law.

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  6. I similarly feel very disenfranchised currently. I've always considered myself fiscally conservative and socially liberally, and for a long time there was a place for me and my belief system within the Republican party. Today, I no longer feel that to be the case, and I am therefore without a clue, even at this late date, on who I will ultimately end up voting for in November. Neither side represents me and my views at this point, and I'm sick to death of watching both candidates posture, particularly during the recent debates, simply to gain votes.

    What I want, desperately, is for both men to be straight up and honest, and tell me exactly, precisely, what they intend to do if elected. I could assure them both that even if I don't like what they have to say initially, I'll respect them for it, and will ponder their statements carefully before making my voting decision.



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    1. Being straight up and honest is no longer the path to electability. In fact, those traits will insure defeat because the other side will cherry pick certain words and phrases, pull them completely out of context, and use them to make that candidate seem like a cross between the devil and disaster.

      I am fiscally conservative and socially liberal, too. Who represents me?

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    2. I am not sure fiscally conservative and socially liberal go together, since money is needed to fund social liberalism.However, I agree with you! I don't think it is necessarily a bad idea to ask the wealthy to pay a little more to help those in need.I also believe in spending on education. and keeping jobs AT HOME, not overseas!! This election year is a doozy--both sides, very rude.. it is hard to watch!!

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    3. I guess it depends on the definition used for "social liberalism." For me that means protecting women's rights, helping the disadvantaged and poor, protecting education for our youth, and protecting the rights of minorities. Yes, all of that costs money. But, if we willing to fund our military at a rate that makes it larger than the next top 20 countries combined, then I think our priorities are wrong and we have the money, just not the will.

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    4. Yes Madeline the two do go to together. As Bob said we spend so much money on our military and then short change the safety net as a compromise. Where we spend our limited resources is what makes me also a fiscal conservative but a social liberal. It seems by this post that there are quite a few of us around. Neither party seems to want us as we don't stay in line with their creeds.

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  7. I don't watch TV, so I have been spared the commercials. I haven't listened to the debates.

    I think campaigning for President has become a humiliating experience for America. Too, it waste money.

    I googled each candidate's agenda. I read their stand on the issues. Personally, I am not excited with either candidate. But, I will vote.

    I don't get myself worked up with all the political promises. It is always just an effort to sell oneself. Actually making a positive difference, depends far more on Congress than people attend to.

    Does anyone know who their Congressman is? Do they know if he/she supports your views? Our country down plays these very important offices.

    Our country doesn't run on the words/ideas of one man. Why do we act as though it does?

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    1. You have identified an important problem: Congress has the most power to allow us to move forward or stay in the rut we are in now. But, congressional elections usually don't grab the headlines or the heavy interest. Congress has become a polarized mess.

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  8. Very gutsy (as Sonia would say) and important post Bob. My most recent post is about what I see is at stake after this election...the Supreme Court. As a woman I am constantly frustrated by the fact that we are a majority in this country and yet we aren't treated equally on so many important fronts.

    Some people felt my post was about abortion rights, but it's much more than that. I honestly feel the republican party (tea party primarily) want to take us back to the '50's. Hell, I can't even watch Mad Men because it makes me shiver to think we could ever go back to that time.

    I feel the Congressional elections are more important than the President. We need balance and less 'my way or the highway' in this country. We also need more women in positions of power. Balance!

    Even though we have a house in NJ we are officially residents of PA, but if I could I would vote for Senator Bob Menendez. He has produced the best political ads I've ever seen. He personally talks about where he came from, his values, why he still lives in the area and why his priority is what's best for the common good. He never slams or even mentions his opponent.

    If we took the money that's been dumped into politics this year alone for negative ads we could probably feed every hungry child in the U.S. As long as Corporations are thought of as people we will never see that change. Which brings me back to my primary concern here...The Supreme Court.
    b

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    1. For many people, the makeup of the Supreme Court in the future is why this election is so crucial. There will be at least two vacancies in the next four years. The president will have a tremendous ability to affect who we are as a society for the next several decades.

      As the father of two daughters I simply do not understand society's treatment of females. Why do we treat women in advertising as simply eye candy or worse? Why is it old men get to tell women what they can and cannot do? If the shoe was on the other foot, does anyone seriously believe unequal pay and dictating what men can and cannot do would be accepted?

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    2. So very true Bob. I just want everyone to take a little time and weigh the importance of this vote for us and our future generations. It's kind of scary.
      b

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    3. I am a 72 year old female, have one daughter (2 sons) and 4 granddaughters and I cannot understand the current hysteria over women's rights. This is not the 1950's! Of course advertising is a disgrace but that has little to do with women's rights. Men don't tell me what to do. I worked in a technical field with almost all men and I never felt helpless or mistreated. I made more than most of my co-workers because I earned it. I made good money because I chose a career that paid well. I stayed at home for a few years with my children and had to work my way back up. This was my choice and I expected no special treatment for it. Women run for office and win. More women than men start small businesses.

      I suspect that you are referring to abortion rights. That is a tricky subject and has to do with more than women's rights. I think that most people fall somewhere in the middle on that. Early term abortion being more acceptable than late term. But on other issues I honestly don't see a problem. It is critical that we have Supreme Court Justices who do not indulge in social engineering. They are not there to create certain outcomes. They are there to decide what is constitutional.

      Always enjoy your blog.

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    4. I agree that sometimes women(and men) play the "victim" card when it isn't warranted. It becomes an excuse. Women are leading more and more businesses and corporations...and some governments around the world.

      But, the reality is the average woman makes 72 cents to the average man's $1.00, even if it is for the same job. There are industries where females can make a go of it, but must work twice as hard just because their gender.

      Abortion and contraceptive rights are certainly a large part of the issue. I have opinions on these topics but this is not the place to express them. That is the "third rail" of discussionsns that digs deeply into religious and moral concepts as well as the law. Suffice it to say some will make their voting decision based on what they think a particular candidate may or may not do.

      The Supreme Court's interpretation of what is constitutional has been politicized to a degree. When the court decided the outcome of the Presidential election in 2000 they crossed a line that seemed contrary to their duties. Conservative and liberal judges view the Constitution through their own, unavoidable filters. It comes with being human.

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    5. The 72 percent was not for the same jobs but for fulltime employment. When adjusted for ""choices" that affect pay, one government study had no difference at all and another had women at 95%. Unfortunately you can't believe everything you hear in a debate.

      But enough about politics. I don't normally read political blogs or opinion pieces and have never commented on them. Politics does not bring out the best in me! I prefer talking about Bailey or your RV trip.

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    6. Actually so do I. Bailey went to a dog park this morning and had a great time. That was fun.

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  9. I believe the vast majority of us are neither liberal nor conservative, but basically libertarian when it comes to our government. After a lifetime of seeing the unfairness and outright deceit of government, we all hope for a time that it can be lessened in our lives. My fear is that neither side will ever have a desire to do so, since all they do is encourage bigger government in those areas they deem most critical to their side. As you suggest, Bob, there is no easy way out, but we have to try to effect change when and where we can. If that means getting more active in the process, or some other way or ways, so be it. But we have to speak out and let our actions speak for us as well.

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    1. Not voting or becoming completely cynical are not answers. But, it is hard to not throw up our hands in frustration.

      Some day I'd like to see a grass roots citizens organization that pledged to not vote for any candidate of any party that uses negative and distorting advertising, refuses to spell out exactly what he or she would attempt to do if elected, and in any way betray our trust.

      Can we appoint you, Chuck, as our lead organizer?

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    2. Bob, I would be glad to. All your points are near and dear to my heart.

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  10. My thinking is much like yours. Because I don't like either candidate, I am basing my vote on something other than whether I like the candidate or not.

    It really doesn't matter who wins if congress continues to operate like they have. Obama did't have a chance to get his policies through because of the Republican senate. In fact, the health care plan that was approved was basically the Republican version passed by the Senate, not at all what the Democrats wanted. It was then passed by the House the way it was--as that was better than nothing.

    I want the health care plan, although it is very flawed and needs to be fixed. That will eventually happen. I do not want a voucher Medicare system--I believe that will be the end of Medicare for everyone, and even the ederly who at least now have Medicare, won't have insurance because the voucher won't be enough to cover their insurance or medical costs. I also don't want Social Security changed. If we could believe that everyone can manage their own accounts, we wouldn't need Social Security, but not everyone can manage their own account - just look at what happens with 401K plans. Without Social Security, many elderly people will be on the streets or moving in with their children. Those that vote against Social Security need to think about that one. How will they feel when their parents come home?

    My biggest concern is the gridlock in Congress. That is why it really doesn't matter who wins - in the current state, nothing will get done. The Democratic house will block anything Romney wants to do, and the Republican senate will block anything that Obama wants done, just as they have for the last four years. Consequently, I am voting a party ticket for the party that I believe will hurt the least, with the hope that for a brief period one party will be in control and the gridlock will stop.

    We need moderate fiscally responsible and socially liberal representatives that understand co-operation and compromise for the greater good. Unfortunately we don't have that today. The health care plan was the last thing passed that had any compromise from both sides of Congress. It did pass a Rebulican Congress before the Democratic House passed it.

    I have rambled enough. I don't listen to the debates, and am glad I live in a state that the electorate consideres a forgone conculsion, and consequently, we mostly only get local political BS ads, and not national ones.

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    1. Republicans rail against bigger government but want to give the Pentagon more money than it asked for while defunding social programs and refusing to increase revenues in a meaningful way, thus increasing the deficit. They scream about the upcoming fiscal cliff we face even though they put the bill together and passed it.

      Democrats believe all problems can be solved with more rules and oversight or spending more "fake" money.

      I agree that the buck really stops at Congress's doorstep. But, that is an issue for another post!

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  11. I am so appreciative that you wrote on this topic! I felt like an orphan, no label fit(did not really want to be either party).This post took on the "human" concern we all seem to have and it felt good....IMAGINE that speaking about politics and reading other people's views without hateful comments....Wow! I dream of a world where we get along and help each other I know I know not realistic sigh

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    1. If the national stage was as polite, well-spoken, and respectful as the BRITW (best readers in the world) have been on this subject, our future would look a lot brighter.

      It really is easy to express opinions and ideas without ranting or denigrating others. If we'd just accept that we are all human being, deserving of respect and being listened to, the rancor that fills our world would suddenly drop to a very manageable level.

      Thanks, Lita.

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  12. Democracy certainly is messy, isn't it. Thank goodness we live in a place and time where we won't be lined up against a wall and shot for stating our political opinions. I don't watch television so I have been spared much of the madness. My heart goes out to the poor inundated people in the "battleground" states. I have chosen the candidate and the party that most closely reflects my views and will vote. But it just isn't the be all and end all of my life that it seems to be among the chattering classes. There's more to life than politics! IMHO

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    1. "There is more to life than politics" is so true, but for the last year or so you'd never know it. Since I no longer get a newspaper and watch no TV except for an occasional football game, I have been spared most of the chatter, too. But, it is all over the Internet so I am still very much aware.

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  13. I enjoyed reading your post. The narrative of your voting record reflects that of my parents to a great extent, except they voted Republican during the Clinton years, have since switched and have not yet given up on Obama. I've always considered them Independents, though they would identify themselves as Democrats now (probably two of just a handful in my hometown).
    I don't feel that I have much of a choice since I'm gay and in a committed relationship. Last year our democratic mayor pushed through policy that extended medical benefits to the domestic partners of city employees. My partner works for the city & I'm self-employed; I can't adequately express our relief! I consider myself a left-leaning moderate and so would probably vote mostly Democrat anyway even if this issue were a non-issue (I wish), but I do feel for gay men and women who are conservative. Tough choice.
    And I agree with other comments -- so refreshing to read civil commentary on politics. When I find myself getting bothered by "the other side," I remind myself that it is entirely possible I am not in the right. Am I infallible? I make the best choice based on my principles and with what information I have, and I know that lots of people I love and respect make different choices the same way. I wish we could leave off demonizing each other.

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    1. I so love your attitude: you may be wrong and your not infallible. If others would accept those possibilities we would be so much better off.

      Until God decides to grant us total knowledge we should stop acting like we have all the answers. Many of us are still struggling with the questions!

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  14. Wonderful post. You give me courage-I have been considering commenting on the election. I normally don't do anything political per se and have been considering writing about being one of that 47 percent. That said, to Madeline, yes you can be fiscally conservative and liberal on social issues. In the olden days, we called those folks New England democrats (think Abraham Ribicoff if you are of an age). Unfortunately (and I will write about this at some time in the next week or so, further) I simply cannot get past the religious right's control of a single party and it's platform. The need to become involved in personal, private issues (while still calling for smaller government and government interference) continues to be a wall that I cannot cross.

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    1. I struggled for quite a while and wrote several different drafts of this post before I went ahead with it. Based on the responses I wish I hadn't waited quite so long.The ranters are a small part of the populous. Overall, we are a smart, caring society that is simply looking for our way through some tough times.

      I look forward to what you will write, Barb.

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  15. Bob, I can understand your reluctance to publish this post, but I'm gratified at the responses. Sounds like we're all thoughtful people who will make the decision on how to vote based on which candidate and party aligns more closely with our individual values.

    I am reminded that all these people in government are in there because of how we, the people, voted. That means we the people of all ages and financial situations and levels of intelligence and education. I do wish that all the advertising money currently being spent to sway the 5 or 7 or 9 percent of undecided voters in a handful of swing states could be used in a different way that would benefit us. Roads, say, or providing job training to returning veterans.

    In the meantime, I'll continue my efforts to be useful in my "circle of influence". I have a mediation scheduled for next Wednesday. Two never-married people with a child will be trying to put together a parenting plan that's in the best interest of the child. The mediators will be there to assist. Hopefully, when we walk out of the room, the parents will be good with the solution they've come up with, and the child will be the beneficiary. This mediation thing is something I found after retirement. It's a way for me to make a difference in my community. If we can all find our useful place in the scheme of things, that will be good. Maybe someone will be a grassroots organizer for a new political party!

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    1. Except for a handful of comments that were just a bit too partisan I feel blessed at the response. It is easier and safer to write about my dog or Tai Chi or having a satisfying retirement and that is my normal subject matter. But, occasionally, baring a bit more personal side of me feels necessary.


      Working at the local level to make our own community a more encouraging place to live is probably more reasonable approach because we can see the effects of our efforts.

      Mediation is a great service. Good for you.

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  16. Bob, this was a great post and discussion. As a Canadian watching from afar, I would feel much more confident about the American election if I believed that most Americans approached their civic duty in such a thoughtful manner. I myself have been elected to our provincial( that would be state in your case) Legislature through the partisan process and to my local school board through a non-partisan process. In short, I found the school board governance model much more personally satisfying as the 9 trustees simply approached each issue on it's merits, as we each perceived them, rather than the nasty partisan exercises in our Legislature.

    Thanks for the post and the blog which I follow with great interest as I now chart my own satisfying retirement.

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    1. Gerry,

      Thanks for your perspective from "afar." Actually I believe the majority of Americans do approach these elections with a sense of their importance. Unfortunately, like a lot of things in life the vocal minority gets the press and attention.

      Being thoughtful and polite doesn't make for good television, but does make blogging very enjoyable.

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  17. Hi Bob,

    Sounds like you are what we would call in Canada a "Red Tory". (Red & blue have the oposite meaning here in Canada versus the USA with a "red" politician being liberal.) Of course being a "Tory" in Canada doesn't have the traitorus meaning that it may have in the USA but rather just someone with conservative values (and likely supports the monarchy, which I suppose is why the traitorous meaning in the USA). See if the definintion of Red Tory below pulled from Wikipedia fits, sounds like it does.

    There isn't really any reference to "blue" Liberals in Canada though the concept exists as "fiscally conservative and socially liberal" and sometimes is called a small "L" Liberal.

    I think the issue is that the 2 major parties in the USA appear to have gravitiated to back and white with us or against us positions with very little middle ground, and the middle ground is where I think the soulutions usually are found. This leaves the electorate unsure what to do as they have to fall completely on one side or the other and possibly why many disengage with the process.

    I am not suggesting it's all that different in Canada though there may be a little more range in the available political positions.

    ***

    Historically, Canadian conservatism has been derived from the Tory tradition, with a distinctive concern for a balance between individual rights and collectivism, as mediated through a traditional pre-industrial standard of morality – which has never been as evident in American conservatism.

    Red Toryism derives largely from a High Tory and imperialist tradition that maintained the unequal division of wealth and political privilege among social classes can be justified, if members of the privileged class practiced noblesse oblige and contributed to the common good. Red Tories supported traditional institutions like religion and the monarchy, and maintenance of the social order. Later, this would manifest itself as support for some aspects of the welfare state. This belief in a common good, as expanded on in Colin Campbell and William Christian's Political Parties and Ideologies in Canada, is at the root of Red Toryism.

    From => http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Tory

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    1. What an excellent explanation, David, of a political system that I've never really understood. I always wondered about the "Tory" label since my interpretation would be a negative one based on our history.

      As you noted, our two parties have gravitateded to a black and white mindset that is not helpful in the art of compromise. Nor is it helpful for those of us with views that are a bit more nuanced, which I continue to hope is the majority.

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  18. Bob,

    Thanks for the honest and thoughtful post. No reasonable person could find a problem with it.

    I have an old college friend that serves in government in Scandinavia. They publicly fund elections there. He said he has never spent one second fund raising and feels that he can serve all of his constituents and consider every issue on its merits without regard to the position of any special interests. He also said that public funding allows many "ordinary citizens" with good ideas (like the readers of your blog) to run for office without the pressure of serving those who contributed to their campaigns. They have plumbers, housewives and bus drivers in their legislature. I am starting to think this idea might be a solution for our country. I am intrigued with the possibility that my thoughtful neighbor (an electrician) could end up as my senator! He would not have enough money to run under the current system.

    I also recently read that we could fund all federal and state elections in this country for 7 billion dollars. Sounds like a lot, but we currently spend 6.7 billion dollars EACH MONTH for the war in Afghanistan. I can only imagine the talented people that would come forward to serve in government if this idea came to fruition.

    Thanks for your thoughts,

    Rick in Oregon

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    1. I just read that this election will cost 1 billion dollars. That is absurd and speaks volumes about the influence that large money donors expect to have in whichever gentleman wins.

      The way we spend our resources and the acceptance we seem to have for the massive waste involved in our system has never made sense to me. But, that justs makes me crazy and it is too nice a Sunday to go there.

      Thanks, Rick, for the compliment and your thoughts.

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  19. Thanks so much for this post. It was very different from all others, but certainly within the realm of "A Satisfying Retirement". I was encouraged to read all the intelligent posts. No name calling negativity here. I find it so troubling that both sides consider compromise a dirty word, and the mean spiritness on both sides. So sad and troubling. But, I'm still headed out to vote!

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    1. An unnamed candidate for the Senate has said his idea of bipartisanship is when everyone from the other party joins his. He has also said his goal is to inflict his opinion on everyone else.

      It is scary how close to the mindset of the leaders in certain Mid East countries that attitude is. Apparently he has missed the various classes in how democracy works. Unfortunately for us and our country his attitude is rather prevalent.

      When one group of people is so convinced they have all the correct answers and everyone else must bend to their will I start looking for the exit.

      Labeling others who disagree with you is not how we will solve our problems. We solve them with intelligent, thoughtful discussion that leaves open the possibility that your opinion might very well be wrong.

      Thanks, Susan. Let's hope for the best.

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