Friday, August 20, 2010

Voting against your own best interest

Voting against your own best interest:

If you are conservative by nature, whether it’s financially, or socially, you probably vote Republican, or at least right leaning independents. Let’s take a look at why that is probably against your own best interest. Let’s start with the social policies of the right. Same sex marriage, abortion, gun laws, religion etc… are often used as rallying cries from the right, in order to bring out voters that are afraid of losing ground on these issues. But let’s look at the voting records, and or policy introduction by the left. There have been no serious laws introduced to ban guns, or increase abortion availability. These are in fact personal choices made by individuals based upon their own beliefs. If you don’t believe in abortions, don’t have one. If you want to own a gun, go buy one. Although I personally believe that there should be tighter restrictions and better regulations as to the type of gun you may own, there has been no major legislation introduced for consideration in banning or reducing guns across America. Local laws have actually relaxed in some areas such as TX residents now being able to carry guns in to bars, and the lift on the ban altogether in Chicago.
The Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms. That leaves a wide area open to interpretation. At the time of the authoring of the document, there were no rifles, much less automatic weapons. The musket was the weapon of choice for that day and with the militias needing to be ready at a moment’s notice to attack or defend, this was a necessity. Today we have the military, National Guard, police and other means of protection. The argument has been made from the right that we as a people should be able to rise up against the federal government if it gets too much power. That was great in the late 1700’s. That situation couldn’t occur today as far as us taking back the government. The military is too strong and would squash any uprising in the US. The US military is so strong, due in large part to the increase in technology and manpower since the mid 1900’s on. This brings me to my first point of voting against your own best interest. If you want smaller government, increasing the military is the single fastest way to grow it. That is in direct contradiction of what the rights stance is.
Freedom of religion, or to not believe in religion at all is guaranteed by the Constitution. No one disputes that. However at this very moment, people associated with right wing fringe groups such as the Tea Party, are trying to deny Muslims the right to pray in a location that they own, are building and will keep up with through the years. The primary argument is that because of its proximity to ground zero, it would be considered a slap in the face to those that died. The right wants to prevent US citizens from praying in a private location. That is unconstitutional. Muslims have that right. That would be the same thing as banning a church near ground zero if the church that protests funerals with “God hates Fags” signs were to have flown the planes in to the towers. As soon as we start limiting where people of one faith may practice, then we are essentially setting the precedence of blocking all religions in the years to come. I’m not a person of faith but I will fight for the rights of anyone to practice as they believe as long as no laws are being broken. If you do not agree with this argument, then you are arguing against the Constitution. Now to my second point as to why you would be voting against your own interest if you voted primarily on this issue. You will be enabling the government to dictate how US citizens can exercise their beliefs. That is in direct contradiction of what the rights’ stance is.
Same sex marriage. Where do I start? Two people loving each other has generated so much hate in this country. How’s that for irony? There used to be laws in this country forbidding people from marrying outside of their ethnicity. There used to be segregation. There used to be tolerated lynching’s. Why is it acceptable to essentially demand that same treatment towards another minority segment of the population? If you want government out of your personal life, then you would be voting against your own best interest.
Now that I’ve addressed these social issues, let’s talk about why your opinion on them doesn’t matter. If you vote to the right in order to support these policies, you have to know that the left isn’t trying to increase bans on guns or abortions, and the right can’t decrease because of their platform. It’s a moot point. In order to overturn Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court would have to rule against its earlier rulings. That is rarely done. Even though none of the current justices were on the bench when that ruling came down, it’s still very unlikely that they will overturn that ruling. Once again a moot point. The only other way for abortion to become illegal is for 2/3 of both the House and Senate to pass an amendment to the Constitution, followed by the POTUS signature.
Now let’s talk about fiscally conservative voters. Here’s why you would be voting against your own best interest. The right has claimed for over thirty years now to be the party of taxing less, less spending, and growing the military. In the last thirty years, taxes for the middle class increased under Reagan, and G.H.W. Bush. Clinton lowered them. G.W. Bush reduced slightly further than Clinton for the middle class, but he proportionately lowered them for the uber wealthy. Under Obama’s tax rates, the middle class will actually pay even less. The proof is in your paycheck. You are taking home more now than you were 18 months ago. It’s that simple. If the Bush tax breaks were to be extended, your taxes will actually go up from what they are now. If paying higher income taxes is your primary factor in voting, you are voting against your own best interest.
If you want less spending overall, Reagan and both Bush’s increased spending more than any other Presidents in the last 100 years save for FDR but that had WWII to thank for that. I doubt any would argue that we did the wrong thing there. Reagan increased the US military to the point that it could conquer the world in a traditional style of fighting, as well as the nuclear arsenal. The problem is that not only have the other major super powers gone away with the collapse of most of the worlds communist countries, but that there are very few places on this planet where the US would fight a traditional war. Most conflicts are solved with small special teams or quick strike weapons such as the Tomahawk missile. There is no longer a need to keep so many personnel in the military today. We as a country could cut our spending in half on the military and still have the most effective military in the world for homeland defense. The US has the best strategic location in the world for defense. Canada wouldn’t and if it wanted to, couldn’t inflict much damage to us. Mexico, well I think we all know the state of that country. We have two huge oceans on either side of us. There can’t be an invasion of US soil without us knowing about the movement of thousands of ships coming out way. There is no other Air Force that could carry enough personnel to effectively take over the US. Even there were that threat, planes are still slow and would give us ample time to scramble interceptors and bring them down.
Now let’s say that the military is your determining factor in how you vote. Let’s look at this from the service member’s point of view. Reagan had the highest percentage pay increase for service members. He brought the military out of the dark ages as far as wages go. I’ll give him credit for that. Behind him are Clinton, and then Obama. They are followed by Bush I and then with the worst percentage, Bush II. The VA and the benefits you received were also cut, during a time of war no less under Bush II. All resources were going towards active duty personnel. Obama has increased the VA benefits. You are now allowed to use your GI bill for your kids or spouse if you served in war. You would be voting against your own best interest if went with the right.
Next on the list is the deficit. Reagan doubled the national debt in his time in office. Bush I increased it as well following the same policies as Reagan, although it wasn’t as high due to the single term in office. Clinton actually balanced the budget, and started to pay down the national debt. Bush II saw the surplus as a way to reduce taxes and claimed that we were paying too much. He stated that he wanted to give the money back to us in his first SOTU address. He didn’t really decrease the middle class taxes that much. Nothing to really notice anyway. The one tactic he used with great effectiveness was the tax rebates that most of us received were in fact nothing more than an advance on the return we would be receiving the following year anyway. If you were going to get a $1000 back, you would now only get $600 back. It was a slight of hand maneuver and people fell for it. The greatest tax breaks were given to the wealthy. Under Bush II, the national debt nearly tripled. Obama has also increased the national debt, primarily with the stimulus package that was necessary because of the lack of regulations that were put in place by the right that caused the meltdown in the first place. He is actively trying to find ways to getting closer to balancing the budget in the future. The right tried to block the extension of unemployment payments to those out of work. The argument was that it would increase the national debt even though it would only be about 1% increase the national debt. Yet they want to vote for the extension of tax breaks for the wealthy. That will add 700+ billion to the deficit over the next 10 years. Clearly they are more concerned about the wealthy, than they are about middle class citizens and the working poor. Now that you know about the national debt and who created the majority of it, as well as the lack of balanced budgets, you would be voting against your own best interest if this is in fact the determining factor in your voting.
Let’s talk about regulation. The right is all about a free market and will go to great lengths to ensure that government doesn’t interfere at all. The problem is that greed takes hold. Whether it’s a business, or an individual, greed dictates how you do business. If the environment is affected because of lack of regulation, the right won’t act on it. They will vote against anything that hinders profit. Politicians on the right are the recipients of much larger donations from big corporations in general than those on the left are. I’m generalizing of course. But ask yourself this. Why does the right always vote the way that keeps money in the pockets of the fat cats, rather than taking care of the individual citizen? Time and time again this is true. They fought against seat belt laws because it would increase the cost of making cars. They fought smoking restrictions because it meant less cigarettes being smoked. They have fought against getting everyone healthcare with a single payer option because it forces private insurance companies to lower their rates and cutting in to their bottom line. Essentially, even if the law is put in place to increase overall health, decrease preventable disease, or decrease you chance of being killed, they vote against it. The environment, in my opinion, is the single greatest issue to discuss. Without a clean environment, nothing else matters. You won’t care about your job of most of humanity has died off. You won’t care about you taxes if there is no government in place anymore. You won’t care about abortion as we as a race would need to repopulate the world if it ever recovers.
It’s clear to me that while the right promotes less government, they increase it. They want a reduction in the national debt, yet contribute to it more than the left. Claim to be the party of inclusion yet the Republican Party is almost entirely white. The Democratic Party is a true cross section of America. If your view of America doesn’t not include everyone, then you may want to rethink what your party stands for. Debate is a good thing. We should be able to talk about what’s right, fair or simply what should or shouldn’t be allowed. Voting against any bill that is introduced, even if you wrote it yourself, is how the right is dismantling this country. The public is very concerned that Congress isn’t getting anything done. If we barely have the votes needed if every Democrat voted for the bill, that’s not a lot of room for error. If you vote even a handful of Democrats out of office, you have given the right a tool to completely stop the government. If you claim to want less government, than vote for the party that has a track record of bring down costs and increasing surpluses. If the social issues are your primary concern, live your life according to your beliefs. Having the government tell people what they can and can’t do in their own private lives in contradictory to what the right claims to represent. You would be voting against your own best interest.

-Chuck Sherwood Sgt. USMC 1995-2006

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York, Pennsylvania, United States
I am a very creative person with years of experience in many different creative fields. I am a published writer writing for political blogs as well as product reviews. I have also worked in the Digital Audio/Video special effects business too.

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