Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Today is election day in several states.  While the race in NJ doesn’t seem to be that big of a competition with Chris Christie holding a pretty large lead over Barbara Buono in pre-election polls, things in VA are quite different.

It may not be an extremely close race in my home state with the majority of people leaning toward Terry McAuliffe (D) but its close enough that either candidate from the Big Two could win depending on voter turnout.  The red candidate, Ken Cuccinelli (R), running as a Tea-Party supporter, is trailing enough that unless his supporters surprise everybody at the polls, he’s unlikely to win.

While I haven’t been of voting age but a few years now, I have to say this was an awful campaign from both parties.  There were almost no ads that didn’t attack the other candidate.  Very few ads featured a candidate talking about where they stand on the issues facing us right now.  Judging by where Libertarian Robert Sarvis stood in the pre-election polls, it would seem Virginians are not happy with either of our red and blue choices.

Robert Sarvis is on the ballots today as a Libertarian.  There are many out there who claim he’s not a Libertarian at all or he’s just a dressed up blue guy trying to steal votes away from The Cooch (Cuccinelli).  Regardless, Sarvis has gathered quite a bit of support with his very limited resources.  Polls were showing Sarvis having between 5 and 10 percent of the vote before election day.

I’m not a fool.  I know that Robert Sarvis has no chance of winning the election.  I’m pretty sure he knows it too.  But the fact that there is a large group of Sarvis-supporters out there show that people might be getting sick of the polarized political system we have right now.  I’m one of those people.  I voted for Sarvis.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t vote for him simply to show the other candidates that I dislike them tremendously.  I also felt like he best represented where I stand personally on political issues.  And after all, isn’t that the point of our “democracy”?  To vote for people who can represent you the best way possible?  It’s not the “vote for the lesser of two evils” system that so many people seem to think it is.  If you don’t like Candidate A or B, don’t vote for him.  Unfortunately we don’t always get an option for a Candidate C.

A lot of people blame 3rd parties in elections if their guy didn’t win.  “McCain only lost because of Gary Johnson!”  When The Cooch loses today, Republicans will blame Sarvis and say: “If all of those people had voted for Cuccinelli, he’d have won hands down!”  Well, speaking for myself, I would not have voted at all today if Sarvis hadn’t been in the race.  I just don’t think I want either of those guys to be His Excellency.

It’s also my opinion that if Sarvis had been allowed to debate with the other guys, he’d have had an even bigger following, from both the red side as well as the blue side.  Its about time that we, as Americans, get over this notion that we have to label ourselves as Republicans or Democrats, or anything at all.  We’re Americans, first and foremost.  Vote for the candidate who is best for the country, not the guy waving the same flag as you.

We’re a country, not a gang . . .

But no matter where you stand on the political spectrum or the issue of polarization in America, GO VOTE!  Get out there and show your support for whoever you choose.  Its your right to do so, so go do so.

**  UPDATE – 11/6/2013  **

As I predicted, The Cooch lost.  The blue guy won.  I was also correct in my other prediction, that people would blame Sarvis.  He received 7% of the vote which was more than enough to have elected Cuccinelli had they ALL voted for him.  Have a look at some of the comments I found in just one article about the election:

“The only reason Cuccinelli lost was because software billionaire Joe Liemandt, who just happens to be a top bundler for President Barack Obama, helped pay for professional petition circulators responsible for getting Virginia Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Robert C. Sarvis on the ballot.” – Yiddishlion

“Proof positive that an independent vote in a regular election is a wasted vote.” – Armand

“What I learned is that the Dems will support party to the death while Republicans would gladly see the demise of their party in order to jump ship and vote for a Libertarian. Cucinelli got Perot’d” – Al

“McAulife barely won only because the Dems paid for and ran a libertarian candidate that took 7% away from Cuccinelli. What it shows me is that the Tea Party remains strong and will do very well in 2014.” – NickV

“Once again a third party candidate with an ego too big for the room refuses to step aside in the last two weeks of an election, which allowed the candidate that he is in least agreement with win the election.” – I don’t think so

But then I found someone who seemed to feel as I do.  Someone who came to the same conclusion as I did when Sarvis earned that 7%:

“What it tells us is that extreme left and right politicians WON’T be tolerated.  All you elected officials need to get over your party ideology and work for US, the American people.  We are bigger than just left/right, black/white, rich/poor issues.” – Eric

I don’t know what else to say.  I’m only 23, so I know there are a lot of people out there who will discredit everything I say because I lack experience and that’s fine.  But you can’t tell me that you like the current state of affairs in this country.  You can’t tell me the system we have is working.

Then again, I guess that’s what 93% of Virginians did yesterday when they voted Red and Blue . . . so enjoy it.  Enjoy the never ending back and forth bickering.  Enjoy all the lies and deceit.  We’ve all earned it and its here to stay.

I just wanted to take a minute or two and express my opinions on the crisis we’re facing right now.  Do we strike Syria for using chemical weapons against their own people?  Or do we sit back and let whatever happens happen?

Because we are often seen as leaders of the free world, it is partly our responsibility to stand up for injustice around the globe.  If we fail to act when something like this occurs, our enemies will take that as weakness and our supporters may very well lose faith.

That said, can we really justify repeating what happened with Iraq and Afghanistan?  I know Obama has been quoted saying a strike on Syria would be nothing like those two conflicts, but how can anyone know that?  Once the dust settles after whatever “strike” we use, how do we know what their reaction will be?  How do we know this wont become like those?  We can’t predict how the Syrian government will respond to an attack on their soil.  Nor can we predict how the rebels will respond.

I am not advocating that we sit back and do nothing.  However, I’m not calling for a strike either.  I, just like most of the american public, don’t have all the information that our leaders in Washington have.  I am trusting that they will make the right decision, as silly as that sounds.  We elected them and they’re going to do what they think is best (based on whatever morals or motivation they have) even if we aren’t behind them 100%.

I’ve emailed my representatives and voiced my concerns about military intervention in Syria; that’s all I can do.  I want to see our military take action but only enough action to ensure that chemical weapons will not be used on innocent people again in the future.  I do not want our military getting actively involved in the Syrian civil war any more than they already have.  This is their fight and while we may have a vested interest in the outcome, so do other leading nations around the world.

In the next few weeks I’m sure more details about the planned action will come out.  Maybe then we will have more definitive evidence of what has happened and where our allies stand.  I just hope that everyone involved takes great care in their decision making.

I am all for protecting the lives of innocent people around the world, but its time we stop trying to decide who should be in charge of every country around the world.  Sure, I would love to see a world where every nation out there supports us and our actions, but that’s not a reality that will ever exist.  The more we meddle in middle eastern affairs, the more we put ourselves in harms way.

Remember, the politicians make the choices but its our soldiers who have to carry out the plans.  Everyone wants to tell their NFL team coaches what they think they should do, but how many of those armchair quarterbacks have been there?  How many have experienced what its like to play out the decisions that others have made for you, especially when its your life that they’re gambling with?

That’s how I feel.  Let me know what you think in the comments below.  Let me know if you agree, or call me a freedom hating commie if you want, it really doesn’t matter to me.  This is how I feel and I just felt I needed to get my opinion out there, as I feel every citizen should do.  Congress is supposed to represent the people and if they don’t hear our voices, how can they represent us? (This is in no way saying they do accurately represent what the people want – that’s an entirely different discussion that doesn’t belong here)

I’ve been called a liberal several times on this blog and it finally hit a nerve somewhere inside me.  I’m not a right wing extremist, offended by being called such a name, but I’ve also never considered myself a liberal at all.  So I decided to do a post proclaiming my opinions on the big issues that our country has to deal with all the time.

Maybe my readers can label me so I know which arguments I’m “supposed” to fight for . . . you know, since we all think exactly like one group or the other.

Guns:  I’m sure this is a no-brainer.  I support the right to own firearms.  Period.  This right should never be infringed.

Government Control:  I’m in favor of less government control and regulation.  We’re the land of the free, but we’re not really free to make decisions anymore; the government makes them for us.

Abortion:  I support a woman’s right to choose.  I think every woman has the right to an abortion provided by a professional medical staff.  I don’t think it should be paid for by taxpayers or any government aid, and I don’t think it should be allowed after significant development has taken place.

Immigration:  I support stronger border control.  I am not opposed to immigrants flocking to our great nation, I just think they need to do it the right way.

Gay Marriage:  I see no problem with allowing homosexuals get married.  Regardless of your stance on whether or not being gay is a choice, I think they should be allowed to marry.

Healthcare:  I don’t think we need a government funded healthcare system.  Not only does that strain the country with more financial burdens, requiring that everyone be insured is just one more way the government is removing our freedom to choose for ourselves.

Military:  I support our military and our troops.  I always have.  I don’t always agree with decisions made by those sitting behind the desks, but our troops are fighting, and some dying, in support of this great nation.

Foreign Policy:  We don’t need to police the world.  I think we need to become less involved in the United Nations and stop letting their policies influence ours at home.  That said, we need to maintain a strong nation both militarily and diplomatically to ensure we remain a top contender in world power.  Being a top contender allows us to receive far better trade deals and helps ensure a strong economy.

I also feel like we should stop sending so much money overseas.  I like that my country is so kind-hearted that we want to help everyone, but we have people in need of help right here in our own country.  Lets take care of our own first and foremost.

Stem Cell Research:  I feel strongly that this is the area of science that will lead to cures for many diseases which are currently incurable.  Stem cell research (not all of it is embryonic) has great potential in the medical field and should be fully explored.

Religion:  I do not practice any form of religion, though I do not consider myself “atheist”.  I don’t worship God or any other supreme being, but I don’t chastise those who do.  I am close to people who are very religious and I always honor their time of prayer and silence the same way they do.  I am also not against the idea that there may very well be a god or gods, I just choose not to worship any.

Welfare:  I support drug testing for anyone on welfare or financial aid.  I get tested at my job where I work for my money.  Those on welfare don’t have to go through such restrictions and are able to receive money without working.  I’m also against people having more children just so they can receive more financial aid (yes, it happens a lot).  That is not fair to anyone, especially the children.

Drugs:  I think Marijuana should be legalized and taxed.  It impairs users no more than alcohol; alcohol is legal in every state.  In addition, legalizing it would reduce the extra strain on our justice system and could provide much needed revenue.  I think smoking should not be regulated on private properties.  Businesses and individuals should be allowed to choose whether or not people can smoke on their property.  *As a side note here, I do not participate in any of these activities and actually despise them, but I still think others should be allowed to do them without irrational restrictions.

**************************************************

I consider myself an individual, capable of forming my own opinions.  However, as a citizen of the United States Political Machine, I’ve been trained to think of myself only as red or blue.  Left or right.  Conservative or Liberal.  Democrat or Republican.  We can’t have our own thoughts and ideas unless we stick to some variation of what our party believes.

So, what am I?  You tell me.

**  This post is not intended to incite a debate or anger, though I know it will.  I will listen to everyone’s comments but I do not intend to respond.  These are my beliefs and I don’t feel like trying to defend against attacks from internet trolls.  I accept that we all have different opinions and I understand they are just that, opinions.  And I hope that you, the reader, understand that this is a blog.  I am in no way a professional anything and I do not claim to be.  I just want everyone to understand you don’t have to define yourself as a member of one party or the other.  Be yourself and support ideas you believe in and not just those your party supports.  **

With recent hype for gun control, I’ve been kinda down.  Kinda worried about the future of gun ownership.  Worried about the future of our freedoms.  And it doesn’t help that Virginia’s senators are democrats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I decided to be proactive and write to them.  Well, today Senator Mark Warner (or maybe one of his assistants, I mean you never really know) responded to me.  Unfortunately since I wrote to Warner through the Senate’s website I don’t have my original message to include.

In it I basically just asked him to carefully consider any new legislation on gun control after what happened in Newtown before he acts.  I assured him that most Virginians own guns and since he is there to represent the people, he should avoid restricting our constitutional rights if at all possible.  Below is his response in it’s entirety:

“Dear Mr. Kennedy,

Thank you for contacting me to share your thoughts on the tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut and your views on gun control.

On December 14, 2012,  20 innocent children and six adults lost their lives in one of the worst, most tragic shootings to ever occur in the United States. As a parent of three daughters, this was the ultimate nightmare. Like the  Virginia Tech and Columbine shootings, t his tragedy unfolded in what was once regarded as a safe haven free of crime and violence: a school.

I am a strong supporter of  the Second Amendment constitutional right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms . I own firearms and I have an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association. However, I also recognize that, like with many of our constitutional rights, our Second Amendment rights are not without limits. It is unfortunate that a tragedy of this magnitude is what is needed to prompt action, but we need to have a serious discussion on how to best avoid these kinds of mass shootings in the future. The status quo is not acceptable.

I believe our discus sion should cover many issues.  We can start by improving the existing criminal background check system. Currently, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is woefully incomplete, with many states failing to submit available records on persons who may be disqualified from purchasing or possessing firearms. With a more complete background check system, we can keep firearms out of the hands of those who have been deemed unfit to possess them.

In addition, we can take common sense measures such as passing the CAMPUS Safety Act (S. 3682), which I introduced last year. That bill would establish a national center for campus public safety within the Department of Justice to serve as a resource center and assist schools and universities in developing campus safety plans and threat assessment tools. We also need to look at changes to our mental health system so we can provide help to those with dangerous mental illnesses before it is too late.  There will not be a single solution, but all of these issues and others need to be part of the conversation and I urge you to continue to express your views as we move forward.

Again, thank you for contacting me. For further information or to sign up for my newsletter please visit my website at  http://warner.senate.gov .

Sincerely,
MARK R. WARNER
United States Senator”

It sounds like a pretty generic response that he’s probably sending to anyone who inquires about his stance on gun control, but it does shed at least some light on where he claims to stand.  And it’s reassuring to know that the NRA gave him an A as well (I double checked this after reading his email).  Unfortunately Tim Kaine was given an F.

Just before Christmas the NY Times website updated their interactive NRA rating chart and I suggest you head over and give it a look if you’re unsure of where your representatives stand.  Keep in mind this is from data provided before the Newtown shooting.

So, where do your senators stand?  Have their positions shifted in recent weeks?