Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Ah, democracy...

I just voted. For the first time in years, I was alone, no kids to keep quiet and out of the way while I contemplated my ballot. There were only two races and one issue that I hadn't heard about or researched, so I had to consider those a little more than the others, but I was startlingly well prepared for this election. And I voted with my kids in mind this time, especially with the presidential choices.
I have a political prediction: Obama will win, and my kids will have a heck of a mess to clean up.
I remember being in 5th or 6th grade and asking my father what the difference was between Republicans and Democrats. Subtle man that he always was with me, he told me that Democrats were the closest thing to Communist that were allowed in this country.
This race has made me think more about what he said than I ever have before.
While I certainly don't think Democrats are Communist or even really have communist tendencies, I wonder about the strange Socialist-sounding phrases that are bouncing around the airwaves this campaign. "Spread the wealth." Really?
I'm certainly no genius when it comes to this stuff, but let's see if I have this right: A capitalist or market-based economy in a democratic (small d) nation provides me the means to be a millionaire if I choose to and work hard and smart enough. That economy and political structure allows us all to be millionaires if we are doing the right things and making the right choices, COMPLETELY INDEPENDENT of our birth situation, our health, our skin color, or anything else that defines us as a unique individual.
I didn't choose to be born in Nebraska to the parents I have, I didn't choose their economic standing, and I didn't choose the towns or houses I lived in growing up. My husband didn't choose his birthplace, parents, or the situations he grew up in. My kids aren't making those choices about their young lives, either.
We own a decent house and a nice plot of land, my husband works very hard at an awesome job that enables me to stay home with our kids and we don't have to worry about groceries or health care, we have 3+ well-running vehicles, I have a college education to help me through the volunteer organizations I'm privileged to be a part of, and that education will also provide me with job opportunities once my children are all in school full time. We have a savings account and retirement accounts, and we both have life insurance. My kids participate in lots of activities, and they have lots of wonderful things to entertain and educate them.
All these good things are the results of choices my husband and I made AS ADULTS. These things are ours, earned with hard work and good choices. I feel good about these things.
I'm not unsympathetic, I do care about my fellow human beings. I give at church, and I support food and clothing drives, I give when asked to help out a friend or family who's had something unexpected happen. It's my choice to give, and I hope I'm setting an example for my kids about giving and caring.
But here's where I think my kids are not going to be able to live out my example. Obama speaks to and is heard by and adored by an alarmingly large group of people in this country who, for whatever reason, believe that the governments in our country at all levels should provide them with the same things that my husband and I have just because. Because they are disabled, because they were injured at work, because they grew up in a dysfunctional household, because they grew up in an orphanage, whatever.
We have a family friend who has not had an easy life. She has a child and is dependent on state aid for food, basic household supplies, rent, healthcare and childcare. Her child has medical problems, and she herself has medical problems. She only works a few hours a week, because if she worked more she'd lose her state benefits. I would like to help her, but she really doesn't need anything: she gets more money from the state for groceries than I spend in a month. Her paycheck goes toward her clothes and cell phone bill every month, because she really doesn't need it for anything else, she simply likes the time she can spend away from her child. Recently she told me she thinks she might be pregnant again, but her new boyfriend may not be the father.
She's not the least bit embarrassed about all the state aid she gets every month. Not embarrassed at all about her living situation, the haphazard way she raises her child (soon to be children), and has absolutely no shame at all about being totally dependent on government workers for her existence. In fact, she complains about them, saying they are not nice to her when she goes in to get her vouchers. I asked her once if she didn't want to try for a better situation, try to change things so she could get off state aid and have a better life. Her only answer was that she didn't think she had any choices. Her mom was a drunk, and abusive, so she didn't have a chance to learn in school, wasn't going to be able to go to college now because of the kids, and anyway, why bother? She was doing just as well as me, and didn't have to go through all that work stuff to get there.
She's voting for Obama.
He's catering to this 'entitlement' generation, these people who really think that the government should step in and help everyone get what their neighbor has because they don't have it and they want it. Where does that leave my family?
Here's my prediction: I can see the spiral from here. Under Obama's programs, very wealthy people and businesses will start paying huge amounts of taxes, so they will stop contributing to social causes, and those organizations will begin to depend on middle-income folks for contributions but we won't be able to contribute because we have to make a choice: church and local organizations, or the big national ones, and we'll choose local for a while. But because these big companies are paying so much in taxes, they'll have to raise prices on their products and services, which means we'll be paying more for all the things we need everyday, so then we'll stop contributing to our local service organizations completely so that we can afford the necessities. Those organizations will then apply to the government for help, or just fold. Meanwhile, people who are getting so much government assistance they don't need to work will be desparate for things to do, and the rates of things like teen pregnancy, crime, and drug use will rise. Colleges nationwide will start to close because fewer people will see college as a need, and then there will be even more people unemployed and looking for goverenment handouts. My kids are going to see the death of our market-based economy, because the people who want more government handouts are going to squash it.
Maybe it won't be that bad. Like I said, I'm not exactly qualified to make these kind of predictions, but I do understand what my dad was talking about. I personally want the government to stay where it belongs - in regulation, not regurgitation.


Heather said...

Nice Post! I am a bit depressed after tonight. I knew how it would turn out, but I just kept hoping beyond hope.

I could not listen to his acceptance speech! I listoned to McKain's and I had tears coming out of my eyes even though I knew he had no chance of winning.

Obama scares me! He truly does! The fact that he now has a Democratic congress to help him get the things he wants done scars me even more!

I am not qualified either, but my husband is very politically qualified, and knowlegeable, and the things he tells me just plain scare me!

Found your blog thru a couple of nice comments you left on my cards today!

Congrats on getting your cards done. I am getting so many cards built up now trying to do the challenges daily or at least several times a week, and having a blog has helped because I hate to miss a day of posting!

Thanks for letting me babble on!


Susan Raihala said...

Thanks for a thought-provoking analysis! Your comments on entitlement are particular interesting and gel with my own experiences.

While the election didn't turn out the way I wanted, I'm not really scared. I was married to the military for 20 years, and nothing, absolutely nothing, the government does happens quickly or without being watered down in committee. And since everything is done by committee, very little gets done, which, depending on how you look at it, is a good thing. It's one thing to TALK about change (whether you're Obama or McCain, actually), and quite another to make it happen. I think--and I'm no expert, either, LOL!--we survived Clinton, we'll survive Obama, and I may be engaging in wishful thinking, but I think that Obama will turn out to be much more moderate than his campaign indicated. And the pendulum will swing back conservative eventually.

Does my adding my 2 cents help?

Johnny R. said...

Geez...um...uhhh....Well, I'm still glad you are my sister and I hope you are glad you are my brother.

Love, John

Rebecca said...

Natalie, I'm Nora's sister and we live in Missouri too. I, like you, am deeply worried. Go to Obama's site change.gov, where you might just become alittle more frightened. Palin/Jindal in 2012. Is how I cope with this loss, well along with the court case turn out. November the 17th, I believe it is, could trun things around. There is a man who is suing Obama to get his original birth certificate released. So who knows, if Obama isn't a citizen of the US he can't become our president. Or can he? Obama, after 21 months in the public eye, is still a mystery to us, but yet in only 2 months the Mainstream media was able to do more research on Palin. And they (MSM) want to talk about Palin's clothes, well HELLO Michelle Obama could afford her own clothes. After all she received a 200,000.00 pay raise from her job at the hospital. Well that was after her husband took care of the hospital in a political way. Martin Luther King Jr. stated "you don't judge a man by the color of his skin but by the content of his character". I would have voted for a black man or a black woman. It's the qualifications and the character of the person, which I look at when making my decisions on whom I want leading my country. Obama has many flaws in his character. Go to the web site dontvoteforobama.com and read on this man. Obama is not who we need as our president.