The 2008 Presidential election sample essay
The 2008 Presidential election will soon be upon us as many states have moved their primaries closer to the present day. It therefore would behoove every individual, no matter how apathetic they think that they are about the political process, to identify it and where they lay within the political spectrum. It is a source of great contention for all responsible citizens, when others dismiss our political process and then later complain when they have done nothing to change the status quo and do not even know the names of the candidates. This could have identified myself a few years ago. I took a greater interest in the history of politics than what was happening to my country in the present day.
I then became aware of politics and therefore, needed to know where I stood and why.. This does not always hold true and there are certainly exceptions. However, the fact that Republicans base their beliefs on their faith and Democrats base their beliefs upon the Constitution first and perhaps their faith as well, such issues as abortion, gay marriage, stem cell research and the break down of the American family, all have compelled me to place one foot deep in the Republican Party and the other foot outside of both parties in the event that the Republican Party forgets the faith of the people that they represent as did the Democratic Party during the 1960’s and 1970’s. I consider myself a Kennedy Republican: strong moral and religious faith, unashamed of the greatness of this country, compelled to improve conditions for minorities as well as the poor, but always pushing self responsibility, self control and fiscal conservatism
One of the earliest and most powerful factors in a variety of aspects within my life, has been my family. It is ironic that the person who I learned the most from, now votes differently than I do. My father is a member of his union at work so he is compelled to vote for the Democratic Party. He does however disagrees with their stances on various social issues. The rest of my family agree with me and usually vote as I do. I come from a nuclear family and as a result, certain experiences are seen as an enigma rather than what was once the norm. My childhood was far from perfect. However, at the end of the day, I knew that my parents would always be there to meet my needs as well as a few of my wants.
This did not happen by chance but through hard work and preparation. My parents were married when they were young but did not have children until seven years into their marriage. The reasons for this are two fold: First, they didn’t have the money to raise a family and second, they first wanted a stable marriage in which to bring a child into the world. As a result, I was afforded a few more opportunities and benefited directly from my parents’ responsibility.
That is one reason why I am a strong believer in personal responsibility. If a person commits a crime, it is his fault alone for committing that particular infraction. That is why I am against an unfettered welfare system in which positive reinforcement is given for negative behavior. This does exclude those who are truly down on their luck and despite their best efforts, cannot find gainful employment. This does not mean however, that an individual with no job, no education and no significant other who would be there to share the financial and emotional burdens that come from having a child, should continue to receive an escalated rate of payment from the government, because that person chose to have yet another child that they cannot support.
The child should not be punished for the irresponsible behavior of his or her parent but the parent should not be rewarded as well. Unfettered welfare irks me to no end. My father worked two jobs in order to support his family. My mother is obese and is in ill health but still works 50-60 hours a week. Rather than apply for disability benefits which she would surely receive, she cannot consent to accept payments from the government for services that were never rendered. My father is a painter in the summer and a school teacher the rest of the year. One summer day, he was painting outside and lost his balance. He fell and fractured his ribs on an air conditioner unit. He was back to work in two days with a bandage on his abdomen. As a family, we were never poor and he could have afforded to stay home for another week but if he could work, he did and continued to do so, six days a week, fifty two weeks out of the year.
As a result, I am firmly against continuing government sanctioned positive reinforcement toward negative behavior in the form of unfettered welfare payments. The current welfare system was started under President Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty” (Schlesinger, 1965 pg. 761) where it was assumed that people would fight and claw their way back to become self sufficient but just needed a helping hand in the process. It could not be fathomed then, as it is still hard to comprehend today, that people would submit to receiving welfare payments for decades and would even have more children out of the motivation of receiving a larger government check. I feel that it is the responsibility of the parent, more than society and surely more than the government, to raise and support that child.
I also believe that if the government is going to help and give aid to those families who are temporarily suffering from hard times that should be afforded to them while encouraging that individual to find another job as soon as possible. The government does not exist to serve as a babysitter for the American people. This is not what the rights expressed in the Constitution states and it contrary to the American work ethic which helped to give America the influence that it is long enjoyed. Hard work, responsibility and self control, I learned from my parents.
As a result, I find it hard to prescribe to modern Democratic thought that seeks to protect abortion when parental responsibility would have avoided such issues, unfettered welfare while the individual is able to work and universal health care when it is the responsibility of the parent to pay for the bills of their own children.
The second great factor that influences me is my religious faith. More and more people are identifying themselves as atheists. The Republican Party has shown that they have little room for them.. Therefore, they go, sometimes by default, to the Democratic Party and affect the political party that used to stand for Christian values. It has become a sad reality but one cannot hope to gain the Democratic nomination for President unless he or she is pro choice and pro gay marriage to some degree.
Also, many Democratic are for stem cell research in which the human embryo is destroyed in the process. The Republicans do not have a monopoly on what is right and moral.. However, the terms: ‘The religious right” and the “secular left” are becoming more and more accurate, although there are many exceptions. As a result, as long as such issues remain so destructive to the American moral fiber of this country, mistakes that the Republicans make, including many aspects of the War on Terror, it is understood, will not last forever and therefore, people should not be switching their vote over to the Democratic Party.
No matter how long it takes, the war will be over before babies will be given the protection of life that is seen in the Constitution and if our forefathers were alive today, would cringe at the fact that the practice of killing a human life, sometimes by piercing their brain with a steel rod, is allowed and tolerated in this country. The Bible states that God knew us while we were in our mother’s womb. (Bible, 2000 pg. 328) Abortion is avoidable in 99% of the cases if the parents only possessed the desire not have sex until they are ready to endure the full consequences. Some of the blame should be placed at the feet of those who perpetrate this notion of a “blameless society” in which the consequences of ‘sin” which is now regarded as vile as a four letter word, is real and should be avoided.
The same can be said for the issues of gay marriage and stem cell research. Such things God takes very seriously. However, the fact that nearly 20,000 murders happen every year with the use of hand guns and Republicans fight so hard to keep that right, might seem to disappoint God as well. The Republicans do not have a monopoly on what God wants for this country. However, serious Christians cannot get past the idea of legalized murder and the continued acceptance of homosexuality by our government. Such notions appeal to many Americans and compels others to wonder what our forefathers would say if they were given the chance to commend on what has happened to the morals of this country.
There are many on the political left that shake their head in frustration and disgust when they hear such motivations behind the Republican Party. This will likely be the case as religion becomes a four letter word more now than in recent history, As Muslim extremists hurt, not only the religion of Islam but all religion as those on the outside looking in and trying to understand those who claim a faith as religious fundamentalists and radicals.
There has been a minor resurgence of faith in America but as much as Christians and others of faith push for America to be the country that it once was in the area of religious freedom and expression, secularists will push back just as hard. Although a controversial figure, Bill O’Reilly corrected identified the problem as a culture war. It was saddening but not surprising that during the Clinton Presidency, the Christmas Tree became rather a holiday tree. When crosses are forbidden to reside in the side of the road as a family member tries to honor the death of a loved one, Christmas is now referred to as X-mas and American soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to their country in a time of war, yet cannot have any mention of God at their burial if the government is going to sponsor it.
When that occurs, it is hard to believe that there is not a definite war on people of faith in this country and, from my point of view, it is perpetrated by people who identify themselves as politically liberal. This is not an attempt to vilify all Liberals in such a way. The Democratic Party of Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, yes Lyndon Johnson, simply does not exist anymore and Democrats of faith are forced to choose their party over their faith as the two have less and less in common.
Once I began to identify with the Republican Party as I grew stronger in my faith, I then wanted to know my role in the political socialization and if I had any role in it. I avoid fights and heated arguments on the issue of politics. Discussing NAFTA or the growing trade deficit is not worth the loss of a friendship as my friends can become rather heated in their discussion of politics. I find it refreshing that I discuss politics with people my own age who actually follow the news. There are many who have become so apathetic about anything that does not involve popular culture, that to discuss politics, one would first need to be aware of the very basics of American Civics to which many are completely ignorant.
In those case, I tend to inform my friends about what is going on and sometimes, spin the information to perhaps gain another convert. I would conclude however, that everybody, especially the media, does the same to a much greater degree. If somebody hears the details of partial birth abortions but then the media, in an effort to calm the moral outrage of the viewer, informs them that such things happen in less than 1% of the abortions in this country, I would then inform the same individual that with more than one million abortions committed every year, if only 1/4 of 1% of babies were subjected to this procedure, that meant that every year, twenty five hundred babies were having their brains pierced by a metal rod; a baby with the same number of hands, fingers, feet and toes as one who had just been born. (Johnson, 2004 pg. 1A)
The Republicans will probably lose their bid for the White House this year as the war in Iraq has made most Americans tired of the Republican Party and their mismanagement of it. Even the strongest supporter of the White House, questions when and where the Iraq war will end. This will cause a number of people to switch their allegiance to the Democratic Party. However, for the individuals like myself who are in this for the long haul and wish for America, not to become a theocracy, but to remember and respect what made this country great, to resist those who would seek to revise this country’s history and the basis for its laws.
However, in an age of such apathy towards such serious issues that face the country in favor of who is the latest to survive the round of cuts on American idol, I am just happy to discuss politics with any informed and enlightened individual;, regardless of their political leanings. Such discussions serve as a welcomed and relaxing respite from what has become America’s most abundant export; mindless and fleeting popular culture. I will follow with great interest, the road that the rest of the country takes during this presidential election next year.
Johnson, Mark Partial Birth Abortion Ban Challenged by Dems USA Today August 12, 2004
Schlesinger, Arthur A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House New York: Doubleday Press 1965
Toobin, Jeffrey The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court New York: Doubleday Publishers 2007
The Holy Bible New York: Oxford University Press 2000
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