Self-Evident Truths, Yearning Masses, & Domestic Tranquility

The time has arrived. After what has seemed like an endless election cycle Americans will go to the polls tomorrow and cast their vote for President of the United States (among other things). I have tossed around ideas in my own mind about what to write in regard to this occasion and originally intended to publish multiple missives in the months leading up to the Election Day. But since I am A) a procrastinator, and B) probably a bit too passionate about this kind of thing and that tends to offend people & get me in trouble, The Voices have persuaded me to wait until the last minute. Don’t worry…I won’t keep you long. I know you have more important things to worry about than the future of our country…stuff like seeing who will get sent home from Dancing with the Stars and checking out that Honey Boo Boo crap on TLC.

 

First of all, let me urge you to do one thing above all else: vote. The United States isn’t perfect. We have problems too numerous to fathom, especially since we are the greatest, wealthiest, most powerful nation in the world and some of the hardships we face are kind of silly, pretty easily handled, and mostly of our own collective doing. However, with that being said, it must also be understood that this whole freedom & democracy thing we have going on here is pretty cool. Sure we don’t always agree with our elected officials, but atleast they are e-l-e-c-t-e-d. We have the opportunity every 2 or 4 years to voice our opinion with a ballot, and it’s a right that I think we take for granted. Voter turnout should never ever ever be below 90% in my humble opinion, yet it has become surprising when it is above 50%. Do we not comprehend that there are people in other parts of the world who have literally given their lives in exchange for expressing their beliefs or trying to provoke change?? There are places where people have fought battles…you know, with guns & bombs…to gain the right to elect their leaders rather than have a dictator rule over them with an iron fist. We can just waltz right into our local polling location and, with proper identification, freely choose who we think will be the most effective leaders for our city, state, & nation, yet a great many decide to stay home and play Angry Birds or pin something on Pinterest (whatever the hell that is). Please do me a favor: put down the adult beverage, DVR your soaps or talk shows, get in your car, and drive to the polls. Take advantage of one of the freedoms that comes with living in this great nation.

 

Now, if you follow my advice the next question becomes who you should vote for. Well, you’re an adult and can cast your vote for anyone you choose. I can’t make you do anything. But I can tell you who I have voted for (early voting rocks!!) and why I made the decision.

 

Citizens of The Manoverse, anyone who follows me on Twitter, and my Facebook friends all know that I am a hardcore, dyed-in-the-wool conservative. I have written about what conservatism means to me, and I have never tried to hide my beliefs & opinions. So it won’t shock the world when I say that I am praying that Willard Mitt Romney becomes the 45th President of the United States. Admittedly Governor Romney isn’t the ideal candidate, but I am not sure such a thing exists anymore. True statesmen like Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Lincoln, & Madison seem to be a relic of the distant past. All we have now are politicians. And since that is the case the best choice has to be the one who’ll do the least damage and atleast attempt to steer things in the right direction.

 

I believe there are three key elements that need to be considered in relation to this election.

 

Obviously the first & foremost issue is the economy. I am not a financial scholar, but I think I have a firm grasp on the basics. One of the most heinous acts committed during the past 4 years has been the passing of nationalized health care, better known as Obamacare. Look…I get it…free health care sounds awesome. I have had various health issues my entire life. I have had 27 operations!! Do you think I enjoy spending a healthy chunk of my paycheck to pay a doctor or hospital?? Would I rather spend that money on a new car or a trip to Vegas?? Of course. But I wholeheartedly agree with the late President Ronald Reagan, who said that the nine most dangerous words in the English language are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”. If people think our health care system is screwed up now, wait until it is run by the government. I find the prospect frightening. And then we have taxes. Conservatives believe in lower taxes…liberals think everyone needs to pay more, more, more. But my humble Potentate of Profundity you say…if we lower taxes where will Uncle Sam find the revenue to build roads & bridges, fund a strong military, and educate our young’uns?? Well, the obvious answer is to slash spending…dramatically. And therein lies the rub. No one wants to do that because no one wants to piss in anyone’s Cheerios. All those people sitting on their butts, collecting checks, receiving free phones & other goodies, and excited about getting free health care are what politicians like to refer to as voters. I understand the conundrum, I really do. But I also know that I am paying about $3.50/gallon (give or take 20 cents) for gasoline now versus less than $2 four years ago. I know that the national debt has more than doubled in the past four years, meaning that all that “free” stuff people are so excited about is actually being paid for by money borrowed from China. And I know that our GDP has gone down 2% during the past four years, meaning that the value of the goods & services we do produce (there are still a few) has decreased, which reflects extremely poorly on our nation on multiple levels. I could go on & on, but you understand what I’m saying. And yes…bad economic times began during the administration of President George W. Bush. I concede that fact. However, no one ever seems to recall that the infamous housing bubble that began the precipitous descent began under the Clinton regime. Contrary to popular liberal belief there is no such thing as a free lunch, and “providing access” to homes for people who couldn’t afford them was a disastrous mistake. Also, this isn’t the first time we have had a bad economy. But it does seem to be the first time we have taken so long to fight out of the abyss. Reagan inherited a bad economy from Jimmy Carter in 1980. The difference between Reagan & Obama?? Reagan turned things around within a couple of years, while Obama continues to blame Bush.

 

The second factor we must ponder is unemployment. It has hovered at or near 8% for a while now. Obama & his minions in the media love to puff their chests when a few thousand jobs are added here & there, but let’s not lose sight of the big picture. The overall rate is still way too high. And one thing no one ever seems to talk about is wages. I don’t really give a rat’s petoot if 100k jobs were added last month if all those jobs pay $7 or 8/hr. That is not a living wage!! Who can really blame people that choose to sit at home and collect welfare when it’s more than what they’d earn if they actually worked for a living?? American citizens deserve the opportunity to thrive, not just survive. We must take the shackles off the business community and allow entrepreneurs to create real jobs. That means lowering taxes and easing up on crippling regulation, especially in relation to the environmental movement. Do you think all those jobs have moved overseas because companies only have to pay workers there a fraction of what they would here?? Sure that’s part of it, but there is also the fact that there are far less environmental restrictions in places like China. We have become a nation crippled by a politically correct obsession to eliminate all risk & danger in all aspects of life. Look at the NFL for God’s sake. Pretty soon they are going to be playing flag football. Anyway, I don’t think our country was doing too bad back when I was growing up and there was a plethora of decent jobs to be had in a variety of factories & plants. Yes our world has moved into a more high tech realm and away from the old industrial ways, but we still need manufacturing, and it’d be nice if more things were made in the USA instead of everywhere else. President Obama has proven that he does not know how to achieve this goal…or maybe he just doesn’t want to. Afterall, the more people that rely on the government, the more people who will vote for him & all his liberal friends.

 

The third & final point to seriously consider is the U.S. Supreme Court. It’s something that we don’t discuss nearly enough, but the one thing that can have a lasting effect beyond just about anything else. What is the one Court case people argue about more than any other?? Roe v. Wade. Now I honestly don’t believe that particular decision will ever be reversed, and quite honestly I don’t care all that much. I know what I believe, and I know the Godly principles that guide my life. I wish there weren’t so many selfish people out there yammering on about “a woman’s right to choose” what happens to her body as if the child shouldn’t even be factored into the equation, but it is what it is. If you murder a child you will someday have to answer for the crime. My point though is the fact that Roe v. Wade happened nearly 40 years ago and it is still being debated. The Supreme Court, in the past half century, has gone far beyond what The Founding Fathers intended and become an activist court that shapes public policy. The decisions they make fundamentally change this country even more than what a President or Congress does. Right now there are four justices age 74 or above, which means that there is a tremendous chance that who we elect President on Tuesday will have an opportunity to alter the American way of life…for better or worse…for decades to come. The prospect of President Obama wielding that power shakes me to my core. I trust Romney with the responsibility far more than I would ever trust a man who I sincerely believe has a deep disdain for traditional American values.

 

I could go all night, but I’ve got a life and so do you. Let me just conclude by cutting thru all the poppycock. This election isn’t about race. Contrary to what assclowns like Chris Matthews try to say on a daily basis, not all conservatives are racists, and the reason we don’t like President Obama has nothing to do with his color. This election isn’t about class envy. Conservatives want everyone to do well, which means that we don’t begrudge anyone who has found a legal way to become wealthy but also that we don’t think that continuous government handouts really help the poor in the long run. And this election isn’t even really about religion. Now I happen to believe that Obama, while not an actual Muslim, grew up with enough Muslim influence that it affects his thought process in subtle ways, and that goes against what I as a Christian stand for. But Romney is a Mormon, which means that he & I would likely disagree on a few things too. It is a non-negotiable fact to me that God is in control no matter who occupies The Oval Office, so at the end of the day it’s all good anyway. But we are to be stewards of what God has provided for us, and part of that duty means putting people in positions of leadership & authority that will do the right thing and move our country in the right direction. Barack Obama had his chance and I don’t think any objective assessment would give him a passing grade. If you or I fail to perform our job duties at a proficient level our boss will dismiss us and give someone else the opportunity to do better. I don’t know if Mitt Romney will be successful or not, but if he isn’t we can make another change in 2016. For now though I feel like he is the better choice.

 

 

Osama, Obama, & The Dalai Lama

I can sometimes be a bit reactionary, which is why I have learned over the years to contemplate my thoughts for a bit…cool the engines, so to speak. There are still occassions when I express instantaneous, raw, unfiltered emotion, sometimes regretfully so. I’m working on it. But in the meantime, I always try to maintain some level of considerate decorum here at The Manofesto, which is why I decided not to immediately go off half-cocked and fire out a missive about the capture and…elimination…of Osama Bin Laden. I wanted to ponder for a day or two. In the midst of that ponderation a couple of interesting things have risen to the surface.

 

First of all, let me say God Bless America and our military. It’s hard to find any kind of silver lining in the events of September 11, 2001, but if I was forced to come up with something I would point out that over the past decade the level of respect & admiration for men in all manner of uniform…police, firefighters, soldiers…has risen sharply. As a whole I think maybe we sort of took those folks for granted pre-9/11, which is unfortunate. I hope the veneration now given to the people who literally put their lives on the line every day to protect & defend our freedom and safety remains constant. Those individuals should always be held in the highest regard.

 

I want to focus on two things that have occurred in all the celebratory commotion surrounding the long awaited capture and demise of Bin Laden, one of which makes me angry, the other which makes me think and evaluate my own thought process.

 

I was at work on the evening that the news broke. A co-worker received a text saying that Osama Bin Laden was dead. I had been crazy busy the entire evening but at that point was able to hop online and get the scoop. I was as pleased and proud as anyone. A couple of hours later I was able to watch the ongoing news coverage in the relative comfort of The Bachelor Palace. It was then that I finally saw President Barack Hussein Obama’s original press conference.

 

My disdain for the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is well known to my friends and family, many of whom disagree with my opinions. The President’s announcement was unsurprisingly peppered with “I”, “Me”, and “My”. He subtly inferred that the hunt for Bin Laden only began once he took office. As if Mr. Obama’s own self-importance wasn’t enough, the public then chimed in. The “mainstream” drive-by media…predictably…fell to their knees to fellatiate their President, as if he had singlehandedly captured Bin Laden and brought him to justice. The “ladies” of The View said there was no use to even have an election in 2012, that no Republican would be able to defeat Obama after this heroic feat. The general public was even worse. I spend a lot of time online and some of the posts I saw on Facebook and other places were horrifying. Obama was suddenly a cross between Chuck Norris and Abraham Lincoln, with enough tiger blood and Adonis DNA to make Charlie Sheen shake like Michael J. Fox at a Justin Bieber concert. Obama’s arrogance combined with the senseless adoration of the masses is a lethal cocktail of aggravation. Throw in abject hatred for former President George W. Bush & conservatives in general and pepper in a skosh of imaginary racism (because if one disagrees with Barack Hussein Obama that person MUST be a racist according to the liberal playbook), and what you have is a nation divided. On one side are those who swoon at the mere mention of the man’s name, like “journalist” Chris Matthews, who once said that Obama sent a thrill up his leg, and the infamous Peggy Joseph, who attended a campaign rally in 2008 and said she was excited because Obama was going to pay her gas bill & mortgage. On the other side are thinking Americans who have some legitimate concerns about the man’s beliefs, policies, and leadership capabilities. People are disturbed by a floundering economy, out of control spending, the growth of the federal government and its role in everyday life, high unemployment, gas prices that seem to rise almost daily, and other various issues. I am willing to have an intelligent discussion with anyone about authentic differences of opinion, but I will not give heed to mindless hero worship, especially when it is far from deserved.

 

The manhunt for Osama Bin Laden began soon after 9/11, and it was President George W. Bush who laid the groundwork. The same people who are putting Obama on a pedestal today are the ones who have been eviscerating Bush for over a decade for The War on Terror. You can’t have it both ways ladies & gentlemen. Did Obama give the final order greenlighting the raid on Bin Laden’s compound?? Yes, and kudos to him for that. But let us not forget that it was a moment that would never have been possible without many courageous decisions made by Bush years before. As more information emerges we are learning that information from “detainees” at Guantanamo Bay, gotten using “enhanced interrogation techniques”, ultimately lead to Osama Bin Laden sleeping with the fishes. This is the same Guantanamo Bay that liberals have wanted to shut down almost since Day 1 and that Obama originally stated he would close as one of the first acts of his presidency, and the same interrogation, i.e. “torture”, which the Left has been whining about for years. So while Obama worshipers around the globe are sticking out their puffed up chests and beaming with pride about what The Chosen One has accomplished, we all need to realize that what he has really done is hop in the car on the white flag lap and claim he won the race. I applaud The Obama Administration for understanding the importance and fundamental necessity of the foundation laid by their predecessors and for not kowtowing to the extremists in their base constituency, but I wholeheartedly reject the idea that we should have such rock star awe for any politician, especially when he has spent the past 3 years showing utter disdain for the very framework that eventually lead to the event for which he is now receiving enormous praise.

 

The more fascinating thing to arise from the death of Osama Bin Laden is the apparent moral ambiguity felt by some. As thousands of Americans took to the streets in Washington DC, Times Square in New York, and various other locales, others were feeling just a wee bit uncomfortable about celebrating a man’s death, even a man as undeniably evil as Bin Laden. Some have said it was too reminiscent of how the streets of towns in The Middle East  were filled with revelers thrilled about 9/11. I’ve seen quotes from Martin Luther King Jr., The Bible, and various other sentiments that basically say it is wrong to rejoice in a person’s death, regardless of who that person was and what they’d done. There are debates about whether it was murder or justice.

 

At first I was quite dismissive of this thought process, but I have since paused for reflection. My initial gut reaction was “HELL Yes!! We got that bastard!! USA!! USA!!”. To be quite honest I still lean in that direction. This is a man that masterminded a plot responsible for the senseless slaughter of over 3000 Americans. I tend to try to see the good in most people, but I liken Osama Bin Laden to Michael Myers from the Halloween movies…pure evil. I therefore don‘t really have any sympathy for the man nor am I inclined to feel one iota of remorse about his death. However, I am also a Christian (just not a very good one) and have an appreciation for philosophy, so I understand on an intellectual level why some feel the way they do, and I will even concede that they are probably better, nicer people than me. I have a lot of respect for their opinion, even if I disagree. There is a fine line between justice and revenge, and under most circumstances seeing large crowds lustily partying because of a man’s death would be a cause for concern. This is America…we ARE better than that. But the particulars of the situation are so unique that I cannot take issue with the joy expressed at the end of this long journey. I would like to think that the families of those killed in the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon, and in a field in Shanksville, PA now have some sense of closure. Nothing will ever bring their loved ones back, and the death of Osama Bin Laden may seem like a bit of a Pyrrhic victory, but it is right and it is just. To those who take exception to the jubilance, I can only say that I get it, I admire your morality, and I hope someday folks like you become a bigger influence not only in my life but in the world as a whole.

Defining Conservatism

I make no secret about my political ideology and my strong opinions on socioeconomic issues. I believe we are living in a society with an emergent laissez-faire “anything goes” attitude, and I find it disturbing. I’m not intolerant or narrow-minded by any means, but I do have standards and believe that, while most everything does have shades of grey, there are still some absolutes that should not be so casually thrown on the brush pile.

 

The problem that we run into, not surprisingly, is politics. Much like faith and God that is pure and pristine until we pesky humans insert our…well, humanity…into the process, many of the issues we face in our world are straightforward, with obvious boundaries, until selfishness and greed enter the picture. When so-called public servants and special interests become involved their egos and craving for power seem to muddy the waters and blur that delineation between right and wrong.

 

Fortunately for me I have no such elected position nor do I crave any sort of power or prestige. I am what I am, know what I know, and think what I think. I am past that stage in life when others’ opinions matter all that much. Therefore, while the politicians are busy doing whatever it takes to get re-elected and the “mainstream” media is sticking to their script and duping the masses, I can be honest.

 

The first thing we need to do is throw two terms, maybe three, out the window. Those words are Democrat, Republican, and I would include Independent. They are all political titles, and they are meaningless. The assumption is that one can assume what an elected official believes and how they will conduct themselves based on party affiliation, but that assumption just doesn’t hold water. Make no mistake, politicians are in business for only one person…..themselves. They do not truly represent you, and if you are under the mistaken impression that they do you are naïve. And as far as Independents go, well…..I have no respect for anyone who is too weak to take a position, to declare what they, atleast in theory, stand for. All these hacks try to have their cake and eat it too, but Independents aren’t even smart enough to pretend to represent anything specific.

 

I am not recommending withdrawal from the political process at all. It’s the best we have, the best in the world as a matter of fact, and we must deal within the system to shape and mold the country. I’m not even a fan of third parties, as they have proven to be ineffectual and a waste of time. For the purpose of full disclosure I will happily acknowledge that I am a registered Republican. But my point is that it is an ever increasingly empty association.

 

Devastated by the double whammy of losing Congress and the White House, the Republican Party is now busying itself with trying to re-brand, remake, re-image, etc. What that truly means is that they are willing to sacrifice their principles and do whatever it takes to achieve victory and regain their power starting in 2010. However, the folks in charge of this rebuilding effort need to exercise caution. They have been fooled into believing that they need to shift to the center, that the country is closer to the left than the right. I do not completely disagree. As I said, we are living in an anything and everything goes culture. But I also believe that this shift has been skewed by population disparities, substantial manipulation by the undeniable force of the pervasive entertainment industry, and a growing detachment in Average America where people feel disenfranchised, overlooked, and underappreciated and have therefore just withdrawn from the whole process. All a Presidential candidate has to do is win the extremely liberal northeast U.S. and California and they are nearly a lock to win. So why would anyone in Tennessee, The Dakotas, or Missouri give a damn?? The politicians don’t care about them anyway.

 

I believe that conservatism is still alive and well in America. It’s just confused and hurt and hiding, like a child that has run away into the woods after catching Mommy having some play time with a strange man while Daddy is out of town on business. I am here to woo that child back, to say it’s okay and that Mommy just made a mistake that she’ll regret but that it’s not your fault. In order to make sense of the confusion and hysteria we need to clearly define conservative principles.

 

Conservatism is often misinterpreted as narrow-minded, stuffy, old fashioned, and stuck in the past. This is an unfortunate obstacle. Even more regrettable is being thought of as racist, homophobic, arrogant, and greedy. I have never really understood these stereotypes. I do not know one single conservative that fits that description. That’s not to say that we are perfect, but rather to point out that the success with which the liberal media has painted conservatism with such a broad and malevolent brush is astonishing. I don’t claim to speak for everyone everywhere, but I do feel confident in outlining my beliefs and asserting that they represent the core values of the average conservative. While I think it is wrong to say we are against progress and dislike change, I do believe it is accurate to assess that we have respect for tradition and seek to defend the boundaries of common sense, liberty, and the basic foundations upon which America was built.

 

Conservatism stands for limited government. Government has its purpose. Unfortunately that purpose has been exceeded a thousand times over. I realize sometimes people need a little help, some assistance to get back on their feet. But the welfare state that currently exists is unbelievable. If government would get out of the way and let people figure things out themselves we’d all be better off. Giving people handouts their whole life is not helpful, it’s destructive. By extension we also realize that nationalized health care would be an unmitigated disaster and that education would improve dramatically if government bureaucracy was not involved.

 

Conservatism is NOT racist. The spin that has been put on this issue is amazing. Liberals are the true racists, holding minorities down by tricking them into believing that they need help, that they cannot achieve success on their own merits, that anyone not willing to give them that which they have not earned hates them, that the world owes them something because of how their ancestors were mistreated. Liberals have used social programs as a pawn to buy the votes of minorities for decades. Conservatives are the ones who have faith that people can build a good life for themselves through hard work and effort no matter what the color of their skin may be.

 

Conservatives believe in capitalism and lower taxes. I grew up with a typical liberal family in a typical liberal small town and state. The class envy and hatred of anyone who has “more” is mindboggling. There is instant jealousy and disdain of “rich people”. This type of resentment has lead to the quasi-socialism that Americans are lapping up like deprived wild animals right now. But the bottom line is that lower taxes leads to economic growth, which in turn leads to job opportunities, which then provide a better quality of life all the way around. I know that is a simplistic explanation. I don’t claim to be an economics sage, but I know that things like redistribution of wealth and leveling the playing field backfire in the long run. Life isn’t fair and so those who constantly lecture about equality and fairness just need to shut up.

 

Conservatives believe in God. I talk about separation of church and state in another discourse here at The Manofesto. However, suffice to say that conservatism believes in freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. Contrary to some opinions there are rules in life, there are limits. It’s shocking to me how some of the most extreme views have become not only accepted but are lovingly embraced. I will also say that some of these sorts of issues, like gay marriage and abortion, are probably better left to individual states to decide. That gives people some choice as to where they may or may not prefer to live depending on how strongly they believe in or are affected by something in particular. This seems to be what is happening with gay marriage, but unfortunately was not done with abortion.

 

Conservatives interpret The Constitution as it is written. That means we support the right to keep and bear arms and the due process of law, among other things. The Supreme Court has taken it upon itself to “loose interpret” The Constitution, and that has lead to many of our current problems.

 

Conservatives don’t hate the environment or animals. We do tend to look at those issues pragmatically. Animals do not and should not have human-like rights. Some, like cats and dogs, were meant to be faithful companions. Others, like chickens and deer, were meant to be killed and eaten. If someone has the means to buy a mink coat then why shouldn’t they? What else are minks good for? As for the environment, there is evidence to support some of the climate change concern, but far from enough to give credibility to the hysteria that the left has had unfortunate success creating. God made this planet and He won’t allow us to destroy it. It is arrogant to believe we have that much clout. Environmentalism, much like race politics, is just another way of controlling people who aren’t wise enough to realize they’re being duped.

 

This is far from a comprehensive analysis of conservatism. It’s just a small but focused overview of what it means, atleast in theory. So while the Republican Party is wringing their hands trying to figure out a way to win elections and gain back their beloved power, maybe they should try to remember what it is they are instead of what others are trying to force them to become.