Documenting the experiences of a typical Midwesterner struggling to read the Qur'an, understand Islamic extremism and its effects on American politics.
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Tuesday, November 02, 2004
An American Political Journey
(Note: Cross post from LGFWW)

It's Election Day and I hope everyone reading this has or will vote. Informed voters are our only defense against the stupid and the crazy. In the spirit of Election Day, I will tell my story of political coming of age.

My journey through the landscape of American Politics begins well before I was old enough to vote. The year was 1976 and I was a teenager with parents that were Democrats. Being a good son, I helped my Mom and Dad as we all volunteered at the local Carter for President office. The mood of the country was fowl, very much like today, due to the stain of Watergate on the system. President Carter was the beneficiary of all the anger against Nixon and the Republicans. I stuffed envelopes, walked with my parents as they went door to door and generally did what I could to help out. It was all very exciting and fueled my interest in politics. Of course, Jimmy won and erased the memory of Watergate only to replace it with economic malaise, a weakened military and the start of real trouble for the US in the Middle East.

In 1980 the parties were again on even ground. Watergate was a memory and the economy was a mess. I was now of voting age and had a very deeply felt distaste for the Democrats because Jimmy Carter betrayed me. In the arrogance of youth I got it in my head that the failing of President Carter was directly tied to me and he did it just to make my life miserable. Well, maybe not quite that bad, but at least I felt that it was an affront to my generation. These feelings and the Freshman Economics class I was in really pushed me away from the Democrats. The Governor of California was not the direction I was going, my Econ professor made sure of that. I joined up with my state's Socialist Party. I even found myself on the ballot that year because of ballot access rules. I don't even remember the name of the candidate, but I voted Socialist that year. There goes any hope of a cushy government job for me!

In 1984 something happened that changed my view of politics and Government forever. I got a real job. I had crappy high school jobs (fast food, newspapers etc), but never a full time gig. I looked at my first paycheck and my jaw dropped. I was positive that the payroll department made a mistake and had my salary down for half of the agreed upon number. I went to the payroll office to clear up the mess and the payroll supervisor chuckled and took me into her office to talk about it. She showed me all the places where the Government reached into my paycheck and got paid before I even got the check, let alone cashed it. Socialism didn't seem like such a good idea anymore. I voted Reagan.

In 1988 The Vice President George H. W. Bush was running against Michael Dukakis. I remembered Mr. Bush's criticism of Mr. Reagan's policies from the 1980 campaign (voodoo economics) and thought that he would revert to that sort of thinking as President. I was a solid Reagan guy and really wanted a solid Reagan-like person to vote for, too bad I didn't have the choice. That year reminds me of this year in that I didn't want to vote for either candidate. Dukakis was an idiot and Bush was a former CIA guy and known critic of Reagan economic policies. I flipped a coin and it fell for Dukakis.

By 1992, President Bush (41) had confirmed my suspicions in office by ignoring his "No New Taxes" pledge. Ross Perot entered the race and stole many Bush (41) votes, putting Bill Clinton in office. My view was the Clinton was a disaster waiting to happen, Bush (41) was a disaster that already happened and Perot was just nuts, I mean what Presidential candidate runs on the platform of raising gas taxes by 50 cents a gallon? I voted Clinton because I couldn't bring myself to vote for someone who lied in office, irony abounds. Clinton won and I didn't care until he raised taxes on income earned BEFORE he was in office. Vice President Gore was the deciding vote; I would remember that action and hold it against him.

1996 was another Perot year and the Republicans put up Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kansas). I never could get along with the notion of an "anybody but..." vote (just as I can't understand it today) so I could not bring myself to vote for Sen. Dole. He is a good man, but didn't really offer anything except "I am not Clinton", just like Sen. Kerry's (D-France) "I am not Bush". This is the year I found Harry Browne and the Libertarian Party. I love the Libertarian message on the size of government (WAY too big) and on Taxes (WAY too high). I like the way Mr. Browne poses the question "Would you give up your favorite Government program if it meant never paying Income Taxes again?". The Libertarians are also right on social issues and personal freedoms. I found a home politically, or did I? More on that here.

In my opinion in 2000, George W. Bush and Al Gore were exactly the same fool packaged in different speaking styles and clothes. It really made no difference to me because they would both expand government and tax me in different (and higher) ways. National Security was not a concern, the Soviets were gone and it was morning in America again. Harry Browne was running again and I worked on his campaign in my home state. I even made donations to the campaign and the state and national parties.

Here are my thoughts on this year's election.

I no longer can base my vote solely on my pocketbook, taxes, size and scope of government or any other domestic policy. September 11th made that impossible. After all the shock and horror of the events of that day faded and thoughts again turned to politics, I was so grateful that President Bush prevailed. A "President Gore" could have been very bad for the survival of Western Civilization. This thought was proven correct numerous times in the time since 9-11, but none more striking as Mr. Gore's speech to MoveOn PAC. My thoughts on that speech are right here.

National Security can never again be taken for granted or influenced by foreign powers. The biggest, some say only, responsibility of the Federal Government is the protection of the homeland and the citizenry. Showing weakness in the face of terrorists only invites more terrorism. This election is just the first of many to come where the proponents of weakness and global cooperation will be in conflict with the forces defending America. It is imperative that we continue to elect the person that best understands this concept.

In this election, that person is President Bush.

(c) 2004. Qur'an Project. All Rights Reserved

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