Beyond the Cusp

September 10, 2012

Thoughts on the Upcoming American Choice

President Barrack Obama stated during his acceptance speech that, “It will be a choice between two different paths for America. A choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future.” He could not have said it any more plainly and could not have nailed the truth about this election any more honestly. Actually, the one thing that must be said about President Obama is that he often says exactly what he is planning to do in broad and sweeping terms fashioned to make them appear so tempting and attractive mainly due to the fact that he allows space for each person to fill in the gaps and adjust his thoughts so they mesh perfectly with your thoughts. That is what was so appealing of his first campaign slogan of “Hope and Change.” Barack H. Obama never went into any details of exactly what it was he desired to change or where his hopes would take the Americans and their country, the United States. Some claim that now, after almost four years, we have a much clearer definitions for “Hope and Change” than during the 2008 campaign. This has made the President more attractive to one group and less so to another. The two factions of the American populace have been equated with one side being mostly made up of unions and those who favor a socialist view relying heavily on government to address any social problems and the other has been related to the Tea Party and made up of strict interpretation of the Constitution, smaller government and relying on individuals to address any social problems.  The election will define which group is the larger of the two.

The group more likely to support President Obama being reelected to a second term is the ones who believe that reliance on government is the best way to solve the needs of the society and the people. Like President Obama, these people believe that everybody having a fair and equal chance to make it in today’s world must be guaranteed by government intervention such that in the end there is an equaling force making the society equitable. They have a belief that for the most part the economy is like a big pie and if one person takes a double helping of pie then two other people will only get half a slice and that government needs to assure that everybody gets a fair and more even piece of the economic pie. They believe that greed will drive businesses to do whatever it takes to make more profit with absolutely no regard for who gets hurt, crushed even, or what affect they place upon the environment. That is why they are in favor of more and more regulations in order to guide and steer those who would otherwise wreck the planet in the name of profit take the correct attitude and minimize any adverse effects on the planet. There is a fear that if not for the government watching over businesses carefully that he leaders in industry would act with little regard for the health of the workers and that it takes government to assure that even the lowest person in the workplace receives sufficient wages to meet the basic needs of life. These people look to Europe and envy their healthcare systems and support Obama Care and would like to take it one step further and have the government take complete control over the healthcare industry. They will claim that only through government takeover can we assure that every single individual receives top notch healthcare and nobody goes without. They will sight the huge numbers of citizens who do not have health insurance because they have recently changed jobs and will likely receive coverage if they choose within a year or them who cannot afford to purchase health insurance. This group believes that without government society would cease to operate with any degree of fairness or equality and the people would end up divided into two groups, those few who have almost all the wealth and comfort in life or the majority who would be destitute and near starvation with no healthcare or other necessities of life. For the reason of making life fair and all people equal, they call upon government to smooth out life and remove any roadblocks and other difficulties which people would likely fail at if left to face them unaided.

The Tea Party oriented group, which includes Constitutionalists, Capitalists, Religious Conservatives, and others who likely had not supported President Obama in 2008 and had read things they disapproved of into the campaign of “Hope and Change.” These are the people who believe that government should do only that which are required to allow people to pursue their own paths and be as little felt in an individual’s life. They believe that government exists simply to give everybody the same starting point, the same opportunity to succeed and not assure that everybody succeeds. They feel that by trying to assure that everyone succeeds that government, by necessity, must take from those who are the most successful and give to those who failed and that by assuming such a role government is rewarding failure and punishing success. The capitalists within these groups feel that the economy is not simply one big pie which everybody gets a share of; they believe that those who produce continue to make more and more pies therefore allowing for everybody to receive more because the amount of pie is constantly being increased and is not a set amount. The Constitutionalists are the ones who make heroes out of the Founding Fathers equating them with inspired brilliance unequaled through all of political history. They will tend to quote them, each one crediting their own favorite, as having said in some form that, “The government that governs best governs least.” One point that many in this camp would support is that, as President Reagan said, “…government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” The Constitutionalists believe that the present day government has gone completely wild and take actions and jurisdiction over countless things which were forbidden by the Constitutional limitations. These are strong supporters of the entire Bill of Rights emphasizing often Amendments II,IV,V,IX and X and call for the repeal of Amendments XVI and XVII getting rid of the Income Tax and the direct election of the Senate returning control of the Senate to the State Legislators or whatever method each State might choose for themselves.

The idea of competition as a constructive force is something which both Capitalists and Constitutionalists will portray as a constructive driving force behind their philosophies. This is fairly obvious for the Capitalists as Capitalism is dependent upon competition as a limit on prices as when two or more businesses have to compete for customers, the one vital point very often is price such that whichever one can sell the product or provide service for the lower price with all else being basically equal, the lower price competitor will sell the most product or provide the majority of the services. The Constitutionalists will point out that by allowing the individual States to control the largest possible amount of governance over the Federal Government taking the lead, and then the fifty different States will act as fifty experiments in how to meet the needs and requirements of their citizens. In time a few States will be found to have the best ideas and the others will adopt the most appropriate and efficient of these methods. And as the other States adopt the technique proven by others will also make some modifications and some of these will be seen as an improvement which can then be made available even to the State originating the most efficient base approach.  The one thing that all of these people in this camp will agree is that the federal government has grown into an unmanageable behemoth which needs desperately to be put on a diet and trimmed down to size by reducing its size, power, scope, and influence even to include doing away with some of the Federal Government’s departments. As to how much or how far to restrict and trim the Federal Government is a matter where there may be numerous differing opinions and is where many are able to point to give evidence of hypocrisy. What they find is each group want the Federal Government to hold on to particular items which they support and these differences are the points of contention which often break the conservative groups apart and makes having an universal platform near impossible. One example to make the point is those who believe in the “Right to Life”. Where the entire group likely can find common ground against abortion and possibly even work something out considering birth control, they will break into two separate camps when addressing capital punishment. A large percentage of the Right to Life people support the death penalty as they are also “Law and Order” supporters while another large percentage extend the right to life to include being against the death penalty. There is no way to bridge this divide and any candidate running for office when addressing this issue is in a no win situation, whichever side they choose a large portion of their Right to Life supporters will disagree.

Which side is more aligned with what it means to be American of these two very different and separate groups? Well, that will completely depend on this upcoming election and everything else that follows. Everyone who is calling this a critical election which will determine much of the future of the United States are partially correct. This election will very likely set a course of the United States for the next decade or two. What is frightening is that an argument can be made that with the choice between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, whoever wins the election may not take the country in as diametrically different direction as we are being led to believe. One point which may place a spotlight on the exact reasons why this is likely true concerns Obama Care, also known as The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which has been given as the perfect example of the difference between the two parties in this election. It is not necessary to point out where President Obama stands on this program, it is his signature legislation despite the fact that he did little to write it and likely did not even make any huge contributions beyond pushing it through Congress by any means required. But where does Mitt Romney stand on The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act? All one needs to do is read the message on the front of the podium at which he stood when making the promise to address The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act first thing should he be elected to the Presidency. The podium signaled Mitt Romney’s real intentions where it said Repeal and Replace Obama Care. When considering this position one is tempted to ask the same question as should have been asked of Obama concerning Hope and Change. What exactly do you mean by Replace Mr. Romney? Will anybody ask this before they vote or will we once again elect somebody because we foolishly hope he means the same thing we do when he says Repeal and Replace?

Beyond the Cusp

July 7, 2012

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