Friday, September 7, 2012

Politics -blah!

I detest politics.  Really - I don't like the fighting.  There are some things that you will just simply not be able to change anyone's mind on - their decisions come from personal experience, beliefs, and (let's face it) family background or even tradition.  No 2 people have identical lives, even siblings have different experiences that form their opinions.  Now, with that said, I don't think there is anything wrong with healthy debates.  BUT I think if you're wanting to voice your opinion to what your political views are, you have to be willing to take the opposition that comes with doing so - because that's the nature of politics.  If you can't take hearing the other side, then it is better to keep your opinions to yourself and just vote when the time comes.  With all of this said, I am publicly voicing my political views for the first time in written form for the purpose of letting my posterity know what I think.  We are living in a time when I believe politics are at historical point.  I believe that years from now, our children will be reading about these times in their history books.  I want my children and grandchildren to know where I stand on these issues.  This could be a long post and may take me several days to compose.  I know that posting this publicly is opening a door that I have yet left closed to many of my friends and acquaintances in my personal life, on Facebook, and in blogdom.   I feel I am ready for your comments and anything else you throw at me or I wouldn't post anything at all.  We are living in a time when there are many moral debates out in the world - even the meaning of the word morality is being debated.  I want my kids to know how I feel, today, about the issues that are so prevalent in our society.  Some of these are hot topics, some not so much.  Please don't continue reading if you're someone who lets someone else's opinions bother you... this is just my perspective on current issues.

What prompted this writing?  The following paragraph was read in church 2 Sundays ago.

In accordance with the laws of their respective governments, members are encouraged to register to vote, to study issues and candidates carefully, and to vote for individuals whom they believe will act with integrity and sound judgment. Latter-day Saints have a special obligation to seek out, vote for, and uphold leaders who are honest, good, and wise"

  I noticed 2 things from the statement: I should vote AND seek out a candidate who is going to be honest.  I have yet to see a politician in my lifetime that truly acts with integrity AND acts with the best interest of the whole nation.  There are so many hidden political agendas on all sides.  I wish I could have all candidates over to my house for one week, without press, without advisors, without the mask they wear in the public eye.  I want to see how they interact with my children, to help them with their homework, get them snacks, watch them play at the park.  I want them to see my $200/month water bill, I want them to talk with me about a normal week with a normal family.  I want them to see my kids' schools, see our roads, to see what REALLY matters to us.  So here are my thoughts - again this is a super long post.

  I don't love that our current system makes politics desirable to anyone.  To quote my husband, "our current system breeds corruption."  There should be no career politicians (term limits on all positions), there should be no opportunity for gain (financial or otherwise) by anyone in position.  I don't mind if they get a salary, but they should have to pay for all of their expenses with that salary (taxes, housing, food, transportation, etc.) with the exception of anytime those things are done for their position (anytime it is for official business - then they should get a per diem like other business travelers and have to ride in coach class unless they personally pay for the upgrade or get it because of miles - like regular people).  Tax payers should not have to pay for limos, fancy hotels, expensive meals etc.  They need to be given a budget and stick with it.  That budget needs to pay for their security detail and all business travel.  My husband had additional suggestions: yearly audits of personal finances (a person should not enter office with hardly any money and leave a multi-millionaire and not have people ask questions), term limits, no pension.  I don't mind if we pay for secret security for former presidents, but that should be all we are paying for them.  While the President is in office, he needs to pay for his own expenses from his salary, like vacations.  It bugs me that Presidents take elaborate vacations and think that its the country's responsibility to pay for his vacations or his child's private school.  Public school is good enough for the rest of the country, should be good enough for the President's children.  You can have secret service secure the campus the same as any other campus, but we're not paying for a better education for your kid if I can't afford to pay for that for my own child.  As far as vacations go, my husband's company doesn't pay for us to go anywhere, why should the President's job be any different.  If they need a getaway paid for by the country he has Camp David, anything beyond that should come from his own pocket. One should become President (or congressman) to SERVE our country, not so our country can serve them.

  I love that people want to come to my country for a better life - it's a great place to live.  I want them to come here legally and come here with their family (husband, wife, kids)...  they can all apply individually and if one gets accepted for admittance, they all get to come (with the exception of criminal backgrounds), get a green card, and work to make our country a better place.  They should work towards citizenship and be given a certain amount of time to make that happen.  They should not get free health care, get to vote, or have any of the other rights that should be for citizens until they become so, and they will need to pay any taxes that anyone else pays to live here.  Driver's licenses should be provisional and should have greater penalties for misuse.  Zero tolerance for criminal behavior.  My plan to make this happen?  1) stop any money being sent to any other country that refuses to assist us in securing our borders.  Money being earned in the US needs to stay here to build up our economy - not someone else's.  2) When we find someone who is here illegally, we send them back to where they came from, immediately.  Not first class, not on a nice airplane, but in a military personnel plane - this is not a vacation.  When they leave this way, they have to leave any money they earned here, here.  It will be given to the US border patrol.  They will not be allowed back in the country.  3) People who voluntarily leave and will have the right to fill out an application for admittance to the country.  They can keep their money, homes, cars, etc. but will have to wait until all other applications ahead of them have been accepted or denied.  Those that have a proven history with our country (20 years or more) and have shown that they want what's best for it, will be guaranteed acceptance provided they have no criminal record.  4) Children who are born here but whose parents are here illegally must return to the parents' country of origin.  At age 18, they can apply for a US passport and return to the US legally.

  This is one hot topic that people feel strongly about on both sides.  But I have not yet figured out how anyone can think that location matters on whether or not it's murder.  You would never kill a baby out of the womb, so why would his or her location matter?  That's like saying, I'm inside my house so you can kill me but when I'm out of my house, you can't.  I just don't understand it, you will never be able to convince me otherwise.  I have no problem with people choosing to prohibit the creation of life, but once it's created, you're out of luck.  A woman's right to choose what happens with HER body ends when it becomes the choice of what to do with someone else's body.  She had the right to have sex or not... she doesn't get the right kill another human being because she wasn't planning on being pregnant.  When it comes to being a matter of convenience, there should be no choice - the choice was to have sex or not to... this is a consequence of that decision, your next choice should be whether you're going to give the baby up for adoption or raise it with your husband.  In the matter of birth control failing, this is one of the reasons that you should not have sex unless you're married to someone with whom you intend on spending your life with - that should be your back up plan, not an abortion.  This gets tricky when the baby is not a result of the woman (or girl)'s choice to have sex.  In the case of rape, it will need to be the matter of prayer.  If it were me, I would carry the baby to term, be grateful that new life could come from something so evil, and give the baby up for adoption.  I know there are thousands of parents out there that desperate for children and I would hope that women would consider them over terminating a pregnancy - let something good come from something bad.  Bring happiness to a family that so desperately looks for it.  I do think that it also needs to be a deep matter of prayer when it comes to whether or not you personally can live with the daily reminder of being a victim.  The final thing to consider is when a mother's life is at risk.  Every time I was pregnant, I thought of this scenario... what if the doctor tells me that this baby could kill me?  I personally would have to make it a matter of prayer but I believe I would carry the baby and trust that God knows what is best.  We are talking about 2 lives, yours or the baby's, I think I would let God determine which of us gets to live, if the answer is neither, so be it.  For me, that's the answer, for someone else, it might not be.  Please pray and seek guidance before you do anything.

   I don't mind so much that government wants to give healthcare to people who don't have it.  I consider the following...  1) My husband's work has been providing us with insurance for years, we pay a monthly premium, like you would for ANY type of insurance.  I like what we have and we PAY for it.  I don't want that to change.  2) There are many small business owners that can't afford insurance for themselves or their employees and individual private insurance is a nightmare (I know because we looked into it for ourselves once).  3) I do think EVERYONE should have some sort of healthcare.  If you pay for better, you get better.  NOW, how do all of these things work together?  The government should provide an insurance type program for everyone who doesn't receive insurance through work.  A citizen pays a monthly premium based on how many people are in their family and current income, but everyone pays.  People on this program can only go to certain care centers that accept it (like an HMO center), unless they choose to pay more and get a PPO plan.  People who are here illegally will be patched up and sent back to their country of origin.  People receiving government assistance will be put on a very basic plan, and their premiums will be taken out of their check from the government (if they qualify to receive $200/month in assistance and they are supposed to pay $20 for insurance, they will only receive $180 in a check).  EVERYONE else uses their own insurance from work and nothing changes for them, no increase in taxes or premiums.  It should not be pleasant for people or desirable for them to have government insurance, it should be something they are trying to get off of or something that they only use in desperate times (like when your own insurance company drops you, you lose your job, or can't get coverage because of a pre-existing condition).  People paying for their own insurance should not have to pay for everyone else's healthcare as well.  Everyone should be taking care of their own family and their own needs...  the government should be there to supplement only and fill in where insurance companies fall short, not provide everything for everyone.

   This is a tough one for me to put in words.  Let's start with this:  I believe in God.  I believe that He set up His pattern for marriage from the beginning of the world.  He set Adam and Eve upon the Earth and commanded that they multiply and replenish the population.  Marriage is between man and woman.    I believe that God's laws are eternal and can not be changed based on current social/political policies.  So, do I think we need to change our countries' definition of marriage - nope... not our place to question God.  Does this mean I hate people that struggle with same-sex attraction?  NOT AT ALL.  I chose the word "struggle" on purpose.  It can not be easy for someone who grows up feeling different.  I can only imagine the daily struggles that they go through to find acceptance from friends, family, or coworkers.  They are asked to put up with a lot and my heart aches to see anyone face trials of such magnitude.  I don't pretend to understand why God asks people to live with this but I do know that the harder our struggles in the life, the stronger we become.  I hope that all people can find their happiness and do what they feel is right for them and hope that they pray to find the strength they need to push forward.

   Do I believe a government has a responsibility to provide for it's citizens?  Yes, I do.  Do I believe those citizens have a responsibility to make sure the government doesn't have to provide for them?  Yes, I do.  Here is my plan: Everyone can do something.  They can.   The government needs people to file forms, make copies, make phone calls, etc.  They can use people who are getting assistance to do those kinds of jobs while they work to find something more permanent. Anyone who gets assistance should have to work for it.  If you have 3 single moms and all of them are receiving assistance, the government can organize them in a way that perhaps 1 can provide day care for the other 2 to work.  Even if someone can't walk, they can still read forms, enter data, etc.  Now, if they are mentally or physically unable to do anything, their families should be the first to care for them, if family is not available, then they can receive the basics from the government - the bare minimum to live.  Extras (like TV) will need to be provided by family.  If someone is going to get government assistance, that means somewhere, someone else is paying for them.  They WORK for those people and should be accountable to them.  They should have to hand in receipts for everything they pay for in a month.  If their receipts plus their savings do not equal what they made at their job plus what they got from the government, they need to be put on probation and audited monthly.  As they pay for wants vs. needs, they should receive that much less money the next month from the government. (a flat screen TV, alcohol, cigarettes, manicures, or a cell phone are  NOT needs - housing, food, basic transportation are needs).  For example:  A woman gets $200/month in government assistance towards food.  She spends $100 that month on getting a manicure, paying a bar tab, and going to the movies.  The next month, she should receive only $100 from the government because obviously, she was getting too much money.  Anyone receiving money from the government should have their lives under a microscope, they should get drug tested before they are handed the check, and need to understand that they do not get the same luxuries that other people get.  Why people think they get to live for free while millions of others work, I will never understand.  Also, no one gets welfare unless they are citizen of our country.

   A necessary evil - we have a country to run, we have to pay taxes, but I think everyone should pay the same rate - EVERYONE.  No one should pay more than anyone else.  I have 2 ways to do this...  PLAN A: do away completely with income tax and do a use tax on all items (small percentage of gas, food, clothes, property, etc.)  Therefore, no one gets away without ever paying taxes (it bugs me that the people who don't pay taxes are the ones that use government services - so they pay nothing and get the most help??) and you only pay taxes on things you actually use.  I actually think the country could get a lot more money from this and it encourages people to be more self-sufficient (grow own vegetables, drive less often - good for environment, and make own clothes - a lost art).  PLAN B: flat rate tax maximum.  For example: EVERYONE pays 10% of their income regardless of how much they make.  Tax credits will be made for dependents (i.e. .25% less per person), donations to charity (i.e. .5% off for every 1% of your total income donated).  If you make $200/week, you pay $20 in taxes for that week.   Those who make $2000/week pay $200 in taxes.  The richer you are, the more you pay, BUT it's in the same proportion as everyone else.  I hate that when I see a cause that I think is important, like cancer research, I can not donate to them because the government has taken my money and given it to pay for someone's food because they decided to drop out of high school or because the president needed the money to go on vacation to Europe.

   I believe in the eternal law of cause and effect.  For every action there is a reaction, that is for every action there is a consequence (bad or good).  Everything we do has consequences and it is up to us to accept them, not try to make our world one that doesn't have consequences.  I don't want my children growing up thinking that there is an easy way out for their actions, I want them to struggle to make their life Every time we try to cover up a mistake, pass the blame, or not take responsibility for our own self and family then we end up causing more damage.  Take responsibility for your own actions and take control of your own future.