Politics

I’ve always been interested in politics.  I’m sorry.  I can’t help myself. One of my earliest memories is of the night Harry Truman was elected.  We lived in Little Rock, Arkansas, at the time.  I guess I was about five or six years old.  Dad was excited by the election and decided to drive down town fairly late in the evening.  I recall the spotlights and all of the excitement on the streets.


The Kennedy-Nixon and the Johnson-Goldwater campaigns, I suspect, is what made me a political junky and a fellow who has an opinion on just about anything political.  Personally, I’ve never been interested in running for office.  My wife, school board member, is the politician in our family.  Frankly, I suspect there is something seriously wrong with anyone who runs for office.  That’s one of the things that compels me to keep track of these guys and gals.  I, of course, will make an exception to my skepticism in Linda’s case.


Eisenhower was my president throughout high school.  He was like everyone’s ideal grandfather.  The economy was booming, and society was beginning to take a giant step. I’m not sure which direction the step was, but we took it together.


Instinctively I did not trust John Kennedy, but the assassination of the President of the United States, our President, was a blow to the country and to me.


Poor old Johnson was a good president, but Vietnam devoured him and his presidency.

 

Nixon was a guy I respected.  Not exactly a warm and fuzzy guy, but he was smart and shrewd.  I like my presidents a little cranky, and he filled the bill.  It’s too bad that his paranoia led to his deception of the American people and caused him to resign.


Gerald Ford, a good man, was a place holder.  After his pardon of Nixon and the draft evaders, not even I could vote for him.  But I couldn’t vote for Jimmy Carter either.  The only time I withheld my X in a presidential race.


Jimmy Carter may not have been as bad as I felt he was at the time, but he has become a bitter, bitter old man.  During his term I began to look overseas for an alternative to the U. S.  Time passes and I guess the country and I are stuck with each other.


Ronald Reagan, courageous, strong, a good uncle. I’m not sure when or why he became such an icon of conservatism.  He and Eisenhower were my personal favorites.


George Bush Senior, not too bad; however, not a person that instilled a lot of confidence in me, and he seemed to lose his focus near the end of his term, old age perhaps.


Bill Clinton, good president, horrible human being.


George Bush, not the joke people try to make of him.  He did the best he could, and he kept the country safe, no small accomplishment.


Obama, a question mark, but one that is being answered, and it ain’t good.  I couldn’t vote for him in 2008 because I felt that I didn’t know him.  I did know he was a Chicago politician...not a mark in the plus column.  Under pressure from my wife, I was supportive of him for two weeks of his term.  Then things turned ugly.  I am disturbed by the blind faith so many people seem to place in him.


I am certain that the fact that I’ve lived in Texas since ‘67 greatly influences my view of what governments should do for the citizens.  Early on in my residence in Texas, I wondered aloud to a colleague why Texans seemed so proud of their state. The only thing good I could see were the highways.  He replied to my question by saying that Texans have a tradition of optimism.  I think he was right about that.


Texans have kept the state government to a minimum.  The legislature is scheduled to meet once every two years.  The governor has very limited powers; we have been able to afford to make mistakes with this position and not pay a high price for the mistakes.  There is no state income tax.  I pay 8.25% in state and local sales taxes.  With only a few exceptions, property taxes are extremely low.  To make a comparison, California's top marginal rate on corporate income tax is 8.84%, compared to Texas' mere 1%.  Yet, we have extremely good highways, respectable schools, and just about anything one would want to live around.


Consequently, my politics is conservative: limited government, strong military, belief in the Constitution, not loose interpretation (People seem to be unaware that there is a mechanism for altering the Constitution.), low taxes, minimal waste by government.


So, as you can imagine, I’m more than a little disappointed in both political parties.  If I lived in California, New York, or Michigan, I might have a different political point-of-view or be totally out of place.


The attempt to picture conservatives as ignorant rednecks is ridiculous, but no more than picturing liberals as libertines although I suspect they believe that the world operates through magic.


Kennedy’s death was a blow to the faith of people in the country.  Vietnam was a blow to the morale of the country from which we have never fully recovered.  Nixon and Clinton did the country much harm.  The deaths of Robert Kennedy, who should have become president, and Martin Luther King were also hurtful.  9-11 should have been a great moment of unity in the country but turned in to a point of division.  The current economic woes only highlight the differences between Texas and the rest of the country; we will be the last to feel the economic crunch, and we kind of resent the rest of you folks screwing it up.


Yes, I’m a fiscal and social conservative. The fiscal part causes me to despair quite often. The social part only causes me discomfort, nothing worth throwing myself out the window.  I would feel much better about the social issues if folks would not only expect the citizenry to allow but also pay for the immorality of folks.


I think the thing that bothers me the most is a disappointment with lost opportunities for the country to be as great as most of the people of the country are. The federal government is too complex for anyone to understand or manage.  I suppose it would be foolish to expect this to change.


Of course, politicians depend on registered voters to get them elected.   The poll tax was ruled unconstitutional as it should have been, but it appears to me that we’re making it way to easy to vote.  Lots of folks shouldn’t be anywhere around a voting booth.  Mainly these folks are those who never pay attention to politics but show up to vote.  At least when I vote, which is every time the door is open, I don’t vote in elections that I’m not knowledgeable about.  I suspect this is not true for far too many.


I sometimes think it’s time to give up my interest in politics, but I fear that at my age my interest runs too deep to discard?

enough

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