Friday, October 24, 2008

A Casted Vote

I voted today. Since I am new to the area I needed to register and thought it better to register early since a 95% voter turnout is expected in this area. While I will probably be here on November 4 I decided not to take any chances and wanted to cast my vote so it can be counted. My daughter had a dream that for some reason she didn't vote and when she awoke Nov. 5 Obama had lost by 1 point! Not wanting such a dream to come true for us, I am happy to have done my civic duty.

It is incomprehensible to me that some people choose not to vote. Admittedly there have been times I've voted against a candidate rather than for one but still made the effort to vote. Some have said they don't like either candidate or don't know for whom to vote. Since indecisiveness is not one of my afflictions, I do not understand these sentiments. This campaign, in particular, has provided a plethora of information so a citizen would have to be making an effort NOT to access information.

Our right to vote is still historically new, and some of us have had the right to vote for even less time. To not vote is spitting on the very basics of this country and the basic tenets of the US. People in assorted countries in the world risk their lives to vote yet in this country citizens blithly ignore their personal involvemnt in this special process.

A citizen can complain about the bureaucratic mess that is Washington, D.C., may grumble that their vote won't matter, gripe that no one is concerned about the "little guy." If you don't vote, if you aren't involved in holding representatives accountable, if you don't stay informed then you, as a nonparticipant in the system, is just as responsible for this country's mess. By voting we have a say in who represents us in Washington and we have the right and responsibility to tell those elected officials how we feel about issues.

I have little patience for lazy citizens, and I still believe citizens can make a difference. In fact, I often relish being a thorn in an elected official's side. (Maybe if more people thought of it as a sport or we had betting on a fantasy congressional team more people would be interested.) Don't bother saying you don't have time for writing letters, emails or making phone calls --- we're all busy and those contacts don't take that long to make. Look at it this way. By abdicating responsibility for keeping informed on issues and not communicating your thoughts to your representatives then why shouldn't they abdicate their responsiblity to you as a constituent.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Happy Smurfday

It is the Smurf's 50th birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SMURFS!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Real Americans

North Carolina Republican Rep. Robin Hayes told McCain supporters that, "Liberals hate real Americans that work and accomplish and achieve and believe in God." Didn't we go through the formal weeding out of real and unreal Americans during the Joe McCarthy debacle? Hmmmmm, during the 1950's "real Americans" feared and rejected communism. I'm a little foggy on what Americans are fearing and rejecting today. I do know that Barack and Michelle Obama have come under the "real American" microscope because of an email claiming that Barack didn't put his hand on his heart when reciting the Pledge of Alliegence, he is a Muslim; Michelle admitted to not always being really proud of her country, and Fox News (holders of all things "really American") pointed out the terrorist hand bump used by the Obamas. Gasp!

This issue must be further explored. If "real Americans" work hard, accomplish, achieve, and believe in God then "unreal Americans" must be non-working, unaccomplished, unachieving atheists. Here I thought I was associating with liberal friends only now to realize they are all closet conservatives because they work, accomplish, achieve, and believe in God.

One more reason to vote for Obama is to end this ridiculous talk of "real Americans" versus "unreal Americans." Once President, Barack Obama can set this nation on the path of resolving real issues, helping the US continue to be a real melting pot, and celebrating real diversity. I think a country filled with only Representative Hayes's cookie cutter, like minded, Stepford population would be mighty boring.

(P.S. As a resident of Wisconsin I am always gratefully awed that we vote for a Democrat in Presidential elections. Joe McCarthy was from Appleton, Wisconsin; the John Birch Society is based in Appleton; the Republican Party was born in Ripon, Wisconsin.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Designers for Obama is a site of campaign sign designs. As an Obama supporter it was worth a "look-see." Just another form of support for our new hope.

Body of Lies

We saw "Body of Lies" starring Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio. Both men are gifted actors and usually headline thought provoking movies. "Body of Lies" is so thought provoking that I am still mulling it over today.

DiCaprio plays Ferris, a CIA operative who is sent to Jordan to track a high ranking terrorist. Crowe is a CIA chief based at Langley who is in charge of Middle Eastern affairs. The movie is intense, fast paced, and violent. It is also an insight into a part of the world I do not profess to understand. After watching this movie I am even more disquieted about the region than before.

"Body of Lies" underscores the violence in the region, the lack of trust between not only the US and Muslims but the lack of trust between Muslims. Lives are not sacred, human sacrifices are used for gain, torture acceptable -- by both Americans and Muslims. What the movie shows is that in the Middle East the veneer of civility and sophistication covers primal behaviors and cruelties by both West and Middle East.

Do I think the US presence in Iraq has lessoned terrorism? No. Do I think a surge in Afghanastan will lesson terrorism? No. What I think might lessen terrorism is our finding alternative fuel sources so we can wave goodbye to the oil sheiks, leave the Middle East to their own fighting, and concentrate on doing non-violent good deeds. I am tired of us spending time in a land of nations who have been fighting amongst themselves longer than anyone can remember.

Do history teachers spend more time teaching US students about the Middle East than they did during my school days? Why do we as Americans understand so little about a part of the world that impacts us so greatly? Because of our dependence on oil we are intricately tied to the Middle East yet we know so little about the culture. But,like many Americans I try not to give much thought to the Middle East, and this movie brought those thoughts to the forefront in a movie screen large way, and I can't get them out of my thoughts. Which is probably where they should remain.