An abysmally late blog, but then again, I've kept up the poem-a-day-thing (www.ellenpoems.blogspot.com) so let's cut me some slack! It's also been a hellacious month in many ways, but no need to get into all that.
November 6 approacheth, and any opinionated person worth his or her weight in goose down is weighing in. We've got Republicans stuck in offensive mode, apparently unable to speak without saying something ridiculous like "legitimate rape" or "God intended the rape" or "retards." The Vice President got criticized for sarcasm and the President let the word "bullshit" escape during a Rolling Stones interview. Little ole Fort Pierce is now on the political map as the home of Scott van Duzer, he of the presidential bear hug, with unbelievably vile criticism for being an outgoing, friendly guy.
We've seen horrible ads, sleazy ads, immature ads, downright inaccurate ads. According to who you read or listen to, every Democrat is a liberal idiot who wants to hamstring businesses in order to feed lazy poor people who should be out there working instead of making more babies for the express purpose of extorting additional state money. Every Republican is a lobotomized misogynist (even the females!) who wants to obliterate freedom of thought and require women to have at least two babies before they think about a career.
Wrong on all counts.
Which is why I'm now a registered Independent who is trying to weigh all the promises, debates, opinions, commentators, wisdom, factcheckers, and gut feelings to come up with a reason to vote for whoever-I-vote-for in a few weeks, unless I opt for early voting and get it over with sooner.
Everyone has pet issues. For some, it's Social Security and Medicare. For others, it's the military.
Years ago, my husband and I took temperament tests, which has nothing to do with the election, but bear with me. The basic temperaments are Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholic, and Phlegmatic. It's more complex than this, but the nutshell version is:
Sanguine - outgoing, friendly, sociable, pleasure-seeking
Choleric - energetic, edgy, motivated, ambitious, leader-like
Melancholic - introverted, thoughtful
Phlegmatic - quiet, easy-going
My scores were fairly even among the first three temperaments, almost non-existent with the fourth. I can be quiet, and I can be easy-going, but phlegmatic is not my natural bent. My husband, on the other hand, scored almost totally phlegmatic, with very low scores for the other three temperaments. Opposites, in other words. (And who says God doesn't have a sense of humor?)
Why this story applies to the election: my issues are broad. I'm not primarily concerned about just one or two, but the ones I consider "key" I feel very strongly about.
Life. I think life is important, that God breathes life into us for a purpose. As a woman I don't want anyone telling me whether or not I have the right to become pregnant. As a mother and grandmother, I don't want anyone counseling my granddaughter (or yours) about having an abortion without a parent or guardian present. I don't want fellow women getting partial advice or incorrect advice or submitting to a procedure under less-than-sterile conditions. I think abortion should be regulated, if it is to continue, so that a surgical procedure isn't allowed to be performed by people without proper training under unregulated conditions. If the health and life of the fetus is legally ignored, that's one thing. Giving the abortion industry free rein in the name of "choice" isn't giving enough importance to the lives of women in crisis. And I've mellowed somewhat, over the years. I understand that women can be in difficult situations in which they truly believe abortion is the only answer. I get that. I don't agree, necessarily, but I'm guilty of my own particular sins and have no fingers left to point at them in blame. Plus, the majority of the country apparently wants legalized abortion....so if it's going to be legal, it should be safe, with parental consent, and with full disclosure of possible consequences to the mother just like with any other surgical procedure. Abortion shouldn't be glossed over - there's no invasiveness to an ultrasound, no violation of civil rights to give complete information before a woman decides. And absolutely, if a minor is pregnant, she's not equipped to make such a monumental, potentially life-changing decision on her own.
Both presidential candidates are playing the moderate game as election day draws near, but Mitt Romney seems to be more consistently anti-abortion, while Barak Obama seems to be more consistently pro-abortion. Note that I avoided the usual labels of "pro-life" and "pro-choice" by design. Too often pro-lifers forget about the life of the mothers, and too often pro-choicers are only interested in the choice they themselves would make in the same circumstances. There needs to be a willingness to meet somewhere in the middle, and both candidates hold out a glimmer of hope here.
Call me a religious nut case, but I believe the Bible as far as Israel's eternal destiny. I believe that God did choose the Jewish people for a purpose, that Israel is a vital, integral part to the future of mankind. Do I understand it all? Do I think Israel is always right? Of course not. But in God's government, and seen throughout man's history, a nation's relationship with the nation of Israel is important. It still is. From an entirely secular standpoint, Israel deserves our support because of its strategic position, geographically, in the Middle East; for its democracy; for its history - we must remember the Holocaust and make sure it doesn't happen again. From a Christian standpoint, our "religion" (it isn't a religion at all, actually, but a relationship) is grafted onto the root of Judaism, and we are, therefore, or should be, forever in allegiance from that perspective.
In the final presidential debate, Obama spoke out in support of Israel, but it may be, for voters, too little too late. His alleged snubbing of Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu recently, coupled with a record of Muslim-leaning rhetoric is disturbing. On the other hand, Romney's Mormon beliefs are so far from the majority of the American peoples' that concern is justified in that camp as well.
Romney's military stance seems stronger to me than Obama's. He has run businesses and a state.
Obama has a more even temperament, and seems more approachable.
Both men, I believe, are sincere in their desire to lead the United States into economic recovery, military strength, physical health, and educational excellence. The fact that President Obama was sincere about all these things four years ago, and hasn't delivered on much, is a big concern. The fact that Mitt Romney waffles and hasn't laid out a finite plan is a big concern as well.
I guess I've got to think about it some more, but time is limited. I've been told, by people who have no faith (or think they don't - but that's the subject of another essay) that they envy my faith and wish they shared my confidence in divinity, in absolutes. I hear people speak and see posts on Facebook that imply many of the people I know are just as certain of either Obama or Romney. I envy their certainty. I just don't share it.