Friday, September 5, 2008

Sadly undecided...

This is the first time since I was eligible to vote that I don't know who I am voting for at this stage of the game...

I've been a liberal and I've been a conservative, I've was even passionately political for a time. One thing I have remained throughout is very passionately patriotic! Yes, I cry still when our National Anthem is played, especially when I am on foreign soil. There really is no place in the world like America. Yes she is young still, and brash as Johnny Depp pointed out in his much misunderstood and maligned comment after 9/11, but she is very idealistic and proud and her people are FREE! We enjoy a freedom here like no one else in the world does. I thank God often that I was lucky enough to be born here. There is no place in the world like America...

I've been longing for some time now to be able to place my vote for President of the United States of America for almost anyone other than a white male of either party. Nothing against white males, it's just time! (Please don't think me racist or sexist, I am very far from either one of those things.) As the political pendulum has slowed it's wild swing in my life I seem to have fallen a bit to the conservative side of center, not as liberal as I have been but far less conservative than I have ever been either...

I've been holding out great hope for Senator Obama during most of this campaign. Though I'd love to see a woman in the White House, Hillary would never have gotten my vote. I was never prouder of her though than when she spoke out for Obama at the DNC. She did her job fantastically and even brought tears to my eyes a couple of times!!! (No one was more surprised at that than I!) I was also moved by Bill's profession of love to his wife, though he didn't really do her any favors during her campaign which only reinforced my intense dislike of the man. I recall with great emotion how difficult the Clinton days were for me. I remember the Reagan/Bush days as the good old days (boo if you have to...) they were good for me economically and also they were very good days for an American who spent most of those days on foreign soil. They were the days of favor for our troops of which I was one. Those were the days I chose to exercise my passion for my country by serving in our military.

I remember vividly the early days of the Clinton regime with horror as he began to decimate the armed forces and it wasn't long before I was one of his casualties. He got rid of most of the mid-level managers, the ones with all the experience. My military service ended but I remained overseas for a few more years. There was a different feeling then about us, like we were often being laughed at. Coming home to white bread America in the mid 90's wasn't much easier. It was soo hard to find work in those days with my military resume. I sometimes felt like a creature from outer space! I guess that's when the pendulum swung right for me...

I'm not still waaay over there thankfully, but as I said earlier, I am still not sure who I am voting for in this election! What I am most sensitive to these days is all the bitter blaming going on in our two party system. I know it has been that way for a long time, but for some reason it is particularly hard to take right now. With all our elections so close in recent history, we are a nation divided. It is really hard to stomach the acrimonious dismissal by either side of 50% of the people in our great nation!! That kind of divisive pride is tearing me apart inside a bit.

There is not just a right way and a wrong way to come up against almost any issue I have ever seen. Anything that doesn't bend, will eventually break. And I'm not talking about one side or the other giving in. I guess I'm talking about giving up! I'm talking about thinking outside the box. Not your way or my way, or what we can't accomplish, but what CAN we do! I think that only humility can bring us across the aisle to someplace where we can co-exist, someplace where we can get close enough to each other to see our similarities and not just the gulf that divides us.

I was sooo hoping that Senator Obama was going to be that man, that man who could get us crossing the aisle and listening to one another. I admit to being pretty disappointed after his speech last week. (I really, REALLY like him!) I didn't hear what I was expecting to hear though. I heard a man toeing the party line, and bitterly so, advocating again, for 50% of Americans. ;(

Instead, last night John McCain surprised me. The words of conciliation I expected to hear from Obama were coming from his mouth instead. Words of humility. Words like, 'It doesn't matter who get's the credit.', and words like I was wrong, when speaking of the way he lived before his experience as a POW. I was reminded of why I served my country and why it really matters when you put others first. I was reminded why I served to defend our freedoms that I so cherish. Even that freedom of speech that some use to rip 50% of our people apart. I was convinced that I would do it all over again if I could. I was moved to tears. I felt like I heard a great and humble man speak last night, and more importantly, I think I heard him bend...

There is a part of me that wanted to turn off the comments to this post, but that is the part of me that lives inside the box. That isn't the part of me that served to defend our famous freedoms. This is America, the land of the free and the home of the brave! So, say your piece, and remember that I love you all, as living breathing people, and not as labels!

I still don't know who is going to get my vote in this election, but I will be listening and watching closely in the days ahead...

20 comments:

Kathy said...

Very nicely said! Your version of the Reagan Years almost brings tears to my eyes! Maybe you have had to be military during those days to understand it, but putting Army on my resume was a good thing, back then!

Anyway, thanks for sharing, and talking about a very touchy subject. It is great to see things through the eyes of people I admire.

Hope you are doing OK these days - you've been kind of quiet!

Take care, Shakes.

Kathy said...

Very nicely said! Your version of the Reagan Years almost brings tears to my eyes! Maybe you have had to be military during those days to understand it, but putting Army on my resume was a good thing, back then!

Anyway, thanks for sharing, and talking about a very touchy subject. It is great to see things through the eyes of people I admire.

Hope you are doing OK these days - you've been kind of quiet!

Take care, Shakes.

Judge said...

Hey Shakes - not to change the subject but I heard what is going on in Haiti. I hope everything and everyone you care about it ok.

*Hugs*

I think this election is so complex and complicated that it goes beyond party affiliation, gender, race, etc. The stakes are too high to make a snap judgment. Change is just a word and without a congress backing them, the President will never get anything done.

I hate that politics to so many is black and white because it is far from it. It is blurry and mucky and makes no sense.

-Sir Jack said...

Deep thoughts there Shakes!
I'm glad you're giving it a lot of thought, more people should. The two-party system is archaic and should be changed!

Politics has gotten to be an "ugly" show to watch. I haven't been watching the conventions. For me, they are like a political marathon commercial from hell. Maybe you are getting something out of watching them that will help you decide.

When thinking on who to vote for, I tend to think about the whole package...VP & team. Along with what side of the issues they're on of course ... that has helped me decide...Obama.

shakenbsis said...

Hey Rachel, thank you so much! Yes, Haiti is in a bad place right now, probably worse than it looks at first glance. The place that Hanna hit had thousands die there in mudslides after Jeane. When they come out of the north like that everything just runs down the mountains into the sea. It will be a while before we see how bad it is, the UN hadn't been able to get there last I heard...

I agree with you on the political issues too, every word in your comment rings true to me...

Thanks Sir, thanks Kathy! I love you guys!!!

cranky anonymous said...

It's funny how two people can watch the same thing and see it two different ways.

I LOVED Obama's speech. I thought it was brilliant, outlined his plans and was just what I wanted to hear.

I HATED McCain's speech. He did nothing to tell me why he should be President, what his plans were for the country and what he was going to do for me.

McCain's ads have been nothing but negative since the get go, his campaign has personally attacked Obama and only told me why I shouldn't vote for Obama. I want candidates to tell me why I should vote for them. To me, negative ads are an act of desperation and tells me that he really has nothing to offer the election.

I have the utmost respect of your opinions and beliefs and in no way mean to offend or belittle you. I hope my post has not made you feel that way. Politics are very touchy and tricky and I thank you for sharing your opinions and allowing this discussion on your blog. :)

Osh said...

HUGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

dj said...

Aww Shakes I feel alot of the same feelings as you do. I hate the name-calling and insults during the campaigns. Our nation is totally divided, which is sad. We are all AMERICANS first--we should support each other, not tear each other down.

shakenbsis said...

"It's funny how two people can watch the same thing and see it two different ways."

So true Cranky!! Don't worry, you haven't lost my love or my respect by speaking your mind.

It wasn't quite LOVE/HATE for me.

I loved most of what Obama had to say and wanted with everything in me to believe it, I just don't believe he can do what he says he will, no matter how he may want to.
I also was in no way expecting a lot of the bitterness I heard coming from his mouth toward McCain. (I heard a liberal news man say it was 21 times Obama and only 6 times McCain mentioned the other in a bad light) I TOTALLY agree with you on the negative ads!!! McCain shocked me in that way ;(

Thanks so much for taking the time to share your views here, love and respect coming right back to you love!!!

Dj, you KNOW I'm crazy about you!

OK, gotta get back to S^2C!!!

Kris said...

I know where you're coming from. As much as I want him to, Obama just isn't striking a cord with me - I hope that seeing the debates and reading more on his website will convince me that I'm not (once again) voting against someone - their beliefs, their policies and what I think they'll do to this country.

I read with interest your comments about the Clintons - I have a compeltely different take than you - but I was in college, not in the military and benefitted greatly from that reign - DH (military, family, etc) I don't think sees it the same way I do (and you too!).

Isn't it great that we can all have our opinions and have access to tons of information to make up our own minds?

Thinking of you and your girls everytime I read something about Haiti...

M said...

Your saga gave me pause. I sort of remember reading news accounts about the military downsizing in the '90s... but there's a big diff between just scanning a story and having one's whole livelihood knocked out from under, aina?

Your opinion of the USA is the same as mine. I'm proud to be an American; I've touted the "John Adams" miniseries that ran last spring as being the most emotionally moving thing I've read/seen/heard in ages. The tale of how this nation was founded is astounding. As citizens, we need to do our best to ensure that the legacy of a free and democratic republic is able to continue for generations to come.

A strong military is a must for every nation. A military that attracts and retains the best and the brightest, LIKE YOU, SHAKES. I'd like to see a required 2 years of service (military, Peace Corps, or in a CCC-like organization that operates within our borders) from every citizen before the age of 26. All personnel would receive a salary (like soldiers do, and the CCC did) Spend my tax dollars on that!!

I had a bad time in the Reagan years, myself.

Speeches are written by whomever, often not the speaker. Obama couldn't possibly have escaped the tentacles of the often wrongheaded Democratic party last week... just as McCain can't escape the ghost of Rove's successes, as he runs those despicable ads. Good luck in deciding, my friend.

M said...

Oh, and THANK YOU for your service to our country!

There was a lot of crying over here during the Olympics... all those Star Spangled Banners for the US gold medalists!

-Mary

Suz said...

Nice blog, B! I try very hard to stay out of the political banter, mostly because I do have some pretty serious beliefs about the way this country should be run, but doubt my blathering and hissing will effectively change the minds of those at whom I bark.

Basically, I get pissy with those who don't agree with me.

:p

I will say this much. You are not alone in your indecision. There are many folks out there mulling this decision. My mind was made up before the conventions, but I feel good about "my people."

:)

(I'm still watching to make sure they don't misstep my views as they travel to the people to divulge their message). ;)

lawgirl said...

I think that you should look at the issues and what each candidate stands for and make your decision that way. I have stopped listening to speeches. I feel like the speeches are all about gaining votes, and are not really genuine.

Also go to these sites for help.

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/

http://www.factcheck.org/

They are unbiased and give the facts.

Good luck making up your mind. I hope all is well with your daughters.

shakenbsis said...

Wow!
Thank you all so much for your very thoughtful and curteous comments. I have so much respect for all of you for different reasons.

I love those that have dared to express disagreement without acrimony. (I love truth telling above most all else these days. Can't stand phony!)

Suz! I sooo have appreciated you declining to speak politics here and elsewhere and sticking to it. I love folks who do what they say they are going to do! Even if I am not always one of them ;(

Like Rachel said earlier, "I think this election is so complex and complicated that it goes beyond party affiliation, gender, race, etc. The stakes are too high to make a snap judgment. Change is just a word and without a congress backing them, the President will never get anything done."

I so agree with that, this is an important time in our great nation and shouldn't be taken lightly.

One thing I have loved about this election season (despite the obvious race/gender issues) is the way so many who have never before voted are getting involved!!! My brother being one of them!!

What a privelege we have, to get a voice in how our country is run!!!

shakenbsis said...

Tiffany and others who have asked, I've heard nothing out of Haiti personally since Gustav hit.

Evidently Hanna had a much tougher impact, laving at least 500 dead in Gonaive (a place where I have friends) The UN was jsut able to get in there yesterday,so reports are still sketchy.

I've heard nothing yet on the girls or anyone else I know there, but Ike is on he way and I may not hear a thing for a wile...

I'll put more up on the other blog soon... THANKS!!!

barb said...

hey bj#1 - i'm undecided too - i admit i didn't watch the conventions. i could never vote for obama so that leaves me 2 choices: mccain or write-in for ron paul. when the hype about palin dies down, i will probably tune into see what mccain is saying and then make the final decision.

Blaznfire911 said...

Very well said SHakes! I have no idea what I am going to do either. Like you, I will be watching closely to everything up until the day...and I don't think that I will know what to do until that day comes.

My hubby has already made his mind up, so I don't know why it's so hard for me to make up mine.

Robbi said...

Bravo!!!! Bravo!!!!
Shakes!!!!

Thank You for what you have done to help keep us safe...

Also, I like you are have no idea yet...I will be watching....

shakenbsis said...

Kris! I somehow scrolled past your comment earlier, can't believe I missed it.

"Isn't it great that we can all have our opinions and have access to tons of information to make up our own minds?"

I loved that! That is soooo America!

BJ#2, Doc, Robbi!!! Thanks for chiming in ;)

Everytime I check here I see soemthing I missed earlier.

Mary, I've often thought similarly about compulsory service of some sort for our country (I thought seriously about Peace Corps for a while and also Mercy Ships) I wonder how many countries besides Israel have soemthing of the sort?