It has been a long time since I used this blog for my random thoughts and now I am not sure how to stop them. I might need some sleep at some point tonight...
Anyway I am finding a lot of the current political issues perplexing. I was reading on another blog about the importance of Self-Education (thank you, Matthew Good!) ... however I am finding it incredibly difficult. Are there any truly unbiased websites or information services out there that actually speak in layman's terms as well as present the whole picture for people to make their own decisions on? I am not an idiot but I also do not make it a part of my life to go around spewing a vocabulary that only a select few can actually understand. I prefer to speak direct and to the point and not try to flatter myself or diminish others by assuming everyone knows what the hell I am talking about. I do not think it means someone is stupid if they do not use or understand the rather enormous words I see around the net. I think it means they were just educated in a different way. Sometimes I feel as though I should whip out my scholarships and college transcripts and shout "See? I'm no dummy!" because I know I get that glazed look in my eye when people ramble off with increasingly incomprehensible wordage. I feel like Arnold - "Say What??".
Anyway I derailed my own train of thought there so suffice to say I do not speak that way and you will not find it here. It does not mean I am not educated, it does not mean my thoughts are not valid. It simply means I do not need or want to use that type of language to express my thoughts. There, I knew I would reach my point eventually.
Back to unbiased educational sites - Where are they? I feel like I cannot trust textbooks because over the years I have learned that many things are altered or left out or completely falsified to suit whoever has written it. I have read through numerous conservative or patriot websites, as well as liberal or Democrat, or 'for the people' sites. It all becomes one gigantic web of confusion for me. I will read one thing and be completely convinced of an idea, but then stumble upon something else and change my mind. I will talk with friends who believe one thing and others who believe something completely different. It is hard to find a balance. I suppose I would be classed as someone who is in the center - leaning Right for some ideas and Left for others. Or maybe I would be classed as someone who has no idea about anything. Who cares? I read, I think, I ponder, and I notice things. Because I have always watched people and tried to pick apart their minds to figure out why they did something, what they thought about, and how they came to their conclusion. That is how I am.
One major thing I have noticed surrounds the election of Barack Obama. While I understand the significance of this historic event, I also sit back and watch others' reactions. I remember things people said before he won the Democratic nomination and apply it to what they are saying about him now. It is quite shocking. I know this is just a small sampling of the hundreds of millions of people in the United States but I also see it happening on television, radio, and in newspapers. I recall people that supported Hillary Clinton telling me that they did not trust Obama as far as they could throw him. Saying that there was something about him they did not like and that his ideas were far too left for them, or too radical, or too ever-changing. I watched those people be very upset when Clinton lost the nomination, watched them saying that the party was doomed and would lose. But then, the euphoria around them hit. Quite suddenly, within the final few months of the election race, these exact same people were suddenly prostrating themselves at his feet. These same people who spoke with such disdain a short time beforehand were suddenly singing his praises and wearing his banner, dropping his name in every direction. He was suddenly THE MAN and some of these people completely denied saying anything ill towards him in the past. I could ask them what changed their minds, because of course people CAN change their mind - but I did not receive a real answer from ANY of them. None. What does that say? Does that say they supported him because of his ideas, plans, policies, etc - or did they jump on a bandwagon? I also know of many who did not like the combination of McCain and Palin. Fair enough - I wasn't too sure what to make of it myself. However - if you have always disagreed with Democratic policies and have never voted for them before, and still do not support their ideas - why vote for them? Obama makes a striking president, his wife is beautiful, his daughters are gorgeous, and he represents something for many people because of a racial barrier finally breaking. BUT... yes BUT BUT BUT - if you do not support his policies and do not want him to actually enact anything he talked about before the election - what is the real point of voting for him? Are you supposed to vote for someone based on their race and looks? Honestly - are you? Or are you supposed to vote for someone that you agree with, for a party you support and agree with?
I feel like I have to say "I am not a racist" every time I write something that is not in support of Obama. That is sad. I have written in other forums and not said a single thing about his heritage, yet I received PMs from people calling me a racist hate-spewer. What on earth is that all about? I couldn't care less if he was white and McCain was black, or if they were all black, or if every colour of the rainbow was represented. I care about the issues and I care about WHY people voted. I predicted to my boyfriend that within 5 days to a week of the election, I would see those same people writing in the forums about hoping he does not do half the things he talked about. I was wrong on that one ----- it was less than 48 hours! That evening and the next day was a huge celebration but by Friday people were starting to question things. They said they think he will make an amazing leader, they are very proud of him, "but I hope that he won't do this or that". What? I really do not understand. I am not saying McCain would have been the perfect choice, but if people actually supported his party's policies, why vote for 'the other guy'? Seriously.
I also notice a great many discrepancies as I watch the rhetoric going on around me. I saw people ranting about Palin, saying she was going off topic, "going rogue" to quote news agencies. But I also watched Obama have to 'fix' screwups that Biden spluttered out on numerous occasions. I think my favorite was some speech where Biden said "There will be no more coal" (or perhaps it was "There will be no coal") and Obama had to clean up that mess because of course the coal industry was up in arms over that one. So really, didn't both sides have this going on? I watched people cutting down Palin for the same things that Biden was doing. I also saw people admit that Biden was an embarrassment and they wished Obama had picked someone else - yet they would go on to say they voted for Obama because they could not picture Palin being president if something happened to McCain. Okay, so Biden is an embarrassment, you wished Obama had picked someone else, but you only mention Palin when talking about a Vice-Prez possibly taking over as Prez, and not liking it. Well what if something happens to Obama? Biden would have to move into that position .. then what? I only ask people these questions to make them THINK about what they are saying. I am not telling them who to vote for and why, I just want to know if they are even hearing the words that are coming from their mouths. "I can't stand Biden, I wouldn't want him to be Vice-President let alone President.... I voted for Obama because I can't see Palin as President". Well gee, that makes sense. Admit it, some people voted because they jumped on the band wagon. Is that so hard to admit?
Hmm what else? Oh yes - My boyfriend and I were playing more of the prediction game and he said he thinks CNN will last a week before finally starting to lean away from praising Obama. It's not like they completely left out 'bad things' before the election but it did appear to be very heavily one-sided. A short time ago I saw the clip where Biden had a bad reaction to a newswoman asking him what their response is to claims that Obama is a Socialist - and I did see Lou Dobbs say that he didn't think the newswoman was out of line, and a short discussion about how they don't understand why Biden or Obama would not want to face those questions... But that was about it. And then guess what Lou Dobbs said tonight? Something like "It is hard to know what this new Socialist-like government is going to do". What? Socialist-like? Let's see, that was a week and 1 day past the election. Not bad! I think my boyfriend wins a prize now too! I am not trying to say that I think he IS a socialist and I recently saw a definition list for various terms such as socialism and communism (thanks again to Matthew Good) that reminded me of Social Studies in school when our teacher would bash us with a chalk brush if we could not keep them straight (seriously lol. She was a great teacher!). But I can recognize that more social programs are being talked about and someone has to pay for them somehow.
That is my next point - I do not think many Americans are ready to PAY for what they want. I realize I am speaking in general terms by using 'they' but they know who they are. If you are reading this and do not feel that way, then obviously I am not talking about you. Anyhow, 'they' want these programs but do not seem to understand the rammifications of such policies going into place. The US has mutliple millions of people who would require some type of assistance, year after year after year. Who is going to pay for that? Is the White House going to have a Lemonade Stand out front? It's your pocket or your child's pocket - or maybe you, your child, your grandchild, and all of their children too. I am from a country that has a great deal of Social Programs, many that I have relied on and I am extremely grateful for them - believe me. EXTREMELY grateful. However - I paid for them too. I have been paying taxes for almost 20 years. Even when I was a low income single mother, making $15,000 a year below the federal Poverty Level, I still paid taxes off of every cheque. Right now I am enjoying a full year of paid maternity leave which I am enormously grateful for - but guess what? My maternity pay earnings are taxed too so I am paying for this while I am receiving it. When I received a raise a couple of years ago, I expected my cheque to be almost $400 more and I was so excited... But my tiny raise bumped me up to the next tax bracket (we have a tiered system) and I lost almost half of my raise to income tax, canada pension and EI. Wow. I was shocked and my boss was as well. She actually apologized to me for this when it was not her fault. I still had more money than before, but a higher % was being taken away. The biggest kick in the ass for that story -- I was still earning BELOW the poverty level, yet my tax rate increased. Figure that one out! Oh wait, I can do it for you - the government has to get the money from somewhere and it comes from our pockets eventually.
I believe it was in 1987 that the GST was introduced here. It was to be a temporary federal tax on goods and services, to help the country out of it's massive debt. Temporary? It has been 21 years!! We did receive 2 decreased from 7 to 5% GST over the past few years, but still.. what is temporary in government terms? 100 years? 2 decades?? Who knows!!!??? I am used to paying it because I am pretty sure it started before I had my first job, before I started buying my own things. But the point is, a program was snuck in under the guise that it would be temporary but it is still here many years later. That is what can happen and I am not sure if many Americans are prepared for that. Especially with the massive bailouts going on, how will people get affordable subsidized health care or help with their housing if a tax is not increased somewhere?
Is it fair to assume that only the wealthiest people should fork over a larger chunk of their cash? I can tell you how it affects my household now.. My boyfriend made $40,000 by the 6 month mark of this year, but only received $26,000 in actual cash after tax, CP, EI, and healthcare premiums. Holy shit! THAT is what can happen. Again I will say that I have heavily relied on social programs or community programs while I was a single parent. It literally kept us out of living in a cardboard box - I do not disagree with those programs at all. I just see a LOT of people talking about how any new tax hike will not affect them because it will only be the richest people who get it. How can they be so sure? AND how can they presume that it is okay to take away a large portion of someone else's money just because they make more? Why should they have a smaller portion of their cash handed to them? That doesn't seem fair either. I happen to think that Canada should have a straight across the board income tax rate and sort this out. Maybe that won't work the way I think it will. I am not a taxation expert by a long shot, but if there is to be no class warfare, why play Robin Hood and just decide that the richer people do not deserve to have all their money. I would also LOVE to see some of the celebrities that are disgustingly rich and very vocally and visibly supported Obama happily hand over a larger chunk of their money. I wonder how many high-priced charity functions will see less attendance after that.. hmmm..