Friday, February 17, 2012

Rick Santorum: We Can And Must Do Better

Once again I have to start another blog by qualifying my positions. I am a former Republican, who has never voted for a Democrat for the office of the presidency. I have voted for Democrats for other offices, such as John Yarmuth for congress, here in Louisville. I still consider myself to be fairly conservative on fiscal issues, but socially I've started going the other way. That is due to several things, one of them being the distaste I see from many on the right for the poor. And perhaps I should qualify that remark also. Maybe saying the right is to broad, how about the right wing? Most Republicans and conservatives don't fit that bill in my opinion. But, that element has over taken the Republican party and has become its leadership by being more energized and more involved than the run of the mill party member who is just trying to work, raise their kids, and have a good life. I have also started realizing that the right wing religious zealots (and lay-Christian, I'm not talking about you), who want to hasten the end of times by creating a theocratic government for our nation, are gaining way too much power and influence.This notion that homosexuals should be singled out to be denied civil rights under the law of this land is another problem I have with some on the right.

That is what brings me to this blog. There is a right wing zealot running for the GOP nomination for president that is dangerously close to actually getting the nod. His name is Rick Santorum. He is a former Republican senator from Pennsylvania (1995-2007) who was handily defeated for re-election in 2006, when the Democrats made huge gains in congress. Before I get into why it's a shock to me that the guy is doing so well, I want to say that Santorum does have a noteworthy positive attribute; he was for responsible tax policy. That's about the last time you will read anything remotely positive about Rick Santorum from me. 

I am shocked that this guy has made such a push in this race. Now, Mitt Romney may not be the most stable guy in the world when it comes to sticking to his gun on policy matters, but he is a fairly moderate politician. He has had to move right to run for the GOP nod and to fight off attacks from the likes of Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and former candidates Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann. Ron Paul is still hanging in this race, but he is way into personal freedom and that just doesn't fit in well with the right wings view of the country and the world. Newt Gingrich (yes, THAT Newt Gingrich) is another candidate that has been courting the right wing vote. Both Santorum and Gingrich have played the game better than Romney in getting the right wing to back them. It's necessary. And it could very well keep the Republicans from making a real run at Obama in November. 

Here is the thing with Rick Santorum; he is a right wing zealot who espouses a belief system that is better off left at home and not put on display as the backbone of his campaign. But see, you don't get to know that unless you follow politics closely. Most people don't have the time to watch debates or do a thorough check up on the candidates. They hear water cooler talk. They listen to Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh. They turn on FOX, CNN, or MSNBC for ten minutes at a time and go about their day. What they don't get to see is what people like me (people who spend WAY too much time giving a damn about this stuff) get to see. And to be frank here, I don't want you to take anything above and apply it as credible information. I'd rather you check for yourself. And, anything I write after this sentence should also be checked on. How do you know I wouldn't lie, just to deceive you to my side? I wouldn't, but you shouldn't trust anyone to feed you information about important matters without checking up for yourself. 

I am going to give you a few quotes from Rick Santorum and make a few comments. I am hoping that this will spur you to do some checking around and find out who is wanting to lead this country and represent you. 

“It’s [contraception] not okay because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. They’re supposed to be within marriage, they are supposed to be for purposes that are, yes, conjugal, but also [inaudible], but also procreative.”

Read that carefully. He believes using contraception is a bad thing. He is saying that there is a way "things are supposed to be" in regards to sex. Wonder where he got that idea? One would have to assume that Mr. Santorum doesn't think anyone should be having sex outside of being married. Now, it's OK if he wants to believe that, but what kind of leader will this person be to the normal human adult who is free to make their own choices as to how, when, and with whom they should have sex with? He won't be representing most citizens of this country or any other will he?

“I don't want to make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money; I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money.”

He said this about welfare reform while campaigning in Iowa. Could he have just said "poor people" or "people on public assistance"? Sure. But he chose to do what so many people do in a thinly veiled form of stereo-typing, and said "black people". Sure, there are a greater ratio of black folks on welfare within their population as opposed to white people, but still, there is just a high of a percentage overall of white people on public assistance as black people. Can a person who says this be trusted to even be honest with himself when talking about issues? Are black people the problem? If not, why use them expressly to make the point about giving someone else's money to the poor?

“I'm against discrimination for people who should not be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. If they can, and do their job, they should. But that doesn't mean that we should change the laws of this destabilize the American family, to change the way we look at religious liberty in this country, to accommodate a different value structure.

It's not about them, it's about values. It's about what America's basic moral American values should be that would be reflected in the laws.

And so, I've taken the position that the moral values reflected in the laws should be the moral values that built this country, which is the Judeo-Christian values, and that the laws should try as much as possible to comport with the higher law and also should comport with what reason would dictate. And what reason dictates is that children need mothers and fathers. … Some say well, through technology, same-sex couples can have children. Well they can, through either adoption, or artificial insemination…but they don’t get the mother and a father.”

Could that stuff get any scarier? He obviously doesn't believe that someone who is gay should have the same rights as ANY OTHER American citizen. It's right there. Marriage is only a religious institution if you choose to make it one. The union between two people who want to make a life together should be protected as a civil right. There used to be laws against white and black people marrying. Wanna go back to that? Would that be a violation of family values and religious liberty? Certainly not. That is absurd. But, you can plainly see that Mr. Santorum isn't just saying those are his beliefs, he thinks that the nation as a whole should not pass laws that treat everyone the same. And there he goes with the comments on religion and their place in our laws. Many of the Founding Fathers, including the man who wrote the Declaration of Independence were theists, who believed in God, but didn't hold religious beliefs. And if they did, they did damn well to keep that sort of thing out of the documents that our nation was built on. This country is for all of us to make our way in. Not just the wealthy. Not just the white. Not just the heterosexual. Not just the Christian.

"Would the potential attraction to Mormonism by simply having a Mormon in the White House threaten traditional Christianity by leading more Americans to a church that some Christians believe misleadingly calls itself Christian, is an active missionary church, and a dangerous cult?" 

Here we can plainly see that he doesn't care about any other religion except the one that he is in bed with. It's OK to be a Christian, but you need to be the right kind of Christian. Can you imagine that? A right wing Christian zealot who thinks women should stay at home and raise kids and that gay people shouldn't be protected by the laws of our country is calling someone else's religion a cult. Pure insanity. 

"If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual [gay] sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does. ... That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing."

So, here we are at the gay thing again. This one is easy pickings. He does not believe that you have the right to have sex with whoever you want to in the privacy of your own home. That sounds like to me that he is actually for making homosexual sex illegal. Is that what YOU want in your heart of hearts? No matter how you feel about homosexuality, is that what we need? Do we need to start down that slope of the government telling you what you should and shouldn't do in your home? 

Is it me or is this not the craziest stuff ever? How can this man be doing so well? I don't want this for my country. We need more freedom, not less. They already listen to our phone calls, and keep track of the websites we visit and what we post on the 'net. They already tell us what is OK and not OK to put into our own bodies. Are you willing to give them that inch and pray they don't eventually take the mile? I'm not. 

If this man gets the GOP nod, and all these things start running on commercials, the Republican party will be set back for years. Then, we'll be down to one party and won't that be sweet. One party knowing the people won't vote the other way. What kind of hell on earth will that be? Not having a real choice. The real Republicans and conservatives who are for personal freedom, equality, religious freedom, and the rights for all to make a life for themselves in this country, should be shouting this guy down. We need people who want to shape America into a place where we can all live, work, and play without fear of persecution or becoming second class. Aren't we coasting far enough down that road without hitting the gas?

What say you?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Whitney Houston: Death of a Star

I don't have much to say about the death of Whitney Houston, other than it didn't really strike me as surprising. She was once the darling of the pop music world and after her marriage to Bobby Brown, she seemed to start a long fall which finally culminated in her death. 

I have to admit, I'm not that big of a fan of life. I guess it's's the only thing I've got. I'm a lower middle class guy who just tries to take what is thrown at him. I make mistakes. I do some stuff I'm happy with. I do some stuff I'm not proud of. But, I try not to get into self-destruction. I have a family and I have to consider that I have carved out obligations for my life. Once you attach your life to someone else's well being, you really  have to be sure to evaluate your decision making. 

Houston had one child, a daughter, who is about 20 years old. Now, that's an age that should be able to deal with the death of a close relative, but still, not an age where she probably won't feel confusion, anger, and betrayal. I'm going way out on a limb and guessing that whatever Whitney Houston died of, at the fairly young age of 48, was mostly, if not totally her fault. You can't burn the candle at both ends forever. In this case, the candle only burned for 48 years. 

Not many people know who Joey Diaz is. He's a comedian that pals around with Joe Rogan, Doug Stanhope and some others. He did a pod cast with Joe Rogan last year and got into telling a story about how he used to be a middle man, selling cocaine to Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston. He said they took about as much blow in a week as anyone he'd ever seen. He said they would call him at all hours of the night for the stuff. Anyhow, I believe what he's saying. I also believe it's a glaring example of why Houston is in the ground now. Too much fast living and not enough down time. It's a tragedy for her family and a shame for the rest of the world. She had talent to spare and instead of an aging icon, she is now just news, soon to be a footnote in pop history. 

"it's better to burn out, than to fade away"

Neil Young