Why I Support Obama--the Specifics

Posted by Heather , 9.25.2008 1:49 AM

I'm voting for Barry

(Ok,ok,ok.  JT is my voice of reason.  He thinks my whole comments on John McCain's personal life and history are not totally relevant.  I agree, even though it does really bug me that he had an extra marital affair with his first wife.  I have removed the paragraph in question because it is not constructive and feeds into candidate bashing which I generally dislike and disagree with.)

(A quick little disclaimer.  I wrote this post in a big hurry.  I realize that this is not my best persuasive writing.  There are many holes in my arguments.  I invite you to point them out to me, realizing that this is a simplified summary of where I am at with the issues.  Also, I got all done last night and jumped in to bed and then realized I didn't address one of the most crucial issues in my mind...health care.  I also didn't say anything about environmental issues, or energy issues.  Dang.  I guess I'll have to post again.  I may move this discussion to a different blog so as to not pollute my cute family ramblings.  Please join the conversation!)

I had many responses to my previous post that I have read and pondered, and realized that if for no one but myself, I need to define WHY I do support Obama. The last post was a little more like: "I’m coming out of the closet that I have been considering supporting Obama and many of his Democratic ideals."  Here is my attempt to explain why.

First of all, I think that a country that has been as richly blessed as America has should do all it can to make sure that every citizen has an equal opportunity to prosper and succeed. I realize that in our current society that translates in to social programs, and I realize that translates into mismanagement. I recognize that the possibility of wasting taxpayer’s dollars is out there, but I don’t think we shouldn’t do anything because there is no guarantee it will be done perfectly.

Here is an example. The other day I was speaking to a fellow mother who I am very close to. She was expressing how she is disgruntled because every morning she has to make her kids sack lunches because school lunches are too expensive. However, a mother down the street sleeps in and sends her kids off to school where they get free lunch and breakfast. This is because the family lives in a low enough economic bracket that they qualify for the program. So, this angry mother not only is paying for her own kid’s lunch, but also the kids’ down the street. She feels like she is being punished for being financially stable. I can see her point.

I can also see the perspective of the kid who lives in poverty. Is it his fault his parents don’t make a lot of money? Would it be better for him to go to school hungry? Studies have shown that kids are physically unable to learn when their basic needs are not being met. Is it Christian to not help those who need it because of any judgment we may feel justified in making? If I remember right the Savior asked us to succor those who stand in need. In my mind, I am willing to pay taxes so that every child can have their basic needs met. I don’t like the cycle of dependence that sometimes arises, but I don’t personally want to stand at the judgment bar and explain that I somehow felt it was my place to judge my fellowmen and decided they didn’t deserve what I could have given them because they weren’t trying hard enough, in my book. I would rather err on the side of compassion, making every effort to treat the taxpayer’s money as sacredly as possible.

I also don’t agree with the Republican Party’s practice of giving tax breaks to the richest. The whole “trickle down economics” doesn’t make sense to me. I am in favor of everyone paying the same percentage, because the more you have, the more you can invest in the common good. Barack Obama’s tax plan would actually lower taxes for everyone making less than $250,000 a year. I easily qualify for that.

I don’t like paying taxes. It is frustrating to see a quarter to a third of every paycheck dissolving out of our account before we ever see it. I don’t love the idea of someone else deciding what to do with my money. BUT- I love having paved roads and streetlights and a library and schools and all those things that combine to create a great quality of life with countless opportunities. I have been to Africa where they don’t have garbage collectors, good schools, libraries, etc., etc. It is worth the price to me. In fact, for some things I would be willing to pay more. I think it would be awesome if teachers in the state of Utah could make enough just teaching to support their families. I think I would be willing to pay a little more each month for that. Of course, I would want to know that that money is being put to good use in ethical, efficient ways. Having worked for the government I realize that is not always the case. That is why it is important for citizens to be active in the political process on national and local levels to elect those who will make sound policies and to demand honesty from those carrying them out. (A side note: Sarah Palin has consistently lied about her “Thanks but no thanks” on the bridge to nowhere. She only opposed the bridge after it came under scrutiny. When the project fell through, she didn’t give the earmark moolah back, she kept it.)

Shifting topics a little, I want to discuss my take on abortion and gay rights. First of all, I oppose the idea that a woman should have the right to “choose” to end a life she took part in creating. I believe she already made her choice when she had sex. However, I do not think that when a child was conceived when a woman did not make the choice to have sex (rape and incest) that the government should prevent her from making the choice not to carry the baby full term. Additionally, when the health of the mother is in jeopardy, or when it is clear that the child would have devastating abnormalities, a mother and father should have the right to make the best choice for their family. I even mention the devastating abnormalities case because I have a sister who is on crazy drugs that if she happened to get pregnant there would absolutely be terrible effects on the baby. I think she should be able to make that choice (not that I think she would, but that she and others in her similar situation would have that option). So, I guess I am pro-choice. However, I agree with Barack Obama that while we (the nation) don’t all agree on what to do with Roe V. Wade, we all agree that every effort should be made to prevent unwanted pregnancies, period. I also would love to see a candidate who actively supports adoption. I actually wrote to Barack Obama and Michelle Obama about that a couple of weeks ago. I’m sure some lowly intern will get to my message in a few months.

What I think about gay marriage… I believe that MARRIAGE is ordained of God, and should be between a man and a woman, and that that relationship is the basis of our society. However, I don’t believe it is right, or very compassionate to prevent our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters from basic human rights because they believe differently than I do. I think that they should be allowed to enter into some sort of union that would afford them basic rights as committed partners. I would prefer it not be called marriage. But, push come to shove, I would probably rather err on the side of compassion. Because, in my view, the only way to really influence them to change is through love, compassion, understanding and teaching. How would they ever be open to that if they feel marginalized?

Lastly for tonight, I am completely disillusioned by the Bush Administration. I absolutely abhor "No Child Left Behind" for reasons I could go on and on about. Even more important than that, I do not think that it was right for us to invade Iraq given the intelligence and argument that was used in creating a case for war. Now that we are there, I feel we must proceed responsibly. I feel very saddened and maddened by the way this has all happened. I love our country, I support our troops, but I don’t support stupid wars. I feel like the biggest problem is that President Bush and his cohorts used fear and distortion to scare everyone into a dumb idea. That just really bugs me.

So, when John McCain started using the same tactics to “otherize” Barrack Obama—I was automatically turned off. He is using the same Karl Rove tactics of distorting truth and planting seeds of fear in people’s mind. I could go into detail…here is one link I thought summed it up. .

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/21/opinion/21kristof.html?scp=1&sq=otherize&st=cse



I also have serious doubts about WHY he chose Sarah Palin. I think it was totally brash and politically driven. She seems sassy enough, but I really don’t think I would like her to be the President if his cancer flares up again. Actually, I don’t even think she seems nice enough. She does seem manipulative and fierce enough. The tone of her speech at the Republican Convention, and many of the points she made seemed rubbed me the wrong way.  

It is depressing because I used to feel pretty ok about McCain being the choice because I respected his “maverick” attitude. I feel like he has completely sold his soul to this election. More than a maverick, I get the impression that he is ambitious and will stop at nothing to win. I especially don’t like the fear-evoking tone his campaign has taken. Also, I found it hilarious that the entire Republican convention seemed to be centered on change…that is just funny because things would not change under McCain. He votes the same as Bush 95% of the time. The whole change rhetoric was a smoke screen to hide behind.

Here’s a good article on that:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/05/us/politics/05assess.html?th&emc=th


Very lastly, I have to admit that on a very personal level, I really like the idea of being able to tell my kids that we really do live in a nation where anyone can succeed, regardless of their race or background. I find a lot of inspiration and hope in Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s life stories because they aren’t so different from my children’s. As far as our nation has come, the playing field is still not level, and undercurrents of racism still exist. I have talked to many white mothers of black children who have described many instances of discrimination against their children—especially their boys as they get older. It would be naïve to think we will never encounter that as Eli and Emma grow up and expand their identities to more fully incorporate the Black culture of our country. I want them to feel comfortable in their own skin, and I can’t help but think that being able to point to the Obama family and their time in the White House would hold some significance for them as they search for role models.

I feel hope when I hear Obama speak. I feel fear when I hear John McCain, and I know for myself that good things seldom come from following that voice of fear and doom. The greatest blessings and miracles have come when I trust in that inner voice of hope and faith.

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).

If any of you are still reading after this MONSTER post, may I suggest a simple activity? Just listen to Barack Obama’s acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention. If you have time, watch the bio also. Then listen to John McCain’s. It is a great place to start. (Each of them is about an hour long.)

I like watching them on NY Times website because of the high quality and interactive features. This link will take you to an archive of videos. On the left click on Democratic and Republican Conventions. The acceptance speeches are preceded by the their life sketch videos.

New York Times Video Archive:

http://video.on.nytimes.com/index.jsp?fr_chl=1672d2550099aeedd6e9e46ae9246bea37e133db


Good luck, and good night.

11 Response to "Why I Support Obama--the Specifics"

Jen Says:

Heather- I just wanted to thank you for sharing your opinions on this and giving me someplace to start looking for information for myself. I am still in the deciding stages, but I'm seriously leaning towards Obama already just from reading the few things I've had time to. (just don't tell my parents!) :) Thanks again for sharing your opinions especially since in this state they are in the minority.

Charlie Says:

Heather,

I have a few thoughts I'd like to share, and I hope you don't mind me doing so here...

Let me first say that I don't know enough about all of the candidates. I need to spend more time studying the issues to be better informed. What I share here is based solely upon what I know to this point. I'm just a guy with my opinions, and I am subject to flaws just like the rest of us.

Now, on to the meat...

We need to be very careful, and considerate, of where we get our information. Many media outlets (whether they admit this or not) have biases, causes they're trying to further, or bones to pick. You referenced two different articles from the NY Times, and that's fine, but as things are read from the NY Times it's good to note that it tends to be considered a more "liberal" newspaper. Conversely, other media outlets like the New York Post, Fox News Channel, etc. are generally considered to be conservative leaning. Additionally, most of the national talk airwaves are dominated by conservative leaning voices. We must always consider the source of our information, and what their biases may be.

Having said that, my obvious disclaimer is that my dad has a nationally syndicated conservative talk show (www.jimsumptershow.com...shameless plug for him, sorry). However, it should be clear that I don't agree with everything he says, but I think he brings a different & fresh perspective to issues that sets him apart from the other conservative talking heads out there.

My next point, and the one I feel is more important, is this: there are some third-party candidates that get overlooked by most voters, yet are very well qualified. In fact, in the 2004 Presidential Primaries I actually voted for Alan Keyes (and he had a decent showing in Utah's primaries, if I recall). He's running again as an independent this year, and if his positions are true to what they were last election he may win my vote. I don't know if you know who he is or not, but given the "example for your kids" consideration you might be interested to know that he is black.

I find myself aligning with many of the Constitution party's positions. I don't know much about their candidates this year (Chuck Baldwin & Darrell Castle), but I will find out more about them so I can make an educated decision. For reference, here is a link to a Wikipedia article listing the third party candidates running in the Presidential election this year: Third Party Presidential Candidates - 2008.

I also think, if we truly want to set the example that race doesn't matter, then race should not influence our vote...FOR or AGAINST. I believe that we should be voting for our candidates based SOLELY on the issues important to us and the candidates’ positions. In the '04 primaries I didn't vote for Alan Keyes because he was black...I voted for him because I agreed with him on more issues that were important to me than anyone else. I can understand why you would see Obama as a potential example for your kids, but I think it's just as important to set the example that you are blind to race, and, in my opinion, if we vote for someone "for" their race we're still making race an issue.

Of course, that's me from my ivory tower. I don't face the same situations you do. I don't have the children you do, and I don't mean to say what is or is not most important for you...only considerations I think are important, and would be important to me.

When I weigh all issues, I don't agree with Obama on enough issues to feel good about voting for him. When I weigh all issues in considering John McCain, I don't feel good about voting for him. I think both candidates are far too groomed, and far too willing to say what is "popular" rather than what is correct, and ultimately I think they'll both be too controlled by special interests (what I believe are what really control our nation). In my opinion, special interests are a form of secret combinations in our day, and pose the greatest threat to our sovereignty and greatness as a nation, a world, and most importantly as children of God. The scriptures warn us about power and what it does to men. I firmly believe that we, as a nation, are beholden to powers we don't even know of because we're so well blinded to them (and by them!)...but that's a whole 'nuther topic, and my response to your post is already too long...not to mention one can easily start to sound like a conspiraniod when one ventures off into this line of thinking... :)

There are those who say voting for a third party candidate is throwing away your vote. I can see why people say that given the current system's structure, though I feel that we'll be held accountable in the hereafter for the votes we cast, so to me voting for whomever I feel is the best candidate to further the causes and matters most important to me is never throwing away my vote. Living in Utah at present, one could argue that voting for anyone other than McCain is "throwing away your vote"...in my opinion there are better candidates - better people - than Obama that I could "throw my vote away" on...and I suspect I probably will. Besides, I think that feeling "trapped" in the two-party system only lends more power to the system...I say fight!

Kudos to you guys for trying to put as much thought as you can into your vote. If you haven't, I would encourage you to learn about ALL the candidates, and vote where you feel you should, but don't overlook the "they'll never win" candidates just because "they'll never win"...there are some good people in that category that I think deserve consideration. And our voices can make a difference, even here in Utah. Did you know that Bill Clinton finished third in voting in Utah? A third-party candidate got more votes than he did! (That obviously points more toward the republican Clinton disliking than anything, but it's still a victory for the third-parties!)

/soapbox

Jess D. Says:

This entry, word for word, explains why I vote Democrat over and over again. When it comes my time to stand before God, I want to say that I loved and treated my fellow man with compassion and respect. If people abuse the system, it isn't up to me to be bitter and with hold my charity. I have to answer for myself, and at the risk of "being taken advantage of" or "being punished for being financially stable" I will choose to give.

And may I add a "welcome!"? Between you, me and Brad, I think the Democrats in Utah are up to 3. :) Four, if you count Luke, but he can't vote yet ;)

JT Says:

Jess, I'm with you. I'm not registered as a Democrat, but I feel the same way you do. I know conservative-leaning people who feel the same way you and I do at this level of explanation, but they disagree in implementation. I'm going to put up a post in a while about what I feel politically soon. I just like all the dialog around Heather's posts, so I'm not going to write anything just yet.

But I'm with you, Jess. I deeply believe at a spiritual level that liberalism as it's currently expressed is more in line with my (possibly radical) beliefs than the current expression of conservatism.

On that note, I think I'm a registered Republican, but am in the process of re-registering as an independent. I'm gonna vote for the candidate that I fully support, not choose between two I worry about. I'll likely find a 3rd party or (like Chuckles) write in a candidate.

JTE Says:

1. Heather, I love you.

2. I like polite political discourse. There are few places in public where it can happen and it's almost impossible online, so thank you.

3. I agree it's annoying to have something like adultery in a candidate's past, but it appears that problem of McCain's is over. If it came out he had another affair two years ago, I'd wash my hands of him and vote Obama, but I know some good people who have had that in their past, repented, and like I said, are good people. If the Republicans had chosen Rudy Giuliani or Newt Gingrich, whose affairs were more recent, I don't believe I could have supported them.

4. Most of my childhood we were poor enough to qualify for free school lunches. It really helped.

5. "Tax breaks for the rich." I have conflicting views on this. For one thing, it's a favorite line of the Democrats, but they don't point out that Bush gave tax breaks to everyone, not just the rich. Obama also wants to raise the capital gains tax, which does not affect just the richest 1%. It affects the 401(k)s of everyone. My 401(k) is already in rough shape this year. Obama has said before he'd let the Bush tax cuts expire, which would essentially raise everyone's taxes. If he says he won't let the Bush tax cuts expire, okay, but I haven't heard that yet. Meanwhile you said you want everyone to pay the same percentage, which would be the flat tax, which is what some Republicans have been clamoring for, but it will never pass because that would be a huge tax break for the rich. Right now the top tax bracket pays 36% I believe, and Obama wants to raise it to 39%. Lower tax brackets are at 28%, 15% and 10%. If we had a flat tax, it'd have to be around 17%, which would actually hurt that wage earning around $12,000 to $35,000 a year. Somewhere around there. But big changes to the tax plan won't happen. I also hear the rich complain "the top 1% of this country pay 50% of the taxes" to which I say "the top 1% of this country have 50% of the wealth!" But I digress.

Trickle-down economics means the wealthy have more money, they create more jobs and spend more and it trickles down to help everyone. It works with some entrepreneurs, but not with others.

6. You're dissing Sarah Palin? You must be sexist. ;)

7. When it comes to Utah, the teachers union is pretty darn powerful. I think it'd be great if vouchers passed, but I'm glad we at least have charter schools. Some public schools are good, and some are bad, and I'm glad we have options to not let our kids languish in a bad school.

8. Abortion. Yeah, that's a tough one. If I remember right the Church's stance is that they are neutral on it when it comes to those four situations (rape, incest, severe abnormalities where baby probably won't survive, and save the life of the mother), but even then, they urge much prayer over the decision. We've had two children with Type I SMA, a condition that many other parents out there have aborted their fetuses over. Yes, it's a very tough condition, tough to parent, tough to have your child die, but the blessings Taleah brought to our lives and that Tabitha is bringing currently outweigh the tough times. And when I hear people are aborting their babies just because they have SMA, or just because they have Down's Syndrome, it's not murder per se, but they're killing their baby. I think the stat I saw was that 85% of all fetuses are aborted that test positive for Down's Syndrome. But I don't what laws I would change if I could. That's a tough one. Let's just move on...

9. Marriage is ordained by God. But our government has given many rights, privileges, exceptions, rules, etc., to married folk. I can see giving civil unions the same government-recognized benefits, but actual marriage? It changes the definition of the word. Another toughie...

10. Bush absolutely took us into a war we didn't need to go into. I was fine with Afghanistan. Then they looked at Iraq, drew a line in the sand behind Saddam, and said "Get behind that line or we're going to war." I believed the Administration when they said they had all this intelligence that showed Saddam had WMDs and Iraq was an imminent threat. Well, turns out they manipulated the intelligence to get the result they wanted - a war. And even then, we could have made Iraq work if the post-war occupation hadn't been so horribly mismanaged. See the documentary No End In Sight. It illustrates how we easily could have made Iraq last a few months instead of a few years.

So I feel fooled by Bush. Sure he gets credit for there being no terrorist attacks on American soil since 9/11, but he's raised anti-American sentiments across the globe with his bully-and-bribe style of diplomacy, and his changing of 200 years of US foreign policy. We never strike first (well, you could argue Polk... and Manifest Destiny... details, details). We're the good guys just defending ourselves. And it bothers me he changed that.

As Homer Stokes said in O Brother Where Art Thou, Bush engaged in "cronyism and rascalism." Scott McCellan? Al Gonzales? Harriet Myers? Oy.

11. McCain was my guy in 2000, and Rove helped sink him in South Carolina with that hideous racist rumor. (Another ADD moment: can't we have a lottery every election to mix up the order of when states vote, so Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina don't pick our candidates every single freakin' election?) McCain was losing the GOP primary until he started lying about Mitt Romney, with an assist from Huck's whisper campaign.

McCain is doing the usual tactic against the Democrat. "He's an elitist, out-of-touch, will raise your taxes, blah blah blah." I've been surprised by the level of dishonesty, but it's like he doesn't care anymore. It's a game and he's playing to win. Obama's done his share, but McCain's done more.

12. McCain chose Sarah Palin because he wants to win. If he had chosen Romney, it would have bored the base. If he had chosen Joe Lieberman, he would have outraged the base. If he had chosen Mike Huckabee, he would have outraged the Rocky Mountain base. (I definitely would have voted for Obama then.)

Palin has the narrative he needed. She's a woman, and she cancels out some of the arguments for Obama. "She has no experience." Compared to Obama? I would equate being mayor to being a state senator, and I would equate two years of being governor to four years of being a US senator.

She has the maverick background, fighting corruption, taking on her own party. And the Republicans need to clean their own house after giving Bush his way on everything. I liked Chris Cannon personally when I worked for him, but I'm glad we're sending a new face to DC for our district. We don't have term limits, and gerrymandering has made 85% of the districts in this country safe, so primaries are the only term limits voters can count on.

But Palin was not vetted as thoroughly as most candidates would be, and she's playing into the McCain campaign style. It's okay to exaggerate here and mislead there, especially since the left-wing backlash against her and her family was so vicious and untrue the first 72 hours.

Politically I can't think of a better choice he could have made. It's not about who's most qualified; it's about who can win. Nolan Karras was more qualified to be Utah governor than Jon Huntsman Jr., but Huntsman had the winning name.

I loved her convention speech. She was the best speaker of the week. Most of the GOP speakers stunk. It was clear watching the convention that this party needs new blood and new voices.

McCain would be different than Bush. The "four more years of the same" isn't flying because everyone knows he's different than Bush. Yes he votes with Bush 90% of the time. And Obama votes with the Democrats 97% of the time. McCain has a record of working with Democrats to get stuff done. Obama does not.

I will defend Bush here. His first two years weren't bad. You could compare them to Truman. His next four years were like Nixon, using scare tactics and manipulation to get stuff done. He's been better once the Dems took control of everything else. Clinton was a better president with the GOP controlling Congress too. Our government works best when it is divided. So I guess that's an argument for McCain.

13. I admit the race thing is the main reason I'd be okay with Obama winning. I think it'd be cool for Evan and Mariah to grow up in that country. I get angry when people like CNN's Jack Cafferty say the only way Obama will lose this election is because of racism. Obama has his problems too, but I think his pro-race votes will greatly out-weigh his anti-race votes.

14. Obama's a great speaker, and that's important, but I can't remember anything specifically he's said. McCain, not so good at the speech thing. The debates are going to be interesting. I'll still probably vote for Obama because I'd like it to be closer in Utah than it is. Last poll I saw had McCain up by 35 points. Like I said, the Democrats will ignore us and the Republicans will take us for granted if we keep doing this.

15. Heather, I love you.

Palomita Says:

Thanks for sharing your ideas. Truthfully, I have been fed up with the ugliness of the whole political process lately, and have ignored it, mostly. Thank you for the reminder that I need to make a stand one way, or another - I will be doing more research.

Mary

Megz Says:

I am so proud of myself for waiting to respond. Sometimes political talk gets me a little fired up and I start using more capital letters and exclamation points than are polite.
I want to diffuse everything I am about to say with this: I am not voting for Obama or John in November. I find both candidates guilty of party politics to the nth degree and it stinks and I wouldn't invite either of them to my Birthday party. I agree with Charlie and believe you are never throwing a vote away as long as you at least vote. Votes are still a way to register your opinion, no matter what the electoral college says. Be that for a demo in Utah, a 3rd party candidate, a write-in, whatever. Just vote.
Since I personally don't love any candidate, I am choosing to vote for a party based on my principles. No party platform reads like my journal of desires, so I have priortized what matters most to me and which party reflects that the most. No surprise to you, but this will not be the democratic party.
Letting the govt. redistribute wealth as 'benefits' for the needy isn't compassion and serving the poor. Taxes are a given with any form of govt and there are certain necessary services. But to use your school lunch example........parents who could feed their children home lunches now don't have to because there is govt. money available to do it for them. Again, this is not saying there should not be that service available to those that are in need (and the 'who am i to judge' comment is a copout, there HAS to be a cutoff/judgement in every program), but why the heck should it be available to so many?? With my four kids we easily qualify, but why should I let all of you pay for a school lunch for my kid when I can make them a pb&j for about a dollar cheaper?
All my other feelings on this topic are more than adequately covered in Ezra Taft Benson's The Proper Role of Government.
Next point: I don't think any real pro-choicer by today's terminology would call you one of them.
Last point: Gay marriage. You mentioned how showing them love and compassion could change them after we allowed them to get married. Rolling over and further blurring any moral boundaries our society has isn't going to change anything. Show them your compassion and love by getting them health insurance. But what of the Proclamation to the World?
So that's where we difer. I do like your Sarah's comments too (aunt, right?), that politicians come and go. I am about ready for these ones to go already. And I did lie. I might invite Obama to my Birthday party because he makes great entertainment. On the other hand, so does Sarah Palin.....

stephanie huff Says:

hmm I am not going to comment on the political stuff. I just wanted to share my opinion on raising black children as a white parent. Since we adopted our first, five years ago, I have contemplated on how my children should be raised. The answer I keep coming back to is that they should be raised just as we would raise our children if they were biological. There is no way of knowing if our children will experience racism in their lives. Not one child is going to have the same experience. As members of the LDS church we believe that once these children are sealed to us They are as if they were biologically ours. we are always going to be white parents rasing black children but they are our children. The rest of the world cannot tell us what is best for them. The best we can do for them is teach correct principles, love them, and challenge them. Hopefully they will gain enough self worth to help them through the hard times in their lives. We can't change other people. A racist will be a racist whether our president is black or white. lastly, I get where you are coming from. I get excited when there is another black kid in A's school class or dance classes. I love seeing black people in positions of power. I keep hoping to see a black general authority.It is easy to get caught up in but the truth is a good example is a good example regardless of the color of their skin. I love you and respect you. You are an awesome mother and I admire the way you have raised your 2 little ones so far.
Love,
Stephanie

Heather Says:

Steph,
I really appreciate your response. I think you and Landon are such great parents. I agree that it is important to raise our children as if they are biologically ours. The last thing I want to do is raise a bunch of whiney brats who think they are entitled because they are the poor picked on black kids. That being said, I also think it is important to help my children feel comfortable in any social environment they may be placed in.

Sometimes people talk about how everyone should be "color blind." I disagree in that I think we should celebrate the uniqueness of different cultures. I think saying race doesn't matter is over simplifying the struggles our children may be faced with when they leave "happy valley," and realize there is a whole culture out there that they don't know or understand. I want my kids to feel comfortable first and foremost as a member of our family and the church, but I also want them to feel comfortable in the rich black culture of the States, and as much as possible, Zambia. I know that I can't provide them that experience because I have no experience with it. So, we are trying to surround our family with good adult role models in the media we watch, and the people we associate with. It is hard, and sometimes I feel very uncomfortable approaching Black people. That is my issue, though. The last thing I want is for my kids to feel uncomfortable in a Black family's home or when seeing a Black man on the stand at church because hopefully-- someday, they are going to be the parents and leaders.

Our social worker, who is just awesome has adopted about 7 older kids from the foster care system, many of them are black, and most of them are boys. While doing our homestudy, she demanded to know our plans on how we are going to expose our children to their black heritage. She said that every single one of her children, especially the boys have encountered A LOT of racism, especially as they become young teens. Granted, many of her kids have some serious issues because of their difficult pasts. She insisted that we seek out local black role models for them to be able to confide in and rely on when we didn't have the perspective or answers. So, anyway, I am not really disagreeing with you, I am just adding to what you said.

I came across a really great book called "In Their Own Voices" that interviews a whole bunch of Black people who were adopted by white families. It tells their stories in their words. I haven't read the whole thing yet, but reading what I have has really helped me to see how being adopted by a family of different race might influence the way our kids view themselves and the world.

Ultimately, I think we just have to do our best and rely on the Spirit in any given situation. Like you said, "No one child is going to have the same experience." That's why we can't do it alone. I am glad to have a good friend to discuss these ideas with. Thanks again for your post!

loves,
Heather

Heather Says:

Hi, Meg. Seriously, you make a lot of sense, and you make me chuckle. i need to read the talk by Pres. Benson. This whole activity has been very helpful.

I think I struggle a bit with what the role of government should be in my mind because I really long for the day when we live in Zion, which really is not driven by capitalism. Sometimes I want the government to mirror the structure of the church, which is chock full of programs to fulfill different functions and support families. I can see how it isn't possible for this to be really successful with corrupt people and special interest groups running the show. So, maybe it is best to limit the role of government for now. Ultimately I can see that if every person does what they can in their sphere of influence that all of the need for social problems would mostly go away. But, people are generally greedy and preoccupied. So then someone has to do something. Anyway, I'm still struggling with that one, but I can see your point of view.

About gay marriage, you said: "You mentioned how showing them love and compassion could change them after we allowed them to get married. Rolling over and further blurring any moral boundaries our society has isn't going to change anything. Show them your compassion and love by getting them health insurance. But what of the Proclamation to the World?"

I agree with you that we need to protect the family and uphold the Proclamation to the World. Ideally I would like to just allow them benefits (health care, tax stuff), but their has to be some formal way to establish their commitment. I would prefer NOT calling it marriage.

It's hard for me to be a hard liner, though when dealing with real people. I had never really known any gay people on a really personal level until I taught at the last school I was at. The principal there was a gay woman. She was so intelligent, dedicated, honest, compassionate, hard-working, kind, and diligent..the list goes on and on. She has been discriminated against horribly and nearly lost her job because of parents and district personnel deciding she was unfit due to her sexual orientation. It was really painful to see the effect the whole thing had on her. She made it through, and continues to do a great job as principal. She and her partner have adopted a little girl, and they are great parents. So, anyway. I am a softy. I would have a really hard time telling her that their relationship isn't valid because of my religious beliefs. I struggle with legislating ethical issues. I can see how it would further lead to the erosion of the family to legalize gay marriage. In some small way it feels like we are denying people their agency by legislating against them making that choice. It's just hard. I appreciate your ideas.

So, I hope we are still friends. We'll see who I end up voting for. Jack Johnson is looking better everyday. I would love to have him come to my birthday party.

Heather Says:

A great response from my brilliant brother, Jeddy:

Heather,

I too don’t know jack squat about most things. I know a little bit about the housing market and economy but also recognize how much I really don’t know the more I learn. I also have struggled with all the different views of even church members (Harry Reid, Romney, Bruce Young, etc. (I have a cool book you might like it’s called Presidents and Prophets. It shows the how this has been a struggle for over a century within the church)

As an upfront disclaimer: I’m not sure who exactly I’ll vote for, either I’ll pick between who I think the lesser of the two evils (McCain, sorry Heather), or an independent.

If it were up to me, I wish Romney was still in the race. Even though I think he sold a small portion of his soul to the RNC (the price of a public servant I guess). He is the only person I’m comfortable will do what is best for the economy and I’ve read a lot of his views that I agree with dead on.

In response to your first post:
I’ve read through pretty much all of Bruce Young’s blog. I can agree with him on some things but I also realize he has been fighting on the democratic fronts for decades and just don’t like many of the age old democratic arguments. It rubs me wrong when people paint capitalists as heartless taskmasters and spoiled company execs. Although I certainly hate that some of these execs have a “golden parachute” when their poor decisions and in some cases fraudulent and deceiving decisions catch up to them. Another area I didn’t like is his extremely brief treatment of abortion. I do share Bruce’s view on abortion but it seemed like he wanted to avoid the issue that Obama is much farther left then the majority of the democratic parties view on abortion. I admit my views probably differ with some of the RNCs and I believe in cases of rape, incest, mental illness, etc. it is very hard choice that should be left up to the mother (and hopefully she prayerfully considers all of the options, especially adoption). But Obama’s voting record on this issue raises huge red flags to his moral character.


Economy

I’m a capitalist. I believe this nation has become the greatest nation in the world due to that fact. I believe God intended a capitalist society on this “land of promise”. Socializing a democratic capitalist country only brings more problems. I think we MUST choose between capitalism and socialism, but haven’t we learned already the two don’t play well together. Bigger government does not solve problems it creates them. Greed, America’s addiction to credit, poor lending guidelines, high risk taking execs, and a
“broken” Washington have led us to this near Depression state we are in. I believe one overlooked reason (because the media is extremely biased) for the state of the economy is because of socialist influences in the Congress during the mid 90’s. During the Clinton admin and a Democrat controlled Congress, Congress mandated Fannie and Freddie to purchase 42% of total loans to be from low-income or minority home loans. They were forced to buy EXTEMELY risky loans. Some of these loans required no identification or verification of employment (VOE) and many of these loans were given at 125% LTV!!! Doesn’t anyone else see the problem with this? How could congress pass something like this? I have seen this first hand many, many, many times. I had a client that was an illegal alien, who was a self employed business owner a seasonal window cleaning business. He filed NO tax return, paid no taxes and was able to buy a home worth 200K with a loan amount of 216K. He wanted me to sell his home for him but he couldn’t sell it because the State of Utah came out with a requirement that a notary public could no longer use a “privilege card” for ID at closing. So here was a person who owned a home he never should have been lent the money on and a home he couldn’t sell or afford. This just shows how screwed up things get with bigger government and shows the need immigration reform. Companies shouldn’t be forced to lend to those that are unlikely to repay the loan.

I also have a problem with the CEO of Fannie being an economic advisor to Obama.

Here’s a blog I read about some of this:
It’s one of the hidden success stories of the Clinton era. In the great housing boom of the 1990s, black and Latino homeownership has surged to the highest level ever recorded. The number of African Americans owning their own home is now increasing nearly three times as fast as the number of whites; the number of Latino homeowners is growing nearly five times as fast as that of whites.

In 1992, [a majority Democratic] Congress mandated that Fannie and Freddie increase their purchases of mortgages for low-income and medium-income borrowers. Operating under that requirement, Fannie Mae, in particular, has been aggressive and creative in stimulating minority gains. It has aimed extensive advertising campaigns at minorities that explain how to buy a home and opened three dozen local offices to encourage lenders to serve these markets.
http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2008/09/flashback-to-1990s-origins-of-credit.html
Taxes and Housing Economy
I think Obama’s plan with the death, dividend, income, inheritance, and capital gains tax and a few other taxes clearly show he believes there should be a re-distribution of wealth in this country. I think the same thing can be accomplished by giving incentives to the private sector to donate money to foundations, NFPs, and charities (to offset their tax liability) that can accomplish the same thing in far more efficient means. I also think these companies that find the causes they want to support end up donating far more than just money, they also often incorporate this into their media campaign and PR thus encouraging other companies and individuals to solve our biggest problems. I believe in persuasion and giving incentives and breaks for those donate and become involved in these problems. The more areas we compel companies and individuals to contribute to solving our society’s problems; that is when inefficiencies and waste creep in. I think we should limit creating a government entity for every single issue that needs solving. Sure, there are always dishonest, greedy people that can lie cheat and steal there way to positions of power within the business world, but if we enlarge government and socialize everything that has problems, then we’ll get the same people as corrupt government officials instead of execs. That’s a fact of life. That’s why I can agree with McCain and Obama in creating greater transparency and accountability within the private sector (I’m pretty sure I’ve heard both candidates talk about this a number of times).
Many of Obamas proposed tax changes I don’t agree with. But there are a few that I see REALLY hurting the economy (that appears will be in the ICU for an extended period of time). One, the capital gains tax. So much of what I do as a Real Estate professional revolves around people being able to inhabit a personal residence for 24 months and be able to sale their home tax free. These people most times reinvest the same money in their next home (often 20%, thus avoided expensive and useless PMI) If you get rid of this tax it is greatly going to constrict the already hurting housing market and that will make more of these people that are trying to make ends meet and continuing to faithfully pay their mortgage, BAIL. When these people bail these bad debts the mortgagor are carrying are most likely going to now go to the government for a bailout. So the combination of Obama’s capital gains tax and our current economy will be disastrous. Not only that but these people that bail on a mortgage, will no longer to be able get any type of credit, which will greatly reduce nationwide consumer spending. That’s bad. Not to mention Obama has a new property tax on all homes over 2400 sq ft. That is going to be devastating also. I’m willing to bet at least 70% of all homes in UT county are over 2400 sq ft.
That leads me to another tax I think will destroy the stock market. He wants to tax dividends now 39.6% (currently 15%). If you have any money in vested in stock market, IRA, mutual funds, college funds, life insurance, retirement accounts, or anything that pays or reinvests dividends, you will now be paying nearly 40% of the money earned on taxes. The reason we all of a sudden had these gigantic banks go under is because people started selling off their stock, driving the stock price down, thus reducing operating capital significantly. These large firms lend money back and forth to each other overnight to meet immediate obligations. These companies Equity funds were completely drying up and so each firm held on to their available cash and wouldn’t risk lending it to others. It was like the world’s largest musical chairs, when this all happened last Wed, those without a chair ($) had to leave the game. Long story short, I think investors are going to look at other alternative returns on their investment, if Obama would impose his proposed changes.

I thought I’d write a short response. I can see why Congress never gets anything done. By the time you’ve heard and expressed the views of everyone you’ve taken all the time available. ( I also know this from sitting in on over 2 yrs worth of City Council and Planning Commission meetings J) Thanks for sparking this great forum. I sit at a model all day reading up on what I can, and I still don’t feel I have enough knowledge on the subject. I think we are doing what the Brethren have asked of us, I know it can be so hard to feel so strongly about something and differ so much from those you love the most. I’ve only touched on only a couple of topics I feel I can speak with even a little bit of intelligence. Of the two that will get the next presidency, I know there are better candidates out the possible 300 million possibilities. I think the Lord’s government is sounding nice now; A Presidency of with those in authority from God and the assistance of a Quorum of Twelve other individuals who speak and know the will of the Lord is a far superior system of government. Laters. Jed (“this was a endorsement for Millennial Peace Campaign, and I support this ad”)

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