My Brain Hurts...Thank You! Keep it Coming!

Posted by Heather , 9.26.2008 10:35 PM

I am very thoughtfully considering all of the points you have all made here, in private email, and on Facebook. I feel my view expanding and shifting. Mostly I am recognizing what I don't know. Isn't that how it always goes? The more you know the more you don't? I have such great love and respect for all of you that have commented that I am really considering what you are saying. This is exactly kind of dialogue I was hoping for. Phew, I don't think I can keep up this pace for another 30 + days, though.

Besides, I have another exciting blogging project in the works around something potentially even more important than the upcoming election. If you know what movie hits theaters on November 21st, then get excited because I've got a lively discussion brewing.

I didn’t get to listen to the debate tonight…dang kids. I’d love to hear any reactions you might have. Keep the comments coming. I have pretty thick skin, and a pretty open mind.

Loves,
Heather

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 na├»ve 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.

Why I (Heather) support Barack Obama...and some interesting links.

Posted by Heather , 9.22.2008 11:54 PM

I'm voting for Barry

Hi, everyone. Let me start by saying that I'm not trying to start any fights or attack anyone, and I am not trying to tell anyone how to think. I've learned over the past couple of elections that I generally tick people off because I get very excited and I don't communicate very well, especially when talking about politics. Somehow I usually end up making people feel like I think I know so much, etc. etc. I am sorry for any past offenses. I am genuinely trying to be better. I realize I have a long way to go. I honestly just want to start a dialogue about some of the things I have been thinking about. I really want to know what you all think because I value your opinions, insight and experience. :)

I've really struggled with defining my own thoughts and beliefs about who I should vote for in the upcoming election. It's weird because in a lot of ways I feel like my faith/testimony is being challenged by even taking a serious look at Obama and his policies, that somehow by supporting a democrat I am betraying the Church or something. I've lost a lot of sleep over it. For some reason the stakes seem so high to me this year. I am struggling not to become obsessed.

Through my research journey thus far, I personally feel an urgency to support Barrack Obama. And yes, I realize that my vote probably won't go far because of the electoral college and the status of politics here in the Beehave state. I have contributed to his campaign ($15 for a t-shirt) and I am looking for more ways to promote his cause. Although I plan on voting for him, and I feel like he is a very good person and leader, I am still struggling with social issues like abortion and gay marriage (I haven't gone completely apostate). I would love to hear any insights you have on how you feel about specific issues. I think abortion and gay marriage are important issues, but there are a lot of other issues that are important and affect my family's day-to-day living more--like the economy, health care, and education (to name a few).

So, anyway--I found this blogger that I really like. He is a professor at BYU who is active in the Utah Democratic party. I like his gospel-centered view. He has really done his homework and compiled some interesting, balanced links about both sides that have helped me come to grips with what I think. I am still very much trying to figure IT out (IT being, how should our country solve all the problems we are facing and what policies will get us there and what role religion and faith plays in all of this AND whether it really matters because the Second Coming is on its way).

Bruce Young's insights have helped me distill out what I think from a gospel-centered point-of-view. Please don't feel obligated to look at this. I only share it if you are interested because I found it interesting and enlightening. The organization of his blog is a little screwy so take a minute to click on all the links. I especially liked the speech Obama gave on Father's Day at his church. If nothing else, check that out. Sure do love you all! I'd love to start a dialogue (fostering dignity and respect, of course) about the issues and candidates if anyone is interested. Feel free to leave comments here, or email me personally.

Loves,
Heather

Bruce Young's Blog
http://bruceyoung-election2008.blogspot.com/

Barrack Obama's Father's Day Message
http://www.barackobama.com/2008/06/15/remarks_of_senator_barack_obam_78.php

Here is a link to a statement issued by the First Presidency this week. I sure wish I knew who each of the 12 were supporting, and why! :)
http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/news-releases-stories/first-presidency-issues-letter-on-political-participation

You have probably already seen this. Just wanted to lighten it up a little. (Warning...this is probably at least PG. I think it swears once.)
http://www.peteyandpetunia.com:80/VoteHere/VoteHere.htm

One more funny... actually kind of sad-but-true link.
http://www.moblogic.tv/video/2008/07/21/why-vote/

Brother's Second Birthday

Posted by Heather , 9.01.2008 10:16 PM

So, it's official. We have two two-year-olds. Brother celebrated his birthday last Thursday 8/28. The day started early when he woke up at 5 am and came in to bed with us. At first I was annoyed, but he is just so dang cute. I woke to have him curled around my arm asleep. How sweet. I didn't want to move, but I had lots to do to get ready for his birthday party.


We had a great little party with his closest cousins and neighbors. It was complete with a little painting craft, water balloons, pizza, and ice-cream cone cupcakes. Of course, his favorite thing was the mylar Elmo balloon. Elmo is big at our house right now.

One of my favorite little quirks about Brother is the way he "saves" special things. For example, I will give he and Sis the same little treat. She immediately devours hers. He holds his, looks at it, walks around with it, looks at it some more, then maybe takes a bite. The most common occurrence is that he will carry something around half the day, then he sets it down for a minute and Sis. swoops in and eats it in 2 seconds. He carried around his cupcake until after nearly everyone had left.

His party was a lot of fun. The kids played while the moms chatted. After it was all over, I gave Brothy and Sis a bath and they took a nearly 4 hour nap--the little party animals.

We also had a family party on Sunday. It was fun. I made Brothy gourmet chicken nuggets and a "dirt cake." Of course he wouldn't eat any dinner and was scared to death of the candles, but it was still a good time. He loves his new Elmo and Froggy videos, and especially loves the little Elmo iPod toy Grandma & Grandpa gave him. I hit a Saver's Labor Day sale today and bought them both Elmo shirts. Now I've got to wash them so they can wear them. Life is good. We are ready for the fall. My thoughts always turn to my grandmas this time of year.







Dr. Horrible

Posted by JT 1:04 AM

So, Heather and I stumbled on something really funny. I know a lot of you may have already seen this, but we thought we'd pass it on for anyone to enjoy who hasn't seen it yet. What is it?

Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog.

We all need more super villain musicals, that's all I'm saying. This is just act one. Acts two and three are available on www.drhorrible.com It's kinda small on zerendipity, make sure to make it go fullscreen.


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