Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Down the middle

Well, I feel compelled to say something about the election. I guess first my congratulations to all those who worked hard to get their word out and who accomplished their goals. Likewise, to the people who didn't win the election, it is obvious from the election results that your efforts did not go unnoticed.

My first comment is about City of Austin Proposition 2, since I wrote extensively about that a few weeks ago. While it was defeated, it wasn't defeated by a large margin. In fact, I think all of the people I know who voted against it did so because they felt strongly about contractual obligations, and I can understand their position. Given this, I think it should be very clear to the Austin City Council that the people who live here don't want any more subsidies made to build large retail malls. If the proposition was presented as a way to limit future subsidies to retail stores, the proposition would have passed. My hat's off to the people at Stop Domain Subsidies, though, for their grass-roots efforts to fight this. While the proposition didn't pass, you did succeed in bringing this kind of issue to the forefront, as most people didn't even know this was happening.

The presidential election was actually a telling tale as well. Most people have concentrated on the idea that we have elected the first black president (Barrack is an American, not a hyphenated-American). Again, the U.S. presidential race was very close when you look at the popular votes in most states. While my support went to Barrack, and I am glad he will be our next president, it is important to note that as a country our opinions were clearly split. In my opinion, John McCain would have taken this election had he not chosen Sarah Palin as his running-mate. Both men would make a good president, although overall I feel that Barrack Obama will bring a younger perspective to federal government that is sorely needed. Both McCain's and Obama's speeches were moving and I do believe that they were not just words but both men's statements were heartfelt. I think both men knew how divided this country was, and the idea that both sides of the political fence need to listen to each other is absolutely necessary.

I guess this is where I say once again that this country is extremely polarized at the moment. It isn't a clear case of one political ideology prevailing over another. There is plenty of misinformation to go around, and the truth lies somewhere in the middle (as it usually does).

What I will say, though, is that it is time for people to stop looking to government to make their lives easier. That is not the function of government. If you decide to have kids it is not up to the government to lower your taxes so that you can more easily cope with that decision. If you're a single person you don't get to not pay school taxes because you have no kids in school. School vouchering is evil. A public fund to help people out when they've tried hard and can't make ends meet is okay...but bailing-out a failed financial system by pumping money into the very system that failed is stupid. Giving people money to pay their mortgages because they over-extended themselves is also not very wise. Why in the world should religious organizations be tax-exempt? Barrack was very right when he said that there are going to be sacrifices and hard work ahead. I hope he means that the sacrifices are going to be made on the taker's side and not on the giver's side. We give far too much assistance to far too many people and corporations/organizations who clearly shouldn't have it. If you're a parent and you're really concerned about the future your children will inherit then it's time to teach them personal responsibility and that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

It is a strong leader that does what is right for the country and not what is right for his party, or for the people who funded his campaign. I ask that all of our elected officials consider this and make this year one of doing what is truly in the best interests of preserving this country long-term, and not meddling in short-term fixes or hand-outs to make people happy. That's not how America became what it is.

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