The Year in Review - 2010
As the year, 2010, comes to an end, it is only natural that we pause and remember the events of the passing year. So much of what happens during the year gets overshadowed by the big media events that we tend to downplay the significance of the constant changes in our daily lives. Sometimes it is the little things that make the most important differences to us. So as we prepare for the New Year, let us reflect on this past year.
The politics of the day certainly grabbed the headlines and held our attention for much of the year. It seems that almost daily we were bombarded with partisan game playing in Washington. Our president claims to have ended this year on a high note boasting of all that he has accomplished in his first two years in office. With a filibuster proof majority in both houses, much of the president’s agenda passed even with stiff opposition. In President Obama’s own words, “We were in such a hurry to get things done that we didn’t pay attention to how they got done.”
This leads us to another great event of 2010, the rise of the Tea Party Movement.
According to the Tea Party, the ‘how’ things get done in Washington matters, just as much as getting them done.
With Constitutional law getting side stepped in order to pass legislation, the Tea Party called Washington out on this and the mid-term elections provided the proof that America was paying attention.
The Tea Party Movement also protested the massive spending of our government and again, the American people took notice. The growth of government has accelerated to such a degree that almost half of America’s workforce are now government employees. The Tea Party knows that this is unsustainable. Even though they were ridiculed and called horrendous names, the Tea Party led a conservative wave throughout the country. Though the GOP may feel this gives them the edge, they cannot take these votes for granted. Returning the government to the people and keeping our laws based on the Constitution is a main focus of the Tea Party and pretty words from either side of the aisle is not going to dampen the zeal of the Tea Party Movement.
One of the biggest achievements of this past year for the president and the Democrats has to be the passing of what they refer to as Health Care Reform. Most of the promises made, when talks about reform started, did not come to fruition. Partisan politics took over and left real reform in the dust. The DNC National Chairman Howard Dean and Senator Baucus both freely admit ‘on the record’ that the Health Care Bill is more about redistributing wealth than it is about real Health Care Reform. The promises made to our seniors regarding Social Security and Medicare are not sacrosanct anymore. So where does that leave us?
The answer comes quickly to me: Divided.
Let’s face it; Americans are more aware these days of everything going on in Washington and in their local communities. With 24 hour news, we are inundated with so much information that many times we are just overloaded. So we focus on what is important to us. The over spending by Washington and the debt that has accumulated has become the focus of many Americans.
People are talking, on the air, on the internet and even in the coffee shops. The lack of bipartisanship of this past Congress has spilled over to main stream causing the divisions between left and right, the haves and have nots, and even between blacks and whites to grow into huge uncrossable chasms.. While the difference between right and wrong have become blurred and ill defined. This is one of those subtle changes, gone unnoticed and unchecked until we find ourselves standing at the precipice asking the question, How did we get here?
There are a multitude of questions that Americans are asking every day. We are highlighting just a very few. The concerns of most Americans are not really that varied. We want life, liberty and we want to pursue our own happiness. We do not want limits put on us from the government as to how big our dreams can be. Yes, we want to care for our elderly and our infirmed but that doesn’t give carte blanche to those programs. We want oversight but we do not want the government running our businesses. We all see the need for good health insurance but we don’t want the government to make our choices for us. We want our schools to be the best in the world and are happy to fund them but we have questions about their inefficient use of our money. We want workers protected and feel that all workers should earn a good wage but we do not want to be strong armed into union demands.
Let’s talk about things. Let’s get to the truth behind all of the rhetoric. Let’s find out about all the pros and cons of each new piece of legislation. Let’s not rely solely on the word of a lobbyist or a news anchor. Oh, I could go on but I think you get the message.
Have your political positions changed in the last 2 to 3 years?
What was the major reason behind your changing political positions?
I have always been quite conservative in my thinking so to say that I have gone more right may be a misnomer. I am not more Republican, by any means. But because I feel that the Constitution is being ignored and overlooked ‘for our own good’ as they say, I feel the country needs to cling to or at least return to the values and principles of our founders, so I know that I do appear to be more conservative. Perhaps I am just more vocal about it and feel it more intensely now. I feel as though as a country, we have drifted away from the ideals that made this country great and exceptional. My thoughts about this country are tied up with my personal religious beliefs and I don’t want to preach but I do believe that this country was blessed by God. I further agree that it is the personal responsibility of us all to pursue our own achievements and not rely on the government to provide a way of life – a helping hand, sure but not the entitlements that threaten our financial solvency.
The midterms to me were not a blank check, so to speak, for the GOP but rather a true disapproval of the sharp left turn that this country took since this administration took office. I think it all boils down to fiscal responsibility. We all have to balance our checkbook and pay off our debts, and the Tea Party movement has highlighted the negligence of our Congress to do the same while they continue asking for more and more money because they will not tighten their own belt. Whether they are worried about their own re-election or really believe in the pork projects they fund, they do not seem willing to make the necessary cuts.
As for the division? Absolutely! We are more divided now than at any time I can recall -more so than the Vietnam era and the riots of the late 60’s. I would venture to say that it is almost as bad as the civil war era in terms of polarization. In this day and age when news is so immediate and the reasoning behind the decisions being made are kept from us, we, the people, far often too quickly make up our minds about things that we should carefully mull over. This division is growing deeper daily.
Our president was credited with doing away with divisiveness altogether when he was elected but the shameful way business is done in Washington has not only brought about more but it highlighted the scum and dirt of politics to such a degree that the average person found it and the politicians playing that way – disgusting. To brush the guilt off of themselves they branded the folks as racists and troublemakers. It has gotten so bad that regular folks are targets of this type of assault when simply asking for the laws, which we already have on the books, to be followed.
My opinion is that for too long, our Congress has worked harder
at side deals, covering their own butts and their own re-election than the
business of running this country. Either aisle – doesn’t matter. It is time for that to stop. We have work to do.