Skip to comments.To My Father-in-Law Who Wants to Disown Me for Voting for Romney
Posted on 12/01/2012 7:47:03 PM PST by Behind the Blue Wall
The following is a partially redacted copy of an email I sent to my father in law a couple of days ago in response to my wife freaking out because he'd apparently disowned me after learning that I'd voted for Romney, and reading a number of things that I'd posted on my blog. It's a bit long, and I realize that most Freepers will disagree with me on a number of items in the body of the email, but I thought it would be interesting to those looking for ways that for the conservative movement to appeal to other demographics. Much of my argument comes from the perspective of someone concerned about the health and well-being of black people, poor people, etc. I'd be curious to hear how people react to some of the ways in which I try to show that conservatism would be better for black people than progressivism.
Two other parenthetical notes:
1. I included some of the personal stuff (names redacted) to emphasize the degree to which my father in law, who has known me for 15 years, and has no complaints with me whatsoever outside of politics, is willing to create a dissension in my family over this. It's indicative of how totalitarian the left/progressive mindset really is; they are utterly intolerant of differing opinions.
2. One of the few rays of hope coming out of the 2012 election, in my opinion, was the Pew exit poll data that showed that nearly 20% of black men aged 18-29 voted for Romney over Obama. I would think that group might be receptive to the kinds of arguments that I put in this email.
[Father in Law],
I hope this email finds you in good health and spirits. Give my regards to [my brother in law].
I've been informed by [my wife] that you are concerned and maybe even upset about my political beliefs, and I wanted to write you this email to try to at least open up a dialogue about some of the issues that are of concern to you.
I want to say first of all that I plead with you from deeply within my heart to never let any issue that you might have with me come between you and [my wife] and [my son]. Before I was born, my maternal grandmother passed away, and my mother became ostracized from her father, especially after he remarried. Because of that I was denied the opportunity to form a relationship with my grandfather. In fact, I didn't meet him until I was 13 years old, and given the history and the estrangement from my mother, who I was naturally protective of, I never had a strong connection to him. To this day, I have always felt the loss of that very deeply, in fact, more so as I've grown older. I was very close to my paternal grandparents, I learned so many things about myself and the world from them that I could not have learned from my parents. I can only imagine how much I missed by not having my maternal grandfather in my life. It's a part of my heritage that was just lost to me. I believe that it was a great loss to him as well. I remember going to his funeral as an adult. In attendance were his wife and her daughter, my mom and her sister, and my dad and me. After all of those years away from us, we were still the great majority of those closest to him. How sad for him that he spent half of his life apart and estranged from us.
So, my first priority will always be that [my son] have as much interaction as possible with his maternal grandparents. I will do everything in my power to make sure that he doesn't experience the hole in his family that I experienced in mine. I want him to experience all of his grandparents as much as possible for as long as he is fortunate enough to have them. I have felt incredibly blessed that he has had the opportunity to spend so much time with [my son] over this past year. I think she is an absolutely amazing grandmother and caretaker. She speaks to him in the kindest, softest tones, and she is tireless in providing stimulating and exciting activities for him. She has done an absolutely wonderful job in taking care of him, and he absolutely adores her. She has also been a very welcome presence in our home, cooking up delicious Ibo food, and helping us to cope with the transition to parenthood. Thank you for whatever role you've played in allowing her to be here with us for such an extended period of time. It is greatly appreciated. I can't wait until you have the opportunity to finally meet [your grandson] -- I think that you will surely agree with the rest of us that we have a very special, amazing child who has come to join us in our lives.
I would also like to preface this conversation by saying that I greatly enjoy political discussion and debate, and there may be times when my positions might veer onto the contrarian side of things more because of my desire for there to be a lively exchange of ideas than because of what my true beliefs might be. That is not to say that I do not hold strong opinions. It's just that I also get a bit bored with "preaching to the choir" type discussions, so I often take a "devil's advocate" opinion, and then I might even convince myself if I do it often or for long enough! In that light also, let me state that I'm always open to be proven or convinced wrong, and I relish any opportunity to have my perspective expanded by constructively engaging with those who disagree with what I'm saying. If I ever come off as maybe too strongly opinionated, or arrogant in my beliefs, then I do apologize, because I acknowledge that to often be my style of interaction, to my detriment at times.
And I would also urge you also at the outset to consider who I have been and continue to be as a person, besides of whatever political debates and discussions I might engage in: I'm a person who greatly values family. I guarantee you that if you were to ask every single member of my extended family (and there are quite a few!), you would not find a single one to speak badly of me, and each of them would testify that when I was called upon to provide support, I was always there. Always. I always prioritize family above all else in my life. I'm also a person who values education and learning. Obviously, I have two graduate degrees from one of the best research universities in the world, but besides that I also read constantly about all kinds of topics. If you have an issue with my political beliefs, I guarantee you that you will not find in any instance that my beliefs are based on ignorance. I would put my knowledge of the facts as they relate to politics, public policy, political economy, etc., up against anyone. I value health: I seek out the healthiest foods for myself and my family, and I try to get out and exercise on a daily basis, often with [my son] and other family members in tow. [My son] has been to more beautiful outdoor places in Southern California in his short life than the average adult has in theirs! I value hard work: I've had a paying job almost continuously since I was nine years old, and I never call in sick, have never been fired, and have always fulfilled my job duties responsibly. The last couple of years have been among the most productive of my life.
But most importantly, for the purpose of this conversation, I am driven in my life by a sense of responsibility and purpose to better the world, especially for the poor and disadvantaged, and particularly those of African descent. We live in a racially mixed development in the midst of a largely black community, and all of the major community leaders in the area are familiar with me and what I have done to better the community on a volunteer basis over the years. I have been elected to various boards and commissions serving the community because of that reputation. I helped win changes to a planned light rail to make it safer for the community, I have been a regular "mentor"/counselor in a program that takes inner-city boys in trouble with the law for an annual camping trip in the local mountains, I've incorporated, obtained tax exemption for or otherwise assisted dozens of organizations that provide services to low-income residents. Within the past two years, through my work challenging the legal and technical adequacy of the environmental reports for development projects, I have won over $50 million in community benefits for low-income people in South Los Angeles. I'm confident that you could not find another black attorney in my age cohort in Los Angeles who has done more to help ameliorate the conditions for low-income black people than I have.
So, regardless of my political beliefs, I remain a family- and community-oriented, health-conscious, educated and learned young(-ish!) professional who works hard everyday to help others. That is who I am, and that will never change. And that is from where my political beliefs spring, however bizarre my conclusions might seem to you right now.
Now, it is true that in the last election cycle I came to the conclusion that I could not vote for Barack Obama, and in fact, that I would vote for his opponent Mitt Romney.
I would be remiss if I didn't start that discussion by reciting the key role that I believe that I played in helping elect Barack Obama. I was one of his first volunteers, knocking doors in South and East Los Angeles on behalf of candidate Obama in the Spring and Summer of 2007. At that time, most blacks I spoke with in South L.A. dismissed the possibility that America would ever elect a black President, and, in any event, were already committed to Hillary's candidacy out of loyalty to her husband (I was out of step with the majority then as now). In East L.A., hardly any Hispanics had ever heard of him, and they were also very committed to Hillary. Obama's strategy, however, was to win in Iowa, thereby proving his appeal to middle (white) America, and then leverage that into the nomination. Hillary's strategy was to let Obama have his little small state caucus wins, and then swamp him on Super Tuesday when 13 states including giants like New York, New Jersey and California would be voting in huge primaries, where her money advantage and name recognition would be decisive. She counted on there being so many delegates awarded on that one day that she would have an insurmountable lead coming out of it, and the contest would be over. The one thing that she didn't put into her calculations, however, was that California was not "winner take all", but instead awarded delegates by Congressional district. So, Obama's "sub-strategy" so to speak was to come out of Super Tuesday with just enough delegates from California such that Hillary's lead would not be insurmountable, and then go back to racking up small state, caucus wins with his superior ground organization.
The key battlegrounds then would be districts in California with relatively equal numbers of blacks and Latinos, where Obama would have a chance. My district was one of the more important such districts, right in the middle of the nation's second largest city. I understood how key my district was going to be, and therefore dedicated six months of my life full-time, without pay, to helping Obama win my Congressional District. There are people in my neighborhood who still refer to me as the "Obama guy" because that's the context in which they first met me. I rose up through the ranks, and by primary day, I was in charge of about 30 precincts. We won my district, which delivered its delegates to Obama, and Super Tuesday turned out just as the Obama campaign had hoped -- Hillary won all of the big states, but she didn't pull out enough delegates to end the contest. In the ensuing weeks and months, the candidates ran close, but Obama always came out with just a few more delegates, and by the end, it was he who held the insurmountable lead.
I say all of that not to tout my horn, but to give you a sense of the feeling of investment that I had in candidate Obama. Having put that much effort into helping him win a crucial set of delegates on a crucial day in the campaign, I wanted to see him do the things that he promised, maybe a bit more intensely than the average voter.
Gradually, however, I watched as Obama failed to deliver on one promise after another. I will recite the major ones here, because the specificity is important. My general inclination has always been to support him; it's the specifics that have turned me away.
Before I go there, I think it's probably appropriate for me to state with clarity my view on the role of race in my perspective on Barack Obama. I will absolutely acknowledge that the fact that Obama is of African descent was a significant factor in my decision to work for and vote in favor of his election. The fact that America has elected its first black President is of great symbolic importance, something that I take great pride in, and something that I believe gives a great deal of inspiration to millions of black people all over the world. But I also believe that as much as race should have properly been taken into account in electing him, I believe equally strongly that there is no role whatsoever for race to play in evaluating his performance. I believe this very strongly, for a number of reasons. Number one, the lack of accountability attached to black politicians generally by blacks who support them based on race is a big reason why many of their constituents often suffer from very poor representation. You can see it cities around the country like Detroit, Compton, Washington, D.C. It's not a problem particular to blacks either -- there are countless examples all over the globe that show that where people support leaders based on ethnic identity, they frequently get nothing (or worse) in return for their support. Failing to hold Obama accountable because of his race also undercuts, in my opinion, the argument for affirmative action. A lot of people agree that it's appropriate to give blacks an extra chance at a job to make up for past discrimination; hardly anyone thinks it's appropriate to then hold that employee to a different standard than other employees because of their race. People often fear that will be the case, but those who support affirmative action generally assert that everyone on the job itself will be held to the same standard, regardless of race. Failing to do so with respect to Obama confirms those fears writ large.
So, at the outset, I'll say that my position is that I supported, worked for and voted for Barack Obama partially because of his race, but that his race plays almost no role whatsoever in my evaluation of his performance.
The first major disappointment I had with Obama had to do with public financing. I think nearly everyone across the political spectrum agrees that probably the biggest problem in American politics is the corrupting influence of money. For me personally, this has always been a huge issue. It's a big part of why I myself have never sought public office, or even desired to work directly for a public official. For the past few decades, one of the only places where there was actually a relatively successful system in place to combat the influence of money was in the U.S. Presidential elections where there was a system of public financing. In order to qualify for public financing, however, candidates had to agree to spending limits. Up until 2008, all candidates had done so since it was established. Obama's speeches and policy positions decried the influence of money in politics, and promised an administration relatively free of its influence. During the primary, John McCain offered to enter into a pledge with the Democrats running that they would each accept the public financing system, so long as the other candidate did. Obama accepted his offer, and they made a pact with each other that if either got the nomination and accepted public financing, the other would as well.
Well, the summer came, and McCain got the Republican nomination and accepted public financing, and Obama got the Democratic nomination, and elected not to. That was the end of the public financing system in the U.S. -- neither candidate accepted it in 2012, and there's zero chance that any candidate will ever again. Big money is back firmly in control of Presidential campaigns in the U.S., and Obama played a big part in making that so.
The next major disappointment was during the financial crisis in the Fall of 2008. With Wall Street teetering on the brink of collapse, the Bush Administration proposed a bailout. On the first vote in the House of Representatives, however, it unexpectedly failed. The "Nays" came mostly from Republicans breaking with their President and Party leadership, but at that time Republicans were in the minority in the House. The marginal votes that put the Nays over the top came from members of the Congressional Black Caucus, who were concerned about the lack of protections against foreclosures on distressed homeowners included in the bill. They were demanding that if we were going to bailout Wall Street, they sure as hell better not turn around and foreclose on homeowners behind on their payments without some kind of forebearance (In retrospect their prescience was remarkable). During the ensuing week, Obama returned to Washington from the campaign trail, and put pressure on the black lawmakers who had voted Nay to change their votes (under threat of being 86'd from the White House of the first black President), and also turned down an offer from the Secretary of Treasury to include the foreclosure protections. At the end of the week, the bailout was put back up for a vote and it passed narrowly with the margin of victory being provided by the Black Caucus vote switchers. As a result, millions of homeowners unnecessarily lost their homes, many of them black, and statistically, all of the black wealth generated throughout the 90's and 2000's was wiped out. Our homeownership rate is now where it was 20 years ago, before countless hours were spent by countless people getting blacks into homeownership for the first time in their lives. The Wall Street millionaires and billionaires who caused the calamity lost nothing, and were back to record profits within a year or two. Communities were devastated by blocks full of empty and abandoned homes. I firmly believe to this day that either the banks should've been allowed to go bankrupt or the money should've been loaned to them with the requirement that they forebear on foreclosures until it was paid back, and that if either of those things had happened, the crisis would've been much less severe.
Still I voted for Obama in November 2008, though certainly less enthusiastically than during the primary.
The next major disappointment came in February of 2009. One of the reasons why I was excited about working for candidate Obama in 2007 was that I believed his promise to be a relatively nonpartisan, transcendent sort of leader. His speech at the 2004 Convention famously talked about there being no "liberal America, or conservative America, only the United States of America". But when it came time to put together a "stimulus bill" to address the deepening recession, he rejected input from Republican lawmakers, saying, "I won". The bill itself was not really an economic recovery bill, but instead was a kitchen sink bill full of payoffs to every imaginable Democratic interest group and crony capitalist. More importantly, it proved ineffective. The requirement that projects be "shovel ready" within six months meant that nothing inspiring or meaningful would be built, and all of the corruption and cronyism meant that the economic effect was neutralized. I know of what I speak here because I was directly involved in the discussions at the local level of how the money would be used. Nothing got built that would not have been built otherwise, and even the speeding of timelines was limited by the realities of what it takes to move projects forward in the modern age. It was a unique trillion dollar opportunity to do something substantial to progress our economy and country, and instead, it fell flat. Unemployment went to 10%, millions lost their jobs, 6 million fell into poverty, and we now have our worst poverty rates in many decades. Blacks were hit the hardest, at all levels.
Instead of making further attempts to address the mass and growing unemployment and poverty, President Obama's next move was to introduce a health care bill. Now, I will preface this by saying that I do think that there needed to be changes in our health care system to ensure better access to medical care. In a modern society there is no reason for people to ever get sick and die from preventable causes because of a lack of health care. But I will also say that Obama went about it in a way that I fundamentally disagreed with. In fact, he went about it in a way that candidate Obama fundamentally disagreed with. Here's candidate Obama in a debate with Hillary Clinton during the primary: "we don't want to put in a situation in which on the front end we are mandating them, we are forcing them to purchase insurance, and [if they don't] they will be penalized". In fact, he ran a TV attack ad with the following message: "Hillary Clinton's attacking, but what's she not telling you about her health care plan? It forces everyone to buy insurance, even if you can't afford it, and you pay a penalty if you don't." But the health care plan proposed by the White House and adopted in the Congress in 2010 included a mandate requiring that people buy private health care insurance, whether or not they can afford it, with a penalty levied if they failed to do so.
I think with the mandate really cuts against the argument that President Obama has somehow "provided" universal health insurance. I suppose you could argue that the slave master "provides" work, food and housing to the slaves, but it's not really true. Maybe that's an extreme analogy, but if you look at the details, the mandate is not really even part of providing health insurance to those who can't afford it. Before and after the bill was passed, if you were poor in the U.S., you qualified for Medicaid health insurance. The bill expanded Medicaid eligibility. I have no problem with that; it's just a question of how much you can afford to expand given budgetary constraints. But the mandate will more often apply to people who are young, unmarried, no kids, trying to save their money to maybe start a business or buy a house, and calculating that they can take the risk of not needing health insurance for a few years. There were also other possible options for that crowd, such as allowing catastrophic coverage only, so that they'd be at least covered if something really bad happened, but it costing a fraction of a regular health plan. There was also the underlying reality that in America, there has always been a rule requiring emergency rooms to take and treat all comers, regardless of ability to pay.
So, in the end, of the 45 million people without health insurance, 15 million will be forced to buy it, 15 million will become eligible for Medicaid and 15 million still won't have it for a variety of reasons. It's not even providing universal health coverage, yet the price is a radical and unprecedented expansion of the power and influence of the federal government over the lives of individual Americans. Not worth it in my opinion, though of course, others may and do differ. As of now, not the majority of the country, however. It was also not the majority of the country then either, and that fact is yet another example of President Obama reneging on his commitment to post-partisanship, pushing through an unpopular bill through a series of unprecedented and procedurally questionable legislative maneuvers made necessary by the failure to muster up even a single Republican vote. I was one of the millions of Americans who was shocked and dismayed by the sort of bare-knuckled tactics and brazen ignoring of the will of the people that President Obama and Democrats displayed during that process. Parenthetically, I was also offended when it was falsely claimed that a group of protesters at the Capital used the N-word in reference to John Lewis (the tapes revealed no such event occurred). Falsely claiming racism has to be one of the lowest kinds of smears possible (to his credit, Lewis himself never claimed it happened).
Another major disappointment for me has been in the area of targeted assassinations. Probably candidate Obama's biggest applause line at the several events with him I attended during the 2008 primary was his statement that unlike President Bush's administration, his would be an administration that "did not torture". Now, in the end, three suspected terrorists were "tortured" by the Bush Administration (if you consider pouring water on somebody's face torture . . . I believe it to be borderline, and I've read that the intelligence that ended up leading us to bin Laden started with one of those interrogations). Hundreds of suspected terrorists have been killed under President Obama in drone attacks, including U.S. citizens, and including people who were accused of nothing other than speech. None of them were ever convicted of anything. None of them were on the battlefield in war zones. None of them were actively engaged in acts of terrorism. So, I fail to see why I can be rightfully outraged that three suspected terrorists were waterboarded, and but then expected to simply look the other way when hundreds of suspected terrorists are summarily executed, without any due process of law whatsoever. Including U.S. citizens. Including those suspected of nothing other than speech. Well, I am outraged. Incredibly. We also know that President Obama in fact has a "kill list" where he and he alone gets to decide who of his enemies will be sentenced to die. This is not something that I care to get behind. Read anything by noted constitutional liberties scholar (and leftist) Glenn Greenwald, and you'll discover that on a range of civil liberties questions, Obama's record is significantly worse than Bush's.
Finally, there was illegal immigration. In an interview in early 2012 with Univision television President Obama said that he cant just waive away the laws that Congress put in place and that the president doesnt have the authority to simply ignore Congress and say, Were not going to enforce the laws that youve passed. Yet, last summer he did exactly that, and unconstitutionally set aside the law as it related to potentially millions of illegal aliens. Now, having gone through considerable heartache, expense and time to ensure that [my wife] was always properly in the country, and feeling the disappointment in the fact that were [my brother in law] to ever desire to come to the U.S. based on his relation to [my wife], the wait time is estimated at over 20 years, I take a certain offense to the idea that someone who came here completely illegally will have the opportunity to jump to the front of the line for legal status and even citizenship. In addition, I've seen how devastating the effect of illegal immigration has been on the job market for low-skilled African-American workers such as my uncle XXXX. Blacks have been 100% wiped out of entire industries and job categories that used to form the basis of the black working class: gardening, janitorial services, housekeeping, restaurant workers, seamstresses, domestic help, childcare, construction, light manufacturing, etc. In some formerly black now Hispanic neighborhoods in Los Angeles, blacks have been shot on sight by Hispanics for no other reason than their race. Another amnesty, this one not even done in a constitutional way, will just worsen all of this.
So, as the election grew closer, I had many reasons to question my allegiance to the President.
"Well, why Romney, he'd probably be even worse on most of the same questions, right?", you might ask. Potentially, yes. But it does get more complicated than that. To start, as I saw firsthand for the first time in my life the effects of a serious economic downturn, I began to see the extent to which so much in the lives of those I care about is fundamentally determined by the broader economic circumstances. It's not just the unemployment and the foreclosures, though that is certainly significant enough. But as more people become unemployed and lose their homes, families begin to break up. I've even seen that in my immediate family. And working for a nonprofit, you see grants dry up, and donations decrease. Foundation endowments deflate. Local and state government and public schools see their budgets cut, year after year, laying off staff, reducing services, reducing the school year. And everything builds on everything else: as unemployment and foreclosures cause families to break up, demands on social services rise, even as their budgets decrease. The misery and desperation just builds.
And the job market has affected our family in a real way. Your daughter desperately wants to find a new job and career direction. I would like to find a similar job, but closer to XXXX, so that my parents can see [my son] more often, and we can enjoy more family support. My sister needs to find a new job as well, and has had to move in with my parents. In this current job market, none of us has been able to find anything. Neither has my uncle XXXX, who is out of work and facing homelessness. The story is the same for my sister's ex-husband, and my best friend here in XXXX, and my best friend in the XXXX area, all of whom have been out of work for several years. I could cite countless others facing the same situation. In fact, I can cite very few people that I know who have found a new job in the last few years. Everyone who has a job is staying in it, whether they like it or not, and those that don't, can't find one.
And I've looked at the data statistically, and it's a plain fact that economic growth and unemployment and poverty are all very closely connected. When there's economic growth, the unemployment rate stays low, and poverty decreases. When the economy is stagnant or declining, unemployment goes up, and poverty increases. All of the positive government social programs in the world barely make a dent in comparison to the millions of people going into and out of poverty depending on the state of the economy. A good job trumps any social program in terms of the effect on someone's life. Believe me, I know that as someone who works in a law office that helps people obtain their government benefits: depending on social programs is not a happy existence, no matter how many programs are out there. It's still dependence on a bureaucracy, which is inevitably going to feel inhuman at times.
So, one of the most important questions that I have to consider when evaluating Presidential candidates has to be, "who has the right abilities and plans to get the economy growing?" Obama had a dismal record on the economy and hadn't announced any particularly different plans going forward into the campaign. Romney had a record of success in building a profitable business, and a plan that he claimed would create 12 million jobs. On that basis alone, Romney seemed to be the better bet as far who would get the economy moving.
Sure, you could doubt his "plans", but I've also come to my own conclusions about how public policy affects economic growth, and have determined that in general freer markets tend to produce better economic results. Here are the top ten ranked countries in terms of economic freedom:
1 Hong Kong
4 New Zealand
10 United States
All of those countries are relatively prosperous on the world stage, characterized by dynamic, growing economies. Places people want to move to, and live in. At the bottom of the list are countries like Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, Burma, Iran, Zimbabwe. Not places that very many people are too excited to move to, or live in. And if you look back through our own history here in the U.S., when there has been governance in Washington characterized by low taxes and less restrictive regulation, we have had more growth, less unemployment and lower levels of poverty. And the same holds true vice-versa, when there have been relatively high taxes, more regulation, there has been less growth, more unemployment and higher levels of poverty. You can compare California and Texas right now, and come to the same conclusion: one state is declining, high unemployment, constant budget cuts, the other state is growing, low unemployment, improving budgets. Guess which?
Yes, of course, there are all kinds of counter-examples and further complications, etc., but the broad picture is that free market economics has worked in the U.S. and around the world to bring about prosperity, lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty, whereas socialism and its variants have generally resulted in economic stagnation, decline and increasing poverty and misery for the people living under it. Recent events in Southern Europe would indicate that this general rule remains in effect.
So, on the biggest issue in my opinion to be considered, Obama seemed to be wedded to a philosophy that has not worked for him, as it has not worked in most places where it's been tried, whereas Romney was promising to put in place a set of policies that have worked here in the past, and have worked in most places they've been tried.
But of course, the economy is not everything. Foreign policy is the next biggest issue, I think most would agree. If you watched the foreign policy debate between Romney and Obama, there didn't in fact appear to be a great deal of daylight between the two of them, and in fact, throughout U.S. history, foreign policy has often been thought of as a nonpartisan issue. However, I am concerned that Obama does not properly recognize the threat presented by Islamism or radical Islam. As I've studied world history and geopolitics, I've come to the conclusion that there is not a conflict between the West and Islam as some have claimed; there is a conflict between radical Islam and everyone who does not subscribe to it. Whether it's the Boko Haram killing Christians in Nigeria, the conflict in Kashmir with the Hindus, destruction of Buddhist shrines in Afghanistan, conflicts with Philipinos in Mindanao, Russians in Chechnya, Kurds in Iraq, Christians in Sudan, Jews of course in Israel, women, minority sects and others in their own societies, etc., etc., it seems clear that there is a significant, active and influential segment of the Muslim population that subscribes to the same philosophy that I understand motivated Muhammad himself: anyone who refuses to submit to their vision of Islam should be killed, wherever and whenever possible. There's no peace to be made with people like that. I consider this to be the same kind of threat that the Nazi's were (with whom they were allied, not coincidentally) in the early 1930's. They have to be defeated. They will take advantage of any opportunity to build their power, but they will never be our "friends" or "allies". Yet, Obama seems to think otherwise; he makes alliances with the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas against our known, reliable allies such as Mubarak and Israel. He allows al Qaeda to operate unimpeded in a number of places like Mali and Libya. They are advancing their interests and positions while he plays around with words, trying to downplay the threat they represent. I don't know that Romney would've done any different, but it's something that concerns me, and in general, Republicans have been less likely to try to make peace with these people who are really our sworn enemies.
Then you have the sort of social/moral issues. In general I usually frown on attempts by politicians to use social issues to get votes. It's usually a method of distracting attention from their failures in the areas that really matter. In the past, Republicans have often been accused of doing that, with some validity. In this election, it seems clear that it was the Democratic Party and the Obama campaign that wanted to shift the focus away from the economy to social issues. Now, on gay marriage, I happen to agree with the Democratic position. I support the right of gay people to get married if they want to, although I do also recall speaking to a group of African-American ministers who were concerned that if gay marriage becomes legal, they would be at risk of losing their tax exemption if they refuse to perform them. I looked at the case law, and I do think that's a valid concern. But that's really more of an issue of religious freedom, and that's why I was also concerned about the targeting of the Catholic Church for refusing to provide certain contraceptives and abortifacients as part of their insurance plans.
I was also not impressed with the hysteria about the "war on women, i.e. Planned Parenthood". I'm not sure that Planned Parenthood should get federal money. If you look at their history, they were founded by eugenicists for the purpose of reducing the population of black people and other "undesirables", and in fact, to this day they disproportionately target their services to black women. In places such as NYC, upwards of 60% of black pregnancies end in abortion. '
In general, I do think abortion is a difficult moral, ethical and legal issue, but I also remember seeing [my son] when he consisted of only a dot on a computer screen, and then he was a blob, and then he was a little tadpole, and then a sea horse and then I heard his heart beat, and then saw his big head and then he was a noticeable bump in [my wife's] stomach and then he kicked and then he kicked me when I poked him, and then he seemed to react to my voice, and then he was placed into my arms after his birth and he seemed to already know me very well, and I him, and at every stage of along the way he was the same exact person, XXXX, a human life, and so I do think life begins precisely at conception, and that it's an innocent and vulnerable life that should be protected in some way by the state, in the same way that a newborn is somewhat protected from abusive or neglectful parents.
So, no, Obama's attempt to make the election about social issues did not swing me to his side.
I will note that there is one area where I very much agree with Obama's policies, and that is in the area of education, with his support for charter schools, teacher accountability, etc., but Romney was equally strong on these issues, and in fact, could point to having improved the Massachusetts public schools to become the best in the country during his tenure as Governor, so that wasn't a factor in favor of Obama as against Romney either.
I'm sure there were other issues as well, but these are the main points that drove me to cast my vote for Romney. Let me be clear, however, that it was not an unenthusiastic vote, for the most part. I didn't think that Romney really believed in a lot of what he was saying, and he certainly lacked the "common touch" that Americans like to see in our Presidents. But we have a two-party system here, so you have to vote for either A or B.
I guess I would be remiss if I don't also address this "birther" question that [my wife] told me you were especially concerned about. Let me state plainly up front: I don't believe that Obama was born in Kenya. I do think that there were legitimate questions raised about his eligibility for the Presidency and the authenticity of his birth documents, and I don't at all appreciate that if he was in fact born in Hawaii, that he played games with releasing the documentation, spending millions on lawsuits fighting public records requests and allowing soldiers questioning orders to go to jail, only to then release it in response to the clown Donald Trump's request. I would also say that I do think it's an issue that doesn't deserve to be ridiculed and viciously attacked. The Constitution is what keeps us free, nothing else. The day that we are ruled by men instead of laws is the day we will cease to be free people. I've dedicated my career to ensuring that everyone has access to the protections provided by the Constitution and the rest of our legal system. One of the requirements of the Constitution is that the President of the United States be a "natural born citizen". His parents can be from anywhere on Earth, but he must be a natural born citizen. One can argue about whether or not this requirement is outdated, or ever made sense in the first place, or the precise interpretation of its meaning, but for now, it's what the Constitution says, so it's the law of the land, and should be taken seriously by all who believe that in the rule of law. If we start to ignore this or that section of the Constitution depending on whether it benefits "our guy" or not, then we are on the slippery slope toward the abovementioned rule of men.
The argument that it was "racism" to raise the issue doesn't hold much water, in my humble opinion. It's forgotten by many that John McCain's status as a natural born citizen was also questioned in 2008. He was born to a military family stationed in Panama. Technically, the argument could be made that because he wasn't born in the U.S proper, he might not be eligible as a natural born citizen. And that argument was made. In the Senate. And McCain presented his birth certificate at a hearing. And a Resolution was passed declaring it to be the understanding of the Senate that children born to military families stationed overseas were eligible for the Presidency under the natural born citizen clause. The sponsors of the Resolution: Senators Clinton and Obama. Obama was never subjected to the level of questioning that McCain was. He never had to submit his birth certificate to any official agency, or have his status considered at a hearing, or have a resolution passed affirming his eligibility, even though he is in fact the first President to have been born to a foreign parent, and there are Supreme Court cases that suggest that that fact alone would've disqualified him, regardless of where he was born. A simple hearing on the merits in any sort of court of law would've ended the question, but it never happened.
To finish, I will say that now that the election is over, I want only the best for President Obama, not because I all of the sudden agree with him on everything, but because he's going to be President for the next four years, which means that my fate is dependent on his success. I hope that his vision of where to take the country turns out to be the right one, that we will once again have a booming economy, with new industries, jobs and career paths opening up, with our enemies overseas defeated and allies emboldened, gas and food prices low, salaries high, etc. I want these things to come to pass over the next four years, so I am rooting for Obama to be successful in bringing them about. On that I imagine we can all agree.
So, this has certainly gotten long. As I said at the beginning, I only hope this to be an invitation to dialogue. If you have any questions or comments about any of the above, please feel more than free to respond via email or give a phone call. I welcome the dialogue truly.
Osim! Great post.
Okay, you’re father-in-law is so conservative that he disowned you for voting for Romney?
I think your tone is respectful and caring and friendly.
That said, the letter is entirely too long.
It should have been more concise. Brief even. Then, if he responded you could have said a little more.
Remember. You cannot control another person’s decision or choices.
If he does disown you, it is his choice and doing.
Don’t react. Respond just like you are (but with a whole lot fewer words) being friendly, caring and loving. That, will be your decision and response. And he can’t control it or you.
God bless you and your good efforts.
Aye, fight and you may die. Run, and you'll live... at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin' to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take... OUR FREEDOM!
So... your telling him that you are still a good liberal.
I had originally planned to do that, maybe just say, "hey I heard you were upset, let me know what in particular you are upset about it." Might've been a better move. But I started writing, and just didn't want to stop until I said my piece. He does have a Ph.D., so at the very least he should be OK with reading a long email.
A White person won’t be listened to, and most Blacks call conservative Blacks sellouts or Uncle Toms. I’m not a big fan of identity politics, but we’d be better off going for Hispanics and Asians. Both demographically and realistically.
Wow. Just read this post of yours. So pretty much you really were not sincere or genuine with your father in law.
Totally different tone.
Good luck with that. It strikes me as two faced.
Unless you're pandering by adopting certain positions only because they appeal to one group or another, I don't think it needs to be either/or.
Good luck in getting a liberal to read anything longer than a headline....
In my experience you need to go with a sound bite that sums up the ...
Oooh look they’re showing something shiney on the view!
I dont knowingly allow Democrats in my home. Democrats walk into the polling place on election day and vote for big government to confiscate more tax money... from their neighbors, friends, and even complete strangers. I find that kind of behavior so rude and boorish that I could never have an ounce of respect for anybody who votes Democrat. I certainly wouldnt trust them in my home.
I am very fortunate that my family is civilized and courteous to others and so there are no issues here.
You should really tell your rude, selfish father-in-law to do everybody a favor and go have a happy heart attack.
Your advice (and I use the term loosely) should come with the number of a divorce attorney, because the net result would be that she’d take the kids and be gone in the morning. FIL would enjoy a good chuckle, when the poor guy had to come to his house with his tail between his legs to pick his kids up every other weekend. Dear Abby you ain’t.
In that case, we agree then.
“He does have a Ph.D., “
There’s your problem right there. You’ll always be a knuckle dragger to him.
Well penned and I could never do as well but..... He is ruthless, old and demented and will not read past the first two paragraphs
You are in a jam. Send your wife up to make peace and keep you mouth shut in the future. Never send him any more long winded English major plaintive bullshit again. He will see it as a sign of weakness. He is onto you. I speak from personal experience.
I went through this with my father-in-law.
I made it clear to him that I was in charge of my family...not him and I don’t take kindly to intimidation or threats.
After the birthday gift for my oldest son was returned to sender, my mother-in-law was in tears on the phone with me and I calmly explained the situation to her.
Within days of my conversation with my mother-in-law, my father-in-law was at my door quite contrite and scared. I sternly looked him in the eye and told him man to man to never, ever, pull crap like that on me again.
Exit polls are complete bull shit, just ask president Kerry.
I am to the right of Attila the Hun in economic freedom.
That said, I actually favor Romneycare since it is 78 pages and tackles nothing outside of Healthcare. Obamacare OTOH is 2800 pages and will affect every facet of our lives.
But some people do not bother reading the details and make off hand comparisons. That is a solid proof of a non-thinking, shallow brained individual.
The best part of Romneycare is that it forces the free loaders to share the burden of ever escalating cost of healthcare in US.
What this country needs is more economic freedom, less regulations and restrictions on business owners. I am guessing you are not a business owner. That is why you can not see the difference between Obama & Romney in their approach to business owners.
Our prosperity is diminished by restrictions to economic freedoms, not forcing the freeloaders to buy health insurance.
Bottom line, and no reason to explain....if your fatherIL disowned you because you exercised your Constitutional right to vote for the candidate of your choice that is on him not you.
Besides, his guys, guy won what is his bitch about anyway.
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