Monday Morning Insight: My Country, Right or Wrong

(Another in the continuing series of quotes to start the week.)

 

Since the week starts with Election Day Eve, I thought this 1872 quote from U.S. Senator Carl Schurz (2 March 1829 – 14 May 1906) would be appropriate:

My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.

When we vote, we either vote to keep the country right or to set the country right. It depends on our point of view, whether we think the country is or isn’t moving in the right direction.

But the work goes on after we vote, too.

(Image: “2016,” by Gordon Johnson, on Pixabay under Creative Commons.)

 

Every day we have the chance to keep our little corner of the country right, or to set it right if it begins to go wrong. It’s harder work than voting (when we vote, we delegate the work to others), but it’s more direct.

And if more of us did the work, it would be far more effective.

The trouble is, recently so many people have put so much effort into tearing down each other, a lot of work needs to be done no matter who wins the election. I hope we’re up to it.

But, have a great week, no matter what happens tomorrow!

___
P.S. Don’t forget, if you’re not already sure who you want to vote for, you’re welcome to write in yours truly for any office, anywhere.

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Third-Party Voting, and Baseball

Or, more precisely, third-party voting and the World Series.

I get it: a lot of us are sick of politics, and in particular of one or the other or both of the major party candidates. As a result, many of us who would normally vote along with one of the major parties are thinking and talking about voting for a third-party candidate.

I’m not sure I can do that.

The way I see it, a usually reliably major-party voter opting for a third-party candidate is equivalent to pulling for the White Sox or the Reds in this year’s World Series.

(In case you missed last night’s Game 1, or you’re not much of a sports fan, only the Cubs and the Indians are actually playing in the Series.)

In other words, I feel that if I voted third-party, it would be like cheering for a team — any team — that’s not even on the field. It certainly wouldn’t be cheering on the winner, helping them to victory, and it wouldn’t even effectively be cheering against whichever of the two teams I’d rather see lose.

Image: “The great national game — last match of the season to be decided Nov. 11th 1884.” Macbrair & Sons Lithograph, from the Library of Congress online collection, showing “a sandlot baseball game of presidential hopefuls with James G. Blaine pitching to Chester A. Arthur, with Samuel J. Tilden behind the plate and Roscoe Conkling as umpire, at first base is Benjamin F. Butler with a handgun in his belt, at second base is John A. Logan holding Ulysses S. Grant close to the bag, at shortstop is John Kelly, and at third base is Sereno E. Payne, in left field is John Sherman and in centerfield is Samuel J. Randall. They are playing on a field labeled “Potomac Flats” with the Potomac River in the background.” (Click here for a larger image.)

 

Maybe your third-party vote is more clear-cut. Maybe you believe in the values represented by the Libertarian Party or the Green Party or whatever, and consider yourself affiliated with them. Maybe you’re an Independent, and have no history with either the Democrats or the Republicans (and certainly no loyalty to either). If so, more power to you on your third-party selection.

But maybe, like me, you usually vote for a particular party. (If it matters that you know, I usually vote primarily Republican, though I don’t recall ever voting a straight ticket.) And since I usually ally with one of the major parties, I see voting third-party as a de-facto vote against my usual party.

If I vote third-party, it will not send any kind of message to the Republican leadership. It might clear my conscience or assuage my guilt by giving me the ability to say “I didn’t vote for X” when they try to implement some ill-considered policy. (Talk about self-interest in politics. I could achieve the same result by simply not voting.)

Heinlein had it right when he pointed out that if we have nothing or no one we want to vote for we can surely find something to vote against. Voting third-party may feel good, as if I’m voting against both of the major parties, but it seems like a damn ineffective way of doing so because it cannot prevent the side I find most disagreeable from winning.

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Monday Morning Insight: the Educated Electorate

(Another in the continuing series of quotes to start the week.)

 

It may do little to improve your Monday to remind you that tonight is the first Presidential debate of the 2016 election. Here’s something to think about as the debate looms, from a letter written this week in 1820 by Thomas Jefferson:

I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.

undecided

A photographer spotted this bus in Australia. I feel as if I’m riding it to the end of the line. (Image: “undecided,” by Vanessa Pike-Russell, on Flickr under Creative Commons.)

 

In other words, YOU and I are the “safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society” in which we live. Our government is not, because everyone can point to one or another excess of the government in which it abused its power and curtailed citizens’ liberties. As individuals, we have much less power and inclination to interfere in the lives of our fellow citizens; our government, on the other hand, seems to have little better to do than to interfere in all our lives.

For us to exercise our control over the government and the powers we grant to it — “with wholesome discretion,” as Jefferson wrote — we need to educate ourselves. And if we fail to do so, and allow the government to abuse its power further and so erode ours, then we have ourselves to blame.

Enjoy the debate!

___
P.S. If anyone is interested, I’ll try to compile a post or two about how I would answer tonight’s debate questions.

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Post-Campaign Blues: What I Learned, and What’s Next

Or, how less than 0.86% equaled 3.5%.

The voters spoke two weeks ago today, and declared that I was not their choice to represent District D on the Town Council of Cary, North Carolina. C’est la vie.

I am grateful to everyone who voted for me, and a little pleased that I garnered 3.5% of the vote while investing less than 0.86% of the total money spent on the District D campaign. How much less than 0.86% I’m not sure, since the other candidates haven’t filed their final reports (and two of them are continuing to spend money on a runoff); that figure is based on their reports from 2 weeks before the election, and I know one candidate in particular spent a whole lot more money on mailings and robocalls and such right up to election day.

Prepare for the Worst: Political Ads are Coming!
(“Prepare for the Worst: Political Ads are Coming!” by Jeff Gates, on Flickr under Creative Commons.)

I do wonder how many more votes I might have gotten if I had mailed out a postcard or two, or put up a few signs, or advertised a little. I think I might have made it competitive, but it’s hard to do when you spend less than $100. But, to paraphrase the song,

I’d like to run for [office] and play the political game
But I don’t have very much money to wage a big campaign

“I Think I’ll Run for Congress”

So, besides the obvious lesson that you have to be willing to spend a great deal of money — either your own or someone else’s — to get elected, what other lessons did I learn, or have confirmed? I’ll catalogue a few:

  • Cary, NC, is not a small town — just the district I ran in has more registered voters in it than the entire combined populations of three of the towns I’ve lived in: Georgetown, SC (my hometown); Seneca, SC; and Plattsmouth, NE — which, as a small-town guy at heart, was a bit overwhelming
  • There is no such thing as a nonpartisan race — the parties came out in force, even at this lowest level of government
  • Board of Election rules are hard to interpret — so hard, in fact, that the State Board still hasn’t answered my question about one of them
  • Changes in polling places cause problems — I was told that some people got frustrated and drove away from the old polling place without coming to the new one to vote
  • Word of mouth is good and useful, but limited in its effectiveness unless the message is really compelling
  • Being noncontroversial — and especially being quiet and deliberative instead of raucous and divisive — doesn’t attract much in the way of attention
  • People who are content, and think things are pretty much okay, don’t vote in large numbers

So what’s next for me in politics? Not much.

I will continue my Anti-Campaign: Anyone, anywhere, can write me in for any office at any time. I remain the Anti-Candidate, and continue to approve that message. (I have it on good authority, for instance, that at least one person wrote me in for Mayor of the Town of Cary. But since the Board of Elections doesn’t release the tallies for write-in votes, I have no idea how many people might have done so.)

Will I ever run for office again? Maybe.

That is to say, I could be convinced to run if enough people wanted to recruit me. You’d have to be willing to handle the campaign management — the paperwork and reporting, the scheduling and coordination, the fundraising, advertising, and so forth. Why? Because I’m more than willing to serve, and willing to stand in the arena and talk about issues and experiences and qualifications, but I don’t have any desire to work on another campaign. (Not even my own.)

After all, as the song says,

I just want your money, I just want your cash
I just want all your treasure, whatever’s in your stash
It’s strictly voluntary, it’s not highway robbery
I just want your money … and that’s why politics is for me

“The Anti-Candidate Song”

But rather than just hold my hand out for you to drop money in it,* I prefer to offer a little something of value. So I’m happy to sell you some CDs or other merchandise, or stories when I can get them published, or to write a speech for you or help you edit something. I will continue to try to produce content that people want to buy and to provide services that help people tell their own stories in the best possible way.

So … let me know if you have any questions, or if I can do anything for you, and sign up for my newsletter (using the form in the right sidebar) for periodic updates and info!

And, if you happen to have voted for me (or written me in), thank you very much!

___
*Don’t get me wrong, if you want to send me money I’m okay with that. If any of this has been entertaining for you, we’ll call it a fair trade. Send me a note and I’ll be happy to give you my PayPal information.

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Campaign Chronicle: Election Day!

Okay, sports fans, get out and vote!

If you can see your way clear to do so, I’d like you to vote for me* — but from the standpoint of the society we live in, I hope you’ll at least get out and vote for someone. As Robert A. Heinlein wrote in Time Enough for Love,

If you are part of a society that votes, then do so. There may be no candidates and no measures you want to vote for, but there are certain to be ones you want to vote against. In case of doubt, vote against. By this rule you will rarely go wrong. If this is too blind for your taste, consult some well-meaning fool (there is always one around) and ask his advice. Then vote the other way. This enables you to be a good citizen (if such is your wish) without spending the enormous amount of time on it that truly intelligent exercise of franchise requires.

I quote that by way of explaining that I don’t mind if you vote for me because you think I’m a swell guy or you appreciate my record of service or you like my sense of humor … or if you just happen to cast your vote in my general direction because you’re voting against one of the other folks. (This also applies if you live outside Cary’s District D, outside Cary itself, or even outside North Carolina, and you just want to write me in for some other office.)

To go along with my tongue-in-cheek approach to all things political — and especially to my own campaign — you can also vote for me for one simple reason:

vote no1
(“vote no1,” by Sean MacEntee, on Flickr under Creative Commons.)

That fits, doesn’t it? After all, on my first album I sing,

Politics, that’s the life for me
It fits my arrogant, megalomaniacal personality
I’ll get my name in the papers and my face on your T.V.
And take good care of myself, my friends and my family — yes, that’s the life for me

“I Think I’ll Run for Congress”

And on my second album I follow that up with,

Politics, politics, the life I want to lead
To make sure I get what I want, and you get what you need
I may be arrogant and megalomaniacal but it’s just because I’m great
Come out and join me any time — fifty bucks a plate

“The Anti-Candidate Song”

You don’t mind a little arrogance and megalomania in your politics, do you? At least I’m honest about it.

Anyway, today is the day! so I should probably be a fraction more serious.

Since it’s time now to stand and be counted, don’t worry any more about spreading the word about my campaign, unless you want to pick up the phone and call your neighbor to encourage them to vote — or pick up your neighbor and bring them to vote! And if you need a reminder about what I really stand for, I wrote a few weeks ago that

  • I believe the fundamental purpose of government is to preserve your (and my) rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness;
  • I believe that our rights, both individual and collective in the form of the government, should not infringe on the rights of others;
  • I believe that government action intended to help anyone should be carefully evaluated on the basis of who it is likely to hurt in the process, and rejected if the benefits do not justify the cost;
  • I believe in being accountable, by which I mean being “able to give an account,” i.e., able to explain one’s reasoning for actions taken … and not taken;
  • I believe that many if not most people who present themselves as politicians take themselves far too seriously; and
  • I believe that serving in office is more important than running for office.

If any of that appeals to you, I hope you’ll consider voting for me.

___
*For today’s election in particular, I’m on the ballot for Town Council in Cary’s District D.

Spending Disclosure: As of this date, my campaign has spent a total of $84.

This blog post was “paid” for, at the cost of $0 and whatever time it took Gray to write and upload it, by The Gray Man: Service, Leadership, Creativity.

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Campaign Chronicle, 1 Week to Election: Vote Early, Vote Often!

I’m only partly kidding with that title, and in a second I’ll explain why.

First, two important notes regarding the 2015 Cary Town Council election:
– TODAY (the 29th) is the last day to request an absentee ballot. Your request needs to be in the Board of Elections office by the close of business.
– TOMORROW (the 30th) is the first day for early voting in Cary. You can vote at the Herb Young Community Center from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, but only from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.

So, vote early if you want to!

VOTE
(“VOTE,” by Theresa Thompson, on Flickr under Creative Commons.)

Now, about that “vote often” bit, remember that even though I’m on the ballot for the District D seat on the Cary Town Council, I’m also the Anti-Candidate, available as your convenient write-in vote for any office, anywhere, at any time. So whether you live in Cary or not, whether your election is on October 6th or in November with all the normal elections, if there’s a “write-in” slot on your ballot and you don’t have any strong feelings about the people vying for the office, put me down for the job! Just be sure to spell my name right: G-r-a-y R-i-n-e-h-a-r-t. Don’t confuse the election officials.*

I think it would be hilarious if, in addition to getting votes for District D, I got a few write-in votes for other offices on the ballot. So spread the word:

  • tell your friends;
  • share the link to this post on social media;
  • forward the link to a friend (or even an adversary);
  • print a flyer in either color or black and white and put it up somewhere;
  • hire a skywriter to put “Vote for Gray” up among the clouds;**
  • stand on the streetcorner and encourage people (but don’t harangue them; nobody likes to be harangued) to vote and even to write me in.

Vote for Gray, for everything!

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*The fact that there are two “Gray Rinehart”s in the world may be confusing, but I’m the only Anti-Candidate.
**Fair warning: If you do something silly like that, be prepared to send LOTS of paperwork to the Board of Elections.

Spending Disclosure: As of this date, my campaign has spent a total of $84.

This blog post was “paid” for, at the cost of $0 and whatever time it took Gray to write and upload it, by The Gray Man: Service, Leadership, Creativity.

For additional updates and info, sign up for my newsletter using the form in the right sidebar or visit the election page on my website.

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Blogging the New CD: A is for Anti-Candidate

First in a series of blog posts about the songs on my new CD, Distorted Vision.

Since I’m currently a candidate for a real political office — the District “D” seat on the Cary (NC) Town Council — it seemed appropriate to start this series of posts by focusing on a political song. A disclaimer is in order, first: Nothing in this blog post should be construed as having anything to do with the office I am seeking, or with my actual campaign.

This is about the Anti-Campaign.

I’ve been unknown, and rarely sung, I’m an Anti-Candidate
And I’d serve in any office, in any district or any state
But I have a little problem, it’s an introvert’s disgrace
I’d rather rely on social media than to meet you face to face

“The Anti-Candidate Song”

I started the Anti-Campaign during the 2008 election cycle because the idea tickled me: I made myself available as a convenient write-in vote for any office, anywhere. It became a running gag, and now even has its own bumper sticker!


Bumper stickers are $2 each plus shipping and handling. Buy yours on my Bandcamp page.

And every campaign needs a theme song, right? Well, in this case the campaign has two.

The first Anti-Campaign theme song was “I Think I’ll Run for Congress”, which was on my 2013 album Truths and Lies and Make-Believe. “The Anti-Candidate Song” is something of a sequel, and like “I Think I’ll Run for Congress” it pokes fun at politics and politicians.

“The Anti-Candidate Song” plays off two characteristics that the first song attributed to the candidate singing it: arrogance and megalomania. In the first song, I sing that politics

… fits my arrogant, megalomaniacal personality

and in this song I sing

I may be arrogant and megalomaniacal but it’s just because I’m great

I leave it as an exercise to you to decide how much of that is true, and how much is the kind of convenient falsehood which career politicians seem to spin so easily. (And, if you will, how much of the Anti-Campaign as a whole infuses my real campaign.) But I will point out that if you look closely at the bumper sticker in the image above, you’ll see it says, “Arrogant & Megalomaniacal: What could go wrong?”

In the end, even if you can’t quite be sure whether I’m being serious or silly, I hope you find something to smile about when you listen to “The Anti-Candidate Song”!


___
Reminder: I’m playing a concert as part of the Dragon Con Filk Track, on Sunday the 6th of September at 4 p.m. in the Hyatt Regency’s Baker Room. Come out and see me!

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One Week Until the Election Filing Period Opens …

Maybe it’s the flu talking, but once again I’m thinking about whether I’d like to run for office. (Seriously.) (Okay, sort-of seriously.)

Hope is a belief in a positive outcome...
(“Hope is a belief in a positive outcome…,” by Vince Alongi, on Flickr under Creative Commons.)

It would be interesting to see if my unconventional approach to politics — from the Anti-Campaign to my political anthem — would generate any interest in an actual election. To get on the primary ballot, I’d have to sign up and pay money before the end of February.

The filing fee is one percent of the annual salary of whatever office you seek, so I would need to decide whether I should try to serve at the local level or the state level or the national level. From my time in the USAF, and especially my work on the Air Staff, I’m most familiar with how things work at the national level. And, as proof of my arrogance and megalomania, I think I would be as fine a member of Congress as anyone. On the other hand, all politics is local and serving at the local level would have its own set of challenges and rewards. And it would cost a lot less to file.

Of course, if I did file, I’d have to actually campaign — and that takes time and money, too, neither of which I have in abundance. Which is why I wrote,

I’d like to run for Congress, and play the political game
But I don’t have very much money, to wage a big campaign
I’m okay with giving speeches and debating might be fun
If I took myself more seriously, then I might really run

— “I Think I’ll Run for Congress

So the driving factor in whether I should file and run for office has to be whether anybody wants me to — and wants it enough to help organize, fund, and execute a campaign.

What about it, local folks? Any interest in working on a political campaign?

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My Damaged Brain

It’s always refreshing to learn that others think you’re mentally ill. Not mentally deficient, which would imply that if I learned enough I would be better, but sick in the head.

And I’m not talking about the standard “brain-damaged male” motif that I learned about so long ago; i.e., that male babies, bathed in testosterone in utero, emerge with damaged brains. Male brains. Same thing, apparently.

Guilty as charged.

But this is different: this has to do with those of us who consider ourselves to be conservative versus those who are liberal. The contention, expressed in the opening of “What Makes People Vote Republican?” by Jonathan Haidt, is that being a conservative, much less a Republican, is a mental illness:

… now that we can map the brains, genes, and unconscious attitudes of conservatives, we have refined our diagnosis: conservatism is a partially heritable personality trait that predisposes some people to be cognitively inflexible, fond of hierarchy, and inordinately afraid of uncertainty, change, and death. People vote Republican because Republicans offer “moral clarity” — a simple vision of good and evil that activates deep seated fears in much of the electorate. Democrats, in contrast, appeal to reason with their long-winded explorations of policy options for a complex world.

So Republicans do not respond to reason, while Democrats do not respond to references to good and evil. I love the assertion of intellectual superiority on the part of the author and the author’s peers, but the point seems sound that one side of the aisle operates under a moral relativism while the other prefers a clearer, more concrete morality.

The author examines this by considering morality and social contracts, primarily contrasting a hypothetical society based on John Stuart Mill’s assertions with one based on Emile Durkheim’s. This leads him to present the following distinctions between conservatives and liberals:

… people who call themselves strongly liberal endorse statements related to the harm/care and fairness/reciprocity foundations [of morality], and they largely reject statements related to ingroup/loyalty, authority/respect, and purity/sanctity. People who call themselves strongly conservative, in contrast, endorse statements related to all five foundations more or less equally…. We think of the moral mind as being like an audio equalizer, with five slider switches for different parts of the moral spectrum. Democrats generally use a much smaller part of the spectrum than do Republicans. The resulting music may sound beautiful to other Democrats, but it sounds thin and incomplete to many of the swing voters that left the party in the 1980s, and whom the Democrats must recapture if they want to produce a lasting political realignment.

So rational Democrats use only a fraction of the “moral spectrum,” rejecting other parts that irrational Republicans include in their approach to the world. And being Republican is a mark of mental illness, as implied above. Isn’t it at least possible that the author has it backward, that liberals and Democrats, however intellectual, are morally stunted?

If Democrats want to understand what makes people vote Republican, they must first understand the full spectrum of American moral concerns. They should then consider whether they can use more of that spectrum themselves.

If my damaged brain is why I am more of a conservative than a liberal (in modern terms), I wonder if it also explains why I feel I need a relationship with God to anchor my life. That’s part of the Anti-Candidate position on FAITH & FAMILY, recently posted over in the forum:

It took us awhile to accede to the faith of our parents — we thought we were too intellectual and sophisticated when we were younger — but having accepted it we did our best to pass it on to our children. And for one key reason: because faith provides an anchor in troubled times, and lifts our vision beyond our current situation and limited circumstances to consider the wider world and our proper place in it.

But that’s just me, and I’m brain-damaged. So don’t take my word for it: give it a try yourself. And let me know how it goes.

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GrayMan Guide to Voting in the Best Interest of YOUR Country … Not Someone Else's

Before we go too far, did you hear that the Russians test launched some ICBMs a week ago Sunday?

Now, to the subject at hand:

Imagine you own a business. Not a big, multi-national conglomerate, just a moderate-sized manufacturing firm. You make a product that is useful, if not actually important, and you make it pretty well. You’re doing okay, even with the tightening money supply caused by so many risky loans that lenders are worried won’t be paid back. You’ve cut back some, but you’ve avoided the worst of the difficulty. You’re still taking care of your customers, your employees, and your investors.

Imagine also that your business’s main competition is with a bigger, more powerful firm. They control more of the market than you, and they’re no sleeping giant — they put a lot of their profits into R&D and are pushing the frontiers of your industry. You feel really good when you beat them at the game you’re both playing, but you wonder sometimes if you can continue to compete against them.

Now imagine that their CEO has announced that he’s stepping down, and your friend on their board — everyone in your industry knows each other, at least at the top levels — has asked your opinion of the two people being considered. One is well-known in the industry, with several patents to his name and a long track record of dependable, if sometimes erratic, service. The other is a newcomer to your industry, and even to manufacturing itself; he’s not that familiar with the kinds of products your two companies make, but he’s got a history of good work with nonprofits and lots of exciting new ideas.

Who do you recommend? If you’re true to your real interests — i.e., to what will most likely benefit your own company — you will recommend that your competitor choose the weaker of the two people. If they go along with your recommendation, you stand to benefit the most if their new CEO makes mistakes. In fact, because of your experience in the industry, leading a successful firm as you do, their new CEO may even be naïve enough to ask your advice when he’s not sure about what his board or his staff is telling him — and then you’ll really be in a good position to work to your own advantage.

Okay, with that in mind:

Why have so many foreign leaders endorsed one-time “New Party” candidate Senator Obama? According to this list, Senator McCain has received only one foreign leader endorsement, from the “president” (equivalent to the Mayor) of Madrid. Senator Obama has received 17 endorsements from foreign political leaders, enough that this Wikipedia page puts them in a separate section.

Don’t believe for a minute that those leaders are endorsing him in the name of “international goodwill,” you starry-eyed dreamer. They are looking for what most advantages their own countries or nonstate organizations, and nothing more. They want to face the most inexperienced leader we can elect: the leader who is most likely to accede to their wishes and even to their demands, the leader they think will surrender the best interests of our country to some nebulous “greater good.”

Maybe you don’t care about what those foreign people think. Maybe, in this time of tight credit and unstable markets, you’re in the “what can my country do for me” crowd, and you don’t care if our country bankrupts itself as long as the nanny state promises to care for us from our first breath (but not before) to our last. You either believe that Senator Obama, who has not yet mastered the intricacies of the legislative process, will accomplish by executive fiat what he was unable to accomplish by legislation; or that a Democratic President, House, and filibuster-proof Senate will manifest the wisdom necessary to give you more of what you want while costing you absolutely nothing. (It’s okay if they pass the costs along to other people.) Remember, anything they break in the process is unlikely ever to be fixed — because government programs rarely die — which is one reason Thomas Jefferson advised that activist government is not the best kind under which to live.

So maybe what those foreign people think isn’t important to you at all. But it’s important to them, and I’m sure every foreign leader who has endorsed Senator Obama — again, here’s the list, and not surprisingly almost every other one is a socialist of one stripe or another — will appreciate your casting your vote in their best interest even if you don’t mean to.

Maybe, though, you’re in the “blame America first” crowd, and you think every good thing we’ve done has only been a veneer of goodness over a rotten interior, and a weak U.S.A. is the best solution. Or maybe you are a dyed-in-the-wool transnationalist, and believe that what’s best for the United Nations is best for the United States. (I might ask you why you maintain your U.S. citizenship, if you think so little of your own country, but that’s an issue for another day.) You may not admit it, even to yourself, but you probably believe Senator Obama is the right man to take our country down a few notches. I think you’re right: Senator Obama is the right man to take our country down a peg. I hope we’re both wrong.

At the end of the day, those foreign leaders — in addition to Hamas spokespeople and others who expressed and then withdrew their support (e.g., Hugo Chavez) — express their preference based on what is best for their countries. It’s natural that they do so, but we should not blithely assume their best interest is also ours.

I’ve heard that other countries, and especially their leaders, might “like” us more if Senator Obama is elected; of course they will, because they’ll be happy that we elected the President they want, the one who is best for them. Any “goodwill” will flit away soon enough, though. Once he’s in office they will test his resolve — our resolve — on trade, cooperative ventures, and military matters, to gauge the strength of his determination and where his true loyalties lie. Even his running mate, Senator Biden, says so. Then we’ll see if he makes decisions that are in our best interest, or theirs.

And if he makes decisions in anyone’s best interest other than the U.S.A.’s — and his stated intentions to abandon the mission in Iraq, to stifle free and fair trade, and to expand diplomatic outreach to the most reprehensible leaders on the planet indicate his willingness to do so — then President of the United States is not the right position for him.

And from what he has promised in the area of national security — e.g., decimating the nuclear deterrent* at a time when Russia is flight testing multiple intercontinental ballistic missiles** and a State Department advisory group is warning about the dangers of China’s efforts to modernize their military*** — I’m afraid he will decide in favor of everyone but us. If that happens, they may “like” us more, but they’ll respect us less.

Enough ranting. If you read this far, thank you; I hope I didn’t bore you too much.

In two weeks, the polls will open and close and our votes will be counted. In the end, we will each and all vote in our best interests as we perceive them. I will vote in the best interest of MY country. Will you?

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*As seen in this blog entry from March 12, 2008, in which I wrote,

…it seems almost shameful that someone who wants to be the Commander in Chief should be so unaware of how thin our nuclear arsenal has become over the last few years, as we’ve taken weapon systems offline (e.g., Peacekeeper) and not replaced them, that he would wish to cut it even more.

**On October 12, 2008, according to this report. Did you hear anything about it from the U.S. media? I didn’t.

***It said, “Chinese military modernization is proceeding at a rate to be of concern even with the most benign interpretation of China’s motivation,” according to this October 13, 2008 report. Did you hear about that from the U.S. press? I didn’t.

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(This post was not brought to you by the Anti-Candidate.)

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