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Does Size Really Matter? – A Vote for Smart Government

Imagine where our country would be today with energy independence if Ronald Reagan hadn’t torn down the Photovoltaic solar panels that Jimmy Carter put on the White House and if he hadn't followed that by racking up one of the biggest deficits in history.

Imagine where we’d be now with energy independence if Vice President and environmentalist Al Gore, who won the popular vote in 2000, had become president instead of George W. Bush who was so stuck in the past that he invaded Iraq at the expense of the real task at hand and then went on to top Reagan’s record high deficit.

Since I’ve been a voting adult, I have heard the constant derogatory variations of labels put to Democrats by Republicans, such as “tax and spend and bleeding heart liberals.” But in my lifetime it’s been Republicans who have not been fiscally wise and Democrats – like Clinton nationally and Mark Warner locally – who have balanced our budgets.

When I first registered to vote in my hometown state of Massachusetts, I registered as an Independent. Today, as a Virginian, I consider myself a fiscally conservative Independent who votes Democrat because they represent my views on Civil Rights, Labor Rights, Women’s Rights, Human Rights, and Environmental Protections better than their counterpart. So when someone tries to pin the “liberal” label on me without any wiggle room, I find it limiting and oppressive.

The “liberal” name calling that Rush Limbaugh and others like him have modeled over the years has worked to stop constructive debate and further divide Americans. Crying over what Limbaugh characterizes the “liberal media” and “elitist” Democrats is, in my mind, a linguistic gimmick meant to take pot shots at those who demonstrate thoughtful intelligence or simply have differing views. If Democrats are so “elitist,” how is it they are the party that has consistently stood up for blue collar and middle class families while Republicans have largely championed corporate America?

We continue to hear conservatives spout the Reaganomic’s refrain, ‘get government off our backs.” But Reagan’s economic policies (sometimes referred to as “trickle down economics”) were so questionable that his Vice President, George H. Bush, at one time called them “Voodoo economics.” Many have faulted Reagan for ignoring poverty and social justice issues while the rich got richer during his presidency. Some Economists believe his economic policies contributed to the Savings and Loan scandal, another big taxpayer bailout.

The banking crisis and bailout we’re facing today could be viewed as example of what smaller government gets us. John McCain and most Republicans consistently vote against regulations in the name of “smaller government,” wrongly thinking that businesses will regulate themselves. Privatization is the party line cure-all that most Republicans tout, but all too often it ends up paving the way for an inroad to monopoly and corruption.

The response to Hurricane Katrina is another example of what small government can translate into. FEMA was known to be a solid agency under Clinton. When George W. Bush got into power, he deemed it something of an entitlement program, demoted its status, and allowed inexperienced cronies to run it. The rest is (shameful) history.

And so, this fiscally conservative Independent will vote Democrat once again. I trust that Obama will not entangle us in a costly and unnecessary war, and that he would not have packaged and marketed the reasons for war by tying them to charged but false claims (such as that Iraq had something to do with 9/11). I trust that under his leadership we will make real progress on energy independence through sustainable and non-polluting sources, and that the drunken sailor-like chants of Drill Baby Drill that we heard at the Republican National Convention will fade into the background.

With an Obama administration, I’ll feel assured that my civil rights and my rights to privacy won’t be re-written and that government will indeed get off my back when it comes to those cherished rights.

In the end, it isn’t about the outdated labels we pin on each other, or what new labels we give ourselves and wear like sound bites (like Maverick). Whether government is small or big isn’t the pertinent concern. I want a government that is smart. I believe electing Obama is the first step in that direction. ~ Colleen Redman

Note: The above was published in part in the Roanoke Times on October 26th and in its entirety at their online site HERE.

Comments

I agree with you 100%.

I mourn for both of our countries - mine is in just as much trouble as yours AND we may be putting into power once more, the person who has exacerbated all of our problems.

Kevin and I just watched "Sicko" - it was a revelation in so many ways - not so much as to how the U.S. is "sick", but how amazingly well other countries handle their health care systems (even better than Canada's). I was particularly amazed at Cuba and the situation at Guantanamo Bay. The movie makes me feel sick to my stomach when I see what "responsible" government can do to us because we fail to take serious issue with it.

Let's hope that this Fall, our people vote to make a change in both of our countries and the world can start recovering and treating its people the way they deserve to be treated - regardless of their level of income.

Kat

"I consider myself a fiscally conservative Independent who votes Democrat because they represent my views on Civil Rights, Labor Rights, Women’s Rights, Human Rights, and Environmental Protections better than their counterpart."

ME TOO. Mr. kenju calls me a "flaming-ass liberal", but he is wrong about that. I am more conservative than that. I really don't know much about economics, though. It bores the heck out of me. I don't know how my son could have majored in it!

Another 100 percent agreement here!

Hear ye Hear ye!!

Well said, Colleen. And...Amen.

from one smart girl to anothter: smart is always the way to go! obama is actually articulate - imagine having a president who knows how to pronounce "nuclear;" who understands domestic and foreign policy; who can develop a plan for fiscal responsibility and stability; who has both detailed and expansive insight; who doesn't use words like "doggone it" or "betcha" in formal speaking settings; who cares about the middle class; who is dedicated to healthcare; who believes in equal rights for everyone no matter race, gender, religious affiliation, country of birth, or sexual preference; and who cares about the environment and protecting the planet. sounds like a dream, doesn't it? if al gore had not been robbed the whole world would be in a different place. but, we must right that wrong and move forward. here is our chance. and here's hoping all the americans who have expressed disgust with the current administation don't get fooled. after all, when you put a wolf in lamb's clothing, it is still a wolf. oh wait....i think it goes like this: even if you put lipstick on a pig, it is still a pig!

Here Here!!

I've noticed since the neo-conservatives are finding they cannot win on the issues they are returning to the politics of fear and smear. If anything, this is the best reason to make sure Americans are exposed to a better education system down the road, providing classes in critical thinking skills. The recent news about the DOJ investigation in the Gonzales debacle should get more press as this reflects just how dangerous those are who think the constitution and laws of the nation are to be ignored when they get in the way.

Great point, Tabor.

Beautifully stated, Colleen and I am in total agreement with EVERYTHING you said!
Thank you for articulating in such a clear way the real truth about The Republicans and The Democrats.

There are so many ignorant people in this country. So much hatred. So much intolerance. I mourn for my country. Hopefully, an Obama Presidency will heal some of our country's most grievous wounds.

Abraham Lincoln said it best: "...Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war...."

I have tried and tried to debate that it is in fact the Republicans in my life time who have been the big spenders, except for Bush Sr. I guess, and that Clinton did something no one thought possible...balanced it. It just gets so heated now when you talk to people, which is why I did the post I did. I mean you actually get to the point of shaking. I can't get my point across and they just don't want to get it. They are determined to keep an old mindset that hasn't worked for 8 years and isn't going to work for 4 more. Half the people you argue with will be out of a job if McCain wins and they just refuse to see it.

McCain supporters remind me of the wife that keeps taking back the cheating husband. He (McCain) is the original corrupt politician. He was in Keating five. He says and does what it take for power. He is the same BS we've had for years.

I didn't see my recent comment. Did you receive it? Just wondering....

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