Thursday, November 29, 2007

Last night, while watching the republican debates, I had an epiphany; I am no longer a republican. Now, this may not come as a huge shock to some of you who have had political conversations with me over the years, but I was genuinely surprised. Not only was I dismayed by the candidates in general (Fred Thompson can barely put a sentence together), but I was also put off by the topics they were debating. I found the entire opening minutes of the debate to be particularly offensive. For those who missed it, the candidates spent several minutes discussing immigration (Governor Romney did get a few good jabs at Giuliani). I understand that republicans are historically tough on immigration, but the way all the men were speaking had an undercurrent of "illegal immigrants= lesser human beings here to sap all our resources." Maybe I'm just more sensitive than most about immigration because Mohamed is an immigrant, and I saw firsthand how difficult and sometimes degrading it is for "aliens" to do things the legal way in our country.

So there you have it, I'm ready to admit it. I'm a democrat. Terry, I hope somewhere you are reading this and smiling to yourself.

Unfortunately I do seem to have my timing off a bit. According to the oft quoted cliche "if you aren't a democrat in college you don't have a heart, and if you aren't a republican after you graduate, you don't have a brain." I guess that leaves me both heartless and brainless.

16 comments:

Lizzie said...

Yaaaaaaaay!

amy said...

you, me, tin man, scarecrow.

BlueAdagio said...

:) This takes me back to a conversation we had sitting at your kitchen table in the house we lived in together before you got married.

You said to me then, I can understand your point of view and in some ways agree but I don't think I could ever go as far as to say I was a democrat.

haha...oh if only knew how different your life would be in four years.

Muhahaha! I love it!

Jami said...

Haha, nice to know I'm in good company, ladies. Cassandra- I was thinking about that conversation, too. Not fair that you remembered!

Caroline said...

Yay! Jami's joining the dark side with me!

Hehe. I absolutely love it. You know, I never really pegged you as a Republican. (More of an independent.) In my mind, you're ideas about social justice and the way you view those who are overlooked by society aligned you more with the Democrats than the Republicans.

Anyway, are you leaning towards any specific Democratic candidate? I'm a big fan of John Edwards and I also like Joe Biden and Bill Richardson. Yep...looks like I'm betting on all the losing horses!

On another note, I think I'm becoming a socialist! I've been doing some reading about Sweden and I just want to pack up my bags and move there. (Must convince Justin.) They have universal healthcare and extremely family-friendly policies. Did you know that Swedish maternity leave lasts a whole year and the mother is paid 80% of her salary? And father's can take a year of paternity leave too! How cool is that? Of course, I would have to pay taxes up the wazoo, but those Swedes are onto something. I mean, if they could create IKEA and H&M, then surely they're getting some things right. :)

Love the new blog, Jame!

Jami said...

Caroline- that is so funny that you would mention Sweden. Mohamed is doing a paper on the rights of women to breastfeed/pump milk at work and in all the research we've been doing Sweden always tops the charts as most family-friendly. We've been talking about moving there all week :) They seem to be at the top of all the international surveys- from education to healthcare. Let's be neighbors! Oh- and I like Obama and Edwards.

Amy- I didn't understand your comment until I was in the shower today. In my defense I've only seen the movie two times. And I never get any sleep.

Ben said...

Jamie,
I see the problem here is that all your friends are apparently democrats (no offense). What you need are some good republican friends to bring you back to the light. Too bad we live half way around the world. Also, you can't pick sides based on a debate - they never really got the real issues. Caroline - socialist? really? I don't even know where to start. Jamie, can you put me in contact with Caroline she needs a good talking to.

Bennie Boy said...

Also - Sweden has the highest depression rate among adult women and the highest teen suicide rate among industrialized nations. I think it is the socialism - it is driving people mad

Allison said...

Okay Jami, we need to talk. I will call you! :)
By the way, we miss you guys!!!!

pleae come back!

Allison said...

One more thing. Whoever Bennie boy is got it right. When my parents were at the U.N.--they saw and heard about Sweden first-hand. But I will not debate on your blog. I love ya too much!

Jami said...

Not debate on my blog? I love a good debate. Ben and Allison we miss you guys and your Republican ways, a ton. Oh, and my political conversion probably has more to do with Mohamed than anyone. He's always been quite the democrat :) Blame it on him!

Caroline said...

Ben,

You can feel free to contact me and debate my liberal ways via my own blog (carolineinspace.blogspot.com).

Am I really a socialist? No. But I am a Democrat with some socialist tendencies. Socialism, like any other system, has its downsides. Sweden may have high suicide rates and depression but it also has--as Jami mentioned--high marks in education and healthcare. Obviously they have done something right in regards to these two subjects. So my question is this: what can Americans do to improve our sub-par education and healthcare systems? Is it possible that (gasp!) we can learn something from those Swedes?

Ironically, Utah leads the nation in prescriptions for anti-depressants. Does this finding conclude that Utahns are depressed due to capitalism or democracy or even Mormonism?

Ben said...

Caroline,

I briefly perused your blog and I think we could have some good debates. However, to be honest I probably won’t take the time. I am sure you are a cool girl if you are Jami’s friend. However, it would be safe to say that we have very different views in some regards. Of course my comment about depression and suicide weren’t (gasp) establishing a causal relationship but were merely flippant.

Furthermore, I don’t find it offensive that we could learn something from (gasp, gasp – hey you started it) Sweden or any other nation for that matter. In fact, I welcome all things that are “of good report or praiseworthy” no matter where they come from. I do take issue with socialism and to a certain extent a lot of the democratic platform. Actually, I disagree with republicans in some regards too.

The heart of the issue for me is this – if the government derives its power from the people how can it derive power that we ourselves do not possess. John Locke said it well, "For nobody can transfer to another more power than he has in himself, and nobody has an absolute arbitrary power over himself, or over any other, to destroy his own life, or take away the life of property of another." Caroline, let’s say I wanted to buy “The Great Gatsby.” And let’s say the book cost $20 at Barnes and Noble. Let’s also say that I don’t have the $20 but I really want the book so I come to your house and take $20 from your purse. Wait – I don’t have the right to take your property do I…But it’s a good book. I really want to read it. I don’t have the money. The book would make me a better person and enrich my life. Nope still can’t do it.

However, the premise of socialism and the democratic platform is that it is ok for the government to do what I can’t do as an individual. So if the government said it was important that I read “The Great Gatsby” they could come and take your $20 and give it to me. I feel that way of thinking is fundamentally flawed. Government was instituted by God for the benefit of man – not the other way around. I also believe the benefit of government is to preserve our God given rights – life, liberty, and property. When government infringes upon our rights it performs an extreme disservice. In fact, it betrays the very reason it was created. I understand wanting to help the poor and ensure that everyone in society is taken care of. However, I do not believe that is the role of government. It is what Locke calls “false philanthropy” for there is no choice of the giver. If you want to help, start a charity, give your money to the poor, but don’t legislate that others do the same – for in doing so you eliminate choice.

Funny, I remember a story about a great battle that took place over choice. There were two sides. One side wanted everyone to be taken care of, not a soul to be lost. However, no one would have a choice in the matter. The other side said let people choose. Yes, some would be lost but it was the only way. And so it goes, we continue a great debate that started many years ago. Let’s not forget that we agree upon the end – it is just the means we disagree on. Socialism states that “the end justifies the means.” I say it is the means that is most important. I applaud the ideals of socialism and democrats. I believe many are good sincere people. There is no better cause than to help those in need. We just can’t forget agency in the process. There is a way to satisfy both sides we just have to be creative.

Lastly, Caroline I apologize if my flippant remarks were offensive. I can tell you are very passionate about your opinions and I respect that. I really need should get to know people better before I say my off the wall comments. At least then they know I am probably just giving them a hard time. Ask Jami - she can attest. 

Ken said...

Jami I like your friends. However, I don't dare jump in on this debate. You know where I would go. It is interesting when your life experiences force you to look at things differently.

Comment by Ben on choice. Hmm.....Does that hold true on all things or just certain things?

Republicans used to represent smaller government. Somehow, W lost sight of that one. As he blow a huge surplus in record time and this is with control of both houses. Republicans are now more interested in social issues and are awfully close to instituting religous as a test and/or condition for government service. There is no separation of church and state anymore and that is very scary. Both are important but mixing them is dangerous.

I am with those who are in the Obama camp. I heard an interview that his wife gave and she convinced me. One question in particular caught my attention. "Are you in this to win". Answer, "no". I thought what??

I paraphrase but she said something along the line of if you are in it to win, you may do things that otherwise you wouldn't. Wow, values still matter to some! They are in it to make a change and if people believe it what they are doing, they will join them, if not, so be it. OK so she said it so much better than I did.

Finally, I would have a hard time in a socialist world. Someone has to pay for all the "stuff" people take for free.

Funny thing is that Mormon doctrine talks about the "united order" (or something like that) which sounds a whole lot like socialism.

This is a very tough one. I can really see good arguments on both sides of this issue.

Keep up the page it is so nice to see the photos and hear from you.


Love you Jami - - -

Give everyone in your family a big hug from me.

Jami said...

Ken! I'm so glad you read my blog. Do you have one? Actually, I'm not sure I know exactly what your response to this political conversation would be. I would love to know. I always value your view on things. I've actually been thinking about you guys, a lot. I've been feeling like I want to write a series of short stories about my experiences in Morocco(more for my girls than anything) and thought Miguel may be able to guide me, a bit. I'll call you guys, soon.

Now, Ben, Caroline and Ken, what of socialism? It is such a scary, weighted word. I honestly don't know much about the tenants of socialism, but I am certainly all for democracy. But here's where things get confusing to me: what about our public school system? We all pay taxes so our kids get education- don't think most people consider that socialism- so how is healthcare any different? I, personally, would be willing to shell out some extra money every month to make sure that all Americans have access to health care (can you tell I watched Sicko lately?). And, Ben, your "Great Gatsby" analogy was really though-provoking but what if you used the example of healthcare? What if, instead of someone without a book, someone couldn't afford a bone marrow transplant? Would it be okay for the governemt to ask us for money, then? These questions really aren't as rhetorical to me as they may come across. I am still trying to figure out what I believe. Thanks to everyone who shares their opinions.

Ben- I appreciate your well thought-out remarks and I'm quite confident Caroline was not offended. She holds up to an argument quite well :) Good to know you haven't lost your touch at giving people a hard time :)

Caroline- this is completely unrelated but sometimes I have these elaborate daydreams where both our husbands are deployed at the same time and we hop on Space-A flights and travel the world with my girls. Just thought you should know :)

Ben said...

Ken,

I agree with your comments about republicans.

United order - appears similar to socialsim but is fundamentally different. Back to the choice thing - the united order was voluntary. No one was forced to do it.


Jamie,

You bring up a good point about education and healthcare. Some think that the government has over stepped their bounds with regard to education. The question we have to ask is what are our rights? Does a person have a right to education? Do people have a right to healthcare? Cases can be made for either side. However, where do you draw the line? The problem with government is that it is so easy for it to grow and once you add something it never goes away.

Something else to think about is do you want the government to tell you what medical procedures you can and can't get. It would be niave to think that everyone will have the fullest extent of healthcare provided. For example, if you are over 65 and have a rare disease that statistically speaking you have little chance of beating, do you think you will qualify for that procedure. Do you want the government to even make those decisions for you? Not me.

Finally, the constitution was designed to give the states all the authority. If it is a gray area I say leave it up to the states to decide. Atleast then if I don't like the state I can move to another one. I don't want to leave the country because I don't know of any where else in the world that enjoys the same degree of prosperity and freedom that we do. Which isn't by chance, but is a direct result of our constitution and system of government.....