Here's my political dilemma

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Here's my political dilemma
8
Thu, 10-07-2004 - 12:44pm
Hi all, this is my first post here.

I've been really torn on a lot of the issues at stake in this election, largely b/c of my values. I am a Christian, but with that said, I'm having a hard time reconciling my religion with my vote. You see, my education/career have been focused on human services/social work. In this path, I've seen a lot as my work has been with homelessness and serious mental illness often intermingled with substance abuse as well. That give you some background?

It frustrates me that the federal minimum wage, in our area means that you'r have to work 118 hrs/wk just to be able to afford to RENT a small apartment (Afford being rent=30% of your income as is the standard by HUD/mortgage companies etc). You know, not everyone can go to college, nor do they want to...that doesn't make people who are taking the minimum wage jobs any less desirable as a person, but we, collectively as a society through our political priorities, tell them that even if they work their arses off they aren't good enough to have decent housing. And, the subsidies that the gov't offers to help these folks have been cut and cut to the point that waiting lists are 10 years long. Do you know what this means? It means that people who WORK HARD every day are forced into homelessness more and more. If the tax cuts continue to occur, HUD's budget for these very subsidies will continue to decrease and people living with them could be forced into homelessness after being told they had secured permanent housing. All this and I didn't even touch on the fact that as a social worker with an education, had I been single, I would have fallen in the low-income bracket for our area, as do our teachers, law enforcement, fire fighters, emergency service providers, etc. People often don't think this way as most are married and together they can make it. But what if you divorce (and 50% odds say you might), then the household is torn and the two new households are forced into poverty. Programs that help fight this are vital and yet they remain to get whittled more and more.

It frustrates me that while my husband makes a decent income, $45,000/yr, but 13% of that goes to paying an insurance premium that is vital for us to have as we have children and God forbid something medical happen, but should it happen we do have coverage. But $6000 a year doesn't seem very cost effective for what it covers in our actual consumption, 4 physicals a year and a few visits/year for sicknesses. But, to think of people who don't make that much paying as much/more for health care and having to decide against it b/c of cost makes me even more frustrated. We have too much medical technology/availability for this many people to not be able to access/utilize it.

It frustrates me that people are so focused on this war and whether we should/should not be there. Both sides got intelligence that indicated action needed to be taken, both sides leaned that direction. Ok, so now we know that the intelligence was skewed, whoops! We can't just back out with things hanging in the air, which unfortunately it seems most people believe that's what Kerry is going to do. I think the man is more intelligent than that, though just what he's going to do is a mystery to me from his voting record and from his vague answers. I agree that Bush has made some bad decisions, agree that we probably shouldn't be there, but I do recognize and value the fact that our military tends to favor him as commander in chief...that seems important too.

It does frustrate me about how black and white people try to make things on the moral front. After much internal debate, prayer, I've come to a conclusion. God gave us free will, he's not said, You MUST have me in your life, but rather Choose me if you will. The consequences vary upon your choice made, but you are allowed the freedom to choose which path you go down. So, why then are we trying to force choices of lifestyle through legislation? You know the gay marriage issue, abortion, etc. Granted, I do not agree with either,(yet on the other hand, if God forgives a muderer who repents, wouldn't He forgive a woman who had had an abortion? And sex is but a portion of who a person is) but does that mean the rest of the country must agree with me? I thought we were a "free" country and one that was rich in Judeo-Christian heritage. If that is so, wouldn't we emulate God best by offering a gov't that allowed choice? And then, instruct our children accordingly? And, socially, as Christians and Jews, there are many many instances in Scripture that say we should give to the needy and not hoard up material possessions for ourselves, but to spread the wealth for the good. Why then do so many Christians adhere to the Republican side when they blatantly support the rich getting richer? Because they say that certain ways are wrong? I just don't know that we should get in that practice of judging...rather than doing that we should be focused on what we can do in our own lives to bring glory to Him instead of condemning others. That's for God anyway, not for us. (For those of you who are not Christians, I hope I didn't offend anyone by speaking generally and assuming everyone should be a Christian, that's certainly not my intent!)

I'm just torn I guess....which side will actually carry through with their promises and actively work to improve the quality of life for our country?

Heather


Edited 10/7/2004 1:10 pm ET ET by hameyer

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 10-07-2004 - 1:36pm

Good questions.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 10-07-2004 - 2:14pm

I am going to disagree (surprise!)


I lean towards the Democratic party because I believe we should give people a helping hand. Jesus did not teach to the CEO's and businessmen of his day. He preached to the disenfranchised and the poor. We, who are more fortunate, have a moral imperatitive to help the poor according to Jesus.


It seems that Replubicans want to punish the poor instead of helping them. Of course, people take advantage and use welfare when they shouldn't. Does that mean we need to take it away from everyone? Jesus said "What you do the least among us is what you do to me." I truly believe that and don't want the disenfranchised to be more disenfranchised.


I am an United Methodist and it is one of the more "liberal" Protestantist denomations. I am positive you can see my bleeding heart.


My more conservative Christian friends are voting for Bush on social issues such as gay marriages and abortion rights. None of them have mentioned voting for him as a way to send a message to the

"I do not want to be a princess! I want to be myself"

Mallory (age 3)

      &nbs

Avatar for mom2noodles
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 10-07-2004 - 2:31pm
Hi Heather! Nice to see ya ;-)

Here's what I think on this:

<>

I do not think that John Kerry will just yank the military out of there and leave the situation in chaos. The chaos is what puts us all at risk and breeds further terrorist development/recruitment and Kerry is fully aware of that. I think the key difference is that Kerry wants us to *reduce* our investment there in terms of troops and $$$ (by bringing in other nations, etc) while Bush doesn't exactly seem to have any plan at all. I have even heard that they are building "permanent" military bases over there. I have always suspected Bush of having ulterior motives on this (as does my brother who is voting for Bush and served in Iraq for 8 months) and I think Bush has consistently misled the American people about the entire thing.

You can speculate all you want on what you think people might do and the truth as that we can never know for sure what a President may do. We just try to educate ourselves and trust our instincts. My instinct is that Bush is not an honest person, and that John Kerry is. Kerry has openly admitted that voting against the funding of the troops (the $87 billion deal) was a mistake, and you also have to realize that Kerry voted against it full well knowing that it would pass anyway (it was a protest vote). Bush has yet to admit that he has made ANY mistakes, ever. Kerry has stood up for his convictions during some very tough situations. Even if you don't agree with him, you have to admit he has balls. I mean seriously, how many people *volunteered* to go to Vietnam?

Some people think that it's better to be "consistent" and bold in your position no matter what; but if that position isn't good for our country, then I'd rather have somebody who is willing to look at all sides of the equation. I think John Kerry does exactly that. Besides, if you are worried about the so-called flip flopping, then you would be wise to review Bush's own positions on a number of matters to find that he isn't the "consistent, steady leader" that he claims to be.

That's the long answer. The short answer is that Kerry has more integrity, more experience, and more smarts. And that's what really counts.

I don't think I can help you resolve the other conflicts you have mentioned in your post but I did want to speak to this one .

Carrie


Proudly voting for...



Carrie, Mom of Alex & Anna

 <

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Thu, 10-07-2004 - 2:52pm
Carrie,

Hey, uh I think you misunderstood me...let me quote myself, again, lol.

"Both sides got intelligence that indicated action needed to be taken, both sides leaned that direction. Ok, so now we know that the intelligence was skewed, whoops! We can't just back out with things hanging in the air, which unfortunately it seems *most people believe* that's what Kerry is going to do. *I think the man is more intelligent than that*, though just what he's going to do is a mystery to me from his voting record and from his vague answers."

I am in agreement with you on what Kerry is likely to do there, in that I know he is smarter than to think we can just bail on out of there. What I was saying is that I think a lot of people have the *perception* that since he is anti-war that means he just wants out. He's never said that..in fact at the debate he said we had to finish what we started, but that if he could go back and do it over he wouldn't have gone there in the first place, right?

I'm not in disagreement with you on this one, is all I'm trying to say ;) Though, to consider morale and that a lot of military would rather take orders from Bush should be considered too. To have the perception, deserved or not, that your commander in chief doesn't support you in the military (and I think that is what a lot of the military folks feel in regards to Kerry, deserved or not) could be a psychological detriment to our troops and factor in our success over there.

Heather

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Thu, 10-07-2004 - 3:10pm
So let me ask you a question:

If your stance is that we all need to be responsible for ourselves, are all people who are in poverty, by your definition, irresponsible b/c they can't manage financially on their own? How about social workers, teachers, etc who are single and responsibly paying their student loans off, responsibly pay a high insurance premium so that they don't incur medical bills the taxpayers have to pay, responsibly pay their bills and then find out that they are not able to do it all w/o some help? How about people who are disabled either physically or mentally and rely on a low fixed income that doesn't even begin to meet their most basic needs. To say that "The government isn't there to let them off the hook and that's what's happened," implies a basic belief in that people in poverty have done something to get themselves there and that it's a consequence to be dealt with. I'm not asking my gov't to let people "off the hook," but when people contribute to our society and enrich the lives of people in our communities and they can't begin to even think of achieving the American dream of homeownership with a family I don't think that's a very responsible manner of governing a society whose founding belief was that "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." As someone here on the board said, you can write up great and pretty mission statements but without the means to put them in action it's meaningless. So, I ask, is our declaration of independence anything to marvel at in todays society where it is apparent that we are NOT all equal and free enterprise reigns so much that people are obscenely wealthy while millions more are a working poor? How is a life as part of the working poor who will never get ahead even remotely a picture of the pursuit of happiness?

As for churches being charitable, yes, there are some great churches out there that are working hard to save people from poverty. The Interfaith Hospitality Network throughout the nation is a great demonstration of that...however, it is more liberal churches who are even connecting up with them. The majority of conservative churches tend to look after their own before giving anything to the community, which is fine b/c my own family has been helped by our church who does this. But many many many people out there in need would never even consider ASKING a church for help. And, I disagree that it's not the govt's job to help people out, even the rupublican party has said so by signing the faith-based and community initiatives, allowing churches and other community organizations to compete with state and secular organizations for funding to provide community assistance. However, with more and more tax cuts, all this initiative has done is add more competition to an ever shrinking pool of money.



Responsibility has nothing to do with poverty in a lot of cases...time for some education on the matter, my dear. I get so sick of people thinking poverty is something that afflicts "those people." Too often, "those" people are the ones who cut your hair, serve you at the grocery, mall, even restaurants, run your offices, and very often you come to like those people. If they're good enough to chat with why aren't they good enough to be helped out with affordable housing/healthcare? Welfare today is way different than it was 10 years ago. You have to provide the govt proof that you're seeking work or training to further your employability, which is as it should be, people do need to gain skills and self-reliance. HOWEVER, the stereotype of the welfare mom with 5 kids who never works a day in her life is long-dead, welfare has a lifetime limit of 5 years now. It's not even possible to be that stereotype now, but still people cling to it. Get educated on the matter people.

HEather


Edited 10/7/2004 3:39 pm ET ET by hameyer

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 10-07-2004 - 5:42pm

You misunderstood me.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-05-2003
Fri, 10-08-2004 - 2:40pm

I wanted to post this earlier but today was my first chance to "find" it.

"Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have. The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases." - Thomas Jeff

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Mon, 10-11-2004 - 11:14am
Heather welcome!