Friday, October 31, 2008

My retired pastor tells us how he will vote

Here's what he sent out in e-mail ... and not just to people who agree with him:
For the first time in years I’ve decided to tell people how I plan to vote in the coming election and why.

I have followed the race with some interest since early I the primary season. I discovered that some I initially favored had views with which I disagreed, so I dropped them. Others I thought I could support were knocked out in he early primaries.

When McCain and Obama were either nominated or the obvious choice of their party, I went back and forth between the two for some time. Both were strong candidates with good qualities and some qualities that were not so good (in my opinion). One particular quandary was my views regarding Iraq. I opposed the war, thought no good case had been made for it, thought a pre-emptive attack without overwhelming evidence was not good public policy. I feared it would give future enemies a rationale for a pre-emptive attack of their own, or be used by radicals to defend what they had already done. It appeared to me that if everything we had been told was true (and certainly some things were doubtful even before the first shot), it was not sufficient to attack Iraq. When we did attack I told the office staff (all of whom hardily supported the attack) ‘I hope we find so much evidence of Weapons of Mass Destruction that it will be obvious even to the greatest doubter.’

However, once we had invaded, we had to make it work. We had to stay until we achieved some kind of stable, democratic government. We had destabilized the entire region, created a haven for al-Qaida that had not existed before, provided an encouragement for many to join them, and precipitated a civil war. Once we got into that, I felt we had to do whatever was necessary to make it work and to re-stabilize the country and region. I wasn’t sure ‘The Surge’ would do it, but we needed to do something other than we were doing to bring some semblance of order out of the chaos. If you have followed me to this point, you understand that I am saying that I thought Obama was right initially about entering the war, but McCain was right about ‘the surge’ once the war had been started.

So, for whom do I vote? I wasn’t sure and went back and forth between them. I had some natural inclination toward McCain since I have been registered as a Republican since 1964, long before it was popular to be a Republican. I also had some inclination toward Clinton and Obama since I think we (the US) has a rather poor record in dealing with sexism and racism. And, of course, as a Christian there is always a recognition that God is at work around us and I want to join Him in what He is doing. So, I kept going back and forth between the two.

When Obama nominated Biden, I felt many of my concerns about Obama and foreign policy issues were lessened. When McCain nominated Palin, I thought it was a fascinating move. I knew nothing about her, was suspicious of what experience governing Alaska provided, but was greatly impressed by her acceptance speech. I talked with a friend with family in Alaska and got a very favorable report about her. So, still I was bouncing back and forth between the two.

Several things happened to push me to Obama.
1) It became apparent there was a major financial crisis unfolding. I watch CNBC (a business channel) which debated the ‘bail out’ proposal. There were positive and negatives. There were things they thought should be added and some they thought should be dropped. Most of the things I didn’t understand. But there was a crisis and something needed to be done quickly. The initial basic proposal came from a Republican administration, surely they would support their own. I watched in dismay the day the vote was taken as Republicans voted ‘no’ and the stock market dropped and I declared, ‘if they are such ideologues that they are going to vote ‘no’ on this then they don’t deserve to be in office.’ A week later they voted in favor of essentially the same bill, but now loaded with ‘pork’ and I found my disgust reaffirmed.

2) I think it was the day of the original vote on the ‘bailout’ package that the vice-presidential debated occurred. I had looked forward to it. After the debate I said to Gail, “I’ve heard ‘oh my gosh’ and ‘gee whiz’ enough to last a lifetime.” The thought of Sarah Palin being next in line for the president behind a person who would be older than anyone at their first inauguration was terrifying.

3) I receive emails from a wide-range of people, much wider than I am send this reflection. (This is going only to my immediate family and a few people whose opinion I value.) Some of those anti-Obama emails were so hostile, negative, overdone, and untrue that in my opinion they constituted ‘hatemail.’ Since most of them were supportive of McCain and opposed Obama, it pushed me further toward Obama. (Maybe that makes me more ‘mavericky’ then the mavericks.)

4) I listened to the debates and paid special attention to the discussion of health insurance. I found McCain’s approach to be very bad. Some six years or so ago Immanuel had health insurance on Gail and me through the denomination. It was not a Cadillac. It had no dental and no vision. It was a traditional 90/10, 80/20 co-pay depending on whether you used a network provider or not. The network was not robust and I needed to travel 35 miles (plus or minus) for at least one test. That policy cost the church over $17k a year some six years ago because we were in our late 50s! As a result we took Gail off my policy and eventually I was covered by her’s at school. Under McCain’s proposal some $12K of that cost would be considered taxable income. It wouldn’t raise my income or benefits, it would only raise my taxes! I suppose I would have to pay not only income tax on the money, but social security as well. Since a pastor is considered self-employed for the purposes of Social Security (that is I pay both the employers and employees portion) the cost of McCain’s plan would cost at least an additional $2,000 in taxes. By the way, I was never in a high bracket. McCain says he would tax the benefits on pricey policies by rich people. No. What he would do is tax older people. Any figures he quotes for an average is unnaturally low because of the age.

So for the above reasons and since I don’t hear the LORD vetoing my decision, I will vote for Barack Obama next week. If you support McCain you really don’t have to worry. My support amounts to the kiss of death. Since 1964 I have voted in every presidential election. To this point only two men for whom I have voted have been elected. Both of those were impeached! So don’t worry. Or, maybe we should all worry.

Thanks for taking time to read my missive. Woody

My response is
what he said!!


Kia Ora Shelli said...

My main problem with Obama lies with pro life issues. Other than that, I worry that he has made MANY promises which will be completely impossible to keep. Never has the verse , 'pray for our leaders.' 1 Timothy 2:1-4

cathy b. said...

I had problems with life issues as well, but decided that voting issues is less important than voting the person. When I voted issues I got George Bush and I think we ended up with a bully on the world playground. Joe Sixpack and Joe the Plumber sealed the deal for me. I don't mind living next door to them, but I don't want them representing my country.
I am also so very happy for the African American children I know.