So, hang on tight, read until the end, and hear my heart. :)
If you were to join my in-laws, Mike and me for dinner, as we often do, you'd hear the discussion run the gamut of topics - from remodeling jobs to laugh-your-socks-off stories to politics and the election.
Just so you can have an accurate perspective, when I first began dating Mike, one of the first questions his grandparents asked me was if I voted and was I a Republican. I was very taken aback. I had no idea what to do with that because growing up in Chicago, politics and religion were two topics you don't touch with strangers not to mention anyone else. It's kind of like asking a lady how old she is and what she weighs.
Here in West Michigan, one of the first questions you ask someone recently moved, aside from "How are you?" and "What do you do", is "What church you go to?" THAT took a lot of getting used to. Also, West-siders mostly assume that republicans inhabit this half of the Mitten so there's more freedom felt to ask questions once a person knows you.
Okay... so you get the scenario. We discuss politics a lot. We don't always agree on everything, but it's very much an open point of discussion.
So... as you can imagine... dinner is very animated. :)
Back when Santorum and Romney were fighting it out for the ticket, we talked extensively over the presidential merits of one versus the other. Sorta like McCain versus Obama in the debates. (Unfortunately, Obama presented very well and looked very presidential.) I did vote for McCain, but only because he was the better of the two evils. The consensus we came to was that Santorum had no chance of winning over Obama should he get nominated.
That bothers me.
Why do I have to settle for voting that way?! Am I not American? Do I not have freedoms? Freedoms my brother and other soldiers are fighting for?
Why have we accepted that only Democrats and Republicans have a chance at getting a candidate to the forefront? Why must I settle? There ARE other options. Ron Paul, for example. Many other people would race forward if there were people who would stand in the face of this voting policy and refuse to vote either Democrat or Republican - allowing for a president who is there to truly do something not just make promises and sling mud.
I do not agree with Romney wholeheartedly. Massachusetts is one of the worst taxed/legislated states in the country. He gives wiggle room on the abortion/prolife issue and hangs his hat on the notion that it's not for him to decide that - but the courts. Life is life. When is it our right to say it's worthy of death when it hasn't taken a breath yet. A baby is a person. A heartbeat is still a heartbeat.
I do not fault him for having wealth. This IS America. This is the country that a poor immigrant can come, find a job, work hard, save his money, and build a legacy for his family. Have we really forgotten that?! If we allow our current President to strip us of our entrepreneurial mindset with his "You didn't build it" then, what can we offer that poor immigrant getting off that boat today? All we've got is, "Sorry, buddy. You'll have to go sign up at the Food Stamps office until you land a union job." Really?! Pretty miserable outlook if you ask me. Who wants to come here then... unless you're a terrorist ready to take out some landmark.
If you toss all my ramblings as that of a crazed lunatic... take these last points into consideration.
1. If you are 18, you have the right to vote. Are you a registered voter?
2. Do you know where your local voting place is? Have you ever voted there?
3. Think carefully before you just use the "Better of the two evils" rationale.
4. If you are a believer, you have been given a redeemed mind and conscience by God. Vote BOTH.
I'm still figuring out this political dance... but you better believe I will exercise my hard-won privilege to vote.
Thank you Staff SGT Steven Thomas for your service. I love you.