Donkeys and Elephants

What are the two most popular taboo conversation topics most people shy away from around acquaintances?

Religion & Politics

I’m not sure whether people are unsure of their beliefs. Or scared to step on someone else’s toes. Or don’t want to be told they’re wrong. Maybe it’s a respect thing? A confidence thing? Who knows…

So naturally, I feel the need to cross that line and express my views to the blogosphere masses. Standing on a soapbox and ranting is what the internet was made for, right? Al Gore, you’ve got my back, right?

As most of you who know my family in person, I grew up in what would probably be considered a radical right-wing household. My step dad used to pay my brother money (10 cents maybe?) every morning to get up, watch the Rush Limbaugh show, and recite back what was said so that my step dad could get ready for work instead of watching. He got his information and my brother got brainwashed. Win-win, right? Many of you have had the awkward pleasure of being on the receiving end of one of my step dad or grandfather’s political rants about how Democrats can’t breathe right, how illegal aliens are destroying the country, or “Osama’s” follies in the White House right now.

As I said, our household might be considered radically right-wing and many of you might be shaking your head at the indoctrination of us at such an early age… but I’d happily bet you I can speak politics better than most people my age, if not most people in general because of it. I’m more apt to follow along with either side and what’s going on because of being introduced to it so hard and heavy. But because of the exposure, I also have extremely opinionated views.

I normally just choose to keep my opinions to myself.

I’d rather watch everyone else make the wrong decisions than to argue and try to convince them they’re wrong. Watching a train wreck is much more fun than causing one.

To preface this with full disclosure, I want to say I’m a registered (in North Carolina!) Republican. I don’t claim to be Republican. I don’t agree with a lot of the Republican ideals and mindsets. Instead, I’d much rather consider myself a Conservative. And no, they are not the same. I probably have some Libertarian tendencies too. I’m just not all gung-ho about living by the Constitution word-for-word, the gold standard, and so little government the country is border-line anarchist. But I digress 🙂

I turned 18 on November 4th, 2000. The general election was November 7th that year. And because I was going to be 18 by the general election, I was able to register to vote in the primary elections when I was 17. I (happily) voted for George W. Bush over Al Gore. 1 for 1 in Presidential elections, even if it was ridiculously won (or lost) by ignorant litigation over old people not knowing how to properly vote in Broward county. Hanging Chad unfortunately became common lingo. The reason for voting this way was mainly my upbringing and my parents’ influence. Not the most informed way to vote but let’s be honest… 18 year olds are sheep.

In 2004, I again voted for Bush. 2 for 2. Fortunately, I was more informed this time around. First, the Democratic nominees came across as a bunch of phony guys. John Kerry has the fakest smile ever. And his military record is shady. John Edwards ran out on his home state (South Carolina!) to run for office in North Carolina. And he’s an ambulance chaser. His true character has since been revealed in recent years. Howard Dean screamed like a middle school girl. Yeahhh! And Wesley Clark was too stiff. I’m not a Bush apologist like many “Republicans” but I did think it was best for the country to maintain the same leadership after September 11th in 2001. I don’t agree with how the end of his Presidency was handled.

In 2008, I got another chance at a primary election. I followed both sides closely. On the Democratic side, I thought Barrack Obama was a smooth talking, inexperienced, shady Chicago politician. When you move up as fast as he has, you’re merely playing the game, not trying to do good. The fools who voted just for “Change” or race  or to be “a part of history” are misinformed. And that’s unfortunate. As right as I lean, I could have been convinced to vote for Hillary Clinton. Had she gotten the nod instead of Obama, I probably would have voted that way. I don’t line up with her views on everything but I appreciate someone who seems like they’re going to claw and fight their way through the system to get what they want accomplished. I feel like she could legitimately lead. John Edwards. Again. Goodbye. Bill Richardson just seemed like a sleazy kind of guy. Dennis Kucinich (who?) was forgettable. And Joe Biden was just the left-wing soundbite producing equivalent to George W. Bush. The man lives tripping over his own words. It’s funny but can’t be taken serious.

On the Republican side, you had John McCain. I wound up voting for him in the general election and completely regretted not writing someone in. I loathe the feeling of voting for the “lesser of two evils.” From now on, my vote will be going towards someone who I feel comfortable backing, regardless of their electability. McCain is what’s wrong with the idea of political correctness. He’s too concerned about not making either side upset with him that he never actually gets anything accomplished. Mike Hucakbee was just weird with his Howdy-Doody likeness and running around campaigning with Chuck Norris. The nation was introduced to crazy Ron Paul. Except he’s not that crazy. The man definitely knows what he’s talking about. He’s just too stubborn to learn how to sell it to the masses. He’s a little too extreme on some of his views (foreign policy? military ideals?) for me but I get where he’s coming from. Fred Thompson, the Law & Order guy/Tennessee politician with a pick up truck. Rudy Giuliani was a fantastic leader but missed the conservative ideals. Our token, Alan Keyes. And Mitt Romney introducing people to the notion of a monogamous Mormon.

It’s actually funny as everyone in my family backed a different candidate. My mom rode the Thompson bandwagon. My step dad liked Giuliani’s leadership qualities. My brother did the Huckabee thing. And I, the trendsetter I am, have backed Mitt Romney since way back in 2007. I had just finished grad school in my MBA program, so I appreciated the fact that he has one (from Harvard, no less). He comes across as conservative enough for me to agree with without being stubborn enough to be ineffective. I like the fact that he’s well rounded – he’s run successful businesses, he’s been a successful governor (in the Northeast, no less), he headed the Olympic endeavor in Utah for the 2002 games. He’s also incredibly confident and sure of himself when he speaks. He’s not as stiff and scripted as many of the other candidates too, yet he doesn’t get knocked off his game by being reckless (Uh, I’m looking in your direction, Rick Perry).

Unfortunately, John McCain won the primary elections and was the party’s nomination to go against Barack Obama. As I said, it was voting for who I disliked the least. And that’s a pretty bad feeling. My first loss, on my birthday no less. 2 for 3. The Republican party is run by a bunch of misinformed leaders given they keep putting people like McCain up for election. Historically, they’re just not on the same page with the rest of society in terms of finding someone electable. McCain (or Sarah Palin)? Dumb choice. Bush? Not sure he would have won a second term had 9/11 not happened. Bob Dole? REALLY?! Daddy Bush? Not sure I remember much about him. Which isn’t a good thing. Reagan? Last one who won the country over… but I’m tired of the Republican party idolizing him. It was 30 years ago. Find someone new to carry the torch. Gerald Ford? Ha. Nixon? How’d that turn out? Almost all of them are out of touch with the country as a whole. And it’s their own fault for not incorporating new ideas and young people into their party.

But fortunately (knock on wood), it looks like Romney might walk away with the nomination in 2012 and give the Republicans a viable, electable option. I was nervous when Herman Cain picked up steam. He. Made. Pizza! Then it was Newt Gingrinch with the surge next. He’s almost too smart for his own good. And he comes across incredibly stubborn and out of the game. Maybe a good choice in 2004 or 2008? Not such a good fit for 2012. And Rick Perry got a bump… then he forgot his third department he was going to cut. In the middle of a debate. Oops. Now it’s John Huntsman (isn’t there only room for one Mormon in these here parts?) and Rick Santorum. Flavors of the week will be gone once they get destroyed in the early primaries. I will commend Ron Paul for running a solid campaign. Again, not my cup of tea, but I’m incredibly impressed with how well he’s been able to do. I think he’s completely unelectable. But good job for you, Dr. Paul. Gold star!

Unfortunately, in 2011, I moved from a state that takes pride in their electoral power by being the first primary in the South (January 21) to a state that seems completely lackadaisical in their approach. North Carolina’s primary isn’t until May 8th. There are 39 primaries or caucuses before NC decides they want to vote, which pretty much means it will be decided by then. Check out who gets to vote before the residents of NC: Idaho, North Dakota, Wyoming, Kansas, Washington DC, and the powerhouse known as the US Virgin Islands. Ugh. So disappointing.

Despite this entry sounding like a huge infomercial, I’m not advocating going out and voting for Republicans or against Democrats. I’m advocating to vote, no matter who, no matter what. I enjoy voting. I enjoy being informed on who I’m choosing to run the country. And I enjoy seeing people who are willing to make the extra effort to know what they’re doing. So after 2000 words, make sure you hit the polls this election season!

I’ll be there on the 8th doing my part!

  1. Travel to Hawaii
  2. Own a cabin in the mountains
  3. Cut back on Facebook/Twitter/Useless-Internet-Surfing
  4. Clemson season tickets
  5. Run a half-marathon
  6. Clemson stats website
  7. Keep a daily journal
  • Who: My right hand and I
  • When: Daily… or nightly, rather
  • Where: In this snazzy, old-fashioned composition notebook. It’s being rather emo with my cactus-as-a-birthday-present-from-my-brother.

  • Why: Well first, it gives me a place to keep track of things I don’t necessarily want to air online in the blog. How is my job going? What am I excited or frustrated about in my life? Who do I have schoolgirl crushes on? When am I planning devious endeavors? My last entry may or may not have started with “Dear Diary, Suzie told me she already had a date to the Winter dance! My life is ruined!” I’ll let you make the call on that one. But it’s all right there in my little emo-tebook. Second, it’s fun to go back and read the trials and tribulations I seem to think I’m going through earlier in the year. I kept a journal on my trip and it helps me remember a lot of things that have slipped my mind since then. Third, it almost always comes across as HORRIBLE writing when going back through old entries but it does help me write better. This should help me out for another goal soon to be unveiled on my list.
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6 Responses to Donkeys and Elephants

  1. Good gracious am I stupendously proud of this blog post! Heck, a relative of yours says he’s ready for you to run for office! Maybe you can spread some of that patriotism around to those North Carolina folks. Great post, no matter how you vote. You give someone an idea of how to analyze candidates and make a logical choice. Good job.

    • Ha! Me run for office? Good one…

      Thanks though! You’re the second person to enjoy it for completely different reasons than I posted it for. So I’m glad it turned out really well.

  2. Bethany W. says:

    First off, I’m very sorry to hear Suzie already had a date to the winter dance. What a shame.

    Excellent post. I came here hoping you would have a political post already done and can I just say, well done man. I couldn’t agree with you more. Although I was surprised to see that apparently my views are more right-wing than I realized….more along the lines of your step dad and grandfather 😮 Quite a change from the supposed liberal I thought I was when taking government at Dutch Fork. Oh how different the real world is when you’re actually experiencing it for yourself. Of the few parts of the debate I could actually see tonight, my favorite part was when Romney said that “the free people of America persuing their dreams and taking risks and going to school and working hard, those are the people that make America strong – not Washington”. Perhaps it’s time to elect a leader that understands that.

    On a random note, I liked the story of your brother having to watch the Rush Limbaugh show for your step dad. That cracked me up.

    • haha I love everything about this comment!

      Except the Suzie part… I HATE that girl now 😉

      I think swinging views is pretty common. Especially since you’ve lived in the places you have. And not that I’m calling you old (… but let’s face it, 30 is right around the corner) but I’ve always liked the Winston Churchill quote about age and political leaning.

      “Show me a young Conservative and I’ll show you someone with no heart. Show me an old Liberal and I’ll show you someone with no brains.”

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