Friends of Padre Steve’s World,
Just a short post to note that first that one it is Groundhog Day, and two that it is the Iowa Caucus. Personally, since I am already worn out by the 2016 election cycle that began in November of 2014. I am much more interested in what Punxsutawney Phil has to say than any of the pontificating pundits have to say about Ted Cruz’s narrow victory over Donald Trump, and the razor thin Democratic race in the Iowa Caucus between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. In the next couple of days we will see the herd of also rans thin out.
Please don’t get me wrong, I have strong political beliefs and yes I already know who I will vote for in the West Virginia primary, should I not get disenfranchised again as happened when the state changed the rules on absentee voting without telling those of us in the military. But as a serving military officer I can neither publicly endorse a candidate nor write things that could be interpreted as trying to directly influence someone’s vote. It doesn’t mean that I cannot say what I believe; it is just that I have to be more circumspect in how I say things, but I am just tired of all the pundits on all the cable news channels and internet. I am worn out, but I digress…
The fact is that no-matter what happens today the political fratricide being stoked by the most extreme pundits of each political party regarding their own primary campaigns, and the positively extreme partisanship that exists between the two major parties is going to stop.
I was a Republican for 32 years, I worked for the Gerald Ford Campaign in 1976, and in 2008 after my tour in Iraq I left that party, thoroughly disgusted by the lies I had witnessed regarding that war. I became a Democrat, a proud one at that, but even so I could never imagine the train wreck the party that I was a part of for so long has become.
While I am very progressive in my views on social issues, including civil rights, economic policy, environmental issues, full equality for LGBTQ people, women’s issues and women’s rights, including reproductive rights and single payer healthcare. I guess this makes me somewhat a democratic socialist.
But like another great Democrat, Franklin Roosevelt, I am also a realist concerning what is going on in the world, and that there are people and nations that would like to destroy this country. Sometimes they have legitimate gripes, and their anger toward the United States is well founded, but that being said, I have no illusions about the world, which means that sometimes you have to stand up to tyranny. Please know I am not defending the Bush Doctrine or other forms of aggression, but dealing with real enemies using the full range of our nation’s diplomatic, informational, military, and economic power to deter, defend, and hopefully defuse danger before we ever go to war. Sadly, we are already in a war that seams to be without end.
Admittedly, my views mean that some of my liberal and progressive friends and followers will disagree with me, just as my conservative friends. But the good thing is that I do not pick my friends based on their political, religious, or ideological beliefs. Maybe in the terribly divisive climate of our day that makes me odd, but I see people as people and friends are friends, more valuable than a vault full of gold pressed latinum.
That being said I will not be silent when I see certain candidates espouse unbridled fascism and theocratic views, I will speak up, because those are not American values, and too many American soldiers have died fighting those kind of views for me to stay silent when American politicians, pundits, and politically motivated preachers embrace then. I am a historian and when historical parallels exist, I cannot help but to point them out. Unfortunately there are many historical parallels being played out before our eyes, and as the ancient curse says “may you live in interesting times.”
All I know is that I have a hard time watching the incessant vitriol being aired on all the cable news channels, and frankly I refuse to get myself sucked into that. I have better things to do, like drinking beer and watching Star Trek episodes until Baseball season begins. By the time it ends the Presidential election will just be days away. I can live with that. Likewise, unless something really unusual and earth shattering happens that changes my mind like Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman or Abe Lincoln entering the race from an alternate universe that I will support my party’s nominee, whoever that person is because I like both Hillary and Bernie and I don’t like the alternative.
But back to Groundhog Day, it seems as much as things change the more that they stay the same. Technology may change, but people will always be the unchanging constant in this world. So when I get back home from having dinner and drinking beer with my wife and friends I just may have to watch the classic comedy Groundhog Day, after all, it seems that we have been stuck in this election cycle for ever, and that we will keep reliving the news cycle again, and again, and again.
I need a beer, and it’s only seven in the morning.