This blog keeps getting sidetracked from topics that I wanted to talk about when I created it, but I had to discuss this secret videotaping of Romney. It serves as a potent example of what us Libertarians are talking about when we discuss how similar the mainstream candidates in the two political parties are, and how they create a false dichotomy around the two parties.
First, let me say that I don't disagree with the general statement that Americans have an extreme sense of entitlement. I think you would be naive to think otherwise, but qualifying that statement would take a blog post in and of itself. I do disagree with the bulk of what Romney is saying. First, he's saying that the poor people are avoiding taxes. This is an interesting statement coming from a man with hidden accounts in Swiss and Cayman accounts. Stop being a hypocrite, Romney. Stop falling for it, Romney supporters. Second, he is complaining that people are only voting for Obama so they can get something for nothing. Well, Mitt, I have news for you, corporate welfare is no different that social welfare. In fact, we spend more money subsidizing the crony capitalists and propping up failed institutions that fund both your campaign and that of Obama than we do on welfare mothers struggling to feed their families. Stop being a hypocrite, Romney. Stop falling for it, Romney supporters. You can't support the things that Romney does and make the statements that he did in that video. One form of out of control welfare spending is no different from the other in any real sense.
And finally, I vehemently disagree that we just ignore those people with a false sense of entitlement. For a presidential candidate to say that he doesn't care about 47% of the population is unforgivable. We don't give up on the poor who think they government should support them, we don't give up on the rich that think the government should support them. That continued polarization and the class separation that results is what is destroying this country right now. We don't give up on them, we find ways to bring about a cultural change that returns the American dream to rich and poor alike. A change that helps the poor realize that they have amazing opportunities in this country to make a better life for themselves, opportunities that many immigrants are thankful for because they don't exist in their native countries. A change that teaches the big corporations that they are responsible for dealing with their competitors and taking responsibility for their own failings, not the government.
But I can't make a post about presidential candidates and open mics without throwing a little of the blame Obama's way. I'm sure everyone remembers this exchange between Obama and Dmitri Medvedev. Obama is essentially saying, "Let me lie to the American people to get elected and then we'll talk." For what it is worth, I don't disagree with Obama wanting to talk to the Russians about the missile defense issue. If Russia set up missiles in Canada, Mexico, and Cuba, we'd be pretty upset too. In fact, we were. Does anyone remember the Cuban missile crisis? That was solved the way Obama wants to solve this one, diplomatically. What I object to is him implying that he is not going to be forthright with the American people over the issue.
And let's not forget this story of how Obama made a secret deal with the health insurance lobby to take the public option off of the table, while still telling the American public that he supported it. I'm not arguing in favor of the public option, I think there are better options, but that again, is a post for another time. But I am arguing that politicians should not lie to the American people in order to gain their support. They shouldn't lie about their intentions in order to create a false sense of polarization around the two parties. Americans should not support those politicians that do.
And I'm not going to say that libertarians (big L or little) are the only candidates with principles. I am a huge supporter of Jim Webb (D-VA) who committed what many would consider career suicide by saying that we need to re-evaluate and completely reform our criminal justice system. Americans on both sides of the political spectrum attacked him as being weak on crime even though he provided countless examples of systems that do a better job lowering crime and reforming criminals than our heavy handed approach does.
Americans often say of politicians like Jim Webb, or Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, "I agree with most of what he says, but such and such is just crazy." What those people need to understand is that candidates who say some things that the bulk of the population thinks is crazy, are the ones who are not pandering. Just because a candidate tells you everything you want to hear doesn't mean he believes a word of it. I'm not saying you blindly support a candidate because he says crazy things. I'm encouraging all Americans to look into the things these candidates say, research the facts for yourself. With the power of the internet at our disposal, we are not longer beholden to the often biased media for our information. Research the candidate's voting record. Stop judging them by the letter next to their name and start judging them by the actions they take. Stop judging them by whether you agree with what they say or not, and make the effort to determine if they are telling the truth.
Justin Amash(R-MI) and Adam Smith(D-WA) recently joined together to sponsor an amendment to remove the indefinite detention of American citizens clause from NDAA 2012. Americans need to start supporting candidates like Jim Webb and Gary Johnson, who tell us what we need to hear instead of what we want to hear. They need to start supporting candidates like Justin Amash and Adam Smith who are willing to work against the trend of false polarization and partisanship and come together for the betterment of this country. Your loyalty does not belong to a particular candidate. Their loyalty belongs to you. Hold them accountable for that. If we do not do that, then we cannot complain that politicians are all a bunch of crooks and liars, because we are the ones reward that behavior.
For more on my opinion of the polarization in the country, read my second post, Ideology as opinion.