Thursday, November 6, 2008

I just can't help myself now....

So, by the time I went to bed last night 75 people came to my blog to see what I had to say about the election. Well, it was probably closer to 70. The other 5 people were just me (5 times) to see how many people were checking my blog. :)

I guess I'll tell you what I think. And, I'd love to hear what you think. Not stuff copy and pasted from the internet, but what *you* really think about the election and what is going on in our country. You know what I mean, original thoughts coming straight from your brain.

This is a family blog and a history for my kids. So although this isn't really directly related to my family, I think it would be interesting for them to know what I was thinking (and you all too) during the time of this "historical" election. Wouldn't it be cool to know what your parents were thinking when they voted for, or against, JFK. It is impossible to debate those issues now, especially considering the fate of JFK, but wouldn't it be interesting to know what people that you respect were thinking about him when the election took place in 1960?

Here goes. I spent the day yesterday trying to get in-tune and understand the excitement of the Obama supporters. I recognize it is more than "yay, we won". I remember being very happy when Bush was announced the winner over Gore 8 years ago. But, that was more of a "whew, I'm so relieved" sort of happiness rather than a "yay, I'm so excited about what this guy is going to do for our country!!". So, can you Obama supporters enlighten me about what all of the excitement is about? I'm looking for something more substantial than you are just happy to get Bush out, or that history is being made because an African-American is going to be president. I also need more than he is going to bring us "change"....*what* is going to "change??? I want to get excited about the future of this country too! I'm ready to forget about the election, change gears and get excited about how this "man of change" is going to improve our country.

One of my friends (a Democrat!!) emailed me yesterday. Her and I have gone back and forth several times about this election. She has been a good person for me to bounce ideas off of because we lead similar lives, but our political views are completely different. When I have a hard time understanding how anyone can agree with, or accept some of the crazy things with the Democrats, or Obama, she and a few of my other Democrat friends (can you believe I have more than 1!!!) at least were able to give me some insight into how they are able to agree with it, or at least reconcile it in their minds.

So, the email that I received from her yesterday was questioning me about a few things that I have said in my blog. I thought I would post my thoughts here instead of in an email to her so that I can better explain myself to anyone else that is interested.

"I read your blog and I get what you're saying about people who do not know about the issues voting. Yes, it would be nice if every voter was knowledge about all the issues. but I can't help but think how Obama's "Get Out the Vote" efforts were really no different than Rove's efforts in 2004 in Ohio w/the Evangelical Christians who were told to vote for Bush."

I wasn't specifically criticizing Obama with my statement that stupid, un-informed people shouldn't vote. Stupid white people that are only voting for McCain because Obama is black shouldn't vote either, IMO. But, really, my statement was really out of frustration that I don't think that physically going to vote is being Patriotic. Sure, it is great to celebrate that we live in the best country in the world and we can vote for our leaders. But, if you are un-informed, wear red, white and blue and march in a parade on election day. Voting is a responsibility that should be taken seriously. If you are not informed, even about the most basic of issues and the positions of the candidates, follow the example of our president-elect and vote "present". :)

"Clinton may have been morally bankrupt, but he did leave office with a budget surplus. yet, 8 years of Bush, we have a gazillion $ deficit. It's just been bugging me that the not one of you seem to be bothered by that. how do you reconcile that w/your "fiscally conservative" values? and that Republicans weren't acknowledging Bush/Chaney's role in this mess. I know McCain said "I'm not George Bush" but how can Republicans not admit THEIR administration was in power for the last 8 years!?!?!?!?!"

I think this is my biggest gripe with the media coverage. Why is it so difficult to get to the bottom of this? Let's see some finger-pointing with facts behind it. I'm guessing neither side wants to point fingers because they are greedy, crooked politicians that ALL have their hands in the cookie jar.

But, here is my take.

I don't know how the everyone else reconciles this, but I will tell you how I do. Now remember, I've spent the majority of the last 8 years sorta absorbed with my own life so, if you disagree with my understanding, let me know, I'm interested. I'm not trying to mislead, only explain my thoughts.

I think the biggest causes of the problems that we are having with our economy is the tanking of the housing market and the personal spending habits of the people in this country. I do believe that the sub-prime lending fiasco caused the housing problems that we are experiencing now. Representatives from the government (I'll refer to them as Democrats) forced the banks to approve mortgages for low-income people that could not afford the mortgages. The banks thought it was great because the mortgages were insured by the government, so they were making money for writing the mortgages, but not taking on the risk. The politicians thought it was great because they could go back to their constituents and talk about how home-ownership is at an all time high! The builders and realtors and homeowners were happy because everyone was making money. It was all great until it came time to pay the bills. Yeah, now we are all kind of screwed, aren't we? What made things even better is that it was not just the low-income people that were taking advantage of this screwed up way to approve mortgages. Upper-income people were doing the same things. Hey, instead of buying a $500,000 house, how about a $650,000 house with an "cheap" adjustable rate mortgage, and then instead of paying the mortgage, let's pay less then even the interest that accrues because the value of the house is going up and we'd really like to drive a new XL-SUV. Great! The bank will approve it no problem! Home values went up artificially because so many people were buying houses that they couldn't afford. This is a market correction, but it sucks. Especially for the people that did buy houses that they could afford, with a real down payment, that is now gone because of the market values.

Yeah, I'm mad at the Republicans. Why didn't anyone stop this or at least start shouting that something is gonna blow!?!?! As someone that is fiscally conservative, I can continue to vote for the Republicans, in good conscious because I don't think they caused this mess. They did not do much to stop it, but they were not the "brains" behind it.

Honestly, I think the American people should blame themselves for the economy being in the toilet. Americans, as a whole, don't know the difference between "a want" and "a need". And, our sense of entitlement is sickening. Being an American does not entitle a person to fancy clothes; big, new cars; satellite tv, vacations and dinners out. Those things should be enjoyed and appreciated after the monthly bills for the mortgage, insurance and education are paid. Until we get those things worked out and start living within our means, as a country, we've got some huge problems. And, no president can fix it, even one is great as I'm told Obama is going to be!

Ok, I've really got to get some real things done around my house now. Thoughts...

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kelly,

The mortgage crisis is really just a symptom of the bigger problem with our financial system. And that is that we have allowed banks to do things (take big risks) that they weren't allowed to do previously. Couple that with the unregulated derivatives market and that leads us to the place we are today. Greenspan got up in front of God and everyone and proclaimed that no one was qualified to regulate that market because they are sophisticated instruments and the buyers and sellers are best equipped to keep that market in synch. Now he has confessed to a giant gap in his understanding of the world. People are greedy. (His words, not mine.) Since those products were unregulated, they just kept driving the values up beyond where the system could handle them. A collapse was unavoidable.

Sure, there were people that got mortgages that shouldn't have. But nobody cared. Everyone was making so much money that they closed their eyes and hoped it would never end.

I do agree that people in this country live way beyond their means. It certainly doesn't help the situation that the country is in now.

I didn't copy/paste any of this. My degree is in Corporate Finance, so as this has played out, I have paid close attention. We are where we are because people are greedy and nothing interferes with greed like regulations. I FULLY understand the concept of the free market and letting the financial system self-adjust. However, since Reagan took office, we haven't just gotten rid of out-dated financial regulation, we've gutted too much of it.

It took us a long time to get to this point and Bush isn't entirely responsible. However, he and the congress that he enjoyed for 4 of his 8 years, did their best to make sure that corporations and Wall Street got whatever they wanted. It was all in the interest of the free market. There was a time that I considered myself a Republican and fiscal responsibility was my most important issue. It is still very important to me. But today's Republican party is not fiscally conservative. It is socially conservative, which drives the passion of it's members. But the last 8 years have left fiscal conservatives high and dry.

There is plenty of blame to go around in this mess. It can't be left at Fannie & Freddie's doors. (And people on both sides of the aisle got fat from Fannie & Freddie, just ask McCain's advisor.)

Jeanne

Laura said...

I guess the bottom line for me is that I am glad we live in a country where there can be a peaceful transfer of power. When people feel the need for change they can elect new leaders and there aren't violent revolutions like there are in many other countries. I guess, for me, that is the key. Majority can rule, leadership can change, and there doesn't have to be a violent coup.

trpl131 said...

Well, I will reveal myself as Kelly's notorious Democratic friend who was asking the questions. I was really trying to understand the Republican/ conservative point of view. and I will answer the first question about why so many of us are sooooo excited about Obama. First, he is NOT George Bush!! IMO, Bush/Chaney got us into a war under false pretenses (let's face it, Chaney = Hallaburton =$). Bush really was a pawn, not to mention not very intelligent and only got the job because of his name. This administration has made a huge mess in the middle east and I really do believe Obama has the diplomatic skills as well as the intelligence to understand the extrememly complex issues involved there as well as the economy. He is willing to listen to all points of view, even those opposed to his own so he can best solve the problem. Unlike the current president, if anyone disagreeed w/him (or his cronies) that person was dismissed. So, that's why I personally am hopeful. Will he do it? Only time will tell. Also, I am a social liberal(I am pro-choice and think gay marriage is fine). Obama and the Dems support those issues. Also, I do think Obama will do better for the middle class.

I admit I misunderstood Kelly's point about ignorant people voting, making the assumption that she was critizing Obama's teams "get out the vote" efforts merely for voting for him, which I was saying was similar to Rove's efforts in 2004 in Ohio. Like any game, the one w/the most points win! Sure, people should be knowledgeable about issues, but honestly these days, it's hard to know what's the truth! I talked to someone ON ELECTION NIGHT, utterly convinced that Obama was raised a Muslim and it was a cover-up. Her BIL told her it was so. Besides the point of "so what", nothing I told her changed her mind. but I digress... If one watches Fox News you get one point of view, vs the Daily Show and Colbert Report or Keith Olbermann. The truth is slippery these days in the age of the internet, bloggers and 24 hr news stations that need to fill time.

Finally, my other question was really answered by Jeanne. I was asking how can Republicans reconcile the staggering national debt that Bush has racked up over the last 8 years, when Clinton left a surplus w/their idea of "less government, lower taxes, etc". Well, the current administation/Republican party is more concerned about social conservative issues . I get it now. I do find it a bit ironic that the Republican Party was the "party of Lincoln" who was the most socially liberal as they come w/the Emancipation Proclaimation.

I agree the financial/stock market/housing market fiasco can be attributed to many people/institutions/policies, but I think Greenspan has it right (now at least): People are greedy. and yes, many Americans live above their means. It's going to take a miracle to fix this. Although I believe Warren Buffet said something to the effect of: it'll take a while (years) but eventually things will get better.

I do like Kelly, and we really only know each other by the fate of having triplets within a few months of each other. It's been an quite a ride this election and we will have to just wait and see how Obama does.

So there. I am basicaly a pacifist at heart and want everyone to get along.

Ellen

Katie said...

I'm going to jump in here and say I didn't want to vote for either candidate really because neither really gave me all I wanted. I did vote for old Johnny boy in the end.
Not that I think Obama can do it, but I think it's time for a real change as our system is broken and you can't just have one party or the other fix it. Real Americans need to fix it not some politician who is backed by come company or god forbid another foreign country. I am hearing that other countries countributed to our presidential campaign and this is wrong - so wrong. They are now "owed" and will want some sort of benefit from it.
My hope in all this is that Obama will be a good role model for African American's who think he is like them and will help them. I believe our welfare system should be used as a stop gap measure and not a life style or "job" - in NY it's a job for many. How can I play the system? Hopefully he will get some butt's off couches and out looking for jobs (or even just volunteering and getting new skills) and not sucking off the system. Being new to NY state I can say this is home to many "suckers" of the system and it's sad. So sad. If this gives people the motivation and drive to do more with their lives I'm all for it. Many say this is motivational so I hope it lasts.
My other worry is he is starting to back pedal on what he said in his campaign - this I heard on the news, which is as we all know very Democratic so I am taking it to heart (and I should know better by now the press is not always right) - if they supported him and are saying this then I am afraid it must be true. Now I for one welcome the back pedaling as some of his ideas are way too out there. But then again how much can you do in 4 years? It's time to focus and pick the best ones to tackle.
The next 4 years will be interesting, but we will survive and hopefully learn something from all this.

msmichelel said...

Hi Kelly - well you asked for input, so I thought about it and wrote up a whole big long response!
I have wanted to respond to your blog post so badly and finally got to it today (oops, I was supposed to be working on the directory!!)
I hope you will take a look at my blog:)as it was too long to post a commnet here! And , I liked hearing Jeanne's and trpl131's comments - well said .

Of course whether we voted forObama or not, we have to pray he is what everyone is hoping he is so that our nation can get out of this mess!!

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