Straight Up with Sherri

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Where Do We Go From Here?

Today's post is dedicated in the memory of one of the most courageous, loving, and moral women I ever knew. I know her less through time spent with her and more through the boy she raised that I now call my Dad. I remember her smile, it lit up a room. She was the mother of my stepfather, yet she never made me feel like an "added" member of the family. She had a hug that filled you with comfort and security, and a strength my generation of women have long lost true appreciation for. I have felt the touch of her greatest achievement, raising great children, through the love of my dad. I have noticed my short-comings and failing by her amazing mothering abilities. I am blessed not only by her existence, but by her legacy. Her children will truly "call her blessed," as will all who knew her. God is pleased with the job of His faithful servant and takes delight in her coming home.

In reading the comments from yesterday's post, I think I can safely say we each learned a little something. I am in awe of the way ideas were shared. We had thoughtful input backed up with historical facts, we had opinions that differed and yet showed unity, and we even had great entertainment providing humor and...... Uuhm....... song. I think we all realized the most important key to further debate on political differences. Both sides need the other side to keep us in check and moving forward towards a bright future. Our values are not nearly as different as we may think. We just base them on different driving forces within us, and have different ideas on how they should be carried out and reflected within our government and society.

This past political season we saw the worst of each other. It was perplexing to see how the Democratic Party treated Zell Miller as opposed to Michael Moore. Zell is a dedicated Democrat. He loves his party and has done great things for Georgians. He voiced his differences, not in attempt to destroy the Democratic Party, but to save it from itself. It is much like a parent telling their daughter that the man they "love" is no good. Zell never sought out a spotlight at the Republican Convention, but the anger and harshness of his "family" sure helped him bill that ticket. Then they embraced Michael Moore, who has no intention in saving the Democratic Party from any of their mistakes. I am proud to see that the Republicans, while not behaving most admirably, did not engage in the same tactics when dealing with any perceived dissention from McCain.

Sadly, I have observed how much of this behavior was media induced. Media and Hollywood created the atmosphere. Yes, Dean sure had his hand in it, but if he Hadn't had his "anger" exploited by the media, there could have been a much different outcome in the "emotional" atmosphere in our country. The scariest part of all of this is to analyze where the fierce opposition to Bush stems from. If we are truly honest, we will notice who drives the diverse attitudes displayed by the Democratic Party. These forces would be the media, academia, and Hollywood. Their hatred of Bush does not come from a sincere belief that Saddam should have stayed in power, or that there was a mad "rush" to war. The hatred stems from their "phobia" of Bush's morals and Christian foundation in his stands on issues. It is okay to USE religion to reach the minorities, but it is not okay to base any real stands on issues due to religion. It is okay for a candidate to quote scripture to a base they need to regain power, but it is not okay to promote the morality of scripture in order to reach the average American to show them why it is imperative to stay the course.

Both parties have pundits that engage in spin that twists the logic and intention of the other party. What you did see is debate after debate that left both sides being angered and feeling alienated by the other side. You will NEVER bring people to the realization that we are on the same side by twisting their words into some gross distortion. It is far more effective to first focus on the values we share and what we have in common. Then we start to paint the picture of the vision for the future, such as peace. This is when we start to discuss what will define peace, the things necessary to make it a reality. Then we finally move forward to discussing the path best taken to achieve it. In all honesty- it is the path that we disagree upon. This doesn't make anyone evil.

The trick is for both sides to be honest. Is it really the vision of Democrats to make America look more like Europe and put the UN authority above that of the American people? Is it really the vision of the Republicans to create an America that is intolerant of anything "non-Christian," and create imperialism over Iraq? The rhetoric was mind-boggling.

As I pointed out the behavior of the pundits, let's take a look at the difference between what the spin doctors said and what the actual candidates said. Let's take a look at the difference in the behavior of the Candidates, their families, and their "average" American supporters. This is where I think we find the key as to why people find themselves having much more in common with the Republican Presidential Candidate. While the Swift Boat Veterans for truth dug up documents and posed challenges to the integrity of what they stated to be truthful and factual, the media was "creating" documents to challenge the integrity of what other documents stated to be truthful and factual. This, I believe was the defining moment for most Americans. Embracing a filmmaker who has historically been basting in propaganda while shunning a Senator that has historically been fighting the fight of bringing legislation intended to better America is also an eye-opening event. The media blatantly ignoring facts and news damaging to John Kerry, while rushing to the air and presses with any leaked notes and comments damaging to George bush was annoying to Americans. The very organizations carrying out these tasks insulted the intelligence of Americans and were condescending to their ability to see through the smoke screens. The publicity of a fictional movie portraying a HUGE stretch of reality like that of The Day After, while the publicity surrounding a film portraying the last days of Jesus Christ was intolerable. The American people knew that The Passion was not anti-Jew, it was pro-Christ. This is what truly bothered the critics. They could only attempt to discredit the film with ridiculous claims. Not to mention that if the critics were truly concerned about anti-Jew sentiment, I think a little more attention would be paid to the rhetoric of Muslim extremists and terrorists and a little less towards an artistic expression of a devout Christian icon from Hollywood.

My point is that while the issues were paramount in the decisions made in the voting booth, the actual trust in which party most matched their values, was based on the behavior of the Democrats and the behavior of their party supporters vs that of the Republicans and their party supporters. We can debate all day about the main issue being staying in Iraq vs withdrawing from Iraq or gay marriage vs traditional marriage. We can try and draw the lines on things like American sovereignty vs UN unity. We can even debate about the vision of the path to peace for each party. I believe the election results were truly based on the Americans voting for which path to peace they most wanted America to take, but I also believe that reason our country was so emotionally divided was more about behavior of each parties supporters. Families were fighting, friends were lost, and obscene gestures were given to absolute strangers along the journey of the Presidential race.

We, as Americans need to focus more on what motivates our votes and our decisions, and less on ways to demonize those that disagree with us. We need to hold our elected officials to a standard that forces them to make decisions in the best interest of our citizens and their future, and less on demonizing or punishing the other side. It is ridiculous to start counting Republican seats vs Democrat seats in the branches of Federal government to tell us if a bill will pass, based on the letter next to the guy that introduced it. We are not nearly as different as this implies. We need to start simplifying each bill, instead of trying to encompass 10 things in bills where both parties can agrees on 9 of the items and so much time is wasted on just one of the 10. The constant maneuvering and manipulation of both sides it costing US.

In my final point I will say this. We need to recognize the difference between honoring our foundations and furthering an agenda. Trying to CHANGE the National Anthem from "The Star Spangled Banner" to "God Bless America", is furthering an agenda. Removing the words "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance is furthering an agenda. Changing the definition of marriage is furthering an agenda. Making an amendment to protect marriage is honoring our foundation in order to thwart an agenda. There is a distinct difference, and even if the media wants to ignore it or spin it, the American people, in their heart of hearts, know it.


  • - First a note on yesterdays "Great amazing technicolored" comments and post. As usual Sherri you inspire discourse with your postings. I got a little wild there but I'm trying to tone down the "angst" and rhetoric generated from just exactly all the things you pointed to in todays post, and spike it a bit with a little humor and parody, but a question was asked that I couldn't be still on even with my fingers nailed to the desk....Hope it made up for the silence of the day before...

    - On another note I can only say I look forward with relish when I effect the move of my blogsite over to my domain. Today I lost 12 hours of work, 3 posts + an article you had requested, due to the friendly skies of blogspot. Its like having a crazy uncle in the attic that is basically lovable but keeps attacking your cat. Anyway THAT particular problem will be solved shortly with a brand new look and pulse.....

    - OT to todays post I concur with your sentiments in all regards. I certainly hope your optimism for the future interparty relations is not misplaced, and in spite of the almost daily continuence of intemperate comments from the liberal side of the aisle, some of it understandable as a matter of the election outcome, some of it not, I do think its possible and I will do my part.....

    - Finally I wish to extend my condolences from my family to yours, and hope that those memories you spoke of return many times to your mind in the future, and give you the comforts of a smile, warmth, and love as you remember those wonderful times, and her.....

    Your fans in Cal - Hunter and mini-me.....

    By Blogger - Hunter, at 3:49 PM  

  • Sherri:
    This is a well considered editorial. I did have fun yesterday. Something was drastically lost in the 2004 elections. You mentioned Zell Miller as I had mentioned Ben Nelson, both conservative Democrats. Make no mistake about one issue - they are Democrats. They believe that the government has a place in the lives of the citizens. They are concerned about the run-amok attitudes of large corporations. And I believe their concerns and proposed social solutions deserve to be heard, even though I may not agree with them. On the other hand, John Kerry, Michael Moore, and their ilk are not true Democrats - Kerry is a Socialist, Moore is a Communist. They are liberal in the truest sense in that their agenda is objective-driven. (Not that it is bad to be liberal objective-driven, our Founding Fathers were).
    What I think has happened is a loss of moral values in the Democrat Party leadership. They have become mean. There is no reason for them to be this way - but they have adopted it anyway. They show a total distrust of, and contempt toward the people and a need to control the population. This loss of direction is evident in the musings of Miller and other conservative Democrats.
    My favorite Anti-Federalist was George Mason (not as well known as many, but influential in the Bill of Rights Do you ever wonder where the scoundrels were during the framing of our Constitution, and up beyond 1812 as Hunter so excellently pointed out? I have thoughts, but no facts to back my thoughts. It would be fun to discuss.
    History has all too often been taught as a series of facts, rather than an aggregate of lessons. Your stories, Sherri, tell me of the things you have learned in life - the details are merely supportive. Life has a way of teaching us the same lesson over and over, again - until we learn it. The lessons usually pertain to human nature, and that never changes - only the details change.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:05 PM  

  • Ooops! Forgot to sign the last post. It was I,
    Right Wing Nut Job
    I must sign up with Blogger just so I don't miss signing my work.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:08 PM  

  • - I won't go into a lot of detail RWNJ, just enough to wet your curiosity. But picture this. You have all the people that were actually instrumental in the framing and execution of the declaration and its amendments. People that were remarkable in their steadfast honesty and purpose. To Amplify that, many of the Anti-federalists went to great length, voicing their very real fears about "special interests". (Yes they were alive and well in the late 1700's, and just as devious as they are today, maybe even more so). Moreover the Federalists did the same....

    - I'm leaving aside the whole question of slave ownership since, at least for the time, it was basically accepted and it would be 60 years before that issue came to a boil, and the poor country kid from Hardin County, Kentucky wasn't even born yet. That said, I could make a pretty good case that in fact the two camps were actually pretty close in agreement on the most fundamental issues, contrary to what you'll tend to see written by the "great scholars" of our history. The thing they agonized over and worked the hardest to prevent was actually the gaming of the whole effort by those "special interests". I'll leave it to you to dig into it, but here's a good starting point, which is a compendium of all the Anti-federalist papers. The "letters from the Federal Farmer" are especially interesting on the question of scoundrel fears....

    - -

    - Enjoy -

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:14 AM  

  • Thanks for the post!.. I've never read the Federal Farmer papers. That will be a good exercise for me Thursday. It is interesting how many of the authors in the late 1700's used pseudonames and multiple identities to publish (with no Freedom of Press - that's not surprising). During the elections, I had been re-reading Thomas Paine's - "Common Sense" and "The Rights of Man". They call these pamphlets???
    The same issues that Paine was so concerned about still exist today. I'll discuss those later (somehow or another). Goodnight - RWNJ

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:24 AM  

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