This is an election year here in the United States. Some of us spend the time to read the complete manifestos of the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, and perhaps also those of the Independents, and most of us base our choice on our general feeling about which party is more wrong and which is more right.
It can be difficult to know who we should really be voting for if we, like the majority of Americans, do not take hundreds of hours to really study what each politician is all about, and to understand each issue comprehensively.
How do we know if our current preference is really in our own best interests, or if it is generally fair? Well, if we don’t want to invest the time on a full understanding of what is going on, then we can do the opposite and pare it down to really simple choices.
To do this we have to assume that we all want: what is fair, what is honest, what is the right thing to do and what is honorable. And by doing so we have to assume that we don’t want anything that is unfair, dishonest, wrong or dishonorable. If you want any of these last four things then this article may not be of any help to you.
We can get even simpler, in American English, we can ask ourselves who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. In British English this would be Goodies and Baddies, respectively. That sounds nice so we’ll stick with these British terms here.
Take any issue and apply this Goodies versus Baddies test.
Let’s start with a simple question. Is it better to spend Trillions of dollars on killing people or to spend Billions dollars on making Americans well and caring for them. Well lets look at the cost of killing. Please visit this link http://costofwar.com/en/ to see the current 13 figure amount. Now we are Americans and we don’t believe in the government providing free health care to all and paying for it from our taxes do we? But if we did do that then for as long as we and our children and our grandchildren are alive, it would only cost a tiny fraction of what these wars have cost us.
Now let’s apply this to the Republicans and to the Democrats. They are not as different as you may think. Republicans started the wars and Democrats continued them. Neither would introduce a National Health Service. Both would expect us to pay for our health either in cash or via insurance. Both are far to the right of European politics, and both take money from lobbyists representing heath insurance and health care, to preserve the status quo. And all the while, millions of Americans cannot afford to set foot in a doctor’s office, let alone a hospital, so they essentially have the same health care as pre-civilization nomadic hunter-gatherers. Survive or die.
Well, not quite, even a penniless homeless person has to be treated in an emergency room by law. But this is demonstratively more expensive to the taxpayer than keeping that person healthy in the first place.
So who are the Goodies and who are the Baddies when it comes to heath care? It is close, but we can probably say the Democrats are a little bit more like the Goodies, on this issue.
Now apply a similar test to other issues. Any issues from economic to moral, and ask yourself with all honesty, who are the Goodies and who are the Baddies. Then vote for the people who are the most fair, the most honest, the least wrong, and the most honorable. Then, if your party wins, you can be even more proud to be an American, and to be doing the right thing.
Let’s take one more issue that seems to be at the top of this year’s election considerations. The recent “Occupy” movement started with many separate themes, but as it has progressed, the general idea they seem to agree upon is that 1% of Americans have all the wealth and 99% don’t. They don’t want to be communists and steal the rich person’s money and spread it out by the penny to each poor person, but from the poor person’s point of view, they see it as unfair that they have to pay higher taxes than their billionaire friends.
Republicans and Democrats have different views on this. The Republicans quote economists like Milton Friedman and say the rich create more wealth that filters down to the average person. The Democrats say that this does not really seem to happen in practice, and that taxes collected from the wealthy can improve the country for the poor, who are after all, the customers who made the rich, rich, by buying their stuff. Both parties would agree that the poor need some support, and that the lazy should not be subsidized by those who produce. But clearly the Republicans are more influenced by donations from the wealthy that make it worthwhile to keep those tax breaks and loopholes for the rich in effect.
It does not make a huge difference to the economy if the 1% pay a little less tax, but we have to look at the rate of tax a working person pays, while still being financially strained, and ask what is fair. Should we really be paying a lower tax rate if we succeed in making it big and becoming wealthy, or is that not fair?
So two very simplified issues, healthcare and taxes. Two out of many, but the point is, ask what is right, what is fair. When you have considered any issue that is important to you and you have decided which way you swing, you will know which vote feels right to you. Base your decision on what feels right or wrong to you, not on which way your family and friends vote, and not on which way you think your peers would expect you to vote. It is a secret ballot after all. Don’t be a Baddie, when you can be a Goodie and feel good about your choice.
So you may wonder what I think. I’m the one writing the article that you are reading. I think that it is good to have disagreements and debate, and to consider different points of view. Without at least two parties, there is no democracy. I look at as many issues as can fit in my straining mind, and I have decided that to be a Goodie, I can only vote for President Obama this year. He’s not perfect, no-one is perfect, but he is clearly far less horrible. He is working on ending the wars and he has demonstrated that he can improve the terrible economy that was handed to him by President Bush and his previous administration.
At the time of writing, the Republican candidate is not yet selected, but the potential Obama beaters include a motley cast of people who among other things, support male superiority over females, prefer the idea of a religious theocracy over the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, spew hateful rhetoric on radio shows, promote the continuation of war mostly in order to support weapons manufacturers who profit from the killing, lie about the clearly demonstrable improvements in the economy under the President’s watch, believe that the people who have lost their wealth have entirely caused it themselves, and generally take the rotten, cruel side in most moral arguments, for reasons only they can understand.
In my view, I see a party of Goodies and a party of Baddies. I celebrate your freedom to disagree, despite the fact you may prefer to lose that freedom one day.