Friday, November 16, 2012

My Own Thoughts on the Last US Elections

When I clicked on the Opinion tab of the Goldstar Daily webpage, my heart started to skip a bit when I read the title of a column, Thoughts on the US Elections (2). Because all this time I noticed that whatever little interest on the subject the locals have shown, has always been quite perfunctory and relied mostly on talking points and opinion columns emanating from the US mainstream media.  I yet have to encounter a more in-depth analysis of US politics that went beyond the comfort zones defined by such mainstream media practitioners as the NYT, CNN, Washington Post, even the ascendant Huffington Post, etc.  And without a doubt, most of MSM in the US espouse the liberal/progressive orientation on issues, and this they do so ardently and with great passion to the point that their journalism has in most crucial issues been colored by their deeply-held ideologies.  This is an accepted fact in the US supported by all sorts of data.  Therefore, unaware readers tend to get only one side of most stories. And I had been chomping at the bits looking for opportunities where I could present the other side for a more balanced understanding of issues.


I was doubly excited to read that the item was written by Fr. Leo, who is not only a distant relative but a friend since childhood his having been gang mates with several elder brothers of mine.  I knew then that I could be open and frank with issues I may have regarding statements in his column.  Understanding that the (2) in the column headline meant there was an earlier article of the same title; I searched for the original article and decided to download both and collate them as one treatise.


So why should I address statements he made in his two articles?


Having lived in the US these past three decades and more, I do feel I have developed insights and understanding that may not be that readily visible to other interested parties relying only on printed reports and other second-hand sources.  And my having spent a good part of that time being avidly interested and also involved in US politics I believe would also accord  me some inherent advantages.


Being a registered Independent was an added boon since all other political parties vied for my patronage by providing and trying to sell me their candidates and platforms of government.  And in California where I reside, there is the added perspective of being able to participate in open primaries of both major parties, again giving one freer and more access to party issues and initiatives.


Since I encounter on all levels of local communications be they print, conversation, etc. a lot of misperceptions and maybe even “myths” of US politics, the job of exposition becomes even more imperative.


Allow me to proceed then.  But first I would like it known this early that Fr. Leo in his articles made many perceptive statements about US politics and society which I find very much as hitting the mark.  Thus I shall deal mostly with the exceptions that I perceive.


Fr. Leo rightfully extols the initial election of Barack Obama as history-setting, the first time that an American of mixed parentage, one parent being Caucasian and the other a Kenyan from Africa, was elected to the highest office of the land.  The US electorate then was at the cusp of making a change from a Republican administration that was being demolished by its critics, many coming from the mainstream media. And as an aside, many of the charges then leveled against the Bush administration would be the same actions Obama would take and pursue, but the then vocal MSM would suddenly lose their voices. Anyway, this and the stupendous Chicago-style political machinery that employed innovative and precedent-setting methods of campaigning carried Obama to victory.  But the alignment of the stars was just right anyway so that any Democratic candidate, say a Hillary Clinton, could have overhauled any Republican candidate.  The GOP side never had a chance from the get-go, though the VP nominee, Sarah Palin, did initially energize this distressed and demoralized side.  This was a given and Obama was the number called. So the US did make a historic selection – Obama the first US president of mixed parentage.  And whites were a very big part of the mixture in the electorate that gave him the vote,  many of them Independents, readily dismissing any lurking thoughts about racism or discrimination.


On the issue of racism in Obama’s re-election bid, I take exception with Fr. Leo’s observation that again prejudice against a black man reared its ugly head.  The race card was almost always dealt by the Democrats during that last election, hoping to incite and instill division in the electorate’s ethnic ranks.  The other party had always tip-toed around this issue knowing current sensibilities.  But the President and his surrogates, which most everybody believe have presided over very divisive politics, found and pursued with relish the politics of division to their advantage.  Again as before, whites crossed ethnic lines, the second time around 39% of whites voted for Obama. So this “straw man” argument was used to advantage by a now unscrupulous administration.  But is there still prejudice?  Of course, there still is – on all sides.


Fr. Leo assumes because the Republican Party is the party of rich people that it spent more.  Well, when Obama first won, he definitely spent a lot more than the other candidate.  He waived his right to receive government money so he could raise unlimited funds which he did, including from foreign sources.  For his re-election, early on he promised in public to raise one billion dollars, yes that is with a B.  Did he?  Including from all sources like super-PACs, I am confident he did raise that much.  Plus, he utilized with resolve and gusto all the resources and perks of his office for his protracted campaign which started from day one of his first election.  So let us disabuse ourselves from the mythical thinking that Republicans have all the rich people.  Obama surrounds himself with rich people from Hollywood bigwigs to business leaders like gigantic GE’s President J. Immelt, from top Wall Street honchos to Main Street players.  And of course, the MSM players who carried water for Obama are no small-time operators themselves.


With regard to the issue of Abortion, I can only say the following.  It is one of the sturdy and steadfast pillars of the Democratic Party, representing a large constituency of hard-core adherents. Unfortunately or not, many prominent Catholics count among the members in their ranks, most prominent are the sitting VP, Senator Kerry, Cong. Pelosi, etc.  Mind you, these are Catholics that will not only respect the Abortion law in the US, but will support and/or initiate legislation/initiatives/bills/ that promote legal abortion.  Sadder still to note, that Catholics making up 20% of the population, translating to about 60 million people, surely did not give the majority to the other party which had a Catholic (VP candidate Ryan) who abides with the Church doctrine on abortion.  Instead it gave the nod to Obama.


Fr. Leo theorizes that the issue abortion should trump all other issues in that election.  He probably got his wish because while many earnest people thought that the flailing economy was the greatest and most important issue, it appeared to have not been.  Thus, the abortion issue probably gained more importance, and the vote went to those who favored almost unlimited freedoms to practice it.  The Democratic Party.


Again, I take exception when Fr. Leo puts abortion, the killing of a human fetus, in the same category as torture, a charge thrust repeatedly against the Bush Administration.  This torture was done to 3 notorious terrorists in the form of waterboarding which is classified as enhanced interrogation and none of the 3 died.  Also very different from escalated drone attacks used by the current administration to “assassinate” terrorists, including US-citizen terrorists, and which typically include collateral damages.  So  where are the howls of protest?


Regarding Fr. Leo’s comparison of the two candidates, traditionally reelection-bids are referenda of the incumbent’s performance in office.  Thus, his campaign typically is tailored to highlight his successful programs. This was completely abandoned during this last election for one good plausible reason.  He couldn’t name one to highlight and exalt.  Even his historic Obamacare to this day has very high unfavorable ratings with the electorate.  So the incumbent’s campaigns focused on demolishing and demoralizing the opposition, churning out negative ads after negative ads touching on mostly petty issues not pivotal or consequential to the office being sought after.  And this he got concerted and almost unanimous support from MSM.  The only thorn among the TV roses, graced by CNN, MSNBC, and the 3 broadcast networks, was upstart Fox News, which may lean conservative but definitely not a lapdog for the Republican Party


Fr. Leo touched on Obama’s slogan, Moving Forward, which by the way has long ties with Marxism, Socialism, and yes, Communism.  It did resonate with many impressionable young in the US electorate.  Sad but true.


Lastly, Fr. Leo postulates on the moral decay of the US, as exhibited in its entertainment and recreation industries.  Now pause for a moment to ponder which party Hollywood has latched on as its champion? Definitely not the party where conservatives have staked their future.