Friday, February 28, 2014

All Hail The Scary Punk On The Other Side Of The Fence!

I will try to keep this short and sweet. Well, maybe not sweet, but short. And if not short, perhaps I can make this blog shorter than usual. I Heard Obama’s scary warning to Russia that sending its military into Ukraine at this moment would not be in Russia’s interest. It reminded me of a punky kid declaring from the safety of a tall fence that a bully should leave some other kid alone, because there could be bad consequences.  In my mind I see the bully just roll his eyes and give the goodie-two-shoes punk standing on the other side of the fence a really rude gesture with his hand while he continues to flex his muscles as he starts to slap the weaker kid on his side of the fence.  I think that is a pretty accurate comparison.  Obama is the know-it-all punk who really does not have a clue about how to deal with bullies, and the bullies are quite aware of it.

Vladimir Putin is a bully of the first order. After all, he was a KGB thug during the USSR days. It has been apparent from the beginning of his reign that his goal has been to maneuver Russia back to the totalitarian state that it was under full-blown communism.  He must have thought he hit the jackpot when Obama and the democrat punkers took control of the government after the economic smack-down the Soviet Union suffered from Reagan policies.   It is ironic that Putin has had the luck of his nation developing their gas and oil to fuel a pretty good economic growth and power base, while our president has been trying to stifle our own huge gas and oil development made possible by technology, such as fracking. We could actually be completely fuel-independent, if the silly sap would get out of the way.  In case you are wondering, economies grow or dwindle on the availability of cheap fuel.  It would appear that Putin has been able to grasp that simple economic fact, while Obama has been unable to get his “giant brain” around that idea. 

Putin must wonder how we could go from a true leader like Reagan to an easy mark like Obama in less than 30 years. The fact is that Putin has gotten the best of our guy every time they have had any sort of dust-up. He knows that the punk on the other side of the fence is all talk and no action—big hat and no cattle, as they say in Texas. Putin knows he’s just a punk,  and more and more, it appears like Obama might as well be Putin’s personal punk. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

You Bought Your Favorite Brand! Do You Really Like It That Much?

I have been wondering awhile now about why voters embrace one political party and reject another. You might instinctively assume that a voter would vote for the person who most agrees with the voter’s beliefs and principles, but I dare say that you would very often be mistaken.  I have talked with way too many people who agree with me on some pretty important stuff—like “The federal government is way too intrusive in our personal lives”; “The government needs to stop wasting so much money”; “Taxes are too high”, and “I am opposed to abortion”. Yet, when they vote, they vote for someone who is guaranteed to work against everything that voter says he or she believes in. You probably know who I am talking about—friends and family members who make you want to pull your hair out when it comes to politics. Sometimes I think I would rather not know how obviously crazy those individuals are, so I could sleep better at night.  But still I wonder what is going on in their heads, or, what is not going on in their heads.

 I totally understand why I vote the way I do. It is because the man or woman for whom I vote has led me to believe, rightly or wrongly, that he or she comes the closest to agreeing with my beliefs and principles.  I cannot divorce myself from a desire to vote for someone who is as much like me as possible. I also want to vote for someone who is as good a person—hopefully, even better—as good and honest as I am.  I hate to hear people say, “They all do it”, when some political figure does something immoral or dishonorable.  For example, in my mind, a person running for the office of President of the United State of America, should be a person who exudes virtue and morality and holds himself or herself to a higher standard. After all, they will be filling the position that George Washington and Abraham Lincoln have held. Granted, George and Abe are no longer with us and it may be a little hard to find their like today, but we should at least try to put some thought and prayer into such an important vote. We should at least devote some time in doing our homework on these people.

Now, if you believe in communism or really big-brother-government or Keynesian economics, I understand where you are coming from. And I understand why you vote for the man or woman who comes the closest to agreeing with your belief system.  You are an ideologue and I am an ideologue, and we will always be in each other’s face, but—getting back to the point of why voters embrace one person over another or one party over another –why do so many of us vote contrary to our beliefs?

The answer, I think, is that they have associated themselves with a brand.  I have written before about my father being a die-hard Democrat.  His mantra was “Republicans are for the rich man and the Democrats are for the working man”.  I can also say that he was a die-hard Chevy-owner. He was also a die-hard fan of the Saint Louis Cardinals in the National League and whichever team was in Kansas City ( Athletics or Royals) at the time.  Though he was a FDR, Truman and Kennedy man, I am pretty sure he liked Ike—Ike was his commanding officer when he fought in the war, so he could break with one favorite team for an opposing favorite team, like the dilemma he would have had lived to see the Freeway World Series between the Cardinals and the Royals .  He could probably only be persuaded to vote Republican if there was an important emotional connection like he would have had with Eisenhower.  And, as most sports true fans are, he was a fan of his teams even when they were not very good. 

I have to admit that we all fall into that category when it comes to sports.  I root for the Royals, the Jayhawks, The Chiefs and the Jazz, even when they are stinking it up. Gratefully the Jayhawks are looking good again this year. And likewise, I detest the teams who may perennially beat my teams.  Because I grew up in a family who drove Chevys, I tended to prefer them myself.  I see that kind of fanaticism all over. Who has not seen a decal of a Calvin-like little boy urinating on a Chevy or Ford logo? I can safely say that there have been some good and bad years for about every make of automobile, but still people have their biases. Everybody can find something that he prefers because it is their favorite brand, even if there is substantially no difference in the product. Some people like Levis while others prefer Wranglers. And, it may not matter the monetary cost to the real fan. They are willing to pay a little more for the product because it is their brand. You might remember back when Coca-Cola tried to introduce “New Coke”.  The Coke Company had done a bunch of blind tests where the cola drinkers picked the drink that they liked best. They found that the taste testers more often preferred the Pepsi-Cola product. So, Coke decided to produce New Coke, which tasted more like Pepsi. Well, Coke fans went crazy and the Coca-Cola Company went back to what their fans wanted. I was happy with Pepsi either way.

In essence, this phenomenon of fanatical behavior—that is where the term “Fan” comes from—gives me some insight into why some people vote against their interest. For whatever reason—they were raised a Democrat, or Republican or Catholic, or Baptist and they refuse to give up their brand, even if it kills them, because it would cause their mother or father to roll over in their graves—they have become fixated by the brand.  I have heard people respond to me, when I ask them why they are going to vote for a Democrat, even when they know that it is a bad choice, that they just can’t pull the lever for a Republican.  This is precisely what I think is happening with many of the voters in America. They are not really doing their homework on the issues or the leadership qualities of the candidate, or thinking seriously about what they are buying with their votes.  When the time comes, they roll out of bed and pull the lever for their traditional brand, even though that brand now may not be as good as they remember it to be back in the day. Even when it looks to them like a Ford might be a better by than a Chevy in a particular year, they just cannot write the check for the Ford. Or they just cannot make themselves wear a pair of wranglers, no matter the fit or the price, because they would feel that they had been untrue to their team. And, what would their friends say? Well, I have a pretty good idea what I would say. I would say, “Pull your stupid head out”! “You thought you were buying a Ford Continental but you are driving around in an old Ford Pinto with a gas tank ready to explode when the inevitable rear-end crash comes!” And, If you keep this crap up, I guess I will keep beating my head against the wall in frustration.  But, I would say it in a friendly and loving way.