Let’s Get Back To One Country

OK, I’m going to start this week’s blog letting you know this will be the last one this year to touch on politics. More fun and frivolity on the way.

Two weeks ago, I shared my feelings about the presidential race and some articles that shaped my thinking. As a quick reminder, I think of myself as an Independent voter who will cast my vote for the better person, regardless of party.

That didn’t set well with some people. I tend to overshare my views here on this nice, hidden corner of the Internet. But I also have this set up so that when I publish a blog, it goes to several other sources, including Facebook. That’s when I touched a few nerves. Follow that with a popular vote that showed half of the country voted to retain Donald Trump and we obviously have become two America’s.

However, we’ve just taken a major step into returning back to one.

I based my opinion on how I was going to vote this presidential election on what I’ve seen the current president do over his almost-four years, as well as what I hoped President-Elect Biden will achieve over his term. The day we found out the final results, November 7th, 2020, I felt more hope than I have in a long time.

If you voted for the President, that’s entirely your right and I completely support it. On the positive side, Mr. Trump drove more Republicans to the polls than anyone has in years for that party. The sad part was that he used scare tactics and threats and alleged many horrible things will happen if Biden/Harris take over. He convinced Cuban and Puerto Rican voters that they were planning to turn this country into North Cuba. The same voters who feared what would happen if Hillary got in were told what to fear if this year’s Democrats took over the office.

What will they achieve, what direction will they take this country? They have goals, but they also have a Democratic House and a Republican Senate. What gives me hope is that we’ll be done with a leadership that embraces calling names, all-capped Tweets of random opinions, and generates insane theories that some of the intelligence-challenged electorate believe without question. We’re on the ragged edge of returning to the days of two opposing political views, debating the merits of those ideas and then letting those in power vote.

President Trump was an experiment. We finally put someone in there from the outside, who would shake things up, “drain the swamp” and do things for our country. He did some good things, as well as some very damaging things. As I’ve said with every president we’ve ever had: history will judge. Were they a great president? Let’s look at the big picture 20 years from now and you’ll have the answer.

If all you know about Joe Biden is what you heard about from the president during the campaign, you don’t know him. It’s my hope that you give it a couple of years and allow our country to return to the days when people could talk politics and not feel obligated to hate each other if they disagreed.

I vaguely remember that time when I was a kid and hearing my parents and their good friends talking politics one night. My folks were considered Republicans, their friends, Pat & Lenny, were Democrats, who planned to vote for Kennedy. I don’t know the context or if it was said kiddingly, but the phrase, “Yeah, well, if Kennedy gets in, he’ll have us all praying to Mary,” in a reference to him being the country’s first Roman Catholic presidential candidate.

I just recall it being a conversation, not an argument. A discussion of what each couple thought. And then they went back to playing Pinochle. It was a time when politics could be part of the conversation and regardless of your preference, the bottom line was, we are all still Americans. We were one country.

Or, maybe that was just a dream.

Tim Hunter

Electing a President

When you’ve been around as long as I’ve been, every now and then you feel this tremendous urge to count things. For example, the number of presidents that have been in office during my lifetime. Younger readers can do that off the top of their heard, but I have to go to Wikipedia and see the list. The answer? 12.

Yes, a dozen presidents have been in the Oval Office during my tenure on earth. Seven Republicans, Five Democrats. We’ve had a General, a Peanut Farmer, a former Michigan football player, a host of a western TV series in the1950s and another, the host of a Reality TV series during the early part of this century.

As an 11-year-old boy in Southern California, I once rode my bike over to the local Sears, where future president Ronald Reagan was making a speech on the back of a flatbed truck, as he ran for governor of California. That’s about as close as I’ve ever come to a real live President of the United States.

I’ve been to the Reagan, Nixon and Clinton libraries. If you ever have a chance to visit a presidential library, do it, regardless of how much you liked them or their party. It’s a great reminder of their importance in the history of this country and a strong reminder that we’re all Americans.

I voted for my first president in 1972. Raised in a Republican household, my senior year of high school, I was actually a Young Republican For Nixon and campaigned door-to-door. I even got my Democrat neighbor, Gary, to vote for him. He never let me hear the end of it.

Over the years, I’ve voted for presidential candidates from both parties.  Believe it or not, in one election, I was disgusted with both of the main parties and voted for the whack-job Ross Perot. Over time, we learned what a mistake that might have been and realized that we could have learned the lessons we’re learning now decades ago.

What have I learned? I know that when it comes to our current situation, both parties get full credit for it.  You gave us those two candidates in the last election and it was a no-win situation. Friends that I’ve discussed politics with (and it can be done without calling each other idiots) know what I think. Here are the possible scenarios I see for the next election:

  • Scenario 1–A strong, sensible moderate Democrat steps forward and offers new, real ideas and takes us in a positive direction
  • Scenario 2–The far left side of the Democratic Party takes over, much like the Tea Party did in the Republican party a few years back, and while the Democratic die-hards love it, the middle part of America would rather ride it out with Trump.
  • Scenario 3–An Independent candidate runs, fragmenting the main party, which hands a victory over to the other party. For the Republicans, Mitt Romney offers a non-crazy Republican alternative. For the Democrats, Howard “Starbucks” Schultz, entices voters with sensible solutions with progressive thinking outside the party.

I know there are countless other combinations of “what if’s” but those are my top three most likely. Feel free to come back and remind me of those when Oprah and Michelle Obama win in 2020.

Politically, I try to stay in the middle. Doing that allows me to look at both sides, see who I agree with most and go from there. Today, we are so divided as a nation because somewhere along the line, people moved politics to the top of the list of what’s most important in their lives. It wasn’t always that way. People lived and laughed and played and worked and you didn’t necessarily know how they felt on politics. Much like religion. I don’t need to know what you believe. You have yours, I have mine.

Politics has become the new religion. It’s a “winner takes all, if you don’t believe like me, then you’re wrong” mentality. Put a D or an R near the name and I’ll tell you what I think about it, whether I know anything about it or not.

The evolution of my politics has been an interesting personal journey. When I began voting, I looked at each of the presidential candidates with questions like these in mind:

  1. What is their stance on the economy?
  2. Where do they stand on the war?
  3. What are their positions on the important social issues?
  4. Are we better off than we were four years ago?

However, as 2020 approaches, I’ve had to modify my qualifying statements:

  1. Are they mentally unstable?
  2. No, seriously, are they insane?
  3. Do you know what the hell you’re doing?
  4. Can you make us all feel that way?

Whether it’s a contesting Republican or a grounded, well-spoken Democrat, I hope and pray that 2020 will give us a choice the majority of us can live with and that maybe, just maybe, this country gets just a little less crazy.

Tim Hunter