The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

November 1, 2012

Bill Jones | Blind, misguided loyalties have no place in voting booths

— Loyalty is usually a virtue, but not always – not blind loyalty nor misguided loyalty. We apparently see a lot of both in a high-powered election campaign such as we have been in, seemingly forever.

If you are one of those people who brag that “I have never voted for anybody from the other political party,” you are saying that you have to allow somebody else to select your candidate because you can’t figure out who is best.

Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have ever had all the best candidates, and that is what we all should be trying to do, elect the very best candidates.

Letters in the Readers’ Forum during the past couple months have been interesting, disturbing and very revealing. Many letters have been well- thought-out and make a lot of sense, regardless of whether they favor the man of your choice.

Then there are the other kind. Those merely repeat the lies that both parties have been telling with vigor throughout the campaign. Some are extremely bitter toward one candidate or the other, one party or the other. Surely the writers can’t believe everything they have heard on television or read in party propaganda. Yet, apparently some do.

We have watched debates in which President Obama and Mitt Romney tried to make their points and at times tried to shoot down the opponent’s programs and ideas. Both men have scored at various times. Neither man came across as an ogre, an idiot or a menace.

That does not mean there are no differences. Indeed there are, in basic philosophy at least. To varying degrees, one favors strong adherence to the Constitution, the other to a more evolving plan of government. One believes in a strong, and growing stronger, federal government that cares for and controls the populace, the other in a weaker central government with more powers to the states and individuals.

The candidates have different approaches to the federal economy, although that term is an oxymoron. It hasn’t mattered greatly which party was in power in Washington, both have demonstrated their ability to spend money the government does not have.

One presidential hopeful talks about erasing deficit spending, the other has just headed an administration that set new records for spending what we do not have.

Among the dirtiest lies of the present campaign are those concerning Medicare and Social Security.

Unscrupulous politicians try to make seniors believe that the opposite party will do away with these programs. Neither party will do away with either program, although some Democrats want to take many billions from Medicare to help pay for the so-called Obamacare, and some Republicans have pledged to restore those funds.

One party keeps talking class warfare, increasing the taxes of the wealthy who already pay the lion’s share of taxes. The other party points out that one reason so many U.S. companies have moved to other shores was because of the higher cost of doing business in the United States, and the higher personal and corporate tax rates. A result has been high unemployment.

It is important that all Americans who believe in freedom and democracy cast votes on Election Day. But voting should not be a slipshod act, taken with little or no real thought. It should express a studied conviction of the voter, not a mindless endorsement of somebody else’s decision whether political party, labor union or father-in-law.

Loyalty is fine, but it should fit into our priorities. You may have your own, but my priorities in order of importance are God, family, country, humanity and then a scattering of all those other things, such as man-made organizations.

In the presidential race, evaluate the men on the basis of facts. With Romney, we

can consider his record as governor of Massachusetts and in business. With Obama, we have his record in his present term of office and the question, “Are we better off than we were four years ago?”

As for the candidates for other offices, consider the individual rather than the party, and beware of promises. Despite attempts to woo your votes by promising to do this or that if elected, keep in mind that he or she is one individual and has one vote in 100 in the U.S. Senate, one vote in 435 in the U.S. House.

Look for good character and sincerity. What we can hope for more than anything else is a government that cooperates for the good of the United States and its citizens and puts those objectives ahead of party and self.

May God truly bless America and guide our voters to make right decisions.

Amen.

Bill Jones is a retired senior writer for The Tribune-Democrat.

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