A Voting Retrospective 2000 to 2012 – A lesson in Critical Thinking

What I thought then: November 2000 What I think now: November 2012
I have been working and earning a paycheck ever since I was a kid. Sure my early jobs were not too tough but I still had to be at work on time. The place was clear across town and I wasn’t even old enough to drive when I started. Most people that can’t hold a job end up getting fired because they don’t even show up for work. I am proud to say that I don’t think I ever missed a day. I have been a hard worker my whole life and no one gave me anything. I worked for it! How lucky was I that at 15 years of age my family hooked me up with a steady job washing dishes and bussing tables part time at a private country club? I never had an interview and didn’t even fill out an employment application. They knew my family so I just showed up and they handed me a broom and started writing me checks. Even though it was across town getting to my job was actually easy because my family had three cars. And if they couldn’t give me a ride, both sets of grandparents had multiple cars and so did all my aunts and uncles. Heck any one of about a dozen of my family friends or neighbors probably would have given me a ride on any given day if I was desperate.  The sad truth today is that there are literally hundreds of thousands of adults in this country that would gladly take that job I had when I was 15 but they will never have the opportunity or anywhere close to the material necessities in life required to keep it. It is so easy to take some things for granted when you have always had them. I can only imagine how different my life would be without a supportive family and 24/7 access to a reliable vehicle since birth. Hard work is about 10% or less of what it really takes to be successful in this country.
Even before I had a dish washing job, I had a bank account where I deposited my allowance money. After high school, I opened a credit card and started earning and learning to manage credit. I got my first auto loan after my first post-college job, financed a car, started socking away money in a 401k and now I will easily qualify for my first home loan. It really is not that hard just takes some self-discipline and hard work. I now know that absolutely none of my early and subsequent financial achievements would have happened without the credit and cosigning power of my parents as well as their skilled guidance in financial matters. For that I am very grateful, and lucky. The truth is that none of this would have been possible for me had I been born, like the vast majority of people in this country, to parents without credit (or money). The fact that the handling of personal finances is not an important focus of public school curriculum is an absolute form of ongoing class warfare.
I studied, got good grades in my highly regarded high school and worked hard enough to earn a degree in electrical engineering from a good private University. Yeah, my parents paid for a lot of it, but I worked during school and graduated with school loans like everyone else. I am thankful for the employment opportunities that my hard work has awarded me and I am looking forward to a long and successful career as an electrical engineer and wage earner. Everyone knows you have to get a degree to get anywhere in life and I have no idea why so many choose to not get an education. My high school course work was relatively simple since I am pretty good at short term memorization. Nothing against my high school I just think we could be doing so much more with the amount of time we spend during those years. Yes, my college degree has opened a lot of doors for me but to be honest, I don’t use the education in the least and I never have lest some basics and problem solving skills. Seems more to me that a college degree indicates a bit more than a high level of learnedness or practical working skills. It is the initiation in to a special club that is exclusive, very expensive, and gives you all sorts of privileges if you are rich and lucky enough in life to belong. When I graduated college in 1998 they were handing out good paying jobs to anyone with an engineering degree and I am glad I am not instead paying for or graduating from college at the end of a long and deep recession. Again, luck played a pretty big role and anyone that says that it doesn’t is full of crap. I hope that this changes in my life as an education and employment opportunity should not be the exclusive right of the wealthy or a stroke of good luck and timing.
Sure there are some people that legitimately need welfare and food stamps but most of them are able bodied people simply taking advantage of the system. If you take away the free stuff they will have to stop mooching off my tax dollars and go find work. This is a simple problem that has a simple solution. The number of families living in and born into poverty in this country is simply staggering.  Although there is abuse, there is no large scale conspiracy amongst the poor to fleece the earners of their money. That is a complete lie perpetuated by millions of corporate, right wing, political dollars. Unfortunately, this message is easily soaked up as truth by those such as myself 12 years ago that have a fairly limited exposure to the realities of the life of the 47%. If educational opportunities leading to good paying jobs are there, the people will take them just exactly like I have in my life. The propaganda message that somehow the poor are the cause of our country’s economic problems instead of the result, is a sad reflection of the true face of greed in our society. Unfortunately, this problem and its solution are about as complicated as they get.
There is no such thing as God. There is no such thing as not God.
I am so happy and proud that my country has the strongest and largest military in the world. No way is anyone going to mess with us regardless of who we elect! Our ramped up worldwide rhetoric and constant chest pounding and illegal warfare under 8 years of GOP leadership has made the USA a continuing and growing target for worldwide hate and terror. Although under Obama we have made small but very positive strides in ending the wars and improving our badly damaged reputation around the globe, the last decade of offensive style warfare has been more devastating than I could have possibly imagined. The number of dollars spent and people killed or wounded is unthinkable. Romney has taken up where Bush left off threatening the world and emboldening our so called enemies.  If we truly want to lead the world in something how about we give peace a chance. Please.
Seriously, I don’t have a problem with gay people. I just think that  marriage is between a man and a woman and I don’t understand why a civil union is not good enough for them. I use to be a thoughtless, small-minded jerk.
Al Gore is the most annoying man on the planet and voting for George W. Bush represents my best bet for ensuring that a guy like me gets the absolute most out of life. I am scared to think about what happens if the bleeding heart liberals get into power! Al Gore is still the most annoying man on the planet but I now know that getting the most out of life has absolutely noting to do with a “guy like me” way of thinking. Romney is of the same cloth and elitist character as G.W. and he embodies the exact same ideology and supporting staff of characters.  I will not be fooled by his sudden late political shift to the center. There is too much at stake for far too many people. Not just guys like me. Literally millions of lives are at stake just like there were in 2000. Had I only known. I now understand the true definition of “liberal” and I consider any such label directed at me as a high compliment. I am also truly happy to say that fear no longer jades my political thinking. Getting to that point has been harder than I would have guessed but well worth the effort.
If I keep my nose to the grindstone, someday I will be rich and living on Easy Street! There is no such thing as Easy Street (or someday), and even if there were, I wouldn’t want to live there because the neighbors would all be assholes!
I have worked hard my entire life and I deserve everything I have in life because I earned it. Sure others may not have been born with as much but that is not my fault and my family should not be responsible for anyone else’s family’s problems and poor decisions. I was dealt a full house in the game of life. Not a royal flush, but I would have to be an idiot to screw up this hand. I know and appreciate how truly lucky I really am and how unlucky the vast majority of the world is in comparison. I hope to not waste the opportunities that I was given by taking the easy path of thinking and acting selfishly in life. Although I don’t shy away from who I was or how I thought, the pitfalls and result are clear. I refuse to stop learning and growing and I imagine my blog 12 years from now may be quite different than today’s. I have a long way to go, but my path is clearer now than ever before and I am optimistic and accepting of whatever may be for both myself and all other inhabitants of the earth.