Unification News For April 1996
Election Year Redux
Well, it's an election year again. Would you believe its been nearly four years since this article was first published? Here I present it again, with suitable updates.
As I write this the 1996 Primary Elections are complete, and all eyes are turning towards November. Americans will be voting for candidates from City Councilman to President.
In past campaigns one could hear ads with stirring music, and a breathless recounting of all the wonderful, brilliant things the candidate has done for us. Some were tempted to think, "Hey, with this guy on our side, who even needs the Second Coming?" Today, with all the recent scandals, anyone who ran such an ad would get laughed right off the map! Nowadays, most candidates afraid to include their Party affiliation in their ads, much less, whether they're the incumbent.
There are traditional `liberal' and `conservative' candidates, as well as a large number of `protest' contenders. Many people are saying, "We need a third party," expressing dissatisfaction with the "same old thing in Washington." In fact, there is already a wide variety of alternative, nationwide political parties. If everyone really found a `third party' which exactly suited their views-there would have to be thousands of them.
At this point I must include a disclaimer. You see, this is a religious publication. Let me inform you that I must not, and will not, support or endorse any specific legislation, candidate or party. Heck no-the thought never even crossed my mind. Wouldn't dream of it!
As you consider voting, remember a few things. Recent elections have had very low turnouts. Maybe you and I be the only voters-and we can just settle things ourselves.
When a politician promises you wonderful things, he (or she) might hope to `buy your vote.' When they shake your hand, visualize their other hand reaching into your wallet. Remember, they can never give you anything-they have to take your money first. Worse, they waste half, maybe even three quarters of it on bureaucratic bungling.
Of course, they'll tell you they're spending somebody else's money; taxed from "the rich," or "big corporations." Or that they've "brought in Federal dollars." They're assuming that you're too stupid to figure out their game.
In the past 30 years government has ventured into `solving social problems'-and spent five trillion dollars in the process. That's trillion, with a `t.' Enough money to completely buy up our nation's `troubled' areas-with enough left over to present every poor person in this country with a huge check.
Obviously, this avalanche of tax money hasn't accomplished much. I hear that some people got some good help, but they've left behind an even larger number of folks, stuck in the same old boat.
Where is this little game of theirs headed? The growth of America's government has outpaced its population by some 100 times. The federal budget has grown even faster. You've heard outrageous examples. Our national debt, if you count such things as bond and pension obligations, has reached nearly 20 trillion dollars!
Yet many politicians have the gall to say we haven't spent enough ; that certain horrible old leaders "cut the budget" and ruined everything. If you check the actual numbers, you'll see that government spending remains, and grows, more each year. But never enough, apparently, to satisfy everyone.
Too bad-because the goodies can't keep coming forever. About 150 years ago, Frederic Bastiat got it right when he said, "But the law is not a breast that fills itself with milk. Nor are the lacteal veins of the law supplied with milk from a source outside of society."
At election time candidates start talking tough. "It's time to crack down on-" (fill in the blank), they'll roar. "Down on crime! Up with schools!" Too bad it's usually empty rhetoric. Commentators like Michael Reagan are now holding their actual records up to public view.
Remember, government has a hard time doing anything right. Don't think they're going to start now! If a candidate promises that he's going to fix things, try to get some details. There are certain vital jobs which only government can do.
We've learned a few things from Rev. Moon. That "God has blessed America" with its prominence and prosperity. Because America is good, as Alexis de Tocqueville said. And because she "sacrificed herself," her blood and treasure, for the freedom and development of many nations. What a far cry this is from the popular, selfish `us first' political platforms. Ask a candidate about these things, also.
Before you vote, get informed. One hears people argue about "aid to Boanesia" or "independence for Zorbistan," and yet those same people couldn't find most countries on a map!
Check out the issues, and the `numbers.' You don't need a college degree for this. Just knowing the rough proportions can be pretty enlightening. How much are we taxed? Where is it spent? Which parts of the budget are shrinking-or growing?
Don't rely on the flighty, highly biased `mainstream media' for your information. Check out various viewpoints. Magazines carry a huge variety of opinions. The Nation has extremely leftist views; the National Review, staunchly conservative ones. Our own UNews has many excellent `headwing' commentaries!
If you've got a radio handy, you can catch quite a bit. On National Public Radio you'll hear a `progressive' viewpoint. (Some say a `far leftist' one.) With Rush Limbaugh you'll hear an `incisive, conservative' view. (Or an `insensitive, extremist' one?)
If you're as busy as I am, you could even go and pester a better- informed friend. Better yet, several of `em.
I don't care much about labels, or which `wing' a candidate is tagged with. I want to know their record, philosophy, and position on the issues. I would hope to know their personal character. When I lived in a small state, Idaho, I actually got to know some of the `bigwigs.' Here in California I've met many dedicated activists, of several stripes.
Winston Churchill once said, "We have the worst form of government, except for all the others." We should be thankful for what we have, even if we do keep messing it up. It's been said that "we get the leadership we deserve." I think there's plenty of room for improvement, don't you? For now, I say, "Get informed, and get involved." See you down at the polling booth!
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