Monday, November 05, 2012

Endorsements -- 2012 Election


          We stand on the eve of the 2012 elections.  Although I’m a political junkie, I’m ready to bid adieu to all the robocalls, ads, and mailings (most of which get dumped into the recycling sack unread).  Unless you’ve already voted (if early voting is possible or through absentee voting) perhaps you’ll be joining me at the polls tomorrow.  I know that some who might be reading this will choose not to vote (or you’re reading this out of country to see what an American in Michigan might have to say about the upcoming vote).  So, here are my candidate “endorsements.”  I don’t pretend to speak for my congregation or my denomination or even for my family.  My choices are influenced by my faith, but also by practical considerations – competence, wisdom, experience, or simply party.  Yes, party is involved.  You see, ultimately when we vote we’re voting not just for a candidate, we're often voting for a party as well. 

            Many people are frustrated by the partisan tone of our elections, but if there are to be choices parties will ultimately develop.  George Washington abhorred the idea of political parties, but two very different political ideologies emerged early on – a Jeffersonian and a Hamiltonian perspective.  And so today, we have two primary political parties.  This is in large part due to the type of government the Founders set up.  So, for good or ill, what is, is.  And so we make choices.  Even choosing not to vote is a choice.  It’s a choice to let others decide the future course of the nation.

            My ballot is rather long, but my “endorsements” will focus on a just a few of the races present on my ballot. 

President

            Barack Obama.   I have been a supporter of the President since the day he announced his candidacy in 2007.  I saw in him qualities that I value – calmness, steadiness, perceptiveness, a degree of charisma, and a long-view of reality.  Although some who backed him did so with messianic expectations, I never had such beliefs.  No President, no matter how gifted, is the messiah.  Politics is too complicated for one person to turn everything around over night. 

It’s been a rough four years, but the results, though often unnoticed, are clear.  He helped turn around an economy in free-fall.  Did he make mistakes along the way – probably – but he showed a steadiness of hand that allowed the economy to turn the corner.  He moved toward ending one war and set in motion the ending of another – both the result of an earlier President’s decisions.  He got rid of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” recognized the importance of allowing gays and lesbians to marry, and most importantly he set in motion the process that will enable the vast majority of Americans to get affordable health care coverage.  The Affordable Health Care Act isn’t perfect, but it is a step in the right direction.  It’s something that American President’s have struggled to achieve for than a century.  Are there things I wish he’d do differently?  Yes.  Like many some of the security decisions he’s made have gone too far.  I wish he’d done more with immigration.  But in a second term more progress can be made on these issues.   

And when compared to his opponent, Mitt Romney, who has shown himself to be a chameleon when it comes to his positions and values, it’s clear who should be the next President.  It should be the current President – Barack Obama.

Senate

            Debbie Stabenow.  Our junior Senator from Michigan isn’t the most charismatic of politicians, but she seems to have demonstrated a clear ability to work for the things that the people of Michigan desire.  Her opponent, Pete Hoekstra has hung out with the Tea Party folks, and represents a far right option that I don’t think is healthy.  So, I’ll go with Debbie Stabenow, who has shown herself to be a thoughtful, moderately liberal voice in the Senate.

U.S. House of Representatives

Syed Taj -- Due to the vagaries of gerrymandering, I have fallen into a rather strangely drawn Congressional District.  It was drawn up so that the incumbent, Thad McCotter would have an easy time of being re-elected.  That is, this long, narrow, snake-like district was drawn up to contain as many Republicans as possible.  So, I was taken out of Gary Peter’s district and thrown into this new district (#11).   Well, McCotter isn’t on the ballot because his aids cut corners and submitted fraudulent petitions.  That left the Republicans with a candidate who no one would have taken seriously under normal circumstances, but since he was the only person on the ballot, he got the nod.  So, the “favorite” to win in my district is a reindeer farmer who apparently isn’t sure whether he’s Kerry Bentivolio or Santa Claus.  His opponent is a physician who was Chief of Surgery at Oakwood Hospital in Dearborn.  He’s on the Township board of Canton.  Unfortunately, he’s a Democrat running in a strong GOP district and the fact that he’s a Muslim of Indian descent may work against him.  We’d like to believe we’re a post-racial nation, but it’s clear we’re not yet there.   For those of us on the far side of this bizarrely-drawn district it’s hard to get to know the candidates.  I’ve not had much chance to engage the candidates, but Dr. Taj is obviously a much more qualified – and mentally balanced – candidate. I’m hoping my GOP friends will look beyond party and pull the lever for Dr. Taj.  

Michigan House of Representatives:

            Mary Kerwin.  This is an easy choice for me.  I’ve gotten to know Mary fairly well over the past few years.  As a member of the Troy City Council, including service as Mayor Pro Tem, Mary demonstrated a keen insight into the needs of the city.  She understood that if we wanted strong services that we needed to pay for them and she worked to protect the city’s investments and long-term future.  She’s practical, wise, and willing to work hard to make the community a better place.  As for her opponent, as I’ve watched him over the past few years, as he served on the same City Council, I’ve been more than unimpressed.  He’s shown himself to be dishonest, deceitful, and self-serving.  So it’s an easy choice.  Mary Kerwin will represent all of her constituents, whether Republican, Democrat, or Independent, with integrity and honesty. Local papers, in endorsing her campaign have noted her independent spirit!  If you live in Michigan House District 41, I hope you’ll join me in voting for Mary Kerwin.  

Troy Mayoral Recall

            A Strong Yes!  Now, I rarely support recall efforts, so if I’m going to back one, then there has to be a strong for it.  I’ve found that recalls are often divisive and counter-productive, but when it comes to the mayor tenure of Janice Daniels, I have to make an exception.  She has shown herself to be incompetent, narcissistic, and ultimately an embarrassment to the community she represents.  If she were simply one council member among many, that would be one thing, and we could live her antics.  But she’s the mayor and as mayor she is the face of the city.  In that guise, Mayor Daniels has introduced a partisan tenor into the council that is according to the charter a non-partisan body.  I need to note here that this isn't about political party, it's about character and commitment to the good of the city.  

Mayor Daniels has berated city staff, misrepresented the facts on issues including the library, taxes, and transit.  She has expressed herself and/or embraced persons who have spewed racist and anti-gay sentiments.  And most recently, she embarrassed herself in front of the Council when she took it upon herself to misrepresent a Council Recognition of a community leader.  She refused, even after being corrected by the recipient of the award, to acknowledge who had originally honored this person (who happens to be Mary Kerwin).  She has shown herself incapable of working with colleagues on the council and with the city staff.  So, it’s time for Janice Daniels to leave office.  Since she refuses to resign, then the citizenry, using the levers of our democracy, must make this decision for her. 

There are other important offices to be considered, but I’ll leave my endorsements at these few.  


Note:  This posting essentially serves to answer Question 12 of the Energion Political Roundtable 

1 comment:

Gary said...

b.hussein obama is a very wicked man. A promoter of abortion and homosexuality and an advocate for perverting marriage. He is someone to be loathed, not admired. Cornwall, your support of obama demonstrates your own moral bankruptcy and hatred of God. Just like obama, you have shown that your claim of Christianity is a lie.