Monday, November 04, 2013

The Government Shutdown - Did The TEA Party Go Too Far?

I know this is a bit after the fact but a few people have asked my opinion on the government shutdown.  My opinion is this, it shouldn't have happened.  Our country was built on compromise and mutual respect and I vehemently disagree with those who think it's OK to hold the whole government hostage because they don't like what others did.  If they had the votes to change it, that would be different, but they didn't and they weren't willing to accept that democracy means you don't always get your way.

Before we go any further and before I get ripped apart for being a liberal or a RINO or something else, let me explain the basis for my feelings:
  • I don't agree with the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and I think it will do more harm than good.
  • I don't believe that "the ends justifies the means" - just because you feel you're right doesn't mean any action you take to support that is right/justified.
  • I do believe in the concept of karma - the actions you take will eventually come back to you (good or bad)
  • I don't feel that government itself is bad but I do believe it can be managed better than it is.
So, based on that, here's how I feel the government shutdown drama happened.
  • A minority of the Republican Party Representatives (mostly Tea Party Republicans) decided they wanted to kill Obamacare by defunding it.  This is in spite of the fact that the House has passed numerous repeals of Obamacare - none of which went anywhere.
  • This minority convinced (bullied? strong-armed?) the Speaker of the House to make it part of the budget bill.  All this was done knowing that the Senate would never pass it and/or the President would never sign it. 
  • Sure enough, the Senate rejected it.
  • Further, the Senate and the President called the bluff of the Tea Party and made clear that no budget would pass that tried to change/delay Obamacare.
  • The House tried passing different variations of their limits to Obamacare but it was all rejected.
  • The American people blamed the Republican Party for the issue.
  • The Senate minority leader stripped the Obamacare limitations from the budget and the House leadership caved and sent it to be voted on.
  • The revised budget passed.
Here's what I came away with:
  • The Tea Party wants to control government.
  • Ironically, they like to refer to President Obama as a dictator and yet are trying to strong arm their policies through when they don't have support for them.
  • The Tea Party does not seem to care about the government, the economy or anything else apart from their ideals.
  • What the Tea Party did contradicts my personal morals - they held the government hostage in order to get what they wanted.  Do I agree that Obamacare is bad?  Yes.  Do I agree with how they went about trying to destroy it? No.
If you decide the ends justifies the means, you becoming as bad or even worse than those you fight against.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Sound of Music!

So I took my two older children (11 and 10) to see a local high school version of The Sound of Music.  It was enjoyable but also surprising in a few ways.  I think it was well above the level that my old high school could have done (go Ki-Be!).  The singing was well done and the acting was very good.  The only issue was that some of the microphones kept cutting in and out (sure, not quite broadway but did I mention it was a high school musical?) and that it ran quite a bit longer than I expected - it was 3 hours total.  However, it was good enough that after two hours, during intermission, I asked my kids if they wanted to go home (we are one hour past their regular bed time at this point) and both of them said they wanted to see the rest.  So we stayed.

The story followed the movie with a few changes that didn't really change the story line.  It was fun to watch and well done.  In fact, there was one scene that really affected me.  During the music festival scene (right before the family escapes from the Nazis), they dropped a bunch of Nazi banners from the ceiling and had a bunch of Nazis take up positions all around the auditorium.  It was downright creepy!  I think I got a very small inkling of what it might be like to live under an oppressive regime and it was not good!  However, they kind of made up for it by having Rolf do the right thing in the end and let the family get away (I told you it wasn't exactly like the movie).

Overall I had a good time with my kids and enjoyed the musical.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Indecision is Your Enemy

Have you ever had that feeling where you just couldn't decide?  Do I want A or B?  Which is better?  What if I think one is better and it turns out the other one was better?  What if they're both bad?  95% of the time, the decisions I make are obvious (at least to me) but when the decision isn't obvious, it can be extremely difficult to make any decision at all. 

Indecision is your enemy.  It can stop you in your tracks.  It may cause you to put all kinds of effort into comparing your options.  What are the pros and cons?  What do other people say about it?  What if they're wrong?  You can analyze it to the millionth degree.  And you still end up stuck.

I recently went through a bout of indecision and learned some things.  Perhaps they won't help you but they helped me.

So what should you do if you can't decide?

First you have to realize that there is another choice: do nothing.  That is what gets decided when you can't make another decision.  Is that the best decision?  Sure maybe it sounds like you're being indecisive again but let me give an example.  One of your children breaks a rule.  There needs to be an appropriate response - it may not always be a punishment, depending on the circumstances - but it needs to be something.  Out of all your options, however, doing nothing is almost never appropriate.  Realize that by not choosing, you're actually choosing.  It should help motivate you to make a choice and be done with it.  Will it always be the best choice?  No.  Is it possible you'll regret it later? Yes.  However, it is far more probable that you will regret doing nothing than you will regret making the wrong (or less right) choice.

In the end, you must simply give yourself a deadline.  By this deadline, you will either choose one of your options or none of your options, but you will make a choice and go on with life.

That's my advice.  Don't let indecision eat you up.  You will be much happier.