Sunday, September 28, 2008

Values v. Reality

My friend Janis Jaquith, in my former hometown of Charlottesville VA, writes:
Rather than preach to the choir, I wrote this piece hoping to reach the voters in the "reddest" areas of Virginia. The commentary appears in today's edition of The Roanoke Times.

What have Republicans done for you?

You know in your heart that homosexuality is unnatural, an abomination. You are foursquare against abortion and there's no doubt in your mind that Muslims are a foreign threat -- and it goes without saying that the United States is a Christian nation.

These are your most cherished values. What could be more natural than to vote for people who share your values? Someone you feel comfortable with. Someone like you.

This is a basic human instinct. We gravitate toward our own kind.

People who look like you, sound like you and think like you have been in charge of this country for nearly eight years now. As Dr. Phil would say, "How's that workin' out for you?"

Do you have more money in the bank than you did in 2000? Is your job more secure? Is your medical care any easier to handle?

If you answered "no" to any of those questions, you may want to rethink the way you choose your leaders. Ask yourself what your congressman and your president have done to make your life better.

Do you feel safer than you did in 2000? I sure don't. And I have not seen a shred of evidence that Virgil Goode or Bob Goodlatte or George Bush have done a single thing -- made a law or put a policy in place -- to improve my life one iota.

Instead, I feel like my pocket has been picked. I feel like my own patriotism was used against me when they tricked me into supporting a war against Iraq -- a country that had, it turns out, not a thing to do with the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. And now, my tax dollars are stuffing the pockets of war profiteers like Halliburton and Blackwater. (And don't forget the high-rollers on Wall Street who are resting in a cushy safety net -- on our dime.)

Meanwhile, Virginia manufacturers have closed up shop and fled to other countries, leaving tons of Virginians high and dry. Why are there no effective trade policies or tax incentives in place to bring jobs back to Virginia? We've been without leadership for so long, we've forgotten what it looks like.

The fact that Goode and Goodlatte and Bush share their heartfelt values must be cold comfort for the legions of hard-working Virginians who are now either without a job or are under-employed. And the loss of Virginian lives in the ill-conceived Iraq war is too painful to think about.

Ask yourself: Are you better off now than you were before the Republicans took the wheel?

This Nov. 4, I'll pick my leaders by finding out which ones will make my life better. The candidates who advocate for ordinary, middle-class people, the ones who will keep us out of wars, help me get decent medical care for a fair price and allow my bank account to fill up again.

Will they be the candidates who also share my bedrock values? To tell you the truth, I really don't care.

Jaquith is a columnist for Charlottesville's newsweekly, The Hook. She has also been a frequent radio commentator for WVTF and for PRI's "Marketplace," and has appeared on NPR's "Day to Day."


Troy Bierkortte said...

Yeah, what does this have to do with literature? I can get a political argument on any of 145,989,675,883 other websites. I can get it at the local bar, the gas station, MTV, and even at church. Do you really want to turn this blog into just more of the same? If so, get in line with the THRONNNNNNNGGGGGGG of other nobody's with opinions that are worth the same as the air they are spoken into.
Let me know when you get back to the subject that was interesting.

Troy Bierkortte said...

By the way, did you get the author's permission to reprint an entire copyrighted article? Don't you think that the person who owns the rights to that article ought to have control over where and how it is used, and whether or not they get paid?
Sorry to rant, but there is such a thing in the literary world as intellectual property, and I always call people out when they steal it. Post a link, or get permission.

Bella Stander said...

This post falls under the rubric of "a bunch of other stuff," as stated in my blog title. And yes, I did get the author's permission.

I'm afraid we're destined to disagree: your profile says that you love anything by John Irving, whereas as I loathe anything by him. Also that The Shipping News is one of your favorite books; I couldn't stand it. However, I did like Remains of the Day.

Troy Bierkortte said...

Well, I don't love every book that you feature here wither. But, that doesn't mean I don't value your opinion. One must keep an open mind, or risk many many missed treasures and opportunities.

Judy Merrill Larsen said...


Thanks for reprinting this here--I'd never have seen it otherwise,

r-u-minator said...

One other point: if you really are a "values voter" and care about gay marriage and abortion, you've wasted your vote on the Republicans anyway, because they haven't even done that for you. What a bunch of failures.