A bet with my wife

So, the elections are over, and the republicans got some significant victories. I’m sure that we’ll hear all about the mandate that the people have given to the republican party. People are now looking to the republican party to save them from the democrats. I’m amazed at how short people’s memories are… it was just two years ago that people looked to Obama to save them from the republicans.

This election (more than any previous one) has been a point of disagreement between me and my wife. For this election, I automatically rejected all democrat and republican candidates. In races where only those two parties were represented, I cast no vote. In races where one or more independents ran, I chose between them.

My wife was upset that I wasn’t even interested in learning about the republican and democrat candidates in order to make a fully informed decision between all of the candidates.

I agree with her to a point. I cannot make a fully informed decision between all of the candidates unless I learn about them. That’s true. However, I feel that I am fully (or at least sufficiently) informed to be able to discard the republican and democrat party candidates.

I’ve watched the different parties all my adult life. While there have been a few blips in the trend, the general trend is that both parties have steadily taken the government (whether it be local, state, or federal) in directions I did not want it to go. Not only that, but the trend is accelerating.

I’ve spent years writing my thoughts (unpublished… someday I may put them on the web, but not yet) about political ideas. I may not have stayed up-to-date on every issue or every candidate, but I certainly don’t consider myself uneducated about politics.

And based on what I have studied, I have no faith in the two main parties. When a candidate says that he or she is democrat or republican, in my mind that says that they agree with the actions of the party, at least to some extent (enough to affiliate themselves with it). So why would I want to vote for them?

The answer is that I don’t. In previous elections, I have voted for one of the two main parties if no independent ran, but in this election, I chose not to. I’m not committed to that course of action for future elections… but it’s certainly an option.

In short, my expectation is that if you say you are a republican, you will do things that the republican party does.. and so I don’t want you in office. The same thing goes for a democrat. Only independents (who are in essence saying that they do not agree with what the two main parties are saying) are candidates I’m interested in listening too at this point. So those are the ones I spent my time researching.

Anyway, back to my wife. As we were discussing the results of the election and I said how people were saying how people were now looking to the republicans to save them from the democrats, my wife made the statement that most people are not in favor of the health care reform bill and want it gone, and that’s why they voted for republicans. Then she said (and I’m paraphrasing here… if she want’s to rephrase this in any way, I’ll rewrite it to match what she says) that as soon as the republicans are in power, the health care reform will get thrown away (at least partially).

I disagreed with her completely, and told her I’d bet anything she wanted that she was wrong. By writing this down, I’m committing to my statement. I believe that 4 years from now (when I assume that the republicans will have been in power for a while), the health care reform will still be in place. It might be modified somewhat. It’s quite possible that it will be extended. It will NOT be reduced significantly. If I’m wrong, my wife wins.

The reasoning behind my statement is this. The entire goal of a career politician is to gain power. It’s NOT to serve the public. It’s NOT to make the country a better place to live. It’s NOT to secure my rights. It IS to gain power.

The federal government has, through the health care reform, extended their control over the health care system (a system which accounts for between 10 and 20 per cent of our economy). Controlling the health care system means an enormous amount of power. Sure, the health care reform doesn’t imply total control of the system, and since the government already had a great deal of control over it, this reform merely extends that power. But the idea that the government, now that it has given itself more power, will now relinquish it is absurd in my mind.

Thinking about all the ways the federal government extended it’s power under Bush, name one way that Obama has relinquished it? All of the powers seized through the Patriot Act are still in place. Wiretapping without a warrant (a big deal at the start of the Obama administration) has not been done away with. I welcome comments to name ONE thing that the Obama administration has done to decrease the power of the federal government.

If the republican party were gain the senate, the house, and the presidency in two years, the health care reform will not be removed.

Actually, I don’t even think it will be an issue at that point. My guess is that by then (two long years in the future), people will largely have forgotten about it. Do you think I’m wrong? Two years ago, people voted the republicans out en mass and there were talks about the death of the republican party. Two years later, and we’re voting them right back in. In this day of instant access to a flood of text messages, news, entertainment, and other distractions, two years is an eternity. Two years from now, the health care system will simply be forgotten.

But even if I’m wrong about that. Even if the health care system is a current topic… the solution implemented by whichever party is in power will be to extend government control over it, NOT reduce control. A politician does not relinquish power. It may be taken from them. It may be traded up (i.e. a politician may relinquish some in exchange for gaining more power elsewhere). But it is not given away.

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