Tuesday, November 4, 2008

From Jeff to Nadine

Hi Nadine,
Thanks for sharing so much about your life and for taking the time to communicate with me about your beliefs. I can tell how important it is to you.
I'm 41, married, have two boys, one is 6 (almost 7), and one is 3.
I grew up in LA and my parents and most of my family still live there and in northern california. My wife and I moved up to Bainbridge Island (a half hour ferry-ride from Seattle) when our oldest was about 1-year old. we were concerned about the public schools in NorCal and the pace of life we'd have had to lead if we were to both continue working full time to pay for private schools. My wife was a computer science major and worked for Oracle, and other tech companies; I've done PR and tech-writing since 1992, hence your email went to me as I'm the PR Chair on the board of the Seattle Direct marketing Association, which has nothing to do with shipping coffee ;)

I think I'd been purposefully avoiding all the election news because it was so overwhelming, as I mentioned it was causing major rifts in my larger family and I have been busy working on other projects so really didn't want to get distracted. Growing up in California and living in the SF Bay Area for most of my life, i suppose I lean to the left, but am skeptical of democrats. I was an independent when I was in SF, but in order to vote in Wash state you have to pick a party, so I chose Dem.

The last few days I've really immersed myself in getting to know the issues and where the candidates stand as well as looking closely at the way the campaigns have been run. Regardless of how you feel about his views, Obama's 50-state strategy speaks volumes about his commitment to uniting the country. The Republican (Southern) strategy, in play since Nixon, has always been divisive, get just enough electoral votes to win, pit one side of the country against the other, and do whatever it takes to win. McCain seems to have taken this to the extreme, resulting in a mean-spirited, snarky campaign filled with half-truths and innuendo.

In watching him speak and learning who is behind his campaign (the same Rove acolytes who smeared him during his 2000 primary campaign against Bush) led me to believe he's lost his bearings. And, yes, his age does play a part in my decision. My dad will be 72 in a few months, he plays golf and is fit, he was a JAG in the army and has been a probate attorney for more than 40 years, he's a pillar in his church and well-respected by all who know him. I wouldn't want him to president. Neither would he want to be president.

This is not age-ism, it's a fact of nature, synapses fire more slowly, you get tired more easily, and you become more set in your ways. The next president is going to face one of the most challenging times in american history, we can't afford to have an aging ideologue at the helm. And, frankly, and I mean no disrespect in saying this, but Sarah Palin is not qualified to be president of the United States. That's the nicest way to put it. I recognize people have been cruel in their depictions of her and that's unfortunate, however, it doesn't change the fact that she's unqualified.

I have a big family, four siblings, and my mother had four siblings, Christmas dinners are crazy affairs of upwards of 40 people, many kids, running around screaming like banshees, while adults of every political stripe engage in lively debate. Being raised as a Catholic, I feel I have a good grounding in Christian teaching. I don't practice any more and there are a long list of reasons why that is so which I won't go into here, but suffice it to say, it seems easy for humans to say one thing and do another.

I read a telling line the other day, in essence it said, some folks appear to believe respect for life begins at conception and ends at birth. There's a great deal of suffering in ths world, and I've been fortunate to travel to many places to see first-hand how differently people live around this planet, including in India, China and eastern Europe. I believe there is no other country on the planet where it would be as easy to implement the true teaching of Christ, and by that I mean helping the poor, feeding the hungry, caring for the sick and unfortunate.

I'm a very lucky man, great parents who provided me with a good education and raised me to think critically and apply myself to that which inspires me. I've worked at jobs where I've made a lot of money, and you know what, I've never once thought that if my taxes were going towards domestic spending that it was money wasted. Military budgets are a different story, we give far too much money to defense contractors. But, medicare to help the elderly and otherwise infirm, or social security to provide for people less lucky than me in their old age, I don't begrudge one dime, because it was this country that made my life possible, and if I can give something back to any citizen of this country, it's a small price to pay.

I suppose that makes me a bleeding-heart liberal, I just view it as being the decent thing to do.

Again, it's great to engage with you in this way.


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