Category: politics

My Thoughts on the Election

So things have been happening this week in the good old USA…

Any follower of this blog knows I am a strong and passionate conservative. Typically that has meant I align with the Republican candidates for office. However, this year I didn’t feel there was a conservative in the race so I voted for 3rd party candidate Evan McMullin. My hope was maybe Utah would vote 3rd party and that would be a message from one state on both of the terrible options we were being given. Unfortunately that didn’t happen in Utah and they voted Republican as expected.

Being a 3rd party voter this cycle has provided me an interesting vantage point that I didn’t entirely anticipate. I’ve explained in the past that a vote itself is statistically insignificant especially for president. That said, when I did vote for a major party I felt an investment in the outcome in a different way than this cycle. Voting 3rd party I’ve been able to simply observe and ponder the great country I am a citizen of and the tremendous events that have happened. It is this perspective that has made me a bit of a post-election coverage addict. I’ve watched an insane amount of pundits from both parties giving their conclusions of how this happened.

To be clear, I was completely stunned by the results on Tuesday. I was positive Hillary Clinton was going to win the election, and we would just have to put up with more of the same type of failed policies we’ve had from the last 8 years. That was it and I could deal with that.

But then Donald Trump won state after state, and I couldn’t believe it. In our world of PC and quick to offend lifestyles it seemed impossible that someone like Donald Trump could become president, and yet there it was. I honestly support more of the platforms and policies of the Republican party that Trump adopted so in a way I was glad but I was also sad to see the highest position in the land come down to someone like him. I certainly hope he proves me wrong and ends up being a better president than campaigner, but I was still sad.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about how I have lost my faith in ‘public servants‘. I still believe that and stand by my sentiments in the post; however, I’ve realized a few additions to the ideas I presented. Politics today and perhaps always, is an exercise in self-interest and self-protection.  This is why we saw senators and congressman distance themselves from Trump just enough to claim the moral high ground while riding his popularity to a win. For example, Mike Lee never officially endorsed Trump and he announced after the election he had voted for Evan McMullin, but that doesn’t mean much when you could have  said something before the election. He rode that wave of self-interest in just the right way to keep his job and still claim he did the right thing at the ballot. It’s sad when you think about it but it is reality

But self-interest is what we’ve got and so where is the cause for hope? I actually think there is a fair amount to be hopeful about.

It might sound strange but oddly there is some hope to be had in self interest. Yes, Donald Trump has said some awful things and I understand why people are upset. I really do. However, it is not in his self-interest to implement all those things or continue saying all those things. I’m not excusing it in the least just stating what I think is reality. Even with a house and senate he still has to sell his ideas to the Congress and the American people. It’s in his self-interest to make them as palatable as possible.

It’s the same way with Hillary Clinton. She gave a gracious lovely concession speech where she said:

“Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transition of power and we don’t just respect that we cherish it”

She could have gotten up there and been bitter and gone on a tirade, and I have no doubt a side of her wanted to do just that. I mean just days before she had called Trump supporters a ‘basket of deplorables’. Why didn’t she do it? Because it would not be in her self-interest to do so. Her best move at this moment is to do exactly what she did, and I commend her for it. I’m not trying to take anything away from her. I’m just being realistic about the motives of our leaders.

I think this is perhaps why the Founding Fathers made Supreme Court justices lifetime appointments. It removes, for the most part, this element of self-interest and forces them to look at the cases without fear of backlash or legacy. Their jobs are safe and so they are free to decide on these important issues in the way they see fit.

President Obama stated today he wants to see President Trump succeed:

““It is important for all of us, regardless of party and regardless of political preferences, to now come together, work together, to deal with the many challenges that we face…If you succeed, then the country succeeds”

What he is basically saying is that it is in all of our self-interest to make this work and to want President Trump to succeed because if he fails we all suffer. It’s as simple as that.

I’m not excusing any of President Elect Trump’s behavior. I’m merely saying- this is the situation we have and just like President Obama we have to make the best of it. It’s in our self-interest to do so. Peaceful protest is fine. I did it with the tea party and I’m proud of it but we must never allow it to harm the very institution we are trying to save. People breaking windows and destroying property are hurting the country they feel so passionate about. That is not the answer.

We also need to take stock of the toxic climate we have created where good men and women don’t want to be involved in politics any more. Think about your friends and family. I bet most of them avoid politics like the plague- even discussing it, let alone running for office. Perhaps we have left no one more to vie for leadership than what we got in 2016?

Either way, this is what we have left with. Agree with it or not, Donald Trump is our president.

I want him to be successful because I want America to be successful. It’s as simple as that.

Also you guys should read this post I wrote in 2012 about America and a female president.

Lastly I want to say thank you to Evan McMullin for giving me someone to vote for. You stepped up when nobody else would and that means the world to me. Thank you so much!

Election and Nanowrimo Update

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Hey guys! Just a quick update tonight. Today is the big election day and we can all breathe a sigh of relief when it is all over. I voted weeks ago for independent candidate Evan McMullin. I have lost faith in all politicians but he’s the best person running in this election by a long mile, so he got my vote. What you decide to do with your vote is awesome but I encourage you to get out and vote if at all possible. I know a vote is small in a sea of millions of votes but it’s still something and it is a great example to all around you especially your children. Let them know you care about what happens in this country and will do what small thing you can to make a difference.

I know many of us feel discouraged. I feel discouraged. This election has changed me in ways I don’t know if I will ever get over. I know this blog says I am smiling but when it comes to politics I fear I will forever be a cynical girl. I’ve just seen too many people compromise where they promised they never would.

To use the annoying phrase- it is what it is. We know we are living in the latter days. The signs of the times are all around us and we have the leadership to prove it. Maybe Utah will make a statement with its vote but I won’t be surprised if it doesn’t happen. Regardless, there are good people out there still holding out hope for their children and families. We cannot lose hope even if we acknowledge the human weakness all around us. There is still always great hope as long as Christ is listening and loving all who turn to Him.

So, there you have it.

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On a lighter note I am doing nanowrimo this year. I must say my heart isn’t really in it but my sister said she was doing it so I decided ‘what the heck. Why not give it a shot’. We are currently on day 8 and I am doing kind of a take on Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. My current wordcount is 17352 which I think is pretty darn good. I have been so busy so it is amazing I have pulled even half that off.

Even if I’m not in love with my book it is still valuable to write every day and I will be glad when I can finish the goal of 50,000 words. I always learn something about myself through thinking about these characters in my nano book.

Are any of you participating in nanowrimo? What are you writing about and how is it going?

My Dwindling Belief in Politicians and Public Service

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“How prone all human institutions have been to decay; how subject the best-formed and most wisely organized governments have been to lose their check and totally dissolve; how difficult it has been for mankind, in all ages and countries, to preserve their dearest rights and best privileges, impelled as it were by an irresistible fate of despotism.”

James Monroe

In writing this post I must own that as a 35 year old woman I may come across as incredibly naive. Some may laugh at my ever being so foolish as to believe in such noble concepts. But today I’m here to tell you that this woman’s idealism has been wounded perhaps beyond repair in this election cycle but even before then.

You see friends I used to believe in something called public service. I knew there were certainly egos and narcissists in our government, but I was pedestrian enough to believe this was a loud minority. I believed that a majority of our leaders saw a need, an opportunity to serve and chance to do something more for the world than they might have in the private sphere.

Part of my reason for believing this was the lessened salaries most of these Ivy league graduates could receive in public service. Even something like the presidency doesn’t pay near what the men of that position would have earned in a different occupation.

public-service2Of course it is easier to believe the side I agree with is full of noble intentions and the opposite point of view is suspect, but I have always been one that defended the indefensible. Yes for years I stood up for politicians!  It was understandable to me that a person like John Edwards could place himself over the good of the country or any number of other narcissistic scandals could exist but I could ignore them as disgusting outliers.

When other people ragged on our representatives both national and local, I said “at least they were out there fighting and trying to make a difference.” I worked on campaigns. I even made calls and went door to door on occasion because I really believed in these people.  How foolish do I sound now.

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I’m not speaking for anyone else but myself. I just wanted to say that I don’t believe them any more.

In the last few weeks I have seen one representative after another compromise their principles to support both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. If they believe they are good candidates than that I can understand and support that, but it is the public maneuvering to save face that makes me sick.

For example, congressman Jason Chaffetz, who I at one point had a ‘political crush’ on went in under a week from saying “he couldn’t look his daughter in the eye” and endorse Donald Trump to tweeting out “I will not defend or endorse Donald Trump but I am voting for him”

Shame on him. This is not the politics of public service. This is politics as political maneuvering to try and save face. A public statement of who you are voting for is an endorsement Mr Chaffetz whether you like to call it that or not.

He is not alone. Now after Hillary Clinton has been put back under investigation by the FBI liberals like Paul Krugman have gone from saying Trump’s allegations of media bias and a rigged system are outrageous to making the same claims about Hillary Clinton’s treatment. Nancy Pelosi said it was “partisan conspiracy-mongering.” Evidently only liberals are allowed to throw out conspiracies…

Other people may buy into one side or the other but I don’t any more. They are all spin doctors. They are all out to protect themselves more than what is good for our country.

They have all forgotten PUBLIC SERVICE!


You can call me a cynic but that’s really how I feel. They are supposed to be serving us. They are supposed to be looking out for us. Instead all they care about is themselves, their careers, and how it impacts their precious party.

I personally was proud of Senator Ted Cruz for being the one Republican to not endorse Donald Trump at the GOP Convention. This to me showed integrity. How wrong I was when mere weeks later he was answering phones and working for Trump.

Since then I have seen one leader after another fail to make a stand or compromise where they know they shouldn’t be.

It reminds me of the scripture story where Esau sells his birthright to his brother for a mess of pottage. When all this is said and done they will have either failed to speak up or actively spoken for something and someone unfit to stand with their own daughters let alone lead our country. They sold their birthright for pottage of momentary consensus and inclusion.

Yes, the third party candidates do give me a sense of hope but they are the minority and it is easier to be brave when you do not face the peer pressure of the bullying sheep.

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This is not a sudden realization for me but something that has been brewing for a long time. Back in 2009 I joined with other concerned citizens to protest the bank bailouts and other insane spending by our representatives. The tea party protests were the most inspiring and patriotic experiences I’ve had in my life.

Back then I believed that the representatives would listen and at least some of them were true public servants. Then I spent the next 7 years being treated like a terrorist, and radical by the very party that I was supposedly in allegiance with.

Representative by representative, leader by leader has fallen into a sea of self-interest since those days of protest in 2009. And now I just don’t trust any of them and perhaps that is the healthiest place to be in.

Gone are my illusions of public service and that elected officials were for the most part trying to do what is right.

I don’t believe in them any more.

Throw Away Your Vote

voting-twainThis post may seem somewhat cynical but it’s really not. If anything it should be empowering. I have decided to vote third party this election and have heard the outcry of ‘you are throwing your vote away’.  Well, the truth is that my individual vote  doesn’t really matter to begin with. What does matter is the act of voting. This is especially true in the presidential election.

What! I can hear you saying. How can Rachel the patriot be saying that a vote doesn’t matter? Let me state again- VOTING MATTERS, A VOTE DOES NOT.

Statistically speaking voting is not a utility maximizing activity.  Almost any activity you can do has more of an impact than voting. In just the state of Utah there are 2 million people of eligible voting age. Of those people about a 1/3rd actually vote (which is a crime). So, around 700,000 people vote in a Utah presidential election. Just think about it. My vote in Utah has a 1/700,000 chance of impacting the race in just my state. This means it is statistically nearly worthless.  You’d have better chances of entering some lotteries or playing poker in Vegas.

These statistics are made even worse in a presidential election where the popular vote may not even matter at all. United States citizens do not actually elect the president of the United States. The electoral college gives states power over popular consensus by awarding delegates based on their representation in Congress. In theory the delegates are supposed to vote with their states electorate will but they are not required to do so. Typically the votes go on a win-all basis so if Utah goes Republican than the electoral college will give 6 Republican votes. Maine and Nebraska are exceptions to this rule. 

You can debate the value of the electoral college but for the moment it is here and it can have an impact on the election. For example, in 2000 Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the electoral college to George W Bush. If you are one of these 538 electoral delegates than your vote does matter but statistically speaking for the rest of us it really doesn’t.

So why participate in this waste of time called voting? Because what is actually statistically important is the act of voting. While my vote in Utah may be 1/700,000, my act of voting may encourage 3 or 4 other people to vote. All of the sudden that is a significant impact. Those 3 people encourage 3 other people and the ripple effect is real. Plus, there are smaller races, which while still statistically not utility maximizing, the impact is more like 1/20,000

Another reason to vote is simply because it is the right thing to do. There are lots of things we do which we draw mainly moral inspiration and fortitude from. An article I read in the Harvard Political Review put it well:

“There are many actions we consider morally valuable, even when they have little or no consequence. Such actions are intrinsically valuable, or their goodness consists in their being suitably related to a deeper moral ideal or principle we find compelling. Suppose I make a promise to my grandmother that I will visit her grave once every year. It seems that honoring this promise is morally valuable, irrespective of the positive consequences doing so may bring about. It is valuable because promises are simply the sort of thing that it is right to honor”

If we are voting out of a moral imperative than doesn’t that make voting for someone you don’t believe in even more nonsensical? If voting is the right thing to do than voting for the right person logically must go along with it.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter who you vote for. It just matters that you vote. People can say you are throwing away your vote but statistically that’s just not true. Vote for whomever you want and then encourage other people to do the same. That’s how you really make a difference.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

ps. I will be so happy when this election is over!

Unnecessary Enemies

Last week I had an interesting experience over on my youtube channel. I reviewed a film called Southside with You. This is a romantic comedy about President and Mrs Obama’s first date. As you all know I am a conservative who strongly disagrees with the president on nearly every major issue. As a bit of a joke I even wore my Romney t-shirt from the 2012 election to do my review. The interesting thing is that I actually liked the film. It’s not groundbreaking but a solid, sweet romantic comedy.

What? You say? How could I like a movie about the Obamas? Well, just because I disagree with the President on policy doesn’t mean I think he is a terrible person. From everything I can see he is a good person and he and Michele have a healthy solid relationship. Why wouldn’t I want to find out about their first date? The script was solid and it felt like an authentic voice of a young Barack and Michele. There was one moment where I felt the writers couldn’t help but aggrandize their hero president but for the most part it was about 2 people going on a date and that’s it.

The interesting thing is I posted my review and the next day lost 10 subscribers which is a big dip for me (I just can’t seem to get to that big 1000 sub number!). I don’t know if it was because I said nice things about the president so I upset my conservative viewers or because I wore a Romney shirt and upset my liberal viewers. Either way it is very silly.

Why do we have to turn people who think differently into an enemy? What is so wrong about a conservative person learning and admiring something about a democratic president? Why must we be so partisan to not even listen or admire an opposing view in any way? It’s all nonsense if you ask me! I have actually read both of President Obama’s books and I can see why he thinks the way that he does. I don’t agree with him but I can see his perspective. And isn’t there a famous quote about you never understand your own argument until you can adequately explain your opponents?

I’m not saying Southside with You is some kind of masterpiece but it was an enjoyable romantic comedy.  It certainly was much better than say the Tyler Perry romantic comedies often served up to African American audiences. But the target demographic shouldn’t really matter. We should all be able to appreciate good writing and acting and want to learn more about our elected leaders.

I think it is kind of sad I lost those 10 subscribers but I have gained 6 of them back so good riddens! 😉 Life is too short to create enemies where no enemy exists and to not listen to all kinds of perspectives. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Trump is GOP’s Fault

ted and trumpI don’t write that much about politics any more but I kind of felt like I had to say something with recent goings-on. Most everyone knows I am a die hard conservative (not Republican per say…). So you can imagine it was with great disappointment I have watched the primary season and seen one decent candidate after another whittled down the GOP nominee- Donald Trump. Somehow the party of conservative principles and values is going to put out a presidential candidate who is a serial philanderer and reality TV pitch-man. And you know what it is the Republican Party’s fault. Yep, there is nobody to blame but themselves.

Here’s how I see it…

Back in 2009 I grew increasingly concerned with the budget deficits I saw climbing with each day and the unwillingness of anyone in Congress or local governments to do anything about. I saw bailouts to banks, car companies and debt to nations like China growing by the minute with no plan to stop or curb spending at all.  In fact, when a bill would be past to curtail the increase on a budget outrage would occur and politicians would lose their nerve.

It was then that I took to the streets and protested for the first time in my life.

101_0634What did I get for my efforts? I was told I was an extremist, a radical, out of control, and not only by the democrats.  No. This tea party was a movement where we met together to study the constitution. Never once did I hear anything that incendiary or even about moral issues like gun control, abortion or gay marriage.  This was all about spending and how out of control everything had gotten.

So we gave them a shot and in 2010 we elected a bunch of ‘tea party Republicans’ including the likes of Marco Rubio and Rand Paul. Here in Utah we got rid of a long standing politician in Bob Bennett because we wanted change. We were tired of politicians who voted for TARP and supported expensive health insurance mandates.

At the time I wrote “Even if the bills get vetoed I want to see the budget cuts go through the house and let the Democrats be to blame for blocking them.  If these new Republicans wimp out I will be very disappointed”

Well let’s just say I am very disappointed. We have seen little of the kind of change I wanted. Deficits still climb to over $19 trillion and are rising each day. We have seen our armed forces compromised in situations like Benghazi, our international validity weakened almost beyond repair, our bond rating lowered and the debt ceiling continues to be raised every year.

A few leaders have tried to put their foot down but they’ve been treated like extremists and freaks for their efforts. Ted Cruz evidently ruined the Republican party by trying to stop the spending of Obamacare. Eric Cantor loses his seat after making strides in his youcut program where each week he brought a new unneeded program up for a debate. So often even conversations and votes on these cuts were not had or open for debate and this is with a Republican led house and senate!

But we continued on, tried to be hopeful. The voters gave another shot in 2012 and then 2014 and what has happened?  Nothing. We are not only in the same place of 2010 deficit-wise but we are far worse. You did nothing!

So, how can the GOP be surprised when finally voters have had enough of their empty promises. I’m personally sick of being treated like a radical for wanting an non-bankrupt America. But where to turn? In a normal election an outside the party kind of guy like Ted Cruz would be the answer but this year he was not outside enough.

No, the people looked for somebody who had been a tough talker on TV and supposedly has run successful businesses. Maybe he would actually listen to them and get the broken system under control after 6 years of the Republican party not listening? So they voted and now we have a Donald Trump as our candidate.

Now you can argue all you want about Trump’s many negative qualities. I’m talking about perception and from where I stand the GOP has not listened to their own grass roots movement for 6 years. In fact, they scorned it.  Treated it like a joke. No wonder they chose someone that many also thought was a joke at first. It’s the ultimate middle finger to the GOP for their behavior.

And now I am left to decide what to do for my country? I will not vote for Hillary Clinton. I disagree with her on every major social and economic issue. At least Trump I agree on a few things. His health care plan actually isn’t that bad and some of the things he says about trade actually make a lot of sense.

But he’s a horrible person. How do you justify that? I don’t know and perhaps that is a topic for another post. All I’m saying today is that the GOP is responsible for electing said horrible person.  They did not listen in 2010, 2012, or 2014 and now they are paying the price. People are not going to support their milk toast, weak candidates any more. People are sick of it!

But I guess I’m one of those radical extremists politicians such as John Boehner could care less about. Maybe I will vote for Trump just to tick him off? (see…and that’s how this madness starts 😉 ).

In truth, I’m really sad. Sad that something which seems so simple to me. Cut spending, live within your means. Cut waste and make things run more efficiently is evidently an insane notion that has birthed a Donald Trump.

Shame on you GOP.  Shame, shame, shame. I’m a good person and you treated me like crap- me and a lot of other Americans.