I took a day off from writing to clear my head and collect my thoughts. Last night I visited with some old friends I served with in the military who I hadn’t seen in over 15 years. They were in the area on business and stopped by our home. We talked about all the people we knew, wondering where they were and what they were doing now; passing bits of information back and forth about our lives over the last 15 years in the hopes of filling in the missing pieces of each other’s puzzle. We talked about the good times we all had and for a moment I was whisked back to the early 90s when life was less complicated. It felt like an old friend and I needed it.
After they left, it became clear to me what I wanted to talk about in my next post; the people we thought we knew. You see no matter where we are on our journey we call life, there are people we run across that have had an impact us. They could be a co-worker, a friend, your parents, or even a stranger. Some of these experiences were good and some not so good, but the key is to learn from each and take something away from the experience. I have learned a great deal in life from the people I have run across. I learned not to judge a book by its cover, because the surface can be deceiving and sometimes hide how good or bad the story really is. You see, I was one of those people that lived by the motto that first impressions are lasting, and whatever the first impression I got from a person was going to set the tone for the rest of my experience and relationship with that person. I learned some time ago that this is a flawed concept.
Last night I discovered some things about the people I thought I knew that kind of surprised me. Not in a bad way, but in a way that reminded me of how shallow I was back then. People that I thought were strange and odd turned out to people of outstanding character that would give you the shirt off their back in troubled times. Then to the other extreme, people that I thought were of strong character on solid moral ground, ended of being people that lacked principles and had questionable values. Actions always speak louder than words, and through one’s actions their true nature is revealed. I know this seems like a no brainer, but the truth is many fall into the trap of being swept up by the cover of the book, or eloquent words. I know I did in my past. I thought I could trust my own judgment when it came to people with my first impressions. Last night reminded me of the person I once was and helped me see how far I have come since those uncomplicated days.
We do make mistakes in life, because we’re human and that’s ok as long as we learn from them. My experience with friends, parents, and co-workers provided me with the tools I needed to look beyond the cover of the book and read the story. It’s perhaps one of the main reasons I didn’t buy the Obama story. Obama’s actions before he was elected were in direct conflict with his words, but he had an appealing cover so people assumed the story was good.
Now after 18 months of steering this ship it appears that the story is not so good; in fact it is quite the opposite. Unemployment is still hovering close to 10 percent and all his and his party’s economic policies from stimulus to bailouts have failed to kick start the economy. He scoffs at the idea of being called a socialist and mocks those who do and yet his actions to nationalize banks, the auto industry, the energy industry, and the healthcare industry are not only unconstitutional, but a text book example of socialism. His oratory skills are first-rate, that is until you take away is teleprompter. Then he comes across like a fish out of water. People that once voted for him are scratching their heads, thinking how could they have made such a mistake? You see they thought they knew what they were getting; after all his words reflected a more centrist attitude and position. The truth is many people chose not to look beyond the cover of the book, they bought into an idea that they thought looked good; however if they would have dug a little deeper they would have seen there was zero substance behind what he was saying. They would have discovered that he was not the person they thought they knew. They would have known they were being lied to. They made a mistake and that happens in life. It has happened with me many times.
Today when I look at a candidate who is running for office and wants my vote, I don’t rely on talking points or what the pundits tell me about him or her. I open the book and read the story. I want to see their actions and where they have taken a position on an issue. If they have voted present on a number of key issues, that tells me they are either hiding their position or unqualified to make a sound decision on the matter. If they say they’re for guns rights or free speech and their votes reflect just the opposite of what they are trying to sell than the simple truth is they are lying to get elected and will not earn my vote. Many Tea Party groups that supported Scott Brown are feeling betrayed because Senator Brown supported the financial reform bill that expands the role and increase the power of the federal government over the free market. If they would have researched his voting record in Massachusetts they would have discovered that he is a moderate Republican. Most of us knew what we were getting when he won, and I’m still ok with it as compared to what we could have gotten with a Martha Coakley. The point is we need to get to know the people we are voting for this November and the only way we can do this is through research. It’s our duty and responsibility as citizens of this Republic to take the time out of our days to do our homework. Even if each of us set aside 30 minutes out of the week to conduct our research, by the time November arrives, we will be better armed with information to make a wise decision. And in the end that is really what it’s about. We deserve better than who currently represents our views in Washington DC. We deserve elected officials who will honor and support our Constitution, who understand their limitations, who will protect our country, who will respect the views of their constituents, and who understand and know our history. And we have a responsibility as citizens to make sure this happens every other November.
We owe it to our parents, our children, our spouses, our friends and our enemies, our founders, our Constitution, and our Republic to make this right! Get to know the person you think you know.
Liberty forever, freedom for all!