Why I’m Voting the Way I’m Voting

Posted on October 23rd, 2012 in Commentary,Engineerboy,Politics by EngineerBoy

Vote!

Note: I’m just a dumbass with a blog.  My purpose in writing this post is not to convince anyone to change their opinions, but to (one hopes) maybe have the slight effect of making sure that those who agree with, disagree with, or don’t care about my opinions will be more likely to vote next week.  Having every eligible voter vote is the key to keeping America free and strong, in my opinion, and discourse tends to motivate people.

I’m a 51 year old white male who is mid-to-upper middle class. I got my first job when I was 12 years old (paper route) and have never not worked since then. I’ve never been fired or laid off, some of which is luck and some of which is brains and hard work. I’ve lived on the West and East coasts, but have lived primarily in Texas and consider myself a Texan.

My mother’s family were Texas farmers, and she and her seven siblings picked cotton, tended the animals, and used slop buckets. I did not come from money, but I was raised with a strong work ethic, a strong moral compass, a strong family bond, and an open mind.

Through the decades I have voted for Republican, Democratic, and independent candidates. For most of my life I strove to vote for the person, not the party, with the (perhaps naive) thought that if we always select the best available candidate, that will lead to better government.

However, that only works if the elected parties are willing and able to compromise in the pursuit of (what should be) common goals. However, the American political landscape is at its most divisive in my memory.  Personally, I think the system is broken, and our voting is barely more than political theater, a show that is put on every four years to allow us to retain the illusion that We the People run this country.

Also, my take is that, by definition, any candidate for national political office is a combination of professional liar, megalomaniac, and borderline sociopath, something I talked about several years ago.  I see our choice as being between differing styles of lies and misdirection.

However, even if any of the above were true, we still do have a choice.  Politically I lean towards fiscal conservatism and also towards social liberalism.  Here are my key areas of concern for this country:

Control of the federal deficit
Revamp of health care
Free and fair elections
Maintain a strong defense and leadership of the Free World
Strengthening of civil liberties and civil rights
Return to technological leadership
Improved national and global economy

I am not an expert on all of the above topics (just like 99.9% of all voters), but I do have my opinions (just like 99.999999% of citizens).  As noted in the disclaimer above, I’m just a dumbass with a blog, but my take on these key points is as follows:

Federal Deficit
I think that balancing the budget will be best achieved through both spending

Goodbye Astros (as I knew you)

Posted on October 3rd, 2012 in Commentary by EngineerBoy

So long, Astros

Dear Houston Astros,

Through thick and thin for the last 30+ years I have been a fan. Not always fully alert and engaged, but always a fan. Marie and I were at the inaugural game at Enron Field (now Minute Maid Park). My daughter Annalisa fractured her ankle standing on a seat cheering a game. At one point we owned a share of season tickets.

However, the move to the American League is the first time I’ve found myself facing the change from an intermittent fan to a non-fan. I loathe (LOATHE) the designated hitter – 9 men field, 9 men hit, that’s baseball. Going to the AL is almost (but not quite) as if you were switching to playing cricket. Yeah, there’s a bat and a ball, but it’s not the game I have loved (and, for a while, played) all my life.

It’ll certainly be interesting to see the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rangers come to town regularly, so there’s that. But I don’t see myself becoming a fan. I still miss the Oilers and although I like seeing the Texans do well, I have never become a ‘fan’. Hell, in the heat of the moment I still refer to the Colts as ‘Baltimore’, the Rams as ‘L.A’, the Cardinals as ‘St. Louis’, and the Jazz as ‘New Orleans’.

For all of you who love the AL, I respect that, but it’s not for me.  Kind of like New York versus Chicago in pizza, Texas versus North Carolina in barbecue, or East Coast versus West Coast in music, there are no empirically ‘correct’ tastes and I appreciate that different people have different preferences.  But I am not an AL guy, and I don’t see myself becoming one.

So, goodbye to the Astros as I knew and loved you.  Good luck with cricket or whatever you’ll be playing from now on.  There are at least two constants in life…one is baseball and the other is change, and I guess this encapsulates both of those.  Change may be inevitable, but I don’t have to like it, now pardon me while I go yell at a cloud.

Sincerely,

A Long-Time (Former) Fan