By David A. Farrell, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
I was trying to figure out how to highlight the upcoming Nov. 6 election in a story that I could localize to highlight the difference in the choices we face. I was not prepared to see how diametrically opposed the views of Democrats and Republicans are on what the solution is to America’s problems.
I first thought I would do a man-on-the-street interview, but I have done those, and you have to talk to about 100 people to get 10 who will speak on-the-record. And don’t even think about asking them if you can take their picture. And you always run into the citizen who hasn’t a clue: Question — What do you think of President Obama’s record? Answer — Who?
So I figured that I would interview the heads of the PRC Democratic and Republican parties to get a fix on where locals stand. (The story appeared in Friday’s Item.) Pearl River County Democratic Executive Committee Chairman Agnes Dalton is unapologetically liberal. Jose Lopez, head of the county Republican executive committee, is decidedly conservative, some would even say far to the right.
Dalton favors a big, active government, providing a safety net for citizens, and providing health care in a fair and equitable manner. Lopez fears the government. He wants a small one that does not intrude into our private lives and private businesses. He wants as much freedom as possible and low taxes.
Dalton says government can help solve our problems; Lopez says government is the problem.
There you have it. And as we have seen on the national level, there has been no compromise. In fact, Democrats have made “no compromise” a criticism of the Republicans, saying Obama’s efforts would have done more good if Republicans would have cooperated and compromised.
I would never dare to tell you whom to vote for. I consider myself a little to the right of center. I think there is a place for help and aid to citizens, but I think government can become too intrusive and skew the free markets. In addition, private markets can swing widely out of control, and government does perform a function of leveling the playing field and trying to rein in excesses and wild speculation. Each citizen must study the candidates and make their own decision. It turns some off; others take the responsibility very serious. Citizen soldiers have died to preserve your right to the secret ballot.
I will admit, however, that I do share Lopez’s fear of the “debt bomb.” I am sure that there is no way that America can sustain the fiscal path we are now on. We owe $16 trillion in debt and extended liabilities are even higher. China holds our debt. The debtor is the slave of the creditor.
The debt is also a moral issue. We are sliding this debt burden onto our children and grandchildren. I look at my grandkids and I ask myself, What kind of country will they inherit? Our extended debt will crush them.
There has, in my lifetime, I believe, never been an election in which the alternatives have been drawn so clearly and distinctly. I am not telling you whom to vote for, but I am telling you that if you fail to vote, you have committed a terrible injustice to your country and those who gave their lives to allow you to freely cast your ballot for the candidate you believe in.
So, Vote! On Nov. 6.