Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Part 2 of Question I have for Debra Medina

Everybody makes mistakes. We all use poor grammar. (OK, some of us more than others.) We spell words incorrectly. (OK, again, some of us more than others.) We certainly say things we wish we hadn't said. This happens to political candidates more publicly than it does to the common folk. When I hear somebody back track from something that they said, this is what I want to hear clarification of what you really do think, not further ambiguity. These next few questions deal with this.

3. On Glenn Beck's show, many of us heard what Debra Medina had to say about the 9-11 attacks. There is no question that Glenn Beck came right after her on it, and I couldn't figure out why until I heard her answers to the question. I am all for holding the American government accountable to its people. It's true that we have the right as American citizens to hold our government accountable to us. That's not the question. The question wasn't if she believed other people were allowed to question the Bush administration on their culpability. The question was whether she was or not. Her answer to this day is that she does not have all the evidence. She might not be publicly asking the question but she's not saying straight out that she doesn't believe it either. I don't understand standing in the middle, unless you are trying to appeal to those people standing on the fence, or you really are a "Truther" but you know saying so is political suicide in the Republican party. When the other two Republican candidates were asked the same question, they had no problem responding immediately that there was no conspiracy by the Bush administration in the 9-11 attacks.

4. Many people believe that Debra Medina is such a great supporter of the 10th Amendment that she favors secession. She certainly led Texans to believe so in one of her recent speeches. On the steps of the Texas State Capitol, she said, “We are aware that stepping off into secession may in fact be a bloody war. We are aware that the tree of freedom is occasionally watered with the blood of tyrants and patriots.” (This is the moment that I am sure many of my friends thought that I would turn my support to Medina. But I have heard Perry speak at the Austin Tea party in support the 10th Amendment and secession if necessary.) Unfortunately, when asked what Medina meant by these comments, she backpedaled and said that she is not in favor of secession. I am not sure if that is true or if she felt political pressure. Either way, I believe that the people who support her for this reason would be disappointed. In fairness, I think she will be strong on the 10th Amendment, but I believe any Republican candidate will have to be at this juncture. With the healthcare law looming in Congress, Texas will have to protect it's pro-life laws with the 10th amendment.

To summarize before I move on to Part 3, if indeed I have time for a part 3. I believe that all the candidates that are running in the gubernatorial race this year are politicians, even those who proclaim themselves not to be. I believe that all of them have had issues on which I have agreed and disagreed. I choose to focus on Debra Medina, because I felt like when I looked into her and what she stood for I understood less about her than I learned. If I have learned anything, it is that change for the sake of change isn't always good.

50 Things (or fewer) I Need to Know about Debra Medina

This past Friday, the "Dallas Morning News" published a hard hitting look (excuse the sarcasm) at all of the gubernatorial candidates called "50 Things You Need to Know About _(insert Candidate's Name)__". To be fair, all of the candidates were covered in the same weak way. It read more like trivial pursuit game card answers than facts that I NEEDED to know about the candidates. Honestly, I am glad that Governor Perry's parents drove he and his then future wife around on their dates. That's probably a great policy that needs to be enacted by many more parents of sons! And it's great that Debra Medina's parents had her play the tenor sax. Music education is important. But, again, are these the things I need to know about the candidates?

When I started thinking about it, I realized that I knew many facts about where Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson and Governor Rick Perry stand on the issues. They have been in the public eye for a while now. But I still had many questions about Debra Medina, and the more I looked into her, the more concerned I became...

Here are my questions that I would have wanted answered from Medina before today. As there were no satisfactory answers to these questions, she did not receive my vote. It seems as though Medina, pushes hot buttons, then gets the crowd riled up, then after she gets the desired results, when she is asked what her plan is or what she meant by something, she backs off. This is the difference between being a candidate and being a governor.

1. Child Protective Services...In a speech in Witchita Falls, Medina said that CPS should be disbanded. This is a complicated issue. When you are a candidate you can afford to pick a hot button issue, like CPS, in an area that has a negative view of something, like CPS, and just push it. The crowd was riled up and walked away feeling like they were going to give their vote to Medina. Here are the questions...since CPS is provided for under law, does Medina understand all the complications involved in dissolving CPS? What is her plan for enacting a new law to provide for these services? While the Sheriff's department and local police departments could take on the criminal activities, what happens to the non-criminal services that CPS provides such as adoption services? Do we create a new agency for those? Are we really willing to burden an already over burdened police department with these services? Isn't that what the agency was created for? Wouldn't it be better to have an audit and overhaul of the system we already have in place?

2. On the elimination of the Personal Property Tax...Although I would love to see this, I don't want someone to just promise this to me. I have been down that road before, or as I am one to say, "This is not my first rodeo. And this is not even my first time in this event!" If you are proposing the elimination of Personal Property Tax, I would love to hear the plan. How much is Medina planning to raise the sales tax to make up for the tremendous amount of money that the personal property tax brings in? What will it be to raised on? Will the sales tax be raised all at once and the property tax be eliminated all at once or will it be done on a sliding scale each year for the next few years? Or is Medina waiting until she is elected to make a plan only to find as former Governor Gilmore of Virginia once did with his No Car Tax promise that it is not as easy as it seems.

I have seen the document on the tax swap, in fact, I have heard proponents of a consumption tax suggest that we may eliminate the illegal immigration problem if we eliminated the Federal Income tax in favor of the consumption tax. The idea is this, when you do not have personal property tax, you have more spending money, therefore you will consume more, therefore you will be taxed about the same as you would have been anyway. Either way, you are being taxed. The only time this doesn't work, is if you are personally responsible and you don't consume much, which we can all tell ourselves we will do. But don't worry, they have a plan for that!

This model that is being used by the Medina campaign (as well as others) was published by John Maynard Keynes. If you don't know who Keynes is, he is the British economist who suggested in the 1930's that government not the free market could provide for the full employment of their workers as long those workers were willing to be flexible in their wages. In 1999, Time magazine named him one of most 100 influential people of the 20th century saying, "His radical idea that governments should spend money they don't have may have saved capitalism".

Here is the "Keynesian prescription for alleviating either slow growth or a low level of output at
the state level would include the following types of policy measures 1. Increase government spending, thereby directly increasing aggregate demand 2. Lower taxes, especially through rebates that will have the highest probability of raising consumption 3. Raise taxes on savings and imports to discourage those activities and thereby increase consumption."

I am not interested in a Governor who wants to increase government spending and believes in John Maynard Keynes style of economy.

A Letter from Congressman John Carter

This letter was written to me by Congressman John R. Carter (House Republican Conference Secretary, Co-Chairman House Army Caucus, Republican Steering Committee, Committee on Appropriations, and current candidate on the Republican Primary Ballot in the 31st District, Texas)

Dear Christie,

With a Democrat-controlled White House, House of Representatives and Senate, Washington is without a check and balance against their liberal agenda. In this session, Republicans have worked together as never before to oppose massive increases in government spending and debt. At the same time, Democrats have marched out an agenda that greatly expands government into all sectors of our life, from healthcare choices to personal finances. House Republicans have continued the fight adamantly to protect American workers, the small business owner, and traditional family values. I will continue to fight our right to bear arms, defend the sanctity of human life, define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, fight for a fair tax policy, and support free and open markets.

I believe life begins at conception and I do not believe that government should condone the taking of innocent human life. that is why I was proud to support the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, also known as the Laci Peterson law. This law protects unborn children from assault and murder. Having served as a judge for more than 20 years, I fully realize the need to protect the rights of victims of violent crimes. Life is a sacred gift from God that must be cherished and celebrated. As a society, we must not take this precious gift for granted. As a committed member of the Pro-Life Caucus, I will continue to defend the sanctity of human life at all stages.

As a conservative Republican, I understand the importance of promoting our principles. Creating jobs, obtaining a balanced budget, reforming Social Security and other entitlement programs will continue to be my primary economic goal. You have my word that I will continue to strengthen our borders, promote a strong national defense, seek market based solutions to healthcare reform, lessen the impact of government in our lives, and as always, work to eliminate wasteful pork barrel spending. If I may be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

John Carter
Member of Congress

What does it mean to be a Leader in Congress?

We often hear in ad campaigns this time of year, that a candidate is a "leader". Did you know that there is an actual definition for "Leader" in Congress created by a statistical analysis of their participation in Congress? When someone in Congress is a Leader, with that capital "L", it means that they introduce more legislation than they co-sponsor.

It also means that they don't wait for others to introduce legislation or wait to sign on as a co-sponsor, hanging back to make the best political deal for themselves. They are constantly working towards what they feel is best for their district. Sponsoring these bills often gets them the labels, but they are willing to take on those labels because they feel that they are moving forward in accomplishing their goals for their district.

One of these Leaders is Congressman John Carter (R).

My friends and family will tell you that I haven't given a politician a break since the 70's. I have high expectations of the men and women who esteem themselves ready to serve this country in political office. You can be sure that when I say I hold Congressman Carter in high regard, I have heavily scrutinized him. I may support other candidates for other offices on today's ballot. I fully endorse Congress John Carter. This is not something I would ever say lightly.

Back for One Day!

I am in the process of creating a series of websites on our families network, which will be ready at the end of my one year sabbatical at the end of March/beginning of April. However, for this one day, in honor of today's primary, I will be blogging about the candidates on the Republican ballot in Texas!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Forgiveness isn't easy...

A few weeks ago, I started blogging about having conversations with your kids. It may have seemed frivolous to start with a discussion of personality. I also pointed out that your children are unique. They are not you and you are not your parents. The reason I started out with these two notions were so that you could have the opportunity to adjust your expectations.

I started with the easy stuff. Now comes the hard part. Forgiveness. In order to really have a clear conversation with your child, you need to come with a clean slate. You cannot do that if you have bitterness and resentment that has been built up over the years. It causes you to project onto their motivations. This bitterness could be from past interactions with a current or past spouse, or with your parents, or with your in-laws, or the list goes on. Sometimes the person you need to forgive is yourself. In any case, it needs to be done so that it doesn't affect your other relationships, especially the one with your children who are less likely to understand.

What is forgiveness? Forgiveness is more than forgetting. It is more than saying, "That's ok," when somebody says that they are sorry. The fact is most of the time when you need to forgive somebody, that person never asked for forgiveness. And truly, the thing that they needed forgiveness from wasn't ok, but the fact that you offer forgiveness now makes it as if it never happened. Does that mean you never think about it again? Well, it's supposed to, but I am not a robot. So often, I have to ask for forgiveness if I do think about it again. That's my own sinfulness, not the other party's.

The world has provided such a crazy, messed up view of what forgiveness is that the only thing I could think of to do was to share my testimony. In advance, let me apologize to my parents who are wonderful people and did a great job of raising me. They are not responsible for other people's actions! In addition, let me be clear. This is not about me. This is about God and His glory, so please although I appreciate the compassion, don't send me a bunch of messages about how sorry you feel. You are not responsible for somebody else's actions either!

There is no easy or appropriate way to say that when I was a girl I was molested by my paternal grandfather. (I could try to hide who it was, but he has passed away now, and while trying to tell my story, it was just too hard to keep that a secret.) I think that we all have heard this story hundreds of times. It's unfortunate that we have. But it is not those events that are my story or my testimony. My testimony begins when I realized that I was still allowing those events to dictate how I behaved in certain circumstances. It dictated who I trusted. It definitely dictated my ability to sleep properly.

Forgiveness is a hard process. And it is definitely a process. I went to a couple of people, but they didn't know where to help me start. The thing is that forgiveness is also very personal. But I can tell you what I did and maybe it will help you.

The first thing I did was ask God to help understand my grandfather more. Why would somebody do something like that? There are all kinds of crazy answers out there, but I knew that God could tell me better. He did. Through prayer, I realized that my grandfather had a horrible upbringing. He had been abused himself. I felt blessed that I did not have parents like that. It helped me to have some compassion for him. It wasn't overnight by any means, but I started to feel some sympathy for him. I know it doesn't make sense to many people. That's why I am telling you. Only God can help you do something like this.

After I started to feel some sympathy towards my grandfather, things sort of snowballed from there. I found myself caring about his welfare. It was clear that he was unwell. You just don't do that kind of thing otherwise. But here we were his family and we were turning our back on him, throwing him out like trash, like he didn't matter. I felt like we needed to get him help. Some people would say that even turning our backs on him was better than he deserved. Plenty of people told me that for justice to be served that he deserved prison or even worse. Once again, I can only point you back to God. I am thankful that I don't get what I deserve. Oh so many times, I have not gotten what I deserved. Praise the Lord for that!

Soon after that I found myself praying for him. I prayed that somebody would come into his life to care for him physically and mentally. I prayed that if he had not made a profession of faith that he would do that, because I knew he did not have much longer to live.

All of a sudden, one day, I remembered something fun that I did with my Grandpa and I laughed. It dawned on me that I loved him. I did. I had not only forgiven him, but I had done it without him asking for forgiveness. Not only had I forgiven him, but our relationship together was no longer defined by that. It was defined by going swimming (seriously ALL the time with the swimming!), and hanging upside down in the tree in the backyard, and his conducting the orchestra on the radio while we sat in downtown Washington, D.C. traffic, and regular grandfather/granddaughter kind of stuff. Just like with my mother's father, who I have great memories about baseball and football, this was no longer any different. I was very sorry when he died, and I hope that I will see him again one day in Heaven. That may be upsetting to some people. It may be hard to hear or understand. But that is the power of God.

Why do I share this story? First, for myself, if I could learn to forgive others in that same way, imagine the freedom I would have! I need to remember every day that it is possible. Second, for my friends, I share this with you, because you can be set free from bitterness too. It just takes one step towards God and one step away from wanting vengeance.

I am absolutely here for anybody who wants to talk about how they can find forgiveness in their lives. Whether you are trying to find forgiveness for yourself for the first time or the hundredth, or you want help to forgive somebody else, my door is always open.

Love you guys! You can do it with God!