Thursday, March 27, 2008

Educating the New Voter, Pt. 2

This is our Congressman, Howard Coble. Congressman Coble was a very early critic, for a Republican, of the war in Iraq. "The conservative North Carolina Republican recently said it was time to start pondering a phased U.S. withdrawal from Iraq." This is from the San Francisco Chronicle, January 2005. Since his initial criticism, he has not failed in his willingness to cast his vote right along with the war proponents. He said one thing but has consistently voted the opposite. I naively expected him to be true to his words but I was disappointed.

So now, as every 2 years in the 10 years that we have lived here, it is time for someone to replace the old codger in the Congress.

In following our ongoing Educate the New Voter curriculum, Yakov, Shoshie and I wandered over to Guilford College to hear a debate between the 3 Democratic candidates Tuesday night. There were only about 40 people who showed up. A political sciences professor moderated and 2 local reporters asked questions.

Johnny Carter was, from our viewpoint, an unlikely choice. But he made a good impression. He presented himself as a strict constitutionalist. He seemed to have rational opinions about immigration and healthcare. He was strongly against the war.

At the end of the debate, Yakov had a chance to ask him an important question that only our family heard the answer. Having followed the candidates weekly as we have been doing, looking at the candidate's website for example, Yakov knew that Mr. Carter held some beliefs that would not appeal to us and yet, he had been so appealing. So Yakov asked him his opinion on prayer in the schools. He seemed to look us over before answering. He said he was a believer and could pray any time he wanted, as could schoolchildren. (good so far) If prayer is led in the school, then who would decide what kind of prayer would be led?(Ok) Before you know it there will be Christian prayers and Jewish prayers and Islamic prayers. And we don't want those people to take over and then they will have everyone down on a prayer rug.(Oops)

Yakov likes this guy, Jay Ovittore, a young man who has been very active for a number of years in local Democratic politics. He's a musician, so is Yakov. He has that facial hair thing, so do all of Yakov's friends who can grow it.

I was put off by his manner which seemed strident. And combative. I felt like he was trying too hard to look and sound like a grownup. He repeatedly referred to our soldiers as "our boys and girls." I thought that was demeaning. And I'm sure he doesn't intend to demean them.

I liked most of his policies. He was a bit too moderate for me but I guess I will have to deal with it.

This is Teresa Sue Bratton. I went to the debate prepared to like her the most. Like me she is a physician from Tennessee. In fact I have wondered if we went to the same high school. See, I am evaluating these candidates from a very enlightened viewpoint. Did I know her younger sister in high school?

I agreed with most of her policies, except for her healthcare reform. I think we need to get rid of the big insurance companies. They are not patients and they don't deliver care. They stand between and try to figure out how to take the patient's money and keep the doctor's. Why do we need stockholders in healthcare?

The kids were put off by her manner, like a teacher, figuratively wagging a finger at everyone.

Also on Wednesday, Obama was in Greensboro. I had a previous obligation to stay at the hospital with a friend whose son was having surgery. And frankly, I doubt we could have gotten tickets. I would like to hear him.

Hilary is in Winston-Salem today and Bill is going to be in High Point, Salisbury and many other locations tomorrow. But I'm not sure I want to see them.

This is so confusing. The only consolation is that I feel very confident that it will be better in January, no matter who wins.PRM

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