November 28, 2008

A Letter to America

It is now after Thanksgiving and now that I am done with turkey and all caught up on rest, I am able to talk about the election. I didn't have that bad of an experience that night, as the people I watched with didn't revel in my loss. The next morning was less than perfect as my boss came into my room and made fun of me saying, "Don't worry Shawn, it wasn't a dream, we have a black President." Despite this incident, no one really rubbed it in... no one really talked about it... and in discussing it in the next few days, it was clear to me that I had known all along that John McCain wasn't going to win. We had witnessed history that night, and at that moment it was clear that we had entered a new and defining point in the history of this great nation.

So here's the reality of the situation: Sen. Barack Obama is going to be the 44th President of the United States. He won the popular vote by 7%, and won by 192 electoral votes. By all standards of electoral success, that is a landslide and a mandate. President Elect Obama stood for change in this election and the American people called for that change. Its the responsibility of our leaders from both parties to deliver that change, just as it is our responsibility to demand that change.

So this is the part where I impart my thoughts on what this election means for us now: as Democrats, as Republicans, and as Americans.

To Democrats: You won. Your vision for America was what was voted on and it was preferred over ours. You won the White House and significant gains in both Houses of Congress. With a little compromise, you can be filibuster proof in the Senate. Now you have NO excuses for not getting what you want done. Since 2006 President Bush hasn't had control of Congress, and never by these margins. You have the tools to make the change you seek, and if you for one second blame the Republicans in Congress, you're just going to look stupid. Several of the greatest social changes have historically come from Democratic Presidents, and you have the time and the power to do something great. If you believe in your plan for America, then you MUST earn it.

To Republicans: We got beat, and we got beat bad. Under President Bush we have strayed away from our conservative beliefs by increasing government spending and control. With that increase in control, the Democrats will be able to do more than ever with that power, and we won't like it. We need to re-group and rediscover what we really stand for. We need to support our leaders in Congress because they are the head of our party now. There are things we can do to enact change we will be proud of, but we also need to do it in such a way that serves the country and doesn't make us look like sore losers. If there is one thing we can learn from John McCain it is what he laid out in his concession speech. He said,

"And I call on all Americans, as I have often in this campaign, to not despair of our present difficulties, but to believe, always, in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here.

Americans never quit. We never surrender.

We never hide from history. We make history."

We must not pity ourselves for this loss, but make the best of it. We have been shown what the bad side of election night feels like, and we need to remember this feeling of despair and hopelessness, and turn it into the force that drives us to make our country better. Nothing is inevitable, we can make a change, and we must now work toward being that change.

To America: "We must now come together," is something we always hear from our leaders who win. We never see it, never see that unity, yet it has never been so needed. With the economic crisis, terrorism, and all the other difficulties standing in our way, it is only fitting that we work towards making a change. That does not mean we cannot disagree on the means to that end. On the contrary, our country was created with debate, discussion, and even outright opposition. This debate makes our nation stronger, but only if it is followed by action. Lets find the best way to deal with problems, and be the change that our country asks of us.

Let the next four years be years of change for the better in this great nation.

Democrats: Your time is now... don't screw up, or we will take you to town in four years.

Republicans: Time to get off the mat... we got work to do.

God Bless you all, and God Bless America

Shawn Conway

Now What?

Barack Obama will be my president on January 20, 2009. I am a citizen of the United States of America, and we have one commander in chief (at a time, as president-elect Obama recently noted). The people have elected the next one and, even though I did not vote for him, Barack Obama will be the 44th president. So on January 20, I will watch the inauguration, and I will be proud in the orderly transfer of power in this country. A new era will dawn, just as it did 8 years ago, and 8 years before that. This is one of the best things about this country - when the majority of the people speak, the government becomes their voice.

Perhaps President Obama will be good for America - I don't know yet. I would like to think that I am a conservative in the vein of Barry Goldwater, but I am not old enough to remember Goldwater's campaigns. I can only ask the people who were there (my father for instance) to comment upon the ideas I support. I have been disappointed enough in the Republican party to consider voting for Bob Barr (who ran as a Libertarian) but I wanted to make a vote that wasn't just a protest vote. More people were For Obama and the ideas that he represented - so he won. Now what do I do?

I do what I like to think I have always done: I wait for the president to propose his policies, I decide whether or not I agree with them, I wait to see if they work, and then I support people for office who think and feel like I do. I will wait at least 18 months - I can't bring myself to think about the 2010 mid-term elections before then - to see if President Obama will be good for the United States of America.

And so, for the sake of the country, let us hope he will be. If his mantra was "yes we can" then mine will be "show me how". The ball is firmly in the Democrats’ court - their party controls all of the electable branches of the federal government. I will watch and wait and hope, just as the president-elect said I should.

Joshua C. Sasmor

October 7, 2008

The Greater Point in Iraq

I wrote a short version of this for my Senior Seminar class. We did a project on the war, and I wrote my opinion down on paper. Here is the whole of my ideas about the war in Iraq...

The war in Iraq isn’t just about WMDs, Bush, insurgencies, or oil; its about much more. Since the beginning of this nation, we as Americans have stood up for the rights of all peoples, cultures and creeds.

With the Bush doctrine, we declared that, “America will lead by defending liberty and justice because they are right and true and unchanging for all people everywhere.”

Harry S. Truman declared that, “totalitarian regimes imposed on free people, by direct or indirect aggression, undermine the foundations of international peace and hence the security of the United States.”

FDR looked forward, “to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms… freedom of speech and expression… freedom of every person to worship God in his own way… freedom from want… freedom from fear.”

President Lincoln praised those who, gave the last full measure of devotion,” to these freedoms.

And finally it was James Monroe that declared, “that the American continents by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers.”

All the examples above speak of American commitment to freedom and the lengths to which we go for those freedoms. But none of these speeches, proclamations addresses, or doctrines set the goals of the American people in terms of freedom more than a one-page declaration. It said that, “whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government… to effect their safety and happiness.” It is this Declaration of Independence that formally declares that, “all men are created equal,” and it is this natural law that we as Americans see as our most central and vital of ideals.

The people of Iraq, Somalia, Darfur, and Rwanda are all our brothers in this global community and when your brother is in trouble, you do whatever it takes to see that they are treated the way they should be treated.

We can hold ourselves to higher standards and believe that there are moral absolutes, but still suffering continues in these areas. We can create awareness, talk with leaders and even send aid, but until the injustices cease we cannot, WILL NOT, stand by and see the freedoms of these men and women stripped away.

Iraq exemplifies the extent to which we will stand up against tyranny. Dissenters of the war may cite oil, lies, or just plain Presidential idiocy as the reasons we went to Iraq, and with some merit. Wars are never about just an ideal, and it would be naive for me to say that this war is any different. You do not foster good feelings and cooperation through the violence of war. War is ugly. War is hell. All wars, no matter what the context, are crimes. They're crimes against the combatants and crimes against the innocents.

But there is a time where violent means are the way to reach the end we all want: peace. Peace for ourselves, for our children, and for our neighbors. If we violate the sovereignty of a nation that has clearly forfeit their right to rule by oppressing their people, I will sleep better at night knowing we did something about it. And if some good comes out of the ashes of this particular mess in Iraq, then I consider it a job well done.

In the West Wing, just after I finished my presentation, I saw an episode that talked about just this point. President Bartlett said...

We're for freedom of speech everywhere. We're for freedom to worship everywhere. We're for freedom to learn... for everybody. And because in our time, you can build a bomb in your country and bring it to my country, what goes on in your country is very much my business. And so we are for freedom from tyranny, everywhere, whether in the guise of political oppression, Toby, or economic slavery, Josh, or religious fanaticism, CJ. That most fundamental idea cannot be met with merely our support. It has to be met with our strength.

We have come to resent and despise our strength and our morals, and we should be for the freedoms of all people everywhere. Sure, our good boys will die for something they did not start in the first place. But as long as they sign up to defend what they believe in, then people will keep signing up and will gladly put themselves between harm and their neighbors in the global community.

True, those future wars might have high costs monetarily. They may be entered with some ulterior motive in mind, and we can't change that. But to every man, woman and child whose lives have been made safe from tyranny, it doesn’t matter under what pretext they received their freedom. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that they are free

September 16, 2008

Because We're Mature Enough to Laugh at Ourselves...

For all you crazy CRs out there who are looking for a laugh, this is by far the best impersonation of any political figure I have EVER seen...

Spot on ladies, spot on...

August 2, 2008

Nation of Whiners

Phil Graham, former Senator from Texas said recently some things that got John McCain into a bit of trouble on the campaign trail. He said in an interview:

"You've heard of mental depression; this is mental recession... we have sort of become a nation of whiners. You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline despite a major export boom that is the primary that growth continues in the economy."

Now, let's make something clear before I make my points: I'm not one of those kids who takes a summer job like walking dogs, delivering papers or cutting grass. I'm not even one of those kids who works at a grocery store or some other retail job. No, I WORK all summer. The jobs I do are ones that my co-workers are all doing this for a living, not as a summer job. They are the kind of people that the Senator is talking about, the whiners, if you will.

So when I heard Sen. Graham's comments I was stunned and shocked and was ready to stand up and say, "Who are you to call ME a whiner?! I am a hard working, pick yourself up by your bootstraps American like my father and my grandparents before me, and you up there in your ivory tower have no idea of the plight of the working man." And this is the reaction many people took, saying the same thing, all clinging to the notion of America as it was in the first two hundred years of our history.

We look back with fond memories of times we never have seen. We look back to the Pilgrims surviving the harsh winters of Massachusetts. We look back to the Wild West and the Industrialized East at the turn of the century. And we remember the Depression and WWII and how our grandparents and great grandparents fought off hunger, famine, and unemployment and survived to defeat one of the greatest threats the world has ever known in Adolf Hitler. We see these times as the best and always consider ourselves as cut from the cloth of those tough workers. But I got news for you... we're not.

I worked this summer in a dairy with a bunch of people who have either been jumping around from job to job and were older or younger guys who had jumped a bit but haven't had the years of work these older guys did. The work was tiring, but not hard; mostly it was repetitive motion and a lot of standing. We got paid very well, and came home with a good amount of money in one week. In addition to forty hours, we got a ton of overtime, and that helped a ton with the payday. It was a good job that paid well, and I'm sure that the paycheck would make our hardworking ancestors fall over in shock.

So what did my coworkers think of the job? Well, they had an opinion about it, and never ceased in reminding everyone what it was. They always had a problem with something. They didn't want to work a full day, but complained when they didn't get overtime pay. They liked not having to get up early for the shift, but complained that we got home so late. They liked the bosses and joked around with them and then complained about them all the time and complained about how ignorant or unfair they were. It seemed that no matter what they did, the job wasn't what they wanted. Some came for a few days and quit, some a few weeks. One guy came for one day, then never returned. I know these people were just a sample, but I've seen it before, and this is the normal reaction of today's worker... nothing but whining and complaining.

So that's what we have become, exactly pegged by Sen Graham... a nation of whiners. He might have been talking about us complaining about jobs being lost overseas, but the truth is there's work out there and Americans won't stoop to doing those jobs. That's why we have illegal immigrants coming to do those jobs, that's why I have a new employee every week, and that's why we're falling behind in the world in production and economy. We need to stand up once again and take responsibility for our actions, not complain about others'. You can't control anyone or anything but your own actions, and if you haven't done everything you can to make a good living and done a good day's work, then you can sit down and shut up.

Club Officers

Chairperson: J.T. White

Advisor: Dr. Joshua Sasmor
Club email: College Republicans

Founding Chairperson: Mike Rubino

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