Friday, October 05, 2007

Right of Center

USS Truett FF1095_ Soviet Riga Class Corvette in background_ North Sea November 1976

I became astutely aware of the consequences of voting and how our political system directly affected my life just a short while after James Earl Carter was sworn into office as President of the United States. The year was 1977 and I was already on my second year in the United States Navy. I had just returned from a North Atlantic cruise and I had visited most of the northern European nations that were members of NATO. I witnessed the aggressive moves of Soviet Union cruisers, destroyers, bombers and reconnaissance planes up close in the North Atlantic and Artic Oceans and the Baltic and North Seas.

While still on the deployment I had requested and I had received an absentee ballot so that I would be able vote for President. I thought it was very important to vote because our government had been in a constant state of disarray since Richard Nixon had resigned only two years before in August of 1974. Gerald Ford the Vice-President was now the leader of our nation. Gerald Ford had become Vice-President after Nixon’s Vice-President Spiro Agnew had resigned in disgrace in1973 because of his involvement in a tax evasion and money laundering scandal. Then I remembered the unsavory hearings for Nelson Rockefeller when he was nominated by Gerald Ford to become his Vice President. The Vietnam War had just ended in a humiliating defeat and I had joined the US Navy just days after the famous helicopter photographs of the American Embassy being evacuated from Saigon in April 1975 were taken. That was a very confusing time to be deciding for my first time who I wanted to be President of the United States. It was very important though because the next President could have a direct effect on my life. I was more accurate about that assumption than I could ever know at that time.

As I looked upon this absentee ballot I had two choices; Gerald Ford (Republican) and James Earl Carter (democrat). I had to look back to all the things that I had learned in the past from the studies of history that Dr. Itzko, my High School History teacher made sure I had learned (Thanks Dr. Itzko). I also wanted to understand which candidate my parents would be voting for because now that I was a couple of thousand miles away from home I was starting to see that my parents really did know what they talking about at times.

Well, as it turned out I ended up voting for Carter for many reasons. First and foremost he claimed to be a devout Christian. Second; my parents were working class democrats and my favorite politician of all time, Philadelphia Mayor Frank L. Rizzo was a democrat. Lastly; Carter seemed to be a competent and viable alternative to the fumbling and bumbling character that Gerald Ford always appeared to be. It didn’t take long before the country was painfully aware that we had made a huge mistake electing Carter for our President. Inflation went to an all time high; interest rates went through the roof making it almost impossible to buy a house or automobile. Our stature as a superpower capable of defending ourselves from an attack from the Soviets came into question. The mistakes that the Carter administration made then put us into a war with Islamic terrorists that we are still fighting now. All of that can be attributed to Carter’s incompetence, weakness and poor decision making abilities. At the end of his term in office I was certain that I would have to gather a lot more information about the candidates before I cast my vote for President of the United States again.

When Ronald Reagan was sworn into office I had cautious optimism that I had voted for the right man this time. Reagan was full of optimism himself and I liked that. I was now a registered Republican and I felt that it really was “Morning in America” as Reagan would say. The things that troubled the country at that time did not happen overnight and were not going to be corrected overnight. I did what I could to help out, I bought a lot of Ketchup and I worked hard to improve myself. After some months of being a civilian I joined the active US Naval reserves because it seemed like Reagan had it in his mind to vastly improve the military instead of driving it into obscurity as Carter had almost done. Ronald Reagan did improve the strength and morale in the military and we became the strong, the proud and enthused fighting force that we deserved to be. I left the US Navy Reserves in 1985 by not reenlisting because I had landed a civilian job that required that I work six days a week but I’ll always cherish the time I spent serving my country under Ronald Wilson Reagan.

Fast forward to the late 1980’s; George H. W. Bush is now President, the democrat controlled Congress is pushing hard for more gun control laws. George Bush has reneged on his promise of “no new taxes”. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is now making headlines regularly by raiding private citizen’s homes looking for weapons and destroying people’s lives with only small bits of hear-say evidence. George H.W. Bush is making speeches calling for “a New World Order” after the fall of the Berlin Wall dividing Germany for the last 45 years. During an assault and standoff in a place called Ruby Ridge, Idaho the FBI murders family members of white separatist Randy Weaver. There were so many conspiracy theories floating about at that time that there isn’t enough space here to enumerate them all. This was the manna that the opportunist conspiracy theorists had been waiting for. The memberships with organizations that foment the despair of conspiracy theories like the John Birch Society and many others soar to new heights. This is prime time for opportunists looking to capitalize on the fears of people that think the government is “out to get them”.

The laudable goals of Ronald Reagan and the conservative movement to promote the benefits of a smaller government that taxes less and regulates less was subverted by conspiracy organizations and the politicians that pander to them. They espoused the idea that anything the government does, it does so in order that it can control every aspect of your life to benefit some sinister and all power international conspiracy. The conspiracy theorists claim international secret societies will soon be profiting from your enslavement to the government. I’m sorry to say that for a while I fell for that nonsense and I went to meetings and talked with people about every kind of conspiracy theory that can be dreamed up. The real insidious nature about conspiracy theories is; once they are started they can never be stopped no matter how much evidence is provided to disprove it. When I look back at the couple of years I believed or thought I believed in all these conspiracies, I ask myself; how could you have fallen for that nonsense? It was easy though, I was going through a difficult time in my life when things were in turmoil for me. This is exactly what cults and mind control organizations are looking for; people that are in personal turmoil because there is less resistance to their outlandish ideas.

After I was able to resolve my personal turmoil I was able to see that these conspiracy theory people are nothing but opportunists that feed upon people that have problems with being paranoid or other social detachment problems. I was able to become a functioning part of society again and I moved away from those conspiracy theory people. I hold them in complete contempt now and expose them for the detrimental effects they have on our society.

The way I see it now is; there is nothing wrong with us wanting our government to be more efficient and for them to take less money in taxes so we can use it better for our own lives and the lives of our families. We must be vigilant to not let the government control things that should be controlled by the private sector. There are however things that have to be under the control of our government that the private sector cannot or will not do. Law enforcement has to be under the control of the government. The military has to be under the control of the government. Food safety and inspection has to be done by the government and it has to be done better than it is being done now. We can afford to have our government shrink in size because it has become too large; it has become too wasteful and too inefficient. Remember though that the government is supposed to be “by the people and for the people” The government is supposed to be us, not some partisan political hack that enjoys the fact you are not watching the store.

The reason our government seems to be out of control is the fault of those people that do not take a little of their time to vote and call or write to their representatives to tell them what they are thinking about the issues. There is no international secret society that controls some cynical and lazy government bureaucrat or legislator that makes their stupidity a sinister conspiracy to control your life. What we need is for citizens to become more involved in the political process and hold the politicians and government bureaucrats responsible for their actions. Right now only a small percentage of highly partisan people choose to take part in the responsibility of voting. It’s time for every legal voter to step up and do their part. You may however, check your conspiracy theories at the door.


SusieQ said...

You have done a great job writing your political profile and mapping for us the route you took to the point you are at today politically.

I voted for Kennedy, but have voted Republican ever since. My parents were Republicans and I married a Republican. So, I had plenty of encouragement to vote Republican.

I didn't know you were that deeply involved with the conspiracy theorists at one time. I have never been associated with them or believed much of what they had to say. But one thing that still bothers me is what happened at Waco. I thought the incident was poorly handled and that our government and law officials did not take full responsibility for the part they played in creating that tragedy.

More people need to exercise their right to vote. Hear,hear!

J_G said...

Hi Susie, all the things that happened in the late 80's under George Bush got everyone in the gun rights community up in arms, so to speak. Many of us got to the point that we did not trust Bush because what he was saying was different from what the federal law enforcement officials were doing.

Do you remember the term Jackbooted thugs? That was coined by the executive vice president of the NRA Wayne Lapierre and soon afterwards Bush condemned the NRA and then resigned.

The "New World Order" thing is what really got me involved and I started going to John Birch Society meetings. I found them with a booth at many of the Gun shows I was going to at the time. I was also struggling with alcohol that time too. I've overcome both alcohol and conspiracy theories and it's been a very long time since I've been involved with either one.

Waco was disaster because the same jackbooted thugs tried to force their way into that compound and Koresh was ready for them. After that it was the fault of Bill Clinton and Janet Reno because they lost control of the situation and took advice from the same people that were responsible for the disaster at Ruby Ridge.

Ron Paul has been feeding on the conspiracy theories since at least the 80's and he gets his followers all stoked up just like cult leader, David Koresh, Jim Jones, the Applewhite guy that had all his followers kill themselves to follow the Halebop Comet.

Listen carefully to ronulans when they talk, the code words are: trilateral commission, council on foreign relations, bildebergers, illuminati, federal reserve, chemtrails, Haarp and now it's the 9/11 was an inside job, the International superhighway and North American Union. Anytime you hear these people start espuosing this stuff give them your best Susie smile and be your polite and respectful self but have pity on them. I've seen it so many times and I have to walk away.

I can help help someone that's struggling to overcome alcohol or drug addiction, I was given the tools I need to do that. I cannot help the conspiracy theory person they must decide to just put it down and walk away from it too.

Gayle said...

WOW Jennifer. You did an excellent job on this post, and I absolutely admire your honesty.

I was once a Democrat, or thought I was a Democrat. Jimmy Carter changed that forever! If there's one thing he did that was good, it was to wake up some people to the fact that they could no longer follow the Democratic party.

I recently wrote a post as to why I don't like Ron Paul, which proved the video's contention that if you do a Ron Paul post you get hit by nitwit RP supporters. I got many comments that weren't fit to publish! I can't understand why some people like him, but I have two visitors who are championing him. Sheesh!

Marie's Two Cents said...

Great Post Jenn :-)

You are all over the place lol

Dont know what to respond to first.

Just that I wish Ron Paul would just go away.

Loved the Video :-)

Wild Phil said...

Really great post Jenn,

I was born in 1946 so I remember a lot of that, do you remember when John Kerry went before congress and was telling our representatives what all our United States Veterans were doing and this was brought about by a group called the Winter Soldiers and John Kerry. Later they found out that, that group the Winter Soldiers were a phony bunch who were not really soldiers.

Getting to the Conspiracy theorists I listen to Michael Medved on a local station here in my town called The Patriot Station and Michael Medved has a 3 hour show 5 day a week. But 1 day a week for 1 hour he has callers calling into Conspiracy hour part of his show and listens to all their goofy conspiracies and it really gets wild and crazy.

I remember this one time when some callers were talking about how the Oil Industry was pilfering Oil from other Countries and Michael Medved had prooved them wrong and then the topic made a turn to how to use a different form of transportation to get to work or to go anywhere if we didn't have petroleum products to do that.

Well anyways this one caller I about fell out of my chair laughing so hard, he said to Michael Medved why don't we make some of those transporting devices and Michael Medved said What? Yea the caller said, he told Michael Medved that he had seen it in some tv program, and then Michael knew right away that this was one was a real winner.

Michael Medved said oh you mean like Beam Me Up Scotty, and the caller said yea, Michael Medved laughed at him the same time I did and then like he always does when they get a real winner of the kooky conspiracy theorists they play the theme song to the show X-Files. LOL

What we need is for citizens to become more involved in the political process and hold the politicians and government bureaucrats responsible for their actions.

While I agree with that completely but my point being is that we should have people take a test to see if they are all there in the head that is before allowing just anyone to vote because it sure would scare the daylights out of anyone to know that people like that caller that called into Michael Medved could actually vote.

Paul F. said...

So, why did the British Press report on public television the third building (after the twin towers) fall 11 minutes before it actually came crashing to the ground? The building was clearly standing upright during the report because you can clearly see it standing in the background picture. Why did that building fall at all. Things just don't add up.

So, why did we start a war in Iraq when none of the terrorists that day were even Iraqi? Most of them were Saudi Arabian, just like Bin Laden. I know the Bush family is in good with the Saudis. How do you feel about Saudi Arabians?

J_G said...

Gayle, It took me a some time yesterday to verify all the dates that I used in my post about when Agnew resigned and when Ford became VP but I remember the sequence of events and how it ended up with Carter as president. Then later when I got involved with the conspiracy people all their outlandish stories were made to sound real because everyone of those conspiracies has a tiny bit of facts involved and I wanted to believe them because I was angry and I wanted to blame someone for my problems.

Wild Phil, welcome to Now for Something Different. You cannot believe some of the stories I have listened to while attending JBS meetings back in the 80's and early 90's. The quote of the time was it's not Federal and it not a reserve (referring to the Federal Reserve Banking system we use).I'm just plain sick of the conspiracies and like I said, once a conspiracy theory starts to circulate it is impossible to stop no matter how much evidence you present to the contrary, just watch with my next example.

Paul, the BBC says they announced that building WTC #7 11 minutes before it actually fell. What proof do they provide that actually happened that way? Popular Mechanics Magazine published it's report on why WTC #7 collapsed, Report . I tend to have a little more confidence in the Engineers at PM than I do for a loser loudmouth that made a total fool of herself with the statement that for first time in history, fire melted steel.

Whenever a crime is committed investigators always focus in on motive to steer them in the direction to lay down their efforts of investigation. Name one motive that would reasonably and completely explain why anyone, not just the Bush admin but anyone would have for causing WTC #7 to collapse.

J_G said...

Marie, That was about 20 years of my sometimes crazy life. Things really only started getting out of control when I would get liquored up and start shootin off my mouth and backin it up with my shootin irons. I'd say 88 and 89 were the two of the most out of control and crazy years of my life and conspiracy theories were right there spurring things on. I'm a tea totler now as you know and I steers way clear of those conspiracy fellas and all the stupidity that goes with it.

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...


You left me hanging on whether or not you voted Bush #41 or Clinton #42?

Well, as it turned out I ended up voting for Carter for many reasons.

Jennifer, I voted for Carter my 2nd grade class. And for the most childish of reasons.

I lived at Wright Patterson Air Force Base at the time, and my best friend across the street and from what I remembered, everyone at school, seemed to be rooting for Republican Ford. I voted for Carter because I felt sorry for him; that he was ganged up on and being "meaned" to, by my friends.

I remember asking my dad what Party he belonged to. He was a Republican, explained it to me; but back then, my childish mind still could not understand the distinction between the Parties.

Now, I see Ron Paul supporters of voting age running around in the blogosphere saying there is no differences between the two parties. And that if their man ArPee doesn't get the nomination, it sounds like they will stay at home and cave to a Hillary win.

How childish is that? That same mentality- of "getting back at 'The Party'"- brought us the '06 Elections.

If you want to bring about change, you do so within one of the two parties.

J_G said...

Word, I voted for Bush over Clinton. My fears that Clinton would be elected because Texas businessman Ross Perot would take votes away from Bush and hand the election over to him were realized though and it was done by the same types of people that now support another weasel from Teaxs.

disclaimer: not everyone from Texas is a weasel one of my best friends is from Texas I refer to those people that are from Texas that assist the Clintons in their lust for power as Texas weasels.

By 1992 I had realized that conspiracy theories were nothing but a hoax and I had already started moving away from that way of life about a year or so before that. Ruby Ridge did happen in 92 though but I saw that for what it was, the over zealous enforcement of laws towards people with questionable motivations. It happened again with Clinton/Reno during Waco but it boiled down to a few people in the justice department that became too powerful and out of control.

People have to understand that just because a person is President it does not mean they have complete control of all of the departments of the government. J. Edgar Hoover was a prime example of adminstrations not having complete control over the FBI. It wasn't the Trialteral commission that ordered the attck on Waco.

MonicaR said...

Interesting evolution, Jennifer. Thanks for sharing it with us. I have gone through many changes over the years. Starting as a NOW member and democrat in my early 20s.

I liked Ron Paul - until this last year. I disagree very strongly with him on some very important points. When I noticed he was mixing up with the Truthers - that was it for me. No matter how much he is strong on small government and advocates for homeschooling, he's out in my book.

J_G said...

Monica, it didn't take me long to figure out I was not welcome in the democrat party and they didn't fit my beliefs.

As far as arpee is concerned He is a phony and he knows it. His followers are projecting a persona on him he has never been, he is not a leader and is not a constitutional scholar at all.

In the end the only choices we have for a President that can lead and be strong is Rudy or Fred even though he has no chance I do like Mike Huckabee.

Anonymous said...

Off subject, but i wanted to comment on your Find Art section.
It was just GREAT

J_G said...

Thanks dd2 I spend quite a bit of time reading and researching about art. My favorites are the Impressionist painters. Thanks for stopping by.

J_G said...

dd2, thanks for reminding about checking my links. When I checked the link to the Metropolitan Museum of Art it didn't work. I usually work from my link list in my bookmarked pages but now I should go through and check all my links to make sure they all still work and I have a new one to add to Fine Art. Thanx again.

patterns of ink said...

Gerald Ford was buried about 30 miles from where I live, and I must admit the events and "flash backs" of the week of his death were very interesting. But during his short presidency, I also did not find him very inspiring. My first vote in a presidential election was for Reagan. Those were fun years to be a young conservative!
I do remember hearing about "the intelligencia" and other secret groups that ran the world back then. I also remember when the head of the JBS was shot down in a jet over China, which only fueled some of those theories.

patterns of ink said...

Hey, J_G,
have you seen this? It's a funny Youtube video about a "drug" called "Triphorgetin." Hope this link works:

J_G said...

Hi Tom, I had no time for Gerald Ford. He was what they called at the time a "Country Club Republican" and had no real agenda. He was just there because the rest of the government had fallen apart around him and he was left holding the bag.

There are so many secret groups and commissions that you need a book the size of the New York City phone book to keep track of them.

John Wayne was a member of the JBS for a while too but they were too right wing for him and years later proved to be nothing but a launching pad for new conspiracy theories to me.

I did see that You Tube Tom, Mike at Mike's America has had it up for a day or or two and you're right it is funny and right on the mark.

dons_mind said...

hey i remember the truett! i was in rota, spain from 72-75 and then on the 6th fleet staff in gaeta, italy from 75-78..lots of med cruises on the little rock then the albany and finally puget sound. was always fun during the cold war to be in the middle of the med - always lots of soviet ships, subs and planes around....made numerous libya runs when we were antagonizing kadafi..also the lebananon evacuations were a memorable experience...

J_G said...

USS Truett was an oil fired 1200psi steam turbine driven boat. They were our companion everywhere we went in the North Atlantic. I used to watch them turn into a part time submarine in heavy seas. We almost collided with a Soviet sub in the straits leading to Kiel Germany. I saw my first Bear bomber up there too.

Donald Douglas said...

Awesome essay! I thought I'd lost you there when you veered over to the FBI and such, but you stayed on track to debunk the conspiracies.

The GOP has again lost the Reagan-era spirit of smaller, more efficient government, one that does not neglect public goods.

Have a great week!

J_G said...

Donald, that is exactly what I'm talking about when I said that once a conspiracy is thought to exist it is impossible to stop because the person that dreams up the conspiracy or those that believe it will never accept a reasonable explanation for something once it has taken hold.

The FBI at Ruby Ridge were just out of control, nothing more and nothing less. It was the HRT (Hostage Rescue Team) and they were too pumped up and not commanded well enough to control the situation. The US Marshals were the ones that started the whole mess in the first place. You can't replace poor leadership and training with a conspiracy. Thanks for stopping by.

Mike's America said...

"I ended up voting for Carter"


I'm glad you learned your lesson. Now, how can we convince these nimrods in 2008 not to sit on their hands and watch Hillary get elected because the GOP candidate isn't perfect?

J_G said...

You said it over at your place Mike, "I dunno". It seems as though people that are looking for the perfect candidate are perfectly willing to lose everything rather than vote for someone that agrees mostly with what we believe. That still baffles the heck out of me. Fellows like Dobson do not help matters when they demand candidates kiss their rings in order to get their endorsement. I'm glad Rudy and Fred came right out and told Dobson to take a hike. I never liked that guy in the first place.

Gayle said...

LOL Jennifer! I've been reading through the comments here and I must agree with you. Not all people from Texas are weasels, but Perot certainly fits that description and so does Ron Paul!

J_G said...

Gayle, It's amazing the similarities between Ron Paul and Ross Perot, their intials are even the same. Ah Ha I think we have discovered a new conspiracy. To compare either of those two to the common weasel does the weasel a terrible injustice.

Mike's America said...

There is certainly a commonality in traits with the Ross Perot nuts and the Ron Paulbots.

God forbid they both end up allowing a Clinton to get elected President!

Skye said...

For what it's worth, Mom admits to voting for Carter and to this day regrets her decision.

I wasn't quite old enough to reach for the ballot lever...