I've followed the presidential election process in this country for a number of years. Because of my particular career path, I suspect I have followed elections closer than most readers. That most certainly doesn't make me any smarter on the ebb and flow of the political process; it just makes me a bystander who has followed the game closer than most. Let's just leave it at that.
Like Hillary Clinton, I went door-to-door for Barry Goldwater in 1964. When I decided to volunteer, I doubled the Goldwater team in Scott County. That's right - exactly two people showed up to hand out campaign literature. That should have told me something right then and there.
As a pony-tailed college student of the '60s, my political leanings were less-
focused and my energies devoted to staying in school and avoiding the draft. I'm not necessarily proud of those care-free days because I know of friends who opted for military service. I applaud them and hold them in high esteem. It was simply not the path I chose.
After college and into a career in newspapering, I became much more involved in the process of politics. A big part of our business is covering the issues that our lawmakers are discussing. I worked on local, regional, state and national elections. I won a few and lost a few. And in the process, I learned a great deal about what makes the political machine work. And what doesn't.
I am a conservative. I believe in a smaller government and more personal responsibility. I believe in a safety net for those truly in need and a swift kick in the tail for those who want a handout instead of a job. I believe government should not control my religious beliefs but that does not include removing God from all walks of life - public or private. And I believe it is well past time that other countries solve their own problems and not rely on our soldiers and our tax dollars to clean up their messes.
Having said all of that, I think I am witnessing the absolute worst crop of candidates seeking the highest office in this land since I first began this strange journey through the world of politics. I am a proud Republican yet those words get harder to say each and every day. I have no qualms at all about voting for a Democrat and have more than you might think. But the crop of Democrats seeking the presidency is - in a word - frightening. I don't use that word lightly either. The likely prospect of either Obama or Clinton concerns me beyond words. Yet there is not one single Republican who has sparked enough excitement to make me think they stand a snowball's chance in hell of success.
So where does that leave a frustrated conservative who has been all but abandoned by the Republican party yet fears the drift to socialism that is about to transpire? Well, it makes you want to take your toys and go home. It doesn't motivate you to action nor inspire you to a greater good. It just scares the hell out of you.
History will not be kind to the past eight years in this nation. Frankly, I couldn't care less. I'm much more concerned not about history but about the next decade in the lives of we Americans.
Here's what very likely is in that next decade. Illegal immigration will absolutely swamp this nation to a level beyond which we cannot and will not succeed. The government will recognize the growing dismal plight of millions and try to spend more on federal programs to address those needs. Those attempts will fail again as they have in the past. A centralized government cannot solve all of our problems. It simply creates more problems and pushes those costs to the very people who work and toil each day to improve their lives and the lives of their families. And when these people - you and I - can no longer provide all of the taxes needed to support this expanded government, we'll face a problem that has no solution.
The conservatives can say "we told you so" but there will be no one left to listen.