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Principles Witnessed in Any Caucus

March 10th, 2009 by Steven Gardner

The Kitsap County Republican Party sent out an invitation this week for a gathering to watch the “We Surround Them” show as part of “The Glenn Beck Program .

It’s not an official party event and it isn’t limited to Republicans, but in some ways it does show some of the emphasis being exerted by Sandra LaCelle, the party’s new county chairwoman.

LaCelle didn’t know a lot about the program itself, but said it seemed like one way to get Republicans and other like-minded people together on a grass roots level. Later efforts could include getting local party members involved in local service, such as making deliveries of donated food to food banks. The party may not have much say in government right now, but it doesn’t have to be mute or lie low.

Beck’s program has been advertised nationally as one for those who don’t agree with the current direction of the country.

LaCelle herself said she isn’t “totally against government involvement,” but in the case of President Barack Obama and the Democratically controlled Congress, “I just think we’re going too far.” She worries the current programs will place too much of a financial burden on future generations. And she draws on her experience as an attorney having witnessed families who pass down a culture of welfare generation to generation. “What I fear most is an entire generation of people dependent on government programs for a living,” she said.

The little bit of information available about Friday’s program centers on nine principles and 12 values. The writers on the Web site say, “If you believe in at least seven of them, then we have something in common.”

Frankly, I know many on the left who would conceivably believe in all nine. In fact, I’m going to provide a quote for most of the nine principles that I think demonstrates how the left could make the same argument that’s being made by the program slated for Friday.

1. America is good.
“In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned.” — Barack Obama, Inauguration speech.

2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.
“Accepting Jesus Christ in my life has been a powerful guide for my conduct and my values and my ideals.” — Barack Obama, Christianity Today

3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.
“Our challenges may be new, the instruments with which we meet them may be new, but those values upon which our success depends, honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths.” — Barack Obama, Inauguration Speech

4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.
“Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives, we are reminded today that family is the most important.” — Barack Obama, Father’s Day speech.

5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.
“As Democrats we are committed to being smart on crime. That means being tough on violent crime, funding strategic and effective commmunity policing and holding offenders accountable . . . “Democratic Party Platform

6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.
“These education policies will open the doors of opportunity for our children. But it is up to us to ensure they walk through them. In the end, there is no program or policy that can substitute for a parent — for a mother or father who will attend those parent/teacher conferences, or help with homework, or turn off the TV, put away the video games, read to their child. I speak to you not just as a President, but as a father, when I say that responsibility for our children’s education must begin at home. That is not a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. That’s an American issue.” — Barack Obama, address to Congress on Feb. 24.

7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.
On this one I won’t put a quote, because it is both right and wrong. For one, we’re talking degrees here. Government can and does force charity, because your taxes go to pay for things that go far, far beyond sharing “it with who I want to.” Technically, paying for public education when you don’t have kids is charity, and I know people who think the costs of education should lie on the backs of parents. Now, if you’re talking about government not forcing you to be “charitable” in the emotional sense, I agree. They can take your money and make you work, but they can’t force you to feel good about it.

8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.
I won’t put one here either, because for the last seven years and four months of the last presidential administration the ones who would have yelled this principle the loudest were on the left.

9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.
“And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account, to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day, because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.” — Barack Obama — Inauguration speech.

My point in this laborious process is to show you that people who differ politically can both claim to hold true to the same principles. Where the real differences are lie in the details. Most of the time, I think it’s a matter of degrees. Both Democrats and Republicans honor the free market and government intervention, but they differ in degrees. The folks who will go to the events Friday are probably are in line with LaCelle’s comment, “I just think we’re going too far.”

There will be two watching parties in Kitsap County. The program begins at 2 p.m., but people are invited to start gathering as early as 1 p.m. Group discussion might occur afterward.

One will be at the 19th Hole Tavern at 2171 Erlands Point Road in Central Kitsap. The other is at Trophy Lake Golf and Casting at 3900 SW Lake Flora Road in South Kitsap.

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28 Responses to “Principles Witnessed in Any Caucus”

  1. Colleen Smidt Says:

    I love Glenn. Two things I do everyday they are available. Read the Kitsap Sun (of which I pay for a subscription) and watch the Glenn Beck show (which is on 6 days a week).

    Steven, it’s not about the difference in believing the end result or “principle”, which you have clearly shown has little difference, in its most basic definition, between each side. It’s really all about the differences between what the left and right values that influence the decision making process and the manner of implementation of those decisions on the path to the end result or “principle”.

    Recently I have seen a significant reduction in tolerance for the “ends always justify the means” mentality on both sides. Especially on some very key local issues I have been involved with.

  2. Jake Metcalf Says:

    I don’t watch TV and I never would pay for cable so I don’t watch Glenn Beck.

    We need a public government of the people for the people to promote the public good and take care of the most needy in our society because the only thing driving the “Free Market” is the pursuit of profit and greed. The unregulated market does not serve the common good and it is the global race to the bottom and a one way trip to extreme poverty. It didn’t work for Hoover, it didn’t work for Bush and it is not going to work now.

    The consistent “Red baiting” just shows you how out of touch the republican political extremists are with the modern political times.

    We never have had a free market in the US. Gore Vidal once said that in the US we have Socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor.

  3. Colleen Smidt Says:

    “We need a public government of the people for the people to promote the public good and take care of the most needy in our society because the only thing driving the “Free Market” is the pursuit of profit and greed.”

    “the most needy” Yes. Everyone? NO! Needy because of stupidity, crime, greed or laziness? NO!

    What is the definition of “needy”? Are you needy because someone has a marginally better existence or situation than your own? Are you “needy” because you refuse to make choices that could improve your personal situation? But because others have made choices that include sacrifices in the short term for their overall betterment in the long term, that makes you needy?

    Political extremists are out of touch on both sides. Economic envy has been around since the beginning of time. No amount of government control or intervention will ever be able to “regulate it” out of the human existence. Only responsibility and accountability at the most basic individual personal level will have any affect whatsoever on its possible reduction.

  4. Jake Metcalf Says:

    Who is needy? I would say people living below the poverty line.
    http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/08Poverty.shtml

    “No amount of government control or intervention will ever be able to “regulate it” out of the human existence.”
    Really then why is the poverty rate of Western Europe so low?

  5. Colleen Smidt Says:

    “Who is needy? I would say people living below the poverty line.”

    I would agree.

    But is someone who is on the verge of foreclosure, due to their individual (greedy) economic choices to have a house they could not afford or to have continually drawn on that homes equity in an unstable bubble market, be defined as “needy”?

    Should crushing taxes be implemented on myself and my family for being marginally more successful by having made good long term choices in a free market environment? Should the implementation of these crushing taxes be for the sole purpose of insulating those who made greedy bad choices from the economic ramifications of their mistakes in the name of “fairness”?

    As far as Western Europe goes, show me where being given a government regulated hand out to reduce “poverty” has completely eliminated all forms of economic envy, in its population, towards those individuals who are more affluent or successful. Also, how many personal freedoms have they given up in exchange for the handout?

    Personally I have been poor but free and I would not ever consider giving up my freedom to be wealthy and enslaved.

    Some of the most important lessons I have learned in life have risen up from the ashes of my adversity. I have been the “poor kid” whose parents sometimes did not have enough money to send me on field trips or to camp with the other kids. Fortunately there were others in the community who stepped forward to help myself and my family. It is to my great pleasure that I am now in a position to do the same for others. Just recently I told an educator regarding an upcoming field trip, ”just give me a number of the kids whose families cannot pay. I do not want to know who they are and they do not need to know who I am. Just give me the number and I will write a check”. I not only wrote the check I went on the field trip with the kids and I saw what it meant personally to all of them to be there and have ALL of their classmates there. No amount of government interference or regulation can replicate the true sense of humanity and community that both the giver and the receiver experience. In fact it would have been just the opposite, government interference and regulation would have robbed and denied me, at a young age, of this very important life lesson which has helped to define me and has inspired me to be a continually active participant in my community.

  6. Sharon O'Hara Says:

    I wouldn’t normally do this but my g’daughter sent me a Facebook piece… its really incredible. The human spirit is …..

    http://www.guzer.com/videos/are-you-going-to-finish-strong.php

  7. Sharon O'Hara Says:

    “We need a public government of the people for the people to promote the public good and take care of the most needy in our society because the only thing driving the “Free Market” is the pursuit of profit and greed.”

    Wrong Jake.

    My parents were immigrants. They came to this country because there was nothing for them in their homeland at that time.

    America was the fabled land of the free.
    A place of opportunity where hard work paid off…where a person could make a living to support their family, own a home and have a good life.

    America was a place that valued intelligence, imagination and hard work.

    My father worked days and went to night school to learn English. No one picked up the tab.

    When my mother was hurt my father kept his day job but took jobs every night and on week-ends as a carpenter.

    We saw our dad at 5:00pm at the dinner table where, if we were lucky, the five of us shared a can of Spam my mother fixed with brown sugar, butter and little cloves tucked into the corners of the criss cross marks at the top of the Spam.

    Sundays, the three of us kids sprawled on the floor in the living room reading the Seattle PI comics. Our parents sat in chairs above us talking about the news for an hour or so until dad went out on another job.

    It took my parents almost twenty years to pay off Swedish Hospital (two exploratory surgeries) and her doctors.

    We didn’t know we were poor but I suppose we were. No one offered charity knowing it would be an insult and not well received.

    Vacations?
    ” We didn’t know what they were other than our school friends seemed to go places every summer.
    My best friend, Judy… went to the Grand Canyon with her family one summer and told of the wonderous things she had seen.

    About thirty years later I went on a ten day raft trip down the Colorado River…right through the Grand Canyon.
    I paid for the trip with money I earned and saved.

    America used to be about the freedom to be the best we can be…the ‘Free Market’ I grew up in and believed in living in a poor family that had faith in God and hard work.

    Now you want Socialism… to take away from individual effort to take care of ourselves – to be responsible for ourselves and willingly help those trying to help themselves.

    The occasional helping hand is needed by most of us at one point in our lives…and in turn pass it on to others when the time comes.

    Jake, you needn’t worry.

    The immigrants, the people I knew and loved, would never come to the country you are trying to turn America into. There would be no hope for them to better themselves in such a place.

    In my opinion…. Sharon O’Hara

  8. Mother Earth Says:

    ‘Really then why is the poverty rate of Western Europe so low?”

    Jacob,

    Don’t you think that if the political machines really wanted to end poverty in the U.S. that they would have done so already? Just think if we would have given the money that has spent on the 45 year “War On Poverty” to poor people and they invested it, what their lives would be like?

    Lets face it, the political parties need poor people, especially the left. Do you really think the democrats would be in power if everyone were doing well? If only this was a perfect world…

    Speaking of poverty, when I lived in the Philippines during the mid 80′s, the average income was around $800US PER YEAR (it’s up to about $1900US now). My wife’s family made around $600US per year. I guess poverty is all relative.

    We are so lucky to live in the greatest country on earth. “Free” public education and opportunity for success to all who really want it and work hard for it. No wonder people risk their lives to come to America and do well.

    I wouldn’t trade our way of life for all of Western Europe.

  9. Kathryn Simpson Says:

    Very well said, Colleen.

    It is not the role of government to protect us from our bad choices. It is the role of government to protect the innocent and those unable to protect themselves. The rest of us should learn from our experiences and take care of ourselves.

    I was in foster care during my last two years of high school. A few days after first semester ended in January, 1982, the social worker assigned to my case arrived at my foster home and told me that I had two weeks to find my own place to live and I would then be on my own. I had turned 18 the prior October, but was told I could stay in foster care until I graduated from high school (on track to graduate in June with my peers). The social worker found out that I had sufficient credits to graduate in January and decided that she “needed the bed” for another child, so, I didn’t really need those “extra” credits of the second semester before graduation.

    I was a pretty good kid, who ran from a very tough situation at home, and who was fortunate enough to land in foster care instead of on the streets so I could finish high school and have half a chance at a successful life. Ironically, had I failed a couple of classes, I wouldn’t have had sufficient credits in January and could have stayed in foster care until June.

    Anyway, I got a place of my own, was fortunate enough to have a job lined up, and was on my own for the four months before I graduated high school. What a learning curve, what a curse, what a blessing. I learned to be self-reliant. I learned to work hard to put food on my own table. I learned to budget. I learned that life can hand you a tough deal, but that I could be tougher and better for it. I learned that what I learned in high school came in handy in the real world. Most of all, I learned that if I made good choices then good things would happen.

    Let us quit bailing out businesses that fail. Let us quit bailing out people who make poor choices. Let us fund the priorities of government first and let the chips fall where they may for those of us who are able bodied and capable of being adults.

    Regards,
    Kathryn Simpson

  10. Mary A. Colborn Says:

    The one thing that the Right never talks about is the amount of corporate welfare payments given out in our country, and the extent of the avoidance by those who rely on corporate welfare to avoid paying their fair share. You could call it “good decisions in a free market society,” I suppose, but what should you really call the people who avoid paying their fair share of taxes and instead funnel their money in off shore bank accounts? What do you call Maddoff (sp) and Kenneth Lay and all the others. I am not saying that they are all Republicans, because we saw how many nominated democrats fail to pay taxes, as well, but they are all thieves.

    As for being a foster kid, I am sorry you experienced such trauma. There is currently a program that helps foster kids attend college for free.

  11. Colleen Smidt Says:

    “The one thing that the Right never talks about is the amount of corporate welfare payments given out in our country”

    Mary, what do you think the recent bank bailouts, the auto manufacture bailouts and a large portion of the stimulus package is? It is state funded welfare for privately held corporations. And you say the “right” is not talking about it. “Everyone” is talking about it…Come on…..

    “I am not saying that they are all Republicans, because we saw how many nominated democrats fail to pay taxes, as well, but they are all thieves.”

    Mary, here is a story you might find interesting about another one of Obama’s “picks” that came out today. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090312/ap_on_go_ot/dc_office_fbi . So I agree with you to a certain extent, many of our elected or appointed leaders do not pass the smell test.

    Trying to make either one of these issues a “political party” debate seems rather ridiculous. If you want to have a discussion about wasteful spending or criminals, then let’s have that discussion. Generalized name calling has only helped get us where we are. Which has basically been reduced to bickering over political party stereotypes and talking points. How about we let our values and principles define us? How about we have conversations driven by our values and principles? How about we leave the party crap out of it?

  12. Karen Says:

    This is for Sharon. I think she’ll appreciate it.

    Subject: An Obituary Printed in the London Times

    An Obituary printed in the London Times – Interesting and sadly rather true.

    Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
    – Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
    – Why the early bird gets the worm;
    – Life isn’t always fair;
    – and maybe it was my fault.

    Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge). His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

    Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

    Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

    Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

    Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

    Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

    He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers;
    I Know My Rights
    I Want It Now
    Someone Else Is To Blame
    I’m A Victim

    Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

  13. Sharon O'Hara Says:

    Ah Karen. A wise girl, you hit the nail on the head.

    Hope is around too and insists that good buddy, Common Sense will be back.
    I hope so.
    Sharon O’Hara

  14. Mary A. Colborn Says:

    I have always seen and heard that term “common sense” used to support an anti-intellectualism stance. I have heard and seen it used as a weapon to attack people with education and defend a lack thereof, as in: “They think they’re smart, but they ain’t got no common sense,” “Or, I got my education from the school of hard knocks,” “Or, they may be educated, but they’re so dumb, they ain’t got the common sense of a…..”

    As a parent of and advocate for gifted children, I always cringe when people pull the term out. It just seems to lead to bashing of people whose minds work differently – maybe more creatively and less linearly.

    While I am not implying that Karen meant it as a weapon here, it’s how I have seen the term used.

    As far as education goes, I am a firm believer in personal responsibility. Unlike Colleen, who rants for pages about the state of our schools, I don’t give our school systems credit or discredit for the success and/or failure of our children. I believe such responsibility resides with parents. Just as I think it is foolish to turn over one’s health to doctors and hospitals, I think it is foolish to turn over a child’s education to schools and teachers.

  15. Karen Says:

    Sorry, Mary, there is no way you can turn my post into a partisan issue or a logical elitist/egalitarian argument.

    As a parent of “gifted children”, I cringe when people use the word “gifted”.

  16. Colleen Smidt Says:

    Mary, you really are not very good at reading what is actually said. If you go back and read my “rants” as you call them, you will see that most of them center or are focused on parents and community members lack of participation and involvement in the education system on muliple levels. Are your arms tired? Because you are really “reaching” with everyone here today.

    Karen and Sharon, I think common sense is still around, he is just not getting enough exercise.

  17. Karen Says:

    Public Education has some health issues, too. There are people who don’t think it’s terminal and aren’t willing to stand by and watch it die. That’s why they “rant” as you call it. I think they’re going to go down fighting. I hope so.

    Did you watch the President’s speech? Did you see Arne Duncan on the Charlie Rose show on Wednesday night? You should watch it if you haven’t. There’s always more to learn.

  18. Registered Voter Says:

    Steven, the title of this one was spot on. Many great comments here (go Colleen!).

    And no surprise regarding those who chose to interject partisanship.

  19. Colleen Smidt Says:

    Thanks RV….very much appreciated! I am mentally picking myself up off the floor right now.

  20. Registered Voter Says:

    Musical chairs casualty? ;-)

  21. Colleen Smidt Says:

    While I will admit to the occasional games being played in my office, musical chairs is usually not on the list. You just surprised me thats all. In a good way.

  22. Registered Voter Says:

    Credit or challenge where due is how I roll. It’s a relief to see a larger share of posters making sense.

  23. Kathryn Simpson Says:

    Karen,

    When public education dies, democracy will die. Freedom is built on the ability to make choices of one’s own accord. That ability requires education.

    Colleen,

    Just goes to show that there is far more common ground out there than some partisan pundits would have us believe. Speaks again to the power of education and people being able to understand the issues for themselves. ;-)

    RV,

    “How I roll”? I don’t know why, but that terminology surprises me from you and made me laugh (not at you, just a surprised laugh).

    Mary,

    Being a foster kid wasn’t the trauma. But thank you for your concern. While it is magnamous to offer foster children higher education scholarships, I don’t think foster kids ought to get a place at the head of the scholarship line simply because they were foster kids. There are many kids from very good homes that live on the edge of poverty, whose parents can’t afford to help with college, who find a way to fulfill their college dreams. It bothers me that some can jump the line on scholarship for reasons other than their own good choices and academic merit.

    Oh, and I firmly believe that every child is born into this world gifted and capable of great things. ;-)

    Regards,
    Kathryn Simpson

  24. Kathryn Simpson Says:

    Karen,

    I forgot to add that I appreciated your comments, which sparked my comment to you. When I reread what I just posted, it didn’t seem to come off that way, so I wanted to clarify. :-)

    Regards,
    Kathryn Simpson

  25. Sharon O'Hara Says:

    “…One will be at the 19th Hole Tavern at 2171 Erlands Point Road”

    Not that it matters but why hold such a meeting at a tavern filled with noisy, happy, boisterous folks?
    Just asking… Sharon O’Hara

  26. Karen Says:

    No worries, Kathryn, you’re always respectful and professional with me and I’m not always with you. I appreciate that you don’t take it personally and cut me some slack.

  27. donna Says:

    I had to laugh when I saw this. While flailing around Meetup site, trying to contact the We Surround them organizer, I did go to the KC Republican site. You meet in a secret place, I guess, because you had to be a member to attend a meeting. I went to another Republican site and there was the invite to the Lincoln Day dinner. Nada about “we surround them” get together. I think you guys missed the boat in more ways than one. I sat in the wagon in Silverdale pre election and would have done more if there had not been a mixup in scheduling, made my name known about my interest. Not a word from you guys. By the way, the Chico site was standing room only and that meant that We had to go elsewhere to sit and eat. It was a disappointment, but shows that people are out there and ready to do something. I found http://www.ourcaucus.com. I suggest that you all go up there and watch the videos and learn why we are a mess. Very educational for me. My husband announced that he is no longer Republican, but independent.

  28. Registered Voter Says:

    “How I roll”? I don’t know why, but that terminology surprises me from you and made me laugh (not at you, just a surprised laugh).

    Yes, well…I’m full of surprises. ;-)

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