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Voting With Conscience, Not So Easy

In Economy, Education, Home Improvement, Local News, Media, National News, Opinion, Politics, psychology, Religion, Science, sociology, State News, Uncategorized on October 30, 2012 at 8:34 am

 

 

 

 

DEER IN HEADLINES

By Gery L. Deer

In just a few days, Americans will go to the polls to elect a new president or retain the old one for another term. It’s been a heated race almost from the start but now that we’re down to the wire, the candidates are running in a dead heat.

Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama are neck-in-neck in the polls and pounding the pavement in battleground states like Ohio and Virginia, Hurricane Sandy notwithstanding. But with so much negativity – some say far more than in elections past – how will the non-partisan and undecided voter make a choice come November 6? It’s probably going to end up, for most, to be a vote of conscience.

Voting your conscience may not be easy, but it’s often the only way to feel as if you made a difference and chose the candidate that best serves your values and interests. Sometimes, you have to say, “What’s in it for me?”

Unfortunately, it’s hard to say how any individual might benefit from this election especially since most of the campaigning has been about one candidate saying why the other is bad, rather than telling us what he or she is going to do to once in office. Individual benefit will be based on a kind of trickle-down effect depending on which way the national election goes and how much change there is likely to be at the congressional level.

Once again, as noted previously in this column, it’s the local elections to which people should be giving more attention. It’s at the ground level that things actually get done in a way that directly affects the voter, regardless of how much we’d like to believe otherwise.

When weighing the issues of economic distress and job scarcity, the average person only has his or her experiences to call upon for reference. Discussing these problems on a national scale is almost pointless since the changes needed to affect these issues have to occur at the local level. That leaves the voter even more stymied.

Once more, we’re back to voting with our conscience. If you’re undecided, look at the following characteristics of the candidates – whether local or national.

First, is he or she right for the job? Do they give of the ‘air’ of a president or whatever position they intend to hold? Take the time to surf the internet and review video and read speeches they’ve given before and after becoming a candidate for office. Try to see around the fluff and the ‘marketing’ done to promote the candidate and look for threads of the person underneath. Do they seem genuine? Do you think they believe what they’re telling the people?

Do they share your personal values? I’ve long said that it’s simply a bad idea to choose a presidential candidate based on their religious beliefs or because of their take on subjects like abortion. But, when left with a tied score on the business issues, moral issues have to be taken into consideration, so you have little options at that point.

Does the candidate seem to flip-flop, only saying what his people are telling him to say or what he thinks the voters want to hear? Or, do you believe he holds to a set of ideals? This is probably the most important part of choosing a candidate in any election. Most politicians say what they expect the constituents want to hear. If he or she is a republican, conservative ideology comes across more prominently, and the same with being a democrat; the liberal voice will be louder.

But in order to capture a broader audience, the candidates will “pad” their ideology with sprinklings of the other side, or implied agreement with the opposition in small, virtually insignificant ways. This makes them seem more bi-partisan in an attempt to interest the other side.

Voting your conscience is much harder than voting based in facts and issue stance. Try to do your homework before you go to the polls. Choose the candidate you can feel good about supporting throughout their term and remember, no matter who you vote for, get out and vote.

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Is PBS television for rich people? Ask Mitt.

In Children and Family, Education, Entertainment, Health, Media, National News, Opinion, television on October 16, 2012 at 9:22 pm

DEER IN HEADLINES

By Gery L. Deer

Poor Big Bird; he was just walking around Sesame Street minding his own business, collecting a government paycheck – just like Mitt Romney – and the next thing he knew he was the topic of national political debate. The former Massachusetts governor has made it clear he intends to end funding to the Public Broadcasting Service. If he were old enough to vote – and human – he would go to the polls and help re-elect President Obama, if for no other reason than just to keep his job.

Sadness has gripped Hooper’s Store. No one’s buying sodas. Oscar the Grouch is even more cross than ever, and Cookie Monster is so distraught he turned down a plate full of chocolate chip raisin. If that isn’t bad enough, Charlie Rose might have to get a personality and stay on morning news television, evicted forever from his blackened studio.

If Mitt Romney has his way, hard line left wingers will have to find somewhere else to distribute their propaganda besides public television. But, aren’t the republicans the ones who are always saying that PBS is television for rich people? So, if that’s true, shouldn’t Romney be trying to preserve this refuge for every 20-year-old British television show ever produced? Nope. In Romney’s eyes, PBS is a complete and total waste of taxpayer dollars.

Seriously though, make a list of all the wasteful spending Congress will pass in a single year and the resulting torrential flood of pointless programs and pet projects funded in the billions by tax dollars would stagger the imagination. There’s nothing wasteful about PBS and it costs more to fill the presidential limousine once than public television costs the individual taxpayer for a year.

Fact: PBS accounts for only 0.00012 percent of the country’s budget. That’s about $1.35 per person, per year. That’s it. That’s what Romney is saying should be cut from the budget to reduce the deficit. He needs a calculator and some fact checking – something that’s not happening much in the current campaign.

In a country where we underfund schools and undervalue teachers, the American educational system needs all the help it can get and PBS offers that support.

Perhaps a more practical way to ensure the public is getting its money’s worth on PBS is to check over their spending. Paula Kerger, the PBS CEO earns just over $623.000. Is there a need for such a high, six-figure salaries at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting? What about the the political side?

Is the overall message coming from PBS programming too liberally biased? If the tax payers are funding the programs, they should be neutral – fair and unbiased. But that’s not the generally sense.

Most conservatives believe that PBS is harshly liberal, anti-American and catering to the rich, democratic elite. Most liberals think that people who don’t watch Upstairs Downstairs, or PBS Newshour, just for example, are uninformed, unsophisticated and brain dead. Well, there’s probably some truth to both of those statements. But the value of PBS is not in the news or bad English sitcoms.

The majority of those who benefit from public television are underprivileged children. In defense of PBS, commentators and pundits are saying that PBS is one of the most valuable video resources for school teachers and students, providing a type of professionally-made educational programming that is free to the public.

No, Mr. Romney, Big Bird isn’t the problem with the deficit. Your overpaid, over privileged friends in Congress are responsible for the out of control spending. Never do they have to watch a true budget, forever dipping into the bottomless pocket of the suffering tax payer.

Additionally, with all of the economic difficulty befalling the country right now, should the focus of the candidates really be on Big Bird and PBS? It just offers more proof how out of touch both of these candidates are with the problems faced by the regular people of America.

Greene County Combined Health District receives $41,999.99 in Traffic Safety Grants

In Children and Family, Education, Health, Local News, Media, State News, Uncategorized on October 12, 2012 at 7:37 am

Federal Funds from Office of Criminal Justice Services Help Save Lives in Greene County

 

XENIA, OH – Laurie Fox, Greene County’s Safe Communities Coordinator, announced today that the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s (ODPS) Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS) awarded $41,999.99 in federal traffic safety funding to the Greene County Combined Health District’s Safe Communities program for federal
fiscal year 2013.

“Partnerships are critical to the success of any safety effort and we are committed to working with law enforcement and other safety partners to address traffic safety concerns in Greene County,” said Fox.

The Greene County Safe Communities Coalition has identified that lack of seat belt use, motorcycle safety and distracted/impaired driving is impacting the safety and welfare of the citizens of Greene County. To save lives and improve the quality of life for our citizens, the Safe Communities Coalition will use the grant funds to increase awareness about distracted and impaired driving in the local high schools, motorcycle safety, and continue to educate the public on the importance of seat belt use through participation in local festivals, school presentations and other programming.

The funds are passed through OCJS from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to support the efforts of safety partners statewide and focus on traffic safety priority areas such as restraint use, impaired driving, motorcycle safety and youthful drivers.

Competitive grant proposals are accepted and reviewed by OCJS. The FFY 2013 competitive grant process solicited grant proposals from state agencies, non-profit organizations, colleges, universities, hospitals, political subdivisions and other interested groups within selected Ohio counties and jurisdictions (based upon the number of fatal crashes).

For more information about the Office of Criminal Justice Services and statewide efforts to improve safety on Ohio’s roadways, log on to http://www.ocjs.ohio.gov.

Voters can’t handle the truth

In Business, Economy, Education, Local News, Media, National News, Opinion, Politics, State News, Uncategorized on October 9, 2012 at 9:03 am

Deer In Headlines

By Gery L. Deer

Politicians distort the truth and exaggerate facts to elicit effect from an audience. All of them do it. The idea of any candidate being open and honest is not only unbelievable, but would likely bring the American political system to a dead stop.

No one is going to be completely honest and the determination of whether a politician is lying is in the eye of the beholder. Unfortunately die-hard fans of a particular candidate will insist that it’s only the opponent who lies. The hard, cold truth is, they all “lie.”

In the Star Wars film series, mentor Obi Wan Kenobi warns Luke Skywalker that many of the truths we cling to in life depend greatly on our point of view. Nowhere is that a more appropriate statement than in the political ring.

Often, distortion of the facts is an effort to cover uncertainty or a lack of knowledge. No one could possibly provide an answer to every problem and, rather than appear weak or uninformed, a candidate has prepared a neutral response to counter his or her lack of a solution. Voters should learn to read between the lines and determine whether this behavior is a character flaw or the nature of the job.

Sometimes a candidate, in a moment of either clarity or misstep, will betray his or her thoughts. Mitt Romney’s off-the-cuff remarks about the 47-percent of people who will vote for Obama because of the president’s predilection for endorsing entitlement programs is a perfect example of what can happen when a candidate’s true thoughts come to light.

Political candidates are under intense, constant scrutiny. Every word, every step, every mispronounced name can affect their overall image and subsequent performance in polling. Even misspeaking can be inferred as a lie and bring a campaign crashing down at any moment.

No matter how carefully words and phrases are chosen, however, they can still be used out of context to paint a candidate with a single brush stroke. Generally referred to as “sound bites,” the act of hacking up entire speeches into 30-second snippets has become far too common and can lead the listening public to the wrong conclusions.

Along the same concept, political advertising should be focused on informing the public about the intentions of the candidate. Instead, the point of these messages is to tear down the other guy, discrediting the opposition to the point of exclusion. Millions of dollars are poured into these ads just so each campaign can go back and forth on television, radio and on the Internet, just trying to counter the latest round of jabs from the other side.

Print or broadcast, generally the ads follow a simple pattern. One candidate takes a stab at the opponent’s position on something which is then answered from the other side with an accusation of lying about it, followed by some kind of weak rebuttal. But who is actually lying? Once again, that may depend on a point of view.

Developing and keeping on track a strong platform is tough for a political operative in today’s 2-minute news cycle. Since the American voter tends to go on hearsay and emotional preference rather than fact, it’s nearly impossible to maintain a consistent message. Much of the time is spent on damage control, like the president is doing now after his lackluster performance in the first debate.

Still, whether or not a politician lies is almost irrelevant to the modern voter. Americans seem to be more interested in trivial issues than the larger picture, proven by how easily they are distracted from more important problems by garbage issues. One man’s garbage, however, is another man’s treasure; so once again, it’s back to the pesky point of view.

One thing is for certain – all politicians lie. Voters just need to come to terms with how much of that really matters and learn how to separate the facts from the rhetoric.