Tuesday, October 16, 2012

United States of America, Divided States of America?

My mom is a life long Democrat and Bill Clinton fan. She was invited to one of his inaugurations and proudly displays his invitation on her wall. My mom lives in Arkansas and that is where I am from, too.

A long time ago, at then Governor Bill Clinton's 31st birthday, I was the sole bartender at his private birthday party, put on by his staff. One of then Governor Clinton's State Police officers used to come into the bar that I worked at when I was 21 years old. He is the one who put me in as the bartender at that private event.

I can remember how tall he was compared to me back then and also what he drank. He only had one drink that night and it was a gin and tonic. I was real shy back then and unfortunately, I guess I am still shy even today. We didn't talk much back then, the Governor and I. It is not that I was in awe of him or anything. It was more my treatment of popular people. I have always looked at popular people as just like anyone else, except they are popular and have taken steps to achieve what they have achieved. I have never been one to ask for autographs or have my picture taken with any celebrities. In my mind, these popular people would like a break from that kind of stuff, so I left him alone.

During this private party, when he came to the bar to order a drink, it was because he was taking a break from the festivities. He didn't appear to like all the attention, as strange as that sounds. He came to the bar to get away from the attention. Of course, that is totally opposite of the former President today.

When Bill Clinton won the presidency the first time, as an Arkansan, we were all proud of him, regardless whether or not we would admit it in public. Funny thing back then, no one would ever admit that they voted for Bill Clinton around Little Rock, but he always seem to win. Well, with one exception when he raised the license plate fees. People in Arkansas did not like that and replaced him with Republican Frank White. I truly believe that this taught him a valuable lesson as a politician. He learned that he was the Governor of 100% of the people, not just his supporters. When he was President, he reached across the aisle and worked with Newt Gingrich and the Republicans to get some things done.

Today, I look around and see a lot of vitriolic talk. Are we the United States of America or the Divided States of America? I am not sure how this has happened, but I for one, prefer the United States of America.

I am a Conservative, but I vote for the people that I believe are the best for the job. Some of my friends are Democrats and some are Republicans. The same is true of our clients. I respect people for being Democrats and understand perfectly why they are Democrats.

Firefighters, Policemen, Teachers and others have primarily been Democrats in the past and that is just the way it is. My biological father was the Chief of Police when he died. I am sure he was a Democrat. I am Catholic and historically, Catholics have been Democrats primarily because of their belief in helping others through charitable endeavors. I am not so sure if that is the case today, however.

One of my clients is a firefighter and a great friend of mine. He knows that I am a Conservative, but that doesn't matter to him. I respect him for his political position and certainly do not let that mar our friendship. Why should I?

My mom is still a Democrat today. Do you think I should quit speaking to my mom, because she is a Democrat? How silly that would be.

Not too long ago, we had a choice for a new mayor here in Jacksonville, Florida. Since, I majored in Criminal Justice, I have a keen interest in crime and criminal activities in our town. There is a certain area of town, specifically Northwest Jacksonville that is where a lot of crime takes place. Sadly, it is mostly black on black crime over stupid things like one guy looked at another guys girlfriend and got killed for it.

When the race for mayor came about, we had this young black man named Alvin Brown running for the office. In my mind, even though he was a Democrat, I felt that the city of Jacksonville needed a good role model for the blacks in our city. In addition, this man was more of a bipartisan politician. In other words, he would reach across the aisle to get things done. I voted for him. I know his Chief Financial Officer from my former position as Branch Manager at Charles Schwab. Ronnie Belton is a great guy and is in a tough spot. Poor Ronnie has to be the bad guy and present the budget.

Like other cities, counties and states across the country, the City of Jacksonville has to adhere to a balanced budget. In other words, there needs to be some sacrifices from the police, firefighters and teachers. These groups all thought that the status quo would remain the same with Mayor Brown, but boy were they shocked when their department got their pink slips. You should have heard the whining in the local Times Union newspaper.

The days of one group of people getting everything they want at the expense of taxpayers is over, if what is going on in Jacksonville is any indication. Not only are we going to have to tackle the budgets of our cities, counties and states, we must tackle the issue of our national debt. We simply cannot go forward into the future without some sacrifices from everyone. I understand that no one likes changes being forced upon them, but we need significant changes nevertheless.

People on the far left would say since I am a Conservative, then I must be racist and a bigot. No Conservative racist would ever vote for a black mayor. No Conservative bigot would have ever voted for Bill Clinton. No Conservative bigot would have friends that are policemen, firefighters and teachers. The truth is that I am an American in the United States of America and I want what is best for my city, my county, my state and my country, regardless of the fact that I am a Conservative.

Do not let the vitriol sway your opinion.

We need to be the United States of America, not the Divided States of America. Vote accordingly.