Friday, October 31, 2008

A Conservative Viewpoint
- Perils Of Voting Your Emotions

Article by Bob Steinburg
- Edenton, North Carolina: Cradle of the Colony

Emotion is defined as a strong feeling about someone or something. Judgment, on the other hand, means having the ability to form sound opinions based on knowledge or at the very least reliable guesses. In this year’s presidential contest, it seems American voters are being guided more by their guts than their heads. How else can one explain the dichotomy between the candidate pollsters and pundits are telling us will likely become the next president and that candidate’s advocacy for fiscal and social positions most Americans have historically rejected?

We’ve all made decisions based purely on emotion. Approaching middle age, I couldn’t stand the idea of getting older. How could this be happening to me? In the interest of somehow convincing myself I could reverse the biological process of aging, I purchased a high powered European sports car with all the bells and whistles. I remember the euphoric feeling I had driving my dream car away from the dealership on that beautiful fall day. With the sun roof open and the music blaring, I sped down the highway saying to myself, “Look at me. I’m not really old.”

In less than five months I found myself suffering from a severe case of buyer’s remorse. I had received three speeding tickets in my new car and ruptured a disc in my lower back by trying to cram my middle-aged and expanding anatomy into a car that in no way was ever built to accommodate it. I had 54 payments left on this chariot. So much for making a decision based solely on emotion.

Emotional decisions and reactions on the part of some may lead to more serious consequences. Failed marriages, lost friendships, bad business or financial decisions, quitting a good job or even getting fired can all result from relying strictly on emotion.

In 1976, America was mad. We were angry and festering wounds from the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal. Vice President Gerald Ford, a man long respected for his honesty and integrity, became the new president in August of 1974 after Nixon stepped down. The following month, he granted Nixon a full and unconditional pardon “in the best interests of the country” and served for another 27 months.

Ford reluctantly agreed to run for president in 1976. Many Americans never forgave him for his pardon of Nixon. His opponent was Jimmy Carter, a one-term governor of Georgia,. Carter campaigned as an outsider and reformer at a time America was seeking change. At one point, polls showed Carter leading Ford by 33 points.

In the closing weeks Ford closed the gap to within two points by Election Day, primarily by painting Carter as lacking the necessary experience to be president. Had fewer than 25,000 votes shifted in Ohio and Wisconsin, Ford would have been elected. That emotional decision to go with an unknown, inexperienced newcomer over the proven and more experienced legislator resulted in double-digit inflation. This led to high unemployment and interest rates that peaked at 21.5 percent. Ford was not Nixon and was never accused of any wrongdoing. But voters turned away from him and entrusted the presidency to someone who they knew so little about.

This year the Democrats are attempting to morph John McCain into George W. Bush. Democrats are juxtaposing McCain with Bush to suggest McCain’s presidency will be an extension of the Bush years. It’s hard to see the connections other than both are Republicans. Yes, McCain supports winning in Iraq but he can never be accused of being a reckless spender. McCain is a reformer who has spent his career fighting against earmarks and excessive pork barrel spending. It’s unlikely those pet projects would be curtailed in an Obama presidency that has proposed a trillion dollars in new spending.

In contrasting McCain and Obama, here are a few specific things to think about before casting your vote.

Energy: McCain favors off-shore drilling and the expansion of nuclear power. Obama does not.

Judiciary: McCain favors judges who interpret the Constitution as written. Obama will appoint judges who will rule from the bench.

Experience: McCain has 22 years in the Senate. Obama has served less than four years, two of which have been spent running for president.

Right-to-Life: McCain opposes abortion. Obama supports abortion throughout pregnancy including partial-birth abortion.

The War: McCain authored the surge, which has turned the tide of the war in Iraq. Obama refuses to even acknowledge the surge is working.

Immigration: McCain is opposed to blanket amnesty that would automatically bestow citizenship on the 12 million illegal aliens estimated to be living here. Obama is an advocate for some form of amnesty that will add billions of dollars to our already overburdened Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and welfare systems.

McCain is in favor of establishing English as the nation’s legal language and voted to support it. Obama voted against it.

Capital Gains Tax: McCain- zero percent on sales of all homes up to $500,000. Obama-28 percent tax on all profit from any home sale, including the homes of those planning to downsize for retirement. Under Obama’s plan, a $200,000 profit from the sale of your home would result in up to up $56,000 in taxes.

Inheritance tax: McCain is opposed to it while Obama is in favor of reinstating it.

These are but a few of the differences between the two candidates seeking to become our next president. Our nation is at a pivotal social and fiscal crossroad. Your vote this year requires more than emotions. This isn’t simply about “choosing hope over fear.” It’s about using good judgment based on the facts.

I have not been a strong supporter of John McCain, however I have always considered him a patriot and a hero. John is probably the single best candidate we could have on the issue of fighting the war we currently find ourselves in. Islamo-fascism must be defeated or we will see the nuclear war that we avoided during the cold war coming to our shores and cities. I, for one, do to want to wake up one morning and watch the morning news shows covering the consequences of nuclear bombs going off in our cities. That is our future if Barack Obama is made President.

Good article Bob.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Carpenter’s Tools
- Coming Soon!

Article by Pastor Wallace Phillips
- Ahoskie, NC

I received a notice from Pastor Phillips that he will be restarting his famous column this week. I am delighted to hear that and pledge you will be able to read them all right here on the Chowan River Patriot. Check back soon.

Please visit us on the web at or

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Conservative Viewpoint
- Trying To Separate Church And State

Article by Bob Steinburg
- Edenton, North Carolina: Cradle of the Colony

The First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution prohibits any infringement on the Freedom of Speech for individuals and the Press. It also prohibits the U. S. Congress from making laws respecting an establishment of religion. In the case of religion there will be no state interference with the functions of the church and no church interference in the functions of the state.

I support the Constitution and I’m not advocating changing any part of the first amendment. Early immigrants to the American colonies came here primarily to be able to worship freely. Many were victims of religious persecution in Europe. The desire to follow their individual religious conscience as to how to worship and honor their deity was fundamental to the eventual establishment and inclusion of Congress’ mandate not to establish a national religion.

A recent ABC News poll found that 83 percent of Americans identify themselves as Christians. There are varying degrees of commitment among them but the basic tenet of all Christian faith is that HE (Jesus Christ) leads and we follow. Christians are committed to that at baptism and reaffirm it when attending weekly worship services and Bible study. But how seriously do they consider what they truly believe when stepping into the voting booth?

While freedom to worship without government intervention exists, how do Christians like me reconcile our votes with our conscience? Will we compartmentalize the very essence of what we believe; to simply justify pulling the lever for one candidate or the other? Are we so caught up in the secular world that we compromise our values to the point of forsaking those beliefs?

The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. said we should not judge someone by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Although this unfortunately hasn’t always been the case in America, it too is a tenet of Christianity. Sadly there are those who call themselves Christian who continue to struggle with racism. In fact there are millions of Blacks and Whites who will choose who they will vote for simply because of the color of that candidate’s skin. That means, regardless of the outcome of this years presidential election, as a nation we’ll lose. Once again we’ll have lost sight of what really matters- the future direction of our nation.

Now I don’t know John McCain or Barrack Obama. Most Americans who vote on November 4th won’t know them either. But at this point in the campaign those who have been listening have a fairly good idea as to where each stands on the issues. Regardless of who wins one thing is certain; there will be change. Our economy is in trouble and both candidates have a plan for a course correction.

Economists argue over which candidate’s strategy has a better chance of working. McCain believes any plan that imposes further taxes on any segment of our society would negatively impact any chance this nation has of escaping our current economic doldrums; and in fact, will push this nation into full-fledged depression. Although Obama’s government mandated income redistribution plan might sound fair to some, it may lead to troubling consequences for a nation already suffering from debt overload. Taking any economic steps that could ultimately lead to a further escalation of a socialistic entitlement bureaucracy that steals incentive and innovation from a country that sorely needs it is dangerous. A Christian is taught to help all those who are in need. But what about personal responsibility; is it no longer relevant?

The two candidates for president have conflicting views on other issues that I and other conservatives wrestle with. Like most Christians I am pro-life. I’ve been taught life begins at conception. I cannot understand how those who are pro-choice can reject that. Life simply does not begin when the doctor whacks the baby on the behind. And Partial-birth abortion is a heinous medical procedure that has no place in any society. McCain is pro-life and Obama pro-choice. As a Christian I must vote my faith and conscience.

The next president will be appointing a minimum of one and perhaps three new justices to the Supreme Court. It is here where the future course for America will be ultimately decided. Obama is an advocate for liberal judges who will legislate from the bench while McCain will use no litmus test. Rather he promises to nominate judges who interpret laws based on the Constitution. Gay marriage, human cloning and second amendment right to bear arms challenges will be decided here. We’re already seeing the results of federal courts imperiously striking down laws and imposing new ones on arbitrary whims. This is the most important reason to choose your candidate carefully. A president may only serve a maximum of eight years. His appointments to the bench serve a lifetime.

While Christians represent the overwhelming majority of the citizenry, our courts have relegated us to submit to the will of the few. We’ve been forced to bend backwards to acknowledge every culture and belief but our own. Political correctness is the mantra of the progressive global thinkers who believe that this world should be nothing more than a group of individualists doing and saying whatever they like. Tolerance is necessary in any civilized society-but only up to a point. When tolerance includes being forced to accept even those things that are vile and evil, than the very existence of our nation is in grave jeopardy. It was the Greek philosopher Aristotle who said, “Tolerance is the virtue of a dying society.” World history clearly shows that he was right. As a Christian I will vote my conscience, my faith and my love of country.

There may be many good reasons for the “wall of separation” between church and state. But checking your Christian values at the door before you cast your vote was never the intention of our Founding Fathers.

God granted us Free Will. Jesus charged us with Compassion and Charity. I agree with Bob that God and Jesus can guide us in our choices. However there are a few efforts by Christians to get laws passed that turn over to the state the suppression of sin, rather than actions that harm another. I abhor and oppose these efforts. I believe we would have less opposition to Conservative and Libertarian principals if those of us who support our views actually practiced a little more Christian charity and respect for the Free Will granted by God in the laws we seek.