Monday, October 27, 2008

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

An article I read yesterday out of Provo, Utah –
One of the nation’s most conservative universities now has just as many College Democrats as College Republicans.
There are about 1,200 Brigham Young University students signed up in each group, which are sponsored by the school’s political science department.
In September, the Democrats had about 700 students. But within the first few weeks of classes, membership nearly doubled as the presidential campaign heated up. The Democrats have come a long way – 15 years ago their club had seven members.

Have aliens landed in Provo, Utah and taken over the once conservative minds of its young ones, turning them over to the “Dark Side” as it were, turning them into what North Carolina Rep. Robin Hayes recently told a crowd, “liberals {that} hate real Americans that work and achieve and believe in God” ?

I have another, more reasonable explanation that I will again quote from a book I read from recently, Why I’m a Democrat, edited by Susan Mulcahy, as to maybe why more people, of all ages, are moving away from the once Grand Old Party.

At its best, the Democratic Party has always been the party in which ordinary people could have their voices heard and their interests represented and in which each individual is honored for who they are. Like many Democrats, I like to refer to myself as a “progressive,” because that term communicates not merely a laundry list of issue positions but the animating spirit that binds us together. The belief in progress – the faith that things can be better, that we can solve the problems that vex our nation, that though we will experience tragedies and setbacks the future is where our best days lie – makes a Democrat a Democrat. Republicans can be relied on to look backward, to argue that the answer to any current ill can be found in a return to an imagined Edenic past in which strict hierarchies were enforced and people knew their place, where shame and fear kept everyone in check. But Democrats are different.

And to that I must add, Waa-hoo...


Jen said...

That is an interesting fact that there are now a great number of democrats at BYU. I'm not surprised. I had the "privilidge" of being friends with the President of Young Democrats while I was there. It always gave for some pretty interesting discussions.

I think it is unfair to say that republicans are looking backwards. I believe in capitalism, and capitalism is what creates, not govt programs. Advances in medicine, technology, industry etc. do not come from big govt. (with the exception of maybe the space program where we get some pretty incredible inventions) How is the democratic party more "forward looking" when we now have 6 generations of people on welfare? I believe in the welfare program, but not how it is currently being run. It is ineffective and enabling. In general, it doesn't help people grow in their lives and make something of themselves. It keeps them where they are. If forward thinking in the democratic party is, sorry to bring it up again, baby killing and same sex marriage, embroynic stem cell research (I worked for a very large company in the blood banking industry and there are some pretty incredible alternatives to embryonic stem cell research) then I'm totally fine right where I am.

I believe that the democratic party is full of people with really good intentions. However, I think that the problem is big govt. vs charities. I believe that charities have a better capacity to help people rather then get hung up in red tape. I refer back to Katrina where the govt is stagnant and private charities and volunteer work is what is getting the workt done. So, if you think that because I am a republican I am looking backwards, I beg to differ.

Ben and Christina said...

Well, the GOP has created the largest government intervention in the past 8 years then has ever been seen in our country (The Patriotic Act, NCLB, and others). It is funny that they are calling Dems. socialist, when Bush has led the greatest rise of socialism we have seen.

Also, just a note, the Catholic church came out and said that they needed the help of the govt to help with the poor- they said they couldn't help all the people who were coming to them seeking assistance and they were being totally overwhelmed. Obviously, charities do a great work, but they can't do it alone, just as govt can't do it alone. Just a couple of thoughts!

Jen said...

Agreed regarding Bush. I'm ashamed of how out of hand things have gotten. However, he's dealing with a democratic congress. Also, I think that it would have been worse with a dem in the white house. I see 2 trains going the wrong direction, one is just faster than the other.

Regarding the govt. if it could figure out how do do things effectively then we would be fine. The govt just slows things down and wastes money. That's why I say, "in theory" it is a nice idea, but when it comes to them actually doing anything, it's useless.

Lula O said...

McCain and Obama - both are for stem cell research, both against gay marriage, and I'm pretty sure neither one are baby killers as "privileged" as I am to have you so sorry to bring that up again. And didn't Bush have a Republican congress for 6 of his 8 in office? Man, those Democrats sure made a mess of the country in those two short years.

The environment and energy are two ways Obama looks forward. Bush put a lid on scientists who said global warming/climate change was getting worse early in his presidency. He's done an about face now. Go figure. Obama and McCain both have plans for alternate energy development. One with government help, one without. Which one do you think will increase the odds of it getting done faster? Hard to develop the technology when you have no funding. So with help from government, we have it in ten years; by themselves, we have it in twenty. Which is better and why do you think so?

Jen said...

I will have to address the many issues brought up by Lula in another post, however, I wanted to answer her direct questions.

You asked, which plan will acheive alterntative energy faster (presuming that the hold up is funding). Well, as a conservative, I would say the proposal without government help will get it done faster. (Again, as a prime example, I refer back to the progress made to rebuild New Orleans after Katrina by private and government means.) Every president since Nixon (republicans and democrats alike) have been promising energy independence, but nearly four decades of presidential promises hasn't quite gotten the job done. Has this been an issue of funding for forty years?

The funding issue is interesting on the private sector because during the same forty years the free market has had the same opportunity to produce alternative forms of energy. In fact, over that time period the technology has been developed and improved to what we have today relative to such things as wind mills and solar panels. When these ventures are effective and profitable, the capital will flow towards those projects.

The real question is whether government sources of funding are effective, necessary, and constitutional. Please explain on what authority the government has to be involved with funding energy development.

The other question is whether we are ready to make the choices necessary to be energy independent. We have adequate technology (just needs to be built) and we have many natural resources (we need to lift unnecessary regulations). We just need to move forward with all of the above.

We do not need a government gravy train for these large energy companies so that CEOs can make out like bandits (please refer to Franklin Raines at Freddie Mac). We also do not need stonewalling from the radical environmentalists (who apparently want us to ride around in rickshaws and eat dinner by candlelight). I guess we can all just sit around a nice campfire and sing Kum Ba Yah together. AHHHH that would be nice :) Ok, a little light humor never hurt a bug lover.

Bryce and Mandy said...

I don’t think it is necessarily that there are more democrats at BYU now, but that there are more democrats who are actually being vocal about their political affiliation. They care so much about this election that they are getting out there and voicing their opinions because they believe there is a chance to make a change for the better. I wasn’t a member when I was there, but if I were there now I probably would have joined for this election. Case in point, this is the first election where I have actually put a bumper sticker on my car (that wasn’t for my father). It just goes to show how crappy our country is being run right now and how many people think they need to speak up and get the change we need.

And as for the whole welfare program, Jen you say you believe in the program, but not how it is currently run. Well, isn’t it currently run by Bush? Didn’t he have a republican congress for most of his presidency? Didn’t Clinton (I think he was democrat) enact a huge welfare reform act in 1996? So why is it the democrats fault welfare is crappy right now?

And I just love the idea of charities taking up all the slack if they did away with welfare. I just laugh when people bring this up. And they say democrats are dreamers. So what happens when we are in an economic downturn, like right now, and charitable contributions are down? Then what do we do with all of the people who need help and there isn’t enough money in donations to help? Hit up Brangelina? Hope they start adopting homeless adults? Or send them to Hoovervilles when they lose their jobs and their homes? I agree it would be great if we could do away with welfare and only rely on charity, I just think it is unrealistic.

Lula O said...

When I refer to funding energy alternatives I refer to non profit groups, like universities to name an example, (Did you actually think I meant giving more money to companies like BIG OIL? Please) because having worked for one - an aquatic ecology BLM lab at USU- for over a decade, I believe this is where alot of progress is developed, in regards to energy, medicine, the environment, etc. And they couldn't do it with outside funding.

Let's look at the poor little fruit fly that Sarah Palin recently mocked as an unnecessary earmark. Anybody who even listened a tiny bit in science class in 7th grade should remember hearing the words fruit fly and genetics in the same sentence. It happens to be one of the most studied organisms in biological research, for things like cancer, autism, heredity, how genes are passed along family lines and why. And I would bet, although I don't know for sure, that that money that's going to France is a university or some other non profit group that does research.

And don't get me started on the drill, baby, drill. You know not what you speak. Lucky for you, I can't sing.

Lula O said...

And to Mandy, ditto to what you say, Good for you for admitting you went to BYU :) and you never know, maybe Brangelina will adopt the whole United States and solve all of our problems. Because that's what I'm hoping for, I'm hoping to take money from the rich and give it to my poor self because I'm too lazy to make ends meet. I don't actually want to work for my money. What an interesting concept.

Jen said...

Bryce and Mandy, no I do not believe the welfare program is currently run well. The program was formed by the democrats and under Clinton admin it was reformed because the republican congress practically put a gun to his head. AND, because of it the program was dramatically improved and a lot of people got off the program--thank you rep congress and thank you Clinton for passing it. That is good progress, but it still has a long way to go. I.e. my friend was on the program and she has a heafty savings account and had the ability to have a high paying job by working at home when she had her fist kid while her husband was still in school. She chose not to work and to go on welfare......the program enables perfectly capable people to sit at home when they could be working. It needs A LOT of help. Do you honestly believe that a government run program is run effectively, meaning efficient and cost-effective? The program is crappy because it is run by the government, not because of which party is in power.

If income goes down, so do charitable contributions, you are correct. However, the number of people paying taxes decreases also. The govt doesn't have endless funds, they need a thriving economy--thank you congress and thank you bush for a job poorly done.

Let me make things clear, I am a registered republican but I consider myself a conservative. I DON'T think my party is doing all they can or should. Both parties are taking this country the wrong direction, I am just voting for the party that has a few morals and values left and isn't taking the country the wrong direction as quickly.

Lula, As far as energy goes, I am not an expert. I can honestly say that I have listened to BOTH sides on their reasons for and against drilling. You may beg to differ, but I am not a blind republican. As far as I have learned and listened to, I believe that it would be helpful. As I mentioned before, all options should be on the table and we can't continue to be stonewalled. I happen to have a nephew who is a geologist for the BIG BAD oil company Chevron. He is very intelligent. From many of my conversations with him, there are lots of options out there that currently aren't even being talking about. They are using their OWN money and making some great headway.

I would like to give you further insight as to why you shouldn't pigeon hole me as I think you are doing. I read, A LOT. I honestly listed to both sides. I do believe that the govt has some really good intentions. I have said this time and time again. I grew up in washington dc, I have seen how these programs work. I worked for the govt, it was HIGHLY wasteful and really embarassing to see a lot of the poor work ethic. Might I also mention that my brother-in-law is the Deputy Under Secretary for the Dept of Education. He is a big believer in education, as am I, but the program needs reform--not more money being thrown at it. My sister is a teacher and gives a lot if insight also. I'm not trying to bring up another topic, just the point that the govt is too big and needs reform. It is not effective like it should be. SO, as I have said time and time again, IN THEORY lots of programs are a good idea, but in reality they just don't get the job done without being hightly wasteful. AND, there is WAY too much red tape. I would venture to say that regarding many issues we all want the same outcome, it's just the means by which we get there.

As for BYU, I'm proud to admit that I was a student there. I was able to get an affordable education in a top 10 program. My brother was able to get an affordable education in a top 3 program. My husband got his MBA there and we all loved it an had good experiences there. I'm a little confused at why you are proud of Mandy for addmitting she went there......

Thank you for the recipes. I will have to try them.

Bryce and Mandy said...

Lula went to USU and the U of U, and being a fellow BYU alum (go cougars!) I am sure you know they are huge rivals. So, we like to heckle each other on what school we attended. Not to mention, she is my big sister :) That is her job, to heckle me and vice versa.

And Lula, as for the fruit flies research, it is actually going on in North Carolina and guess where? The University of NC.

Lula O said...

Chevron has their own money to spend on research? Could it be from the like, 4 billion they made in profits this last year. Your point is well made, but I must quickly add that big oil companies spending their massive profits on alternative energy sources is like tobacco companies piling the money into helping people quit smoking.

And my point is, like you said, some of us have differing ideas on how to get there. I tend to be more optimistic. I don't believe that our country is on a downward unstoppable spiral into the crapper. I believe it can be improved without reverting back two hundred plus years.
Spreading fear is not the answer; solutions are, not fingerpointing from either side. I don't like to be pigeon-holed anymore than you do, that I'm either poor, a minority, or uneducated and am blindly following Obama because I think he's going to steal from the rich and give me free money (IRS welfare) so I don't have to work for what I get. (That arguement just doesn't make any sense to me.)

But hey, you didn't bring up the baby killing again and I didn't call you self-righteous. We're making progress after all.

And in conclusion of this long tirade, I teased her about BYU because it's an arch rival of my alma mater. I must get the jabs in whenever I can.

Bryce and Mandy said...

I got so caught up in my BYU response I forgot to comment to you Lula...

Oh Lula, I know you tease me because now that you are older and wiser you have seen the error of your ways and wish you had gone to BYU :) hee hee