What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. “Homecoming.” Last weekend some of the parents in my old stomping grounds appear to have held an unofficial homecoming dance for their kids. Social media treated me to pictures with a dozen of their little darlings posted up elbow to asshole – no masks, no distancing, just crowded in like the pictures we would have taken back in the 90s.  Look, I get it. I have incredibly fond memories of homecomings and proms and the fully array of school events, you want to make sure your kid has the same memories, or you get to relive your glory days through them, or whatever. But doing it as we sit here watching COVID-19 bleeding through the ranks of the White House senior staff for engaging in similar fuckery, I have to wonder what would possess anyone to think this was a good idea. Raise ‘em however you want, I guess… but stay the hell away from me.

2. Candidates. Having now watched “debates” between both the presidential and vice-presidential candidates representing our major political parties, I’m more convinced than ever that it’s not actually the structural government that’s failed us, but rather the bi-polar choice we’re presented with every four years and our collective willingness to go along with it just because it’s what we’ve always done. Our “two party system” has coughed up once candidate who is demonstrably a bad human being and another who, if elected, will pursue a number of policies I’ve opposed my entire adult life. Constrained by a self-regulating system that claims there are only two options, either option is a betrayal… of course that pre-supposes you accept the proposition that there are only two option.

3. Grass. I’ve been trying to get grass to fill in one small section of the back yard for two years now. It’s the first bit of the yard you see when walking out the back door and I’d be embarrassed to tell you how many bags of grass and clover seeds I’ve thrown down in the process. At best, it’s currently half green and half mud… and then there’s the nearly perfect radius of totally bare dirt where the dogs make their turn to head out towards the far reaches of the yard in high speed pursuit of the resident squirrels. It would be easy to blame this state of affairs on at least one dog who enjoys the rough and tumble of outside a bit too much, but I think we all know that’s not the kind of person I am… so it’s clearly the fault of the grass and some bad seed.

And the winner is…

Other than back in 1996 when I cast my first vote in a presidential election for Bob Dole, I’ve had a pretty good track record of backing the general election winner. I like to think that I’ll keep up that trend this fall, which is why here and now I’m throwing the full faith and credit of jeffreytharp.com behind the Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. Romney wasn’t my first choice during the Republican primaries, but he’s my last choice, and ultimately he’s the right choice for America.

The history, voting record, and gigabytes of other information about the candidates is available just about everywhere and I’m not going to reiterate those points here. I just wanted to take a few lines to explain my logic and to encourage everyone reading this post to ask themselves some hard questions before they walk into the voting booth on November 6th.

As a federal employee my immediate economic self interest would dictate that I vote for the candidate that is most likely to increase the size and scope of the government, who is most likely to raise my pay, and who is most likely to keep me employed. Mitt Romney isn’t that candidate. In fact under a Romney administration, there’s a fair chance that I’ll make less money, have less opportunity for growth, and possibly see my job eliminated all together. As an employee, that makes Romney a tough sell as a potential future boss.

It wasn’t until I looked at the current situation facing the country from a different perspective that I decided Romney was the one. I had to see things from the perspective of a citizen and not an employee before they came into focus. I think it’s abundantly clear that the trajectory we’re on under the current administration is simply unsustainable. We’re facing a season of hard and uncomfortable decisions and electing them to a second term only ensures more of the same.

I’m not under any delusion of Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan being the perfect candidate, but I’m not so ossified in my opinions to think I need to agree with every position a politician or a party takes on any particular issue. The fact is I disagree with them on some pretty key elements of social policy, but this time around it’s all about the economy, stupid. If we don’t get that fixed, all the other discussions are purely academic. Ending deficit spending, reducing the national debt to a manageable level, spurring economic growth and innovation, and reforming the current byzantine tax code are the big issues for 2012… and Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are where it’s at.