Vote Responsibly Y’all

Ladies and gentlemen, we’re living in some troubled times.

As much as I would love to cleave to the premise that I shouldn’t have to outline that which ails this great nation of ours, the requirement to do so becomes a necessary evil.

Before I endeavor to do so, you need to know where I’m coming from. I’m not a politician. Nor am I an economist. I’ve never entertained the notion of becoming some policy wonk ensconced in some turgid think tank that periodically releases opinion papers on the goals to better the human condition through implementation of social engineering.

I don’t contribute my opinions on the nightly news and current events programs which litter the airwaves across the cable channel spectrum.

I’ve never sent an op-Ed piece (solicited or not) to any of the big nationally read newspapers.

I’m not a political activist in the sense that I’ve used creative and/or shocking means to bring light to an issue. The one exception would be that I’ve been pretty vocal about the TSA enhanced pat down and full body scan policies.

To this point, everything I’ve done out here on the web has been an effort to exercise my writing skills. In July, 2009 when I launched TharpSter.Org by way of a small chinchilla farm stationed somewhere in north Texas, I did so as a creative outlet. The assorted discussion forums I used to seek out to discuss religion, politics, and humor had failed to maintain my continued interest and participation. Launching my own website in which the nature of it’s content was subject only to the standards, practices, and editorial whims of me and me alone became the natural vehicle where I could publish soliloquies about what goes through my head. Making a name for myself through TharpSter.Org is not the stated goal of this website.

I’ve been married for nearly 18 years now. I have two kids, both of whom are teenagers, a couple of dogs, and a bouncing baby mortgage on a modest 3-2-2 in the ‘burbs of San Antonio, Texas.

I have a job in the middle of a cubicle farm where I work as a business analyst. In that role, I’m expected to walk on water, see the future, escalate the smallest of issues, and exercise a genuine and aggressive distrust in the ability of people in other departments to do their own job. In short, when something goes wrong, I absorb the blame when I had nothing to do with it.

You snicker as if you think I’m exercising hyperbole. That’s cute.

For my efforts as a cubicle weed, I’m the bread winner at home. The CFO of TharpSter.Org (aka Wifey) holds a couple of jobs as well, one of which represents her creative outlets.

If you’ve skipped on reading the last few paragraphs, I’ll summarize things for you. I’m about as average as one can get as the term applies to the nuclear family.

Did I mention the mortgage? Of course I did. Guess what? The mortgage is the only line of credit I use. TharpSter.Org is otherwise on a cash-only basis. The Visa and MasterCard which reside in my wallet are tied directly to checking accounts. The American Express is issued by my employer. It hasn’t been used since 2008 for some business travel. Sadly I will have to refuse future business travel until the government lifts it’s assault on out 4th Amendment rights. I can’t wait to have that discussion with management if the subject ever comes up.

Cash only.

The kids’ braces are being paid for by direct drafts from my checking account each month based on terms which reside in an agreement I made with the orthodontist.

The gym memberships, viola rental, DVD and game rentals, and car insurance all come out in direct draft. All other monthly bills for utilities, water, phone, internet, cable, groceries, and gas are paid in cash. College for one of the kids is coming up in another year, so we’re starting to look into means of taking care of that without taking on too much debt in the process.

Recent issues with the TharpSter TreadMill and the TharpSter Pit Bull have generated vet bills and other costs. Those are being handled in cash as well.

Do you see a running theme here?

There’s an ongoing effort within the organization to live within our means.

Certainly, we slip every once in awhile. It wasn’t easy to get to this point, and it’s not always easy to stick to it. We’re no angels.

Use it up, wear it out. Make it do or do without.

Thank you Grammy.

The practice of living within one’s means is the impetus behind my decision to compose this dispatch to web.

For the last several years, this great country of ours has beat hell to blaze a trail of reckless spending which has not only caused us great problems now, but will impact us for years to come.

Blame Bush, blame Obama, it doesn’t matter. There’s culpability on both sides of that argument. All you have to really do is put the numbers on a timeline to determine where things have gone horribly wrong.

I’m not here to play the blame game right now. Instead I’ll use that energy reserved for blame assessment on problem resolution.
The national debt is approximately$14,500,000,000,000 right now.

We have a budget of just under $3,600,000,000,000 and a budget deficit of just under $1,400,000,000,000.

As of this writing, unemployment has steadily been at about 9% every since.

Obamacare is slowly being implemented with the promise of raising our premiums, limiting the quality of our care, and putting the decisions about our personal healthcare choices in the hands of our government.

Spending and debt issues aside, efforts taken by the government in recent years to either make our lives safer from illness or terrorism have trampled on no less than three amendments in the Bill of Rights.

The current drive of the government to run our lives for us shows no promise of an end in sight.

Tax hikes have already happened, and more are desired. Efforts to reign in spending are being demonized as radical, intolerant, and mean spirited. Reducing the rate in which government grows over the coming years appears to be an absurd notion.

It’s easier to read the stitches on a hanging curveball than it is to decipher what all of the polls say about what the American people want on the matter.

Thank God for a representative government.

Elections, ladies and gentlemen, are the ultimate poll. They show us all what everyone is feeling about the way things are going. Their results aren’t subject to the interpretations of a certain ideology which will bend the results to parallel it’s machinations. Elections happen, the people speak, and a mandate is given.

Sometimes the mandate is followed. Most times as of late, it’s not.

….and that’s why I’m here.

Our next major election is just over 15 months away. In that time, the American people will be deluged with vats and vats of verbal diarrhea which will promise the moon, the stars, and everything in between in exchange for your vote. Every single candidate running for any office in that time period will prostitute their soul to you in hopes of being elected. How do I know? When you see the sun come up in the east on a regular basis, you just learn to expect it there.

The 2012 election will be one of the most important elections of our lifetime. America has been put on a different path in recent years, and this election will show us all if the path is an acceptable one.

I’m not here to tell you who to vote for or against in 2012. I don’t know who I will vote for, however I can definitely tell you who will not have my vote.

For that matter, I’m not here to even tell you to vote for the sake of voting. I find such a practice to be reckless, ill informed, and generally stupid.

I said it once before, and I’m now going to start an entire campaign on the same statement.

Vote Responsibly Y’all.

Don’t vote with your emotions.

Don’t vote with your white guilt.

Don’t vote as if it were a popularity contest.

Don’t vote present.

Vote Responsibly Y’all.

Vote based on good results, not good intentions.

Vote based on well informed decisions, not pithy slogans.

Vote on the substance, not on the smoke and mirrors.

Vote Responsibly Y’all.

In your own individual life, you are expected to live within your means. If times get tough and you have to dial back your spending in order to carry out the essentials of sustaining you and your family, that’s what you have to do. There’s no reason why the government shouldn’t be expected to do the same exact thing.

There’s something to be said for accountability and responsibility. Unfortunately, whatever has needed to be said has gone by the wayside in recent years in favor of remodeling this country under a paradigm which was not used by our founding fathers.

So when you dangle your chad and exercise your suffrage rights in about 15 months, don’t take the process too lightly. Put someone in office who has proven to you beyond a shadow of a doubt that they will put this country back on the path which made it a great one.

We’re screwed otherwise.

Randy Tharp

TharpSter is a husband to one woman, a father to two kids, a master to two dogs, an occasional cubical occupant, and unable to make up his mind on an adequate theme for this website.

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