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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Parables and Presidential Election

   “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.  He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money...."    - Matthew 25:14-18
And so goes the Parable of the Talents, as spoken by Jesus. When the servants' master came back, the first two servants who doubled their talents were praised and rewarded for their faithfulness and hard work. The third servant who buried his master's talent did not receive any reward, was called wicked and lazy and cast away.

Back here in a little corner of the world called the United States of America, a different master known as the Voters go off on a 50-state journey every four years. The Voters pick a President, hand him the key to a nifty house in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to make sure the country is kept safe  and the economy stays healthy.

In 1992, the Voters picked Bill Clinton of Arkansas. The economy was booming with a budget surplus to boot, the country was at peace and people in welfare rolls got help to go back to work, earning back their independence and self-worth.The Voters were satisfied and let him stay in the White House for another four years. The Voters knew he was not perfect (he was a lousy husband) but figured his wandering eyes were his wife's problem and after eight years in office, he was in general still held in high regard.

Somewhere in the last frontier called Alaska in 2006 , the Voters picked a young mother named Sarah Palin and made her the first woman governor of the state. It's not quite the White House but Alaska is very important because it is a vital source of energy supply to the lower 48's. Her tenure  brought about the largest private sector infrastructure (gas pipeline) in North America, the strictest ethics reform the state has seen, forward-funded education, and a $5billion rainy day savings account, to cite a few. She championed transparency and accountability in the government.The Voters were happy and rewarded her with approval ratings of 90% +.

In 2008, prodded by the mainstream media, the Voters took a chance on an inexperienced senator from Illinois named Barack Obama. Hailed by the intellectuals as the first  post-partisan, post-racial president, he charmed the Voters with promise of hope and change. Two years into his term, he has signed a landmark healthcare reform and the $800 trillion stimulus bill to save the economy from bankruptcy and repealed "don't ask, don't tell".

The book is closed on Bill Clinton but the stories of Sarah Palin and Barack Obama are still unfolding.

For Sarah Palin, she resigned halfway through her term. Hordes of the media and their friends descended in Alaska, twisted and misrepresented  her record, cooked up untrue stories about her and passed them to the Voters as news, and saddled her administration with senseless and the pettiest lawsuits. She wanted to continue the fight but must move the goal post so that Alaska could continue to prosper. She has since written two books, been the leading voice of the Tea Party and most Americans dissatisfied with the Obama administration, helped elect new and conservative governors and members of Congress. She has driven, even as a private citizen, national debates and conversations on relevant issues like the "death panels', Obamacare, energy policy, budgets, QE2, military missions to name a few.

President Obama, meanwhile, has started raising $1billion for his reelection campaign, hoping to convince the Voters to give him four more years. But the hope and change mood has switched to pure frustration. The Voters now mistrust the meme coming from the media. The stimulus did nothing to bring down unemployment, gas price at the pump is almost $4/gallon, the national debt now stands at $14 trillion and the country is engaged in yet another war where "victory" is difficult to define, much less achieve . The Voters question why the leading proponents of Obamacare were being given waivers while its very constitutionality is still being argued in courts. The post-partisan President also has a penchant for denigrading anyone who opposes him, reducing the other party's proposals as "talking points". The Voters are tired of the government recklessly spending taxpayers money, with food prices skyrocketing and real estate market still in the tank.

The Voters will be back in 2012. Who will be rewarded and who will be cast away?

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