Thursday, January 03, 2008

Whom should we vote for?

I wrote a series of posts on Huckabee and homeschooling. (You can read the first one here.) The response has been interesting. Quiverdaddy said,

"Spunky has not read any of Huckabee's positions or consulted his record.... Personally, I think the real story about Spunky is that she is probably a Ron Paul supporter who has put her tin foil hat in the closet long enough to pose as a Romney apologist."

An anonymous commenter said:

"You've made it clear that you do not like Huckabee- too clear for some of us. Can you please tell us a better answer then? Say you've convinced some of the readers here to NOT vote for Huckabee- okay- than who SHOULD they vote for? Hillary? Maybe Gulliani? "
Jess @ Making Home said:

OK, this is getting absurd. Are you just an anti-Huckabee site now? I assume you have a candidate you support (I'm betting I know who it is), so why aren't you writing tons of pro-pieces for your guy? This just seems really base and negative to keep going off about one guy.
That's just a small sampling of the email and comments I've received since I wrote my series on Huckabee and Homeschooling, so it's time to address a few things. I'll start by clearing up Quiverdaddy's most important point first. It's time to be perfectly honest, I only use tin foil for baking and in a pinch to wrap a small gift, but I never wear hats (I have a small head) and certainly not one made out of tin foil! And as far as not having read Huckabee's positions or record, I only have to wonder if Quiverdaddy, actually read my posts?

As for the anonymous comment, I do not dislike Mike Huckabee. I strongly disagree with his policies especially in education and his compromise on homeschool legislation. That's all. I'll come back to the second part of the comment in a bit.

I've heard from quite a few people like Jess, who thought that my series was too negative. Fair enough. So let me be try to be a bit more positive.

I'm positive Huckabee is bad news for homeschoolers.

Seriously, the information I've presented is positive. The truth is always positive but not always pleasant.

If this series seems negative it's because Huckabee's record IS negative. I actually started out this research looking for a reason to like Huckbee based on a conversation with a few friends. I went to HSDLA's website looking at their reasons for supporting him, thinking that they would offer the most compelling case given their endorsement, but I didn't just accept what they said as the truth. That's tempting, but it's too easy.

So I checked out HSDLA's archives to learn about the history of homeschooling in Arkansas. I read Arkansas Department of Education websites, comments from the National Governors Association, and the Education Commission of the States. I read news articles and pro-Huckabee sites. I tried to like him, but the truth pointed in a vastly different direction than the conclusion drawn by HSDLA-PAC. I talked to an HSLDA representative for nearly an hour. After all the research, I then published my findings to challenge myself and my facts. I believed I was right in my asessment, but until I'm willing to submit my findings to the scrutiny of others, I would never really know if I was right. Blogging my thoughts here and in comments elsewhere provided the perfect vehicle to find out, especially since I'd received a fair number of inquiries about Huckabee and homeschooling. No one provided an substantive rebuttal to what I wrote. Then in a pleasant twist of events I learned that Ned Ryun, the former director of HSDLA-PAC, agreed with my assessment and provided some insight into what was going on at HSDLA. But let me clear up another rumor, no one wrote these posts or gave me the information. Rombots have not taken over SpunkyHomeschool. The work was time consuming, trust me. But the research is necessary to make an informed choice so I did it. Not just for me but for my kids.

Huckabee's a likeable guy, but education reform is trending toward universal standards, global citizenship, and common morality at the expense of national citizenship and absolute Truth. That's not a trend I want to continue into the next decade. Likable isn't enough anymore. We need someone who doesn't believe politics or education is "vertical." That's the rhetoric of a compromiser. Huckabee has the unique quality (well, Clinton had it too) of making you think he's got deep rooted convictions only to find out he's manipulated you without even realizing it. That's how he got the NEA and the HSLDA-PAC endorsment.

If a man will compromise to get elected, he'll compromise when he gets into office . Huckabee compromised in Arkansas, he'll do it again if he's elected President. "Vertical" politics just doesn't work for me.

So that leads to the obvious question, "Who should we vote for?"

If I've cast doubt upon Huckabee I hope it's because my information is factual and readers have checked out what I've said just like I checked out HSDLA. The stuff I've written about Huckabee can be done on any of the candidates, by anyone. I'm nothing special, just a homeschool mom like you with a keen interest in learning.

Take what I've written and build on it. Call the campaigns, read their websites, google their name and the key phrases in education. Read their statements and what they've said over the years. I know it's grueling and time consuming, but the alternative is to be similar to the woman in my original post who just said, "He's a Baptist minister, so I don't have to ask what he stands for." And then vote based on assumption of agreement and nothing else only to find out after the vote that that he's not quite "one of us" after all.

So, use the primary season to do the research and don't rely on me or anyone else to tell you who to vote for or not to vote for. There's something strangely satisfying about knowing who you're going to vote for. No one likes indecision. But indecision is better than a wrong decision. Let your indecision during this primary season drive you to educate yourself and you won't need me to tell you who to support. You'll be wise enough to know all on your own. If more people took that approach the better off this country will be. That's what a primary season is for. Make the candidates work for your vote, don't just give it away because they talk like "one of us" or someone you know endorses them. Their motivation may not be in your best interest.

That's not a cop-out because I don't want to tell you who I might support. It's actually the same thing I often tell my kids when they don't know something. Don't rely on me, I'm not always going to be here (and I might be wrong!). Get out a book and get online and begin to learn about the issues. Read. Ask questions. Then go back and read some more. Don't accept something just because someone says it's true. Make sure it is true. The good news is that for everyone but those who live in Iowa, you still have some time left before you have to make a decision.

And by the way, if you do take that approach and find out I've missed it somewhere in my facts please let me know. I welcome the opportunity to fix any errors and learn more myself.

My previous posts on Huckabee and homeschooling
Part One. The Huckabee Homeschool Hustle
Part Two. Huckabee and state reform
Part Three. Huckabee and federal policy
Part Four. Huckabee and global citizenship
Huckabee responds
Ned Ryun's statement on homeschooling.
Ned Ryun's statement on HSLDA.

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