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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Election

I have been holding onto this post, so I'll just go ahead and post it. I guess it kinda defeats the purpose of a blog, huh?

Well, this post comes from a discussion at work about why people support one candidate versus another- I thought I should justify to myself my choice for Obama. Is he just more charismatic or do I like his policies? Another issue that plagues every election is Roe v. Wade. Should I vote on this issue alone? Some hard core Republicans I know and love would say yes. While I do think it is a life and death issue as well as a moral issue, there are other moral issues. Actually, a lot of Democrats I know are voting solely to uphold this court decision as well (the next president will have to appoint one or more Supreme Court Justices most likely). They see it as too much church in the state.

The only quotes about what all the fuss is about with Jeremiah Wright is something about the US policies being partially responsible for 9/11 (which I agree with) and the US lying about HIV not being invented for genocide of black people (kind of crazy IMO). Maybe the fuss is about Obama’s reaction. I think a general distancing was bad, especially if he agrees with some of Wright’s ideas, as do I. He should have come forward to tell which things that were said that he does and doesn’t agree with to clarify, rather than clarifying that he renounces the statements, but not the man. I think and even hope that was the wrong distinction, but would be disappointed to find that he didn’t stand up for hard, yet truthful, statements. Overall, this "issue" is silly. As Bill Moyers has said, how would you like your long career of speaking to be summed up in 16-20 seconds of soundbytes from your work? Maybe we aren't getting the whole picture...

Clinton, on the other hand, is talking about attacking Iran if Israel is threatened. That should be more worrisome to people (especially people who opposed our action in Iraq at any point) that the Obama-Wright “controversy”. We should be worried that Hilary is showing the same tendencies as Bush, though she will not admit it. I do hope this won’t turn into a fight about who loves Israel more, though. Reading Congressional transcripts about the Middle East peace issue, even when criticizing Israel, the session turns into an Israel love fest or contest, with each comment being preceded by how much they love Israel or what their state does for Israel/Israelis.

Another silly thing Obama is being criticized for is not wearing a flag pin. I read some articles about that while I was Googling for something else. I heard a snippet on the radio last week about what I think was this very “issue”. They lady said something like “Why can’t he just say he loves the flag?”. She quoted him as saying he revered it, which I think is more descriptive and correct to say. Why is this even an issue. He’s had to refute the false accusations that he doesn’t say the Pledge and other assorted things as well as the fact that he’s Christian rather than Muslim. I think there was a recent Jerusalem Post article proving (or trying to prove) that he is Muslim. Silly. If the man says he’s Christian, he’s Christian. If he was Muslim, why not say it? What would that matter? It wouldn’t to me, but I guess there are those ignorant folks who say all Muslims and Arabs are terrorists (such as those at JPost…)… The facts on the ground just don’t support him being Muslim or lying about being Christian. Sorry, JPost. They’ll have to find a new way to slander the guy who’d rather use diplomacy first and who doesn’t want to automatically bomb Iran and Israel’s neighbors into oblivion if he becomes President.

I like that Obama has lived in another country and has exposure to Islam. I think this will help with diplomacy and foreign policy decisions in the region that has become a focal point for us. I think the fact that he is a minority could have given him different experiences from the typical white male we’ve always had and will influence him in a positive way, even in a position of power. On the cynical side, he is male and wealthy, though, so that similarity with his predecessors could cancel out the good, there.

Freedom to Unionize, protect striking workers, raise minimum wage, open internet

I like the (somewhat unavoidable) emphasis on mortgage fraud crackdowns. I guess he has to address it. I’m not sure he’s got a good plan, though. The fund for “innocent” homeowners could become abused. I’m not sure how many are innocent. Many, many people live beyond their means on credit cards and fall to peer pressure to get more, buy big, etc. People I know tell about their friends/acquaintances who put rims on their SUV’s and buy/rent flat screen TV’s or the latest gadget, yet have trouble making the rent or mortgage. These people aren’t innocent. They are living beyond their means. It is a problem in our culture for sure, but individuals have to take responsibility and sell some stuff or do something before everything gets repo’d and they are left with nothing to show. There are tons of things I’d like to have, sure, but you have to be realistic. You have to be content with what you have. If you buy it, your income won’t magically increase to cover it. And if it goes on a credit card, on the contrary, you will have less money to work with because of those insane and often “sneaky” interest rates. And then there are those sketchy check cashing and rental places that have unbelievably high interest. These places should get some attention, but the individual should take responsibility for these decisions. I don’t know that it’s the government’s place to bail people like this out and I don’t know how to distinguish between the “innocent” and who shouldn’t be helped.

I like the fact that he wants to expand FMLA, but I think he needs to go further. Other countries have up to a year of paid leave and more weeks per year of paid vacation time as the standard. We generally get 2 weeks per year starting out, and other places get 3 or 4. Happy, rested employees make for a more productive work force. Talk about reducing the work day or week and that will be the day change is accomplished.

Some crackdown on lobbyists, but not enough to free us of AIPAC control (foreign interests ahead of ours)

More transparency.

On the hot button issues of abortion and gay marriage, which will no doubt come into play when one of them is battling McCain, I’m more conservative. I am pro-life for sure and would even say I’d like to see abortion banned. I do have reservations about a total ban when the life of the baby and mother are endangered (ectopic pregnancy). I believe homosexuality is wrong, but unlike conservatives, I don’t think the government should be involved since it is not a matter of life and death. I have heard the abortion ban being called too much church in the state, but that’s a life/death issue- one that civil societies need to legislate, much like murder or theft. Life begins at conception and I just don’t see how you can argue differently. I mean, is it suddenly life in the 2nd trimester, the 3rd, at birth, when it gets fingernails, when it first cries or takes the first breath? If it is called alive at any point other than conception, then why is infanticide wrong? Not a bit of difference really, except culturally (Americans accept aborting a fetus if it is inconvenient for the mother). Gay marriage (giving the “right” or prohibiting it) legislation is more like no separation of church and state. I don’t know that I’m against civil unions. I need to think about that more.

Since I have delayed this post so long that my state's primary has come and gone this week, I will comment on that, too. Looks like Obama is gaining ground. Can't say I hate it, given the options. Of course, I would much prefer to do away with the electoral college and these party conventions and free it up for more than 2 parties to truly, viably be involved. I'd like more of a democracy, I guess. Call me crazy.

Also, Clinton said she broke the tie with Indiana?! She's taking a page out of Bush's playbook, here. Say what you wish happened, not what actually is happening. It's over, Hillary. Give it up. You're a drain on your party, now.

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