Political Ravings of a Certifiable Card-Carrying Liberaltic

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Politics in Decline

The whole world is topsy turvy now, so it's difficult to figure out what to write about here. While the last eight years have been Republican executive, Republican congress and Republican appointees to the Supreme Court, now on the surface it appears that common sense has caught up with the lunacy and corrected some of the problems that were mostly just being ignored. I suppose we're lucky they decided to raid the larder instead of loot and pillage and burn all the bridges. But now it seems like the current administration lets intimidation by the perceived center of political mass drive them to compromises which effect nothing but an appearance of acknowledgment of issues with a long term goal to address them in the unspecified future. It makes me want to avoid politics altogether. Even the first Latino Supreme Court nominee seems like a compromise in that some of her decisions lean away from the party platform but even though she is probably the most conservative of the left half, she can't get the vote of Senator McCain with a very large hispanic constituency who said five days earlier that he needs to make some changes to the party line to court the latino votes. Changes like opposing the first latino nominee for fear of losing the Republican party nomination for president in 2012 even though it probably makes him unelectable in the general election? I hope that works for him.

I really thought President Obama would be the people's advocate and promote transparency and a policy based completely on ethical positions, but political posturing always seems to creep back in. I like it when he addresses mistakes head-on like the Gates issue. Bringing them both to the White House for a "beer" was a perfect solution, but why don't we see a stronger stance on the "Don't ask, Don't Tell" issue. He said he was against it during the campaign and now it's like there's some force out there holding him back. He doesn't lose any political capital by saying, "What we're doing here is wrong. If there's any method of modifying or belaying this approach, I'm for it." Then he can let other people present the solutions or tell him that he doesn't have the constitutional power to tell Congress what laws to write, but the pressure is on them to do something then. He's actually said this isn't on the agenda right now because it's not politically expedient. Disturbing.

Health care is another issue where baby steps are more likely to destroy the effort than going full force and running into a few brick walls. How hard is it to push a single payer system for children under 18? How many kids under 18 have serious medical issues and even if it's five to ten percent and this might cost 30 billion dollars, isn't it at least 10 times as important as the cash for clunkers program? No? Children's health care isn't as important as private school vouchers that help rich kids or the failed charter school infrastructure that's destroying public schools, or bank and auto industry bailouts or some of the other questionably managed programs. How hard is it to start with children? They're going to vote eventually and a large percentage of people have children so surely this is an attractive proposition. Prove it works for children and then base the rest of the system on the children's health care system. Just go at it with big guns. Don't give it time to fail in the first 2 to 5 years.

Climate change is at least one issue where the longer we let it go, the more obvious it becomes. Hopefully people will figure it out before the world is unlivable, but if we break the planet and there's only a few thousand or hundred or tens of people left on the planet, maybe we'll see what Noah's flood was like more than a metaphor. Not a pleasant prospect, but it is a self-healing issue in the long term if we don't become extinct (something else will evolve even if we do). It will probably make the nuclear warhead debate a non-issue as well.

Where is the compassion on a large scale? Is it only palatable in individuals? Is government compassion seen as some kind of weakness? I wish we were strong enough to appear weak to all the unimportant ego-driven people who still believe in gunboat diplomacy.



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