Thursday, November 13, 2008

We are not Homer,
Nor are we Galileo.
We are the product of a modern world,
And this comes with a joy and a sorrow.
The joy being that great multitude of knowledge available to us;
The sorrow being that we are obliged to learn it.

edit: I feel compelled to tell you that this note is meant as a commentary, and my own opinion does not parallel that of the last line. It's hard to discern sarcasm in online type.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Oh no, politics!

     I rarely (never) discuss politics on this blog, but I feel strongly compelled to tell you my opinion regarding the election to-morrow.
     My hope is that there'll be at least one reader who hasn't voted yet - You've all heard this statement hundreds of times, but I honestly believe that this is one of the most important elections in our country's history.

      Now, before I am accused of being tethered to the ancient two-party system, I will tell you my argument against independent voting. (And be aware that this is still formulating in my mind somewhat - this is an issue that has been gestating in my mind for the last few months, and I have only reached a decision in the last few days.)
     First, I believe that it is incredibly important that alternatives exist, and I respect those who attempt to make a statement by voting independently. However, I think that this struggle - - to have an independent candidate recognized - - is somewhat misplaced. In my opinion, this form of activism should not reach its apex of popularity every four years, in November. Rather, it would be much more effective if the forward thinkers brought this to the table when the public consciousness was not already flooded with political figures clamoring for votes.
     Second, I believe in the importance of one vote. This country has had several incredibly close elections, and it has been proven time and time again that every single vote matters when deciding who will be the leader of this country. This is one of our most important rights as American citizens (and, in my opinion, one of our most important responsibilities.) You do not want to squander this opportunity, and voting for a candidate who has no realistic chance of winning falls dangerously close to that category. The danger of being staunchly idealistic, as my sister says, is that you lose all actual influence you might have otherwise had. Compromises, although never ideal, are sometimes necessary.
     Far too many people become incredibly passionate about politics in the weeks leading up to an important election, yet ignore what is going on in politics for the other three and a half years (myself included.) If you're going to bemoan the state of politics in November, and if you shudder at the thought of voting for the lesser of two evils, then stand up and do something about it in October.

     Now then, on to the main event - Obama vs. McCain. I will do my very best to provide a balanced look at these two candidates. You probably are aware of who I support for presidency, though for the sake of this post you should be pleased to know that I don't particularly like either of them.

     Issue 1: Economy
Obama: Barack Obama's economic plan centers mainly around his idea of redistributing the wealth. Very noble and Robin-Hood-esque, to be sure. This idea looks fantastic on paper - the poor are raised to a respectable standard of living, while the rich are knocked down from their silly-looking gilded thrones. Unfortunately, Obama cannot claim credit for this idea - the credit for this idea belongs mainly to an obscure little bearded man named Karl Marx. Of course, we all know how it turned out the last time a plan like this was implemented on a large scale.
     (It's worth noting that his healthcare plan has strong socialist leanings as well)
McCain: The main criticism of McCain's economic plan is that it favors big businesses too much. This can certainly be a drawback. The most expansive (+expensive) aspect of his plan would have to be the bailout he is planning for enormous mortgage rates. While I am almost always opposed to increased government involvement, this seems necessary to... well, to save us, I suppose. In the meantime, can we avoid getting into a situation like this again? Pretty please?

     Issue 2: Foreign Policy
Obama: Barack Obama has been very clear on this point - he believes we should move toward a significantly more isolationist standpoint. He supports the removal of troops from Iraq, and decreased involvement in general in the Middle East. As leader, he would definitely avoid getting involved in any major conflicts unless they came to our own shores. Unfortunately, a stance like this often leads to global conflicts growing in size until they cannot help but bump up against Washington. This policy could be either very good or very bad for America - and world politics in general. However, in this time of uncertain motivations and shaky alliances, one second's hesitation can be extremely costly.
McCain: John McCain has also been very clear when it comes to foreign policy. However, his plan seems markedly different from Obama's. While not particularly advocating U.S. intervention, he has acknowledged that sometimes it is necessary for our country to get involved in order to quell conflicts before they become unmanageable. He has stated that, if he becomes president, our troops would stay overseas to finish our work in Iraq, as well as increasing involvement in Israel. Unfortunately, our presence overseas is costing us quite a lot, and it is hard to see when we'll be finished. The question to be asked, then, is this: is it worth it for us to stay involved in this conflict, or would it be better for us to retract ourselves right now?

     Issue 3: Abortion
Obama: Fortunately for this post, Obama has been very clear on this matter. He is staunchly pro-choice, and would not tighten abortion laws if he was elected to the office of President.
McCain: Unfortunately, McCain's voting record does not always line up with his current standpoint on this issue. However, during recent months, he has attempted to clear up this point. He has stated that he is completely pro-life, and supports Ron Paul's plan to overturn Roe v. Wade and give authority to the states to enforce anti-abortion laws.

     Note: I am entirely convinced that, on this last issue, there is no moral middle ground. I believe that abortion is no less than legalized murder. The argument for women's rights is completely lacking in merit to me, because it ignores the rights of the unborn child. I believe the point of conception can be the only biological standard for when life begins.

I hope this has been informative. In case I have not made it clear by this point, I believe that on the three major issues in this election, John McCain has proven himself to be a substantially more worthy candidate for Presidency than Barack Obama.

However, if you find yourself disappointed on wednesday, do not worry - America has proven itself to be strong enough to withstand the downfalls of a human president.

Please leave any comments or questions below, and thank you for reading this lengthy post.