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.

j

8 comments:

John said...

Great work the cheat! I love how everyone is putting their debating skills to good use. :P

Deborah said...

wow! nicely written! I just wish I could vote! I hope people realize the truth to what you said and GO AND VOTE!!!!!!!!!!

Your Mom said...

Everyone needs to THINK first and then vote. You've got some really good ideas here and you express them so well, we need you to keep doing this and make a difference for your country. Have fun voting tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

The insights of a new generation coming of age to vote. Wisdom knocks at the door. The media has a voice and I am so glad you see beyond the tint and twist they want to feed you. Keep seeking and asking the questions, you and your peers are the new blood for America. God Bless

~Aimee said...

Hi Jeremiah,

I greatly enjoyed reading your post and think you have incredible insight in regards to this election. I agree with a great deal of what you said, but I want to point out a couple additions to your argument.

First of all, you are correct in your presentation of voting for third parties as less than ideal. However, I want to point out that it is not merely "squandering" votes; if indeed a third party candidate becomes popular enough to make any kind of significant impact on the election, such as in recent years (Ross Perot in 1992 and Ralph Nader in 2000), voting for such a candidate is basically like handing votes to the major party candidate with ideologies most distant from one's own. In 2000, Bush won by a tiny margin, and Ralph Nader received 2.74% of the popular vote. Nader's supporters overwhelmingly supported Gore over Bush. Because Gore and Nader had more similar platforms, Nader was drawing votes from people who would otherwise have supported Gore. More people held the Gore/Nader ideology, but they were divided. So ultimately, without the Nader factor, we might have a president Gore right now. Perot, with 18.9% of the popular vote, was fortunate enough to draw more evenly from the political spectrum. Otherwise, he could have controlled the election - just not in the way he would have liked. One election that has always fascinated me is in 1896 when William Jennings Bryan was nominated on two different tickets - for the Democratic and Populist Parties with two different vice presidential running-mates. As a presidential nominee, he won 60% of the popular vote but still lost the election to William McKinley because his supporters were split among two different parties.

Secondly, like you, I am not fully representitive of either of the candidates' philosophies. I don't want to state that I dislike them, and I will support whoever is elected tomorrow. However, I want to respond to a few points you made about McCain and Obama.

1. The Economy: It is quite a stretch to compare Obama's economic plans to Karl Marx's theories. While Communism has been a proven failure due to the Marxist misconception of human nature, Socialism is not Communism. And Obama's plans are still far from Socialism in the truest sense. While taxing anyone is not ideal, it is sometimes necessary to create programs. Socialism would be taxing the rich and giving the money directly to the poor. Obama's plans just tax the upperclass in higher proportion in order to fund programs that cannot be funded any other way - like healthcare and education. All people (especially children) have the right to equal opportunity (the American dream), and this cannot exist without maintaining health and receiving an adequate education.

2. Foreign Policy: To be fair to both candidates, neither one has stated that we must "retract from the war right now." They each agree that we need to finish the job - the question is how long it will take. Obama supports drawing a timeline to end the war, and McCain doesn't. As someone who is extremely pro-life in every scenario, I don't think setting a goal to end any war is ever too much to ask. I won't go into the details about the legitimacy of the War in Iraq; however, we must ask ourselves - is this truly and honestly a cause worth dying for? Worth sacrificing the lives and futures of thousands of our young people? If not, it needs to end as soon as reasonably possible.

3. Abortion: While I agree with your stance completely in regards to abortion, disagreeing with Obama's (and also finding disappointments in McCain's record), I think there are a couple factors to consider here. Abortion is wrong. The argument as to when an unborn child becomes a "person" is entirely irrelevant because abortion ends a life (whether it is a current life on earth or "future" life, it is still a life). This is not simply a religious issue as many are claiming it to be. It's a human rights issue. It's a criminal issue. It is murder. And for the past eight years, we have had a president who believes this. Yet abortion rates during the Bush administration actually increased, while previously during the Clinton administration (a pro-choice president), they had decreased. With all this considered, as pro-lifers, we need to focus on how to most effectively reduce the rate of actual abortions. If abortion becomes illegal and turns into anything like prohibition, that could get very ugly and have worse results than the initial situation. I do like one statement Obama has made several times that addresses the cause of this problem rather than the result - we need to reduce the amounts of unwanted pregnancies. How can this be done? Providing healthcare, improving education, decreasing dropout rates, and reducing poverty. Now, go re-read Obama's economic plan.

When I saw Obama speak on Saturday, I didn't agree with everything he said. What I did realize, however, is that this man loves our country. He is not only charismatic, but intelligent and compassionate and logical. I can't say that he would be a better president than McCain because I don't know, but I do believe he will be a good president. This country does need change - it needs hope for the future and a sense of pride and unity as a nation, and I believe Obama will bring that. He's already doing it, and that is why he is going to win this election tomorrow. My hope for you and all of America is that we can unite in support of our new president regardless of our differences - after all, he is a Child of God, and so are we.

~Aimee

Blair said...

The reasoning behind choosing a third-party candidate is very strong in some ways when you take the right perspective, so good job of realizing why in reality it is not a good idea. ;)

I wanted to post here so that people can realize the extent of Mr. Obama's social view and what he would like to do... He believes that we should have programs for education, poverty, healthcare, etc, so that everyone can have an equal "right" to each of these things. Ideal stuff. He says he is going to provide "Change" but he really is just rehashing the policies of a previous president... FDR.
Let me make myself very clear here, for I would like to make sure that those who are uneducated become educated concerning what the "American Dream" actually is...
EVERYONE has the ability, freedom, and desire (IF THEY CHOOSE) to get a job, go to school, pay for healthcare, raise a family, etc. Some people are absolutely unable to do this, which is why we have programs already to help them. But the notion that everyone should be in school, have a job, get good healthcare, and live out the "Pursuit of Happiness" and that the government should MAKE SURE this happens is just ridiculous! We all have equal OPPORTUNITY in America, which is why America is the greatest nation on earth. But just because we all have the same opportunities DOES NOT MEAN that the government should *try* and MAKE SURE this happens for everyone. What government "program", can anyone say?, has been effective at achieving anything that was positive for Americans as a whole??
It comes down to this reasoning: Who can make a better and more wise decision for YOU concerning where you go to school, where you work and how much you earn, where you get your healthcare from, etc??
If your answer if "The government" then you are, in fact a liberal and a socialist (a person who believes that the community/government as a whole should own and regulate programs and should make everything unified instead of privatized).
If your answer is "you" then you are a person who realizes that the complexities and dominance of government is something that has proven inadequate in history and in modern times for achieving any kind of acceptable effectiveness for reducing poverty, increasing education, promoting good healthcare, etc.

Mr. Obama's policies and record (and even his rhetoric in the last 2 yr.) clearly distinguish him from Mr. McCain on issues like abortion, taxes, healthcare, energy, etc.
McCain is not perfect, but in a two-party system (discounting the effectiveness of independent voting) we can realize that Mr. McCain provides less government involvement overall and increases people's ability to choose for themselves. The other option is Mr. Obama who believes in Labor Unions, nationalized healthcare, increased taxes for EVERYONE (he will let the Bush middle-class tax cuts expire, just fyi), and killing of millions of innocent babies and who believes in implementing some of the most radical leftist policies concerning all-of-the-above that we have seen since FDR (and no, FDR's administration did not bring us out of the Great Depression, it was WWII that did that).

Hope this helps people realize why their vote for McCain/Palin is so vital. SO vital.

God Bless,

Blair

"The world is quiet here"

P.S. i enjoyed your post and completely agree with it ;)

~Aimee said...

In response to Blair's post, I would like to point out the fallacy that people "have equal opportunity." That statement is incredibly naive and very untrue. As a public school educator, I have seen the severe faults in the American educational system that make it anything but fair. Children who grow up in poor families tend to live in neighborhoods with a low SES and tax bracket; hence, they attend under-funded schools with few resources and unqualified teachers. For the most part, these students cannot get into good colleges because they have not received enough education to pass college entrance exams. Most of them do not even finish high school. Do these students have an equal opportunity in comparison to those who have white-collar college graduates for parents and attend top private or well-funded public schools? No. And unfortunately, there are not only a few who are "absolutely unable" to provide equal opportunity for themselves - there are many. It's call poverty. To claim that everyone who is poor deserves to be where they are in society purely because of their own choices is selfish and naive. The "American Dream" is the hope that people WILL have equal opportunity. This doesn't mean the government will give them everything. That's not the meaning of the word "opportunity." It means that everyone will have a chance for success - take it or leave it. But we have to give them that chance first.

Blair said...

Hey Aimee, just thought I would clear up some things here... hope this help you too Jeremiah. :)

Like I said, "Some people are absolutely unable to do this, which is why we have programs already to help them." I believe that poverty is a big issue, but I DO NOT believe that the government has had or will have ANY effectiveness in addressing it. This seems like a contradiction, but the point here is that it comes down to how much people desire to be something. I could post here for hours on people who have made a name for themselves regardless of where they come from and how poor they were... just look at Obama/Biden's stories:

Joe Biden has made many references to how he came out of the slumps (choose a less-harsh word?) of Scranton and how he had to WORK HARD to come out of that and make himself successful.
Barack Obama has also made many references to how his mother/grandmother made many sacrifices (while using programs like food stamps) to help him become successful despite how poor his family really was.

The best way to look at the future is to realize what has happened in history. Like I talked about, FDR. When we had the Great Depression and people were jobless and poor, it WAS NOT FDR's social programs that brought us out of the GD, it was WWII when people were all working around the clock and no one was standing around doing nothing. Even woman went into the factories (which was completely unheard of at the time).
We can look at a place like INDIA: Up until about the last decade or so, India was EXTREMELY poor coming out of independence from Britain (and they are still very poor, but not nearly as much). The government had been very liberal in their social programs, nationalization of the economy and economic programs, etc. It was very hard for people to get jobs (especially because of the caste system that was very much supported by the outlay of the government).
Today India is on the verge of becoming the next world superpower because of the economic freedom, political liberty, and opportunity of choice on the platform of the government becoming smaller and the liberalization of government programs and involvement becoming less and less.
When we look at Obama's desire for bigger government (whether they be larger taxes for everyone because he is letting the Bush tax cuts expire and has $800 billion in new spending ideas, or whether it be his tenacious support of labor unions) we can see that it will equal less economic freedom for Americans and less liberty politically overall.

Obama is going to be our next president on January 20th, and then we will see the extent of his real policies and also what he will fulfill based on his promises over the last two years. Only then will Americans realize who they have really voted in and what, in reality, is going to happen.

God Bless,

Blair