Thursday, November 6, 2008

Election Reflections

Needless to say I was pleased that Obama won and is now the president-elect. During the campaign he was accused of being the most liberal senator in the senate and his opponent made that claim indicating that it was a reason to not vote for Obama. However if the current President Bush is an example of what happens when one of the most conservative politicians in the country wins the presidency, then certainly what this country needs now is someone in charge from the opposite point on the spectrum, to undo all the damage Bush and his cronies have done. I sincerely hope Obama is as liberal as his critics say, because the conservative policies of the past eight years have severely damaged this country and our reputation around the world. One of the reasons I am not a conservative is because conservatives seem to be perpetually trying to drive the country backwards into the past, instead of looking to and addressing the problems and challenges of the future. Of course it's important to begin to address these problems soon, because if not addressed promptly, they will eventually become the problems of Obama and the Democrats.

The four major problems facing our new president, in my opinion, are (in no particular order) the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, energy, the environment, and health care. We need a president who will, as quickly as possible, put an end to the ongoing military attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq and address and reverse the destruction of the environment that has been promoted by the Bush Administration. Obama also needs to concentrate on an energy policy that focuses entirely on clean sources of energy, that is solar, wind, geothermal, ocean tides, electric cars, more mass transit, and conservation. Because of the cost, waste storage problems, and the potential threat of an accident, nuclear should not even be considered. There is no point in drilling for oil or digging for coal since using either aggravates the environmental problems. The USA is way behind other industrialized countries and even some third-world countries by simply not having universal health care. We need universal health care that includes coverage for everyone including psychiatric and medical care. After establishing that and getting it working properly in a couple years, before Obama's term is over, universal health care should also include vision and dental. For this to work it must be a single payer plan. Insurance companies should not be allowed to have any say in the development of the plan. Any input from insurance companies will not reflect concern for the sick and injured, but will simply be attempts to try to preserve or protect their profits and that will result in more expense and less coverage for the citizens of this country.

In case you think I missed one major problem facing this country by not mentioning the economy which has been in the ditch for some time, it's my opinion that if we properly address and correct the other four problems I mentioned, the economy will correct itself. It will takes some time, possible a couple years, but the appalling mistakes of the Bush Administration which is responsible for the current decrepit economic, energy, and environmental status of the US did not happen overnight and they won't be corrected overnight.

In other election issues, California voters approved a ban on same-sex marriages which indicates that there is still in this country, even in California, a majority of people who believe they have the right to shove their religious beliefs down the throats of others. Probably the most dishonest and outrageous claim of this and any recent election season is the fear-mongering by some Christians, that allowing homosexuals to get married in some way threatens the institution of marriage and the marriages of heterosexuals. If my 35 year old marriage to Karen fails, it will be our fault. It won't fail because homosexuals in California or Massachusetts are allowed to get married. That's an idiotic accusation, if there ever was one. I guess we have to wonder if the human race will ever advance to the point where we won't be looking for some group of people, slightly different from ourselves, to discriminate against. When laws prevent us from discriminating on the basis of race, sex, or religion, then we start railing against humanists, evolutionists, and homosexuals. Perhaps it's just nice to find someone different so we can blame the problems of the world on them. Honest, scholarly, and sincere people have always disagreed on the biblical interpretation of verses that address the issue of homosexuality, even though Jesus did not consider it important enough to say anything about. If there are two interpretations, one that includes accepting homosexuals into our churches and fellowships, and one that excludes them , why would anyone choose the latter? Can that choice be a "Christian" choice?

Voters in Colorado and South Dakota rejected measures that could have led to wide-scale bans of abortion. The Colorado version would have defined life as beginning at conception, which could have also resulted in a ban against some forms of birth control like IUDs. Although not a supporter of abortion, neither do I support laws banning abortion. The abortion rate in this country is determined by much more than laws that either permit or ban abortions. The abortion rate increased by 50, 000 a year when George W. Bush became president over what it was when Clinton was president, because Bush's economic policies made it more difficult for people to afford to have children, and because Bush also put the brakes on sex education in the schools, by emphasizing abstinence instead of protection, which was not an entirely successful approach to the problem. It's been my impression for some time that even though consevatives and Republicans use the abortion issue to try to get votes at election time, that's the only thing they are willing to do with the issue. Conservatives don't want to ban abortions any more than liberals do. We had twelve consecutive years of George Herbert Walker Bush and Ronald Reagan in the White House and nothing was done during that time to ban abortions. Now we've had another eight years of George W. Bush in the White House with only a ban against late-term abortions which make up less than one half of one percent of the total abortion rate. Those are puny and heartless efforts, to say the least. Much more can be done to reduce the abortion rate by supporting families instead of corportions, by providing universal health care, by facilitating adoption and making it less expensive, and by having an administration and a president in the White House who supports the working people, which we will have again starting next year. I expect to see a decline in the abortion rate, also probably starting sometime next year. The abortion decision belongs to women, not male law-makers. If men were able to get pregnant, the right to get an abortion would be at least as available as the right to get a driver's license. For another interesting perspective read:

An energy proposal in Missouri that requires the state's electric utilities to get 15 percent of their electric power from renewal resources by 2015 passed, while a more aggressive bill in California, requiring their state's utilities to generate half of their electric power from renewable resources by 2025, failed. It's likely this forward-looking measure failed, in part, because of the lack of commitment to clean and renewable energy sources by the federal government. But perhaps that will soon change.

Another interesting and worthwhile bill that passed and may be echoed in other states, is California's bill that prohibits cramped cages for chickens and other livestock.

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