Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men (and good women) do nothing."
Winston Churchill
"Nothing strengthens authority as much as silence."
Leonardo da Vinci
"We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among these fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes and they come back to us as effects."

Herman Melville

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sarah Palin and the "Country First" slogan

Like other US citizens I watched Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin's speech on TV. I also saw the hoards of Republican delegates at the convention waving their "Country First" banners.

Let's look at a few of the things that Palin said, or didn't say, about concerns that should be of interest to US citizens. No mention was made of protecting the environment or of the threat of global warming. Since environmental degradation and global warming may be the most serious problem the human race has ever faced, the vice-presidential candidate for the Republican Party, the party that has traditionally ignored environmental concerns, failing to address those problems is an ominous omen for the health and safety of our citizens, and for the health of the planet.

Palin did address energy concerns but tacked the solar, wind, and geothermal options to the end of a list that started with oil, coal, and nuclear thereby clearly indicating where her priorities reside.

In one sentence Palin, referring to a pipeline, said the following; ...when the last section is laid and its valves opened, will lead America one step farther away from dependence on dangerous foreign powers that do not have our interests at heart." Does Palin expect other countries to have US interest's at heart? Does the US have the interests of other countries at heart?

She criticizes Obama by saying when "Victory in Iraq is finally in sight...he wants to forfeit." This raise the following question. Just how does Palin define "victory" in Iraq? How many innocent civilian deaths does it take to get one "victory?" If Palin doesn't realize that killing children and innocent civilians for oil is despicable behavior no matter which country does it, she is too dangerous and irresponsible to be a heartbeat from the White House. I'm always appalled at professing Christians who claim to be against abortion and pro-life and at the same time advocate killing children in other countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran by waging war against those countries. Palin put a plug in for war against Iran by criticising Obama for being willing to meet with Iranian leaders without preconditions. She referred to Iran as a "terrorist state." The last thing this country and the world needs is another US instigated war against a Middle Eastern country with oil deposits. The next administration should be willing to talk to any enemy or potential enemy nation as a way of preventing war. We should only apply preconditions to those talks if we are willing to accept preconditions from them. In light of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Vietnam, and Iraq, as well as our use of depleted uranium, I'm sure more people in the world see the United States as a terrorist state than see Iran as any threat to them.

In another paragraph Palin said. "Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America...he's worried (referring again to Obama) that someone won't read them their rights. " This is clearly a reference to Guantanamo. Since most of the inmates who were imprisoned there were not guilty of any wrongdoing and were badly mistreated by the US, this comment by Palin demonstrates support for torture and a continuation of the violation of human rights as practiced by the Bush Administration.

Palin mentions nothing about one of the biggest threats to US citizens and that is the lack of affordable health care or adequate health insurance. That seems to say that she has no plans or workable ideas for solving the problem. Other problems she did not address are job outsourcing, the current economic crises, and immigration. You may argue that neither did Obama or Biden mention those problems, but Republicans have been in control in the White House for the past eight years, so its more imperative that the Republican candidates assure us that they will not continue making the same mistakes of the current Bush Administration.

In one of her last statements she said, "There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for places where winning means survival and defeat means death...and that man is John McCain." That, of course, is inaccurate. Every US citizen who goes to work and does a good day's work is fighting for his/her country. The idea that the only people who "fight" for their country are soldiers is absurd. Teachers, health care professionals, production workers, miners, truck drivers, students, etc., etc. are all "fighting" for their country when they do good work at what they need to do to survive, learn a skill, or make a living. I don't question the fact that McCain was subject to and survived a serious ordeal in Vietnam, and the time he was a prisoner of war certainly took courage and resolution. But he never would have been a prisoner of war if he hadn't participated in that unjustified and illegal violence against Vietnam. The Vietnam War had long since been discredited by history, by Republican and Democratic leaders, as well as by most citizens, as an unnecessary and foolish waste of lives and resources. Most Americans believe that getting involved in Vietnam was one of the worst mistakes this country ever made. It's time to quit making heroes out of those who made that mistake. If McCain were a responsible citizen the first thing he would do is publicly acknowledge that, whether as a draftee or a volunteer, it was a mistake for him to participate in the violence against Vietnam.

Several times during the convention people in the audience were seen waving placards with the
selfish, narrow-minded, and myopic "Country First" slogan on it. It seems as if most Republicans still think that the US is the only country that matters. As responsible citizens we must realize that decisions and choices we make as a government and country have to take into consideration the impact we have on other countries. We share this planet with billions of other people, most with different languages, religions, cultures and citizenship. Their lives are as important as ours. They have as much right to live in their homelands free from foreign military or economic attack as we do. They are every bit as brave as we are. Many of them are as free as we are and an increasing number have more freedoms than US citizens, since their governments provide them with more choices and better support than the US government provides its citizens. Other industrialized countries as well as some poorer countries have some form of universal health care. That's an enormously liberating benefit to both individuals and families because, with universal health care, people are freer to change jobs and living locations. Universal health care makes for stronger family units. Many other countries provide their citizens with more transportation options. An increasing number of countries are ahead of the US in protecting the environment, and developing clean alternative energy sources. Many countries have more than two major political parties and therefore have more options for citizen involvement unlike the two powerful, but very similar and both very conservative parties in this country. Some countries provide their citizens with a free college education. Most Western European countries are much more supportive of family life than the US is in that they provide longer terms of maternity and paternity leave with a significant percentage of pay. The list is growing as more and more countries surge ahead of the US in advancing civilization. It looks as if a Palin and McCain win in November will simply result in the United States falling further and further behind other nations in having an advanced and supportive society and civilization.