An adoption board where I participate is having political discussions. Fun, right? Normally we keep it off the board. Today someone asked what we thought about the most important issues for the presidential election, and I felt like getting on my soapbox. Here's what I wrote. You know I've always been opinionated. Buckle up, buttercup.
1. Energy and environmental policy. We absolutely must decrease our dependence on foreign oil - all oil, in fact. Drilling offshore and in ANWR will only pass the problem to our grandchildren or further down the line. They will not thank us for that choice. We need to use government incentives to steer entrepreneurs toward renewable energy, including biofuels on marginal ag land, solar and wind. (Note absence of nuclear and water power - I think those are too problematic for the environment in other ways.) We need to improve technology in our homes, cars and businesses so that we just use less. We need to change our culture and policies to encourage less driving and less sprawl. We also need to fund science that will examine the effects of our cavalier attitude toward energy and global warming so far and recommend how we can mitigate for the changes we are in for.
2. Related issue: foreign policy and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. We need to acknowledge that the Iraq war is based on lies and corporate ties (big oil and defense industries) to the current administration, and that it has distracted us from the goal of capturing Al Qaeda leadership and stopping extremist terrorism. We need to get out of Iraq as soon as we can without further damage to the people of that country. We need to ramp up our efforts in Afghanistan, get the job done ASAP and get out. We cannot continue to pretend that we can do all this while simultaneously cutting taxes, by the way. And we cannot continue to be proud of our ideals and our liberty while we are condoning torture and kangaroo courts for those who aren't lucky enough to have citizenship in our country. If liberty and justice are what we stand for, we have to stand for them for everyone. What we have done for the last seven years in this regard is absolutely immoral and embarrassing. We can never let it happen again.
3. Unity in America. The dividing lines have never been clearer between rich and poor. We (those of us who are lucky enough to be educated and stable) cannot continue to selfishly look after our own interests only. We have to care for those who are in need. If we do not we see their needs increase and become a greater burden on our society. Not to mention the fact that callousness toward these people changes who we are as a nation. We need a realistic immigration program that acknowledges our need for labor from our southern neighbors and offers citizenship in an attainable way for those who want to build lives here and contribute to our society.
4. Taxes and economy. We cannot continue to cut breaks for the super-rich and corporations while the working people of America continue to bear the nation on their backs. Doing so for the last eight years while pursuing an expensive and unnecessary war has earned us a gigantic deficit that threatens our economic stability and will burden our children in the future. If you and I operated our households this way - slashing our income while increasing our spending - we would end up on the street. We should be ashamed of this. In a similar vein, deregulation in an effort to appease big business has given us Enron, skyrocketing gas prices and a mortgage crisis. We cannot afford this as a nation!
Things I see as non issues that everyone seems to want to talk about:
Abortion. I am anti-abortion and pro-choice. Abortion should be reduced to a state where it is used only in cases of rape or incest, danger to the mother's life, or extreme danger to her health or future childbearing capability. However for those cases it needs to be available without hoop-jumping or danger to the mother's privacy. I don't see how that can happen if regulation interferes. The real answer is realistic education for young men and women and effective birth control easily available for those who choose it.
Gay marriage. It is a state-by-state issue. Both candidates agree.
The mommy wars. Give me a freaking break.