Tag Archives: politics

Where did all the sane people go?

Disclaimer: I consider myself moderate and sane. I am in no way promoting any political party in this blog.

Watching politics for the past year I have several times been inclined to ask, “Where did all the sane people go?” Although I do not identify with either major political party in the United States completely, the side that bothers me time and again are the Republicans.

First it was the radio and television personalities such as Newt Gingrich and Michael Savage, host of the Savage Nation. I recently moved to a somewhat rural area of the Inland Northwest and I was suddenly catapulted into a world where the Savage Nation plays on the radio like clockwork at 5 p.m. everyday and congressmen fight against having young men and women live in the same residence halls.

Then comes the new breed of Republican politicians. People who disrupt the President when he is speaking during a national address much as a third grader would interrupt a teacher. People like Sarah Palin, who insist on distorting facts and using scare tactics to lure people to her side (think death panels). People who paint faces on the President’s portrait and liken him to Adolf Hitler. Then there are the everyday citizens who seem intelligent enough until they accuse the president of not being born in the United States. You’ve seen the town hall videos–some of these people are crazy.

What I am confused about is what all of the commotion is about. Why did all the crazies come out of the woodwork all of a sudden?

Some people say it is because there are many whites who are afraid that a black man is in power. That may be true in some cases, but I feel a large majority of people lack the facts. Many people have core values, which I will not deride. These values include anti-abortion and Christian values. I do not think this is wrong. What I think is wrong is that the leaders of a party that tries to portray itself as “Christian” commit acts daily that are un-Christian. How is fear mongering, accusing someone of not being a citizen and plain lying “Christian?” The problem here is these leaders are very good at persuading certain groups of people that they are right and they are taking care of them when they are simply taking care of themselves.

Another problem I have with this “Christian” cover by this party is the lack of support they have for other people. Case in point is the outcry against socialized programs.  Would not Christ himself favor “socialism” over letting people fend for themselves? If someone is truly Christian, I would think they  would be supportive of systems that help those less fortunate than themselves.

So I will suggest a call to action to all the sane Republicans left out there. Please speak out against the crazies in your group and put them in check. Right now they are representing you all poorly and making people like myself second guess the intelligence of anyone who would choose to be associated with a party such as this.

Advertisements

Support Colombia in their fight against terrorist FARC

colombia.gif

Las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (known as the FARC) likes to characterize itself as “The People’s Army,” but they are far from it. Through their deception tactics, the FARC has garnered support internationally as well as from Colombia’s rural poor.

Established in the 1960s as part of the Colombian Communist Party, the FARC has characterized itself as a modern-day Robin Hood – the organization supposedly takes from the rich and gives to the poor. However, atrocities committed by the FARC include recruiting children as young as 11 years old, and sexually assaulting and forcing abortion upon female recruits.  The FARC is funded through extortion, kidnapping ransoms and the illegal narcotics trade. The organization is also one of the biggest players in the importation of cocaine into the United States, and routinely takes innocent hostages.

United States President George W. Bush has vowed to honor US support for Colombia in their fight against the FARC. (While I am not quite sure that his intentions are completely humanitarian, this at least shows the nation’s support for Colombia.) President Bush said the most important thing the United States can do to help Colombia is to foster a free trade agreement between the two countries.

This is not the best solution. If Colombia wishes to participate in free trade with the United States, they should be allowed to do so, but with Bush’s affirmation that free trade is the way to go, the United States has taken a typically economic and self-centered view of its relationship with Colombia. (Many people are unaware that Colombia is a large supplier of oil to the United States.)

United States policy regarding Colombia has often been self-centered at best, and has not benefited Colombian citizens. Plan Colombia, with its goals of the eradication of coca fields (and thus, a proposed decrease in cocaine importation to the United States), has been put under harsh criticisms. My opinion is that this policy, which ruined not only coca fields, but also legal crops, contributed to the support from the rural poor in Colombia for the FARC.

The best way to help Colombia at this time is to help stabilize the nation. Colombia has undergone a more than 40-year civil war. No economic solution will benefit Colombia until the nation is able to stabilize itself politically. In fact, a free trade agreement will likely fuel the FARC’s fire even more and contribute to the FARC’s image in many countries as a celebrated revolutionary organization that is fighting against corrupt capitalist government.

One way the United States can help stabilize Colombia is by fighting for equality for Colombia’s poor. Without the support of the poor rural farmers in Colombia, who have suffered losses due to the American- led “War on Drugs,” the FARC will continue to rally support from this group. To cut off this support will help stabilize the country and will weaken the FARC’s recruitment and morale (many of the FARC’s recruits are poor rural citizens).

Another solution is to discontinue American support for the FARC.

United States citizens support the FARC daily by buying and using cocaine. The illegal drug trade is at the heart of the FARC. To cut this supply of money to the FARC would greatly reduce their effectiveness.

Sadly, it is the United States who plays a large role in Colombia’s problems. Plan Colombia backfired, and the United States is still a heavy consumer of illegal narcotics. While the United States has made feint attempts to correct this problem, they took the wrong approach by punishing poor farmers who only raised drugs to survive and support their families. While the United States and Colombia should not condone those who produce illegal drugs, they should have taken a more comprehensive approach to the problem. Instead of fixing the sources of the problems (drug consumption in the United States and poverty in Colombia), they have exacerbated both by ignoring them.

Young voters more flexible in a partisan world

 

My voting history has been quite the ride.

In 2000, at 18 years old, I voted for the very first time – for George W. Bush (grimace). I like to think that I knew no better. After all, I am from the strongly conservative state of Kansas, and even at the university, Republican values seemed to rule among my classmates. Wait – let’s face it. At this point, I had barely graduated from high school, and I suppose I was not exposed to the other political possibilities. All I knew is that Bush seemed like a nice guy, and he opposed abortion.

In 2004, it was quite a different story. As a registered independent, I was now a political rebel. I was gaga over Ralph Nader and the possibility for change. I hated the two party system, and I even convinced two of my friends to jump on the Nader wagon. This is about the time that I really concerned myself with the environmental movement, and I saw Nader as the only committed candidate to this cause. Needless to say, I was heartbroken to see that Bush won a second term. Perhaps even more so because I knew that a vote in Kansas for a non-Republican candidate has often meant a wasted vote.

It’s 2008, and it’s quite a different story once again. Tomorrow is the 2008 Kansas caucus, and I have decided to give up my independence so that I can vote for a Democratic candidate. And I’m not the only one flipping ship. I have read countless accounts of former Republicans going Democrat this time around, as well as accounts of independent voters registering with a party.

At first glance, I may seem like an erratic, unpredictable voter. But if you scratch the surface, there is so much more to my choices. It was a growing process. I went from one conservative extreme, as a Republican supporter, to the complete epitome of anti-government with no party affiliation, and back around to partisan politics by associating with what I like to call conservative leftism.

So what drew me back to partisan politics? Certainly not political parties. To its credit, the Democratic Party has done something that hasn’t been done in decades.

It has given us hope, no matter who we are. It has shown us that this country does not have to be ruled by a rich, white man. It has shown us that there is still hope to join the global community instead of continuing our old defeatist ways (as opposed to Bush’s Us vs. Them paradigm). And that’s refreshing.

The logic is simple. Not even Nader, with all of his big ideas, could bring the emotional movement that is present in just considering that we could be on the don of electing a black or female present for the first time in United States history. Think about it, we are getting further and further from those old sexist and racist paradigms with each generation, so it seems natural that candidates such as Clinton and Obama would appeal so much to 18 to 20-somethings. We are fed up with the status quo, and we want change.

My generation is much unlike generations that have come before us. We are open-minded, worldly individuals with humanitarian, environmental and ethical concerns. We are not so much concerned with reversing Roe vs. Wade as we are with curbing global warming. We are not as concerned with allowing concealed firearms as we are about changing the world (an inherently youthful trait, I suppose). We are becoming less and less concerned with the almighty dollar, and more concerned with what we can give up to assist others. We have quite the social conscience, perhaps because we are terrified of what lie ahead if we don’t.

I’m not completely satisfied to be registered in one party, but I am very satisfied about the possibilities I see with Clinton and Obama. Surely, if elected, either candidate will still conform to the business as usual paradigm that rules Washington, but I see both of these candidates as people who are willing to get back to what’s important for American citizens: things like healthcare, the environment and creating catalysts for peaceful worldwide alliances. Bonus: they are not old, rich white men with their pockets in the oil industry.

So I will give up my independence. I will conform in my quest to elect the most capable candidate for president. But I will not retreat. I will continue to fight for the things I believe in. And I have a feeling that many of my contemporaries will do the same.