Thursday, October 23, 2008

End of the (campaign) trail

This, along with two posts over on Cahiers, mark my final political posts before the election:

The "promise" of Barack Obama and

The lack of promise exhibited by Gov. Palin.

There may be a surprise there, even if motivated by a half-hearted moral obligation to vote. A couple of issues:

Human life: This is always the most important issue, from conception to death and every stage in between. Without human beings none of this means anything! If a government is unwilling to protect society's most vulnerable, it is a corrupt system that will eventually teeter on the brink of oblivion. This is not a judgment sent from God, but the natural consequence of acting foolishly. Let's miss the European train to civilizational suicide by protecting life, encouraging life, which means recognizing that human rights are God-given, not governmentally granted.

Family: This means recognizing that marriage is considerably older than the United States of America. Families create, nurture, and encourage life. It should come as no surprise to anyone that study after study demonstrates that children who grow up in a stable home with their father and mother are better off than any alternative. Fostering the family is in the state's interest. This can be done without in any way ignoring the needs of those who do not belong to traditional families or women in dire circumstances who are pregnant. I am a both/and guy who rejects false dilemmas.

Health care: As a tax payer I resent having to guarantee health care only after people are destitute and when treatment is most expensive. It would be cheaper to provide access to preventative care. Economically, the cost of health care is making us non-competitive in a global market. Plus, it is a human right. So, to whoever gets elected, fix it- it is not a partisan issue. Access to affordable health care is a human issue, it is a jobs issue. So, whatever special interests you need to kick in the groin to accomplish this long overdue reform, put on your steel toed boots and kick!

Economic fairness (solidarity): Put an end to crisis capitalism. If gains are privatized, losses should be, too. If you want me to bail out a Wall Street firm when they collapse due to incompetency, greed, and mismanagement, then I want a share of the profits when times are good and so do my fellow citizens. So, establish a rigorous regulatory system for banks and investment firms and create a tough enforcement agency. If nobody goes to jail or gets fired over what has happened, then you've been bought and paid for! Labor needs to be respected and rewarded. Most of us are laborers, not executives, or business owners. The economy exists for the human person, not the human person for the economy. It may sound like a slogan, but it is a moral axiom. The goodness of a society can be measured by its respect for life and its commitment to the poor.

Environment: We must be responsible stewards of creation. Like health care, this is not a partisan issue. We need to live sustainably. This does not mean wearing hemp sandals, dreadlocks, smelling like we just left a Grateful Dead concert, and doing freaky dances in Golden Gate Park. We need to realize that while a rising tide may lift all boats, we all don't need 200 foot yachts! This is the lesson from the mortgage meltdown, both from the lender and borrower sides of the equation. It is financially and environmentally unsustainable.

To quote the late, great Joe Strummer "It's time to take the humanity back into the center of the ring and follow that for a time . . . without people you're nothing."

Hang this over your desk: It's not the economy, it's people, stupid!

Jon Stewart gives me hope. Can I be that guy? I guess I am. Thank you very much! Neil, the comment box is open.

I am so comforted to learn that suffering has caused Alan Greenspan to discover that, at least, he exists, saying to a House committee, "those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholder's equity (myself especially) are in a state of shocked disbelief". Yeah, shareholder equity! Read those poor dupes who were forced to give up fixed pensions for 401Ks. Congratulations ownership society, you own $700 billion in worthless paper! Hey Greenspan, for old time's sake, let's lower interest rates to stimulate the economy and let the market work its magic. Sorry, Jon Stewart effect.

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