A while back, I promised my thoughts on the Democrats. Former Senator John Edwards has since withdrawn from the race for the nomination, so although I think he had some very valuable contributions to the discussion and that those contributions have affected the discourse in no small way, for the purposes of this post I’ll consider my musings on his positions moot.
While former Senator Mike Gravel is still technically in the race and I do like some of what he has to say, it should be quite obvious that he is not in any way a serious contender for the party nomination, and thus I’ll have to file him in the moot point basket as well. Both names may however, re-emerge as discussion of running mates becomes more immediate.
I’ll start with Senator Obama, for no better reason than I was really impressed with his celebratory speech last night. The man is almost sinfully charismatic, a pleasure to hear with a voice and delivery as smooth as silk. I can’t help but be captivated by him.
Unfortunately for Senator Obama, there is more to being President than charming the socks off a snake (which I have absolutely no doubt he could do).
He is well counseled to make his historical opposition to the debacle in Iraq the premier gem in his collection of rhetorical devices. I absolutely respect the fact that when the United States Congress was in shock and took up a hysterical retaliatory posture, his was one of the few cool heads, one of the few rational voices that stood up and said “No.” to His Holiness, the Glorified Houseplant Who Would Be Caesar. That could not have in any way been easy, given the unchecked rabid Nationalism that swept through the country like a California wildfire. Kudos in the highest to him.
Now that the American people have finally begun to extricate their heads from their rectal orifices and return to some form of rational and coherent thought, now that public opposition to the senseless expense of tens of thousands of human lives is less likely to result in a late night knock at the door by a lynch mob, now that questioning the legality of invading another sovereign state is again within the publicly accepted definition of patriotism, Senator Obama can and should point to his record and say, “I said that from the beginning”.
We are America. We are the Good Guys, and we wear the white hats. We act within the law, and arrest the bad guys, not lynch them, no matter how much we want to, no matter how much they deserve it. We do not invade other countries for reasons of familial pride. We do not torture prisoners when no one is looking. We do not use mercenaries to kill innocent civilians in order to line our pockets or the pockets of our friends and business partners. At least, that’s what I’ve always believed about us. Senator Obama exemplified that ideal when he voted against the war. I am proud that there are still Americans like him.
He is for affordable health care for all Americans. That is as noble as it gets. We as a society should look out for each other, and most especially for those who cannot look out for themselves. It is our moral obligation as the White Hat people. His plan is sufficiently different from Senator Clinton’s that it requires further investigation on my part, but the general objective is the same. Nobody should be sick or dead because they can’t afford to see the doctor or buy the medicines they need.
I love that he’s touting the fact that he hasn’t taken any “special interest” money. It’s a bold claim to make, and I sincerely hope that it’s an accurate one. While everyone who gives money to a candidate has an agenda, and while it’s still unfortunately legal for big corporations to buy policy, I hope the Senator has been able to start moving us away from that.
He’s strongly in favor of completely revamping the No Child Left Behind fiasco. While I personally feel like it should just be scrapped in its entirety and we should start from scratch, he understands that the act was a complete failure. While I’m very happy about his emphasis on math and science education in the schools, I’m not happy that he would delay NASA missions to pay for it. What about all the money saved by ending the war in Iraq?
There are just a few other things about Senator Obama that concern me. I’m not thrilled with his opposition to marriage equality for all Americans. He does favor a separate-but-equal legal status of civil unions. While that is not my ideal stance on this issue, it’s more than the Republicans are offering and it’s essentially the same as Senator Clinton’s stance.
He has not come out with a strong, clear, unequivocal supporting statement for Science. While his support for technological advancement is clear, that’s a slightly different position, and I would like to see him match Senator Clinton’s unabashed championship of Science untainted by politics or religion.
This is what I want to hear from Senator Obama.
Hillary will restore the federal government’s commitment to science by:
- Rescinding the ban on ethical embryonic stem cell research
- Banning political appointees from unduly interfering with scientific conclusions and publications
- Directing department and agency heads to safeguard against political pressure that threatens scientific integrity and to promote transparency in decision-making
- Appointing an Assistant to the President for Science and Technology Policy and strengthening the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
- Reviving and enhancing the national assessment on climate change
- Enhancing American leadership in space through investments in exploration, earth sciences, and aeronautics research
- Pursuing a comprehensive innovation agenda, including establishing a $50 billion Strategic Energy Fund
And that’s just a quick synopsis of the main points. Click the above link to read the rest. It bothers me that Senator Obama did not immediately echo her sentiments, and that ties into my next concern about him.
I suspect that Senator Obama has equivocated on his stance on Science to avoid offending a segment of society that is unhappy with the Republicans, but still ensconced in Christian mythology enough that they would not vote for a candidate that does not share their nominal fantasy of the Bible as some sort of authority on everything. As long as he pulls his Jesus from his pocket every now and again, they can in good faith close their eyes and vote for him as “a good Christian man”. Strong support of science is a reminder to them that reality doesn’t match the Bible stories, and even if they are not of the Young Earth Creationist/Biblical Literalist mindset, a strong stance that such ridiculous bed-time stories should not be taught in public school science classes borders on Devil Worshiping Communist Atheism due to the ingrained remnants of youthful Sunday School classes. So whether he agrees with them or not (and I can’t honestly tell), it is political suicide for him to offend even a fraction of his base with a race so close as it currently is.
It’s disheartening that religion and religious mythology is even an issue in a political discussion in the twenty-first century in these United States, but the reality of the situation is that it is. I’m disappointed that he seems to feel the need to pander. I’m more disappointed that he does need to pander.
To end on a positive note, let me just say that I’ve been very happily surprised at the low key of the rhetoric in this cycle’s Democratic primary. It’s had its nasty moments, but it’s nowhere near on the level of past elections, and both front-running candidates should be very loudly congratulated and thanked for that. Don’t tell me what a monster the other guy is, tell me about how you’ll run the country. I want to know about your strategies and goals, not the other guy’s (girl’s) closet skeletons. I’ve enjoyed the emphasis placed on the issues this time around, let’s keep it that way.
All in all, I would not be unhappy with an Obama Administration, I think. He would be good for this country, and I have every confidence that he would be able to begin turning us around, undoing the massive amount of damage done by the current administration on its hell-bent rampage toward the cliff of insane theocracy and unilateral self destruction.
Thoughts on Senator Hillary Clinton, next time around.
From whence came the art: