Tag Archives: candidate

Politics 2012

8 Jul

There is a presidential election coming up.  Again.  If you’re one of the millions of loyal readers that I’m sure The Juno Blog has, you know that I used to post articles about politics.  I even endorsed our current President.

I haven’t been writing about politics in recent years though, and the reason is simple: I’ve lost interest.

This is, perhaps, Obama’s biggest failing.

Now I do not believe that he has been a bad President, and in fact I think he may be a really good President.  But I admit to getting a bit caught up in his rhetoric.  He wasn’t supposed to just be a good President.  He was supposed to transcend politics.  He was supposed to change the system.

He hasn’t, and honestly this is not a surprise, nor is it his fault (though the expectations that arrived with him to the White House are).  The system is designed in such a way that it cannot be quickly changed, nor can it be changed by one individual, even if he or she is President.

And I’m just not really interested anymore.  I’m interested in human beings.  I’m interested in the future of the world.  I’m interested in the evolution of humanity.  I’m interested in community.

I want a world where what each does counts for all.

This makes all things possible.

What each does counts for all, means everything can be done.

This means every individual does the work they love.

This means no one goes without.

This is the kind of thing that I want a politician to say.  I want them to be able to say this because I want the system to be working for this.  Then I would be interested.

The Least of Three Evils (for MA voters)

13 Jan

In Massachusetts, a state where gay marriage is legal, the representatives of the state ought to believe that gay marriage being legal is a good thing, right? Joe Kennedy is sort of for gay marriage, but only in that the government shouldn’t really have a say and that churches ought to be allowed to decide for themselves. Scott Brown believes marriage is between a man and a woman.

Viewed through this lens Martha Coakley is the only viable candidate. But Martha reeks of standard party-line politician, and I hate the party system. Nearly everything she says seems like it was pulled from the “how to be a democrat 2010” handbook. Maybe she believes it all, but it all reads and seems like it’s just politics. It seems like she says things because they are the-things-you-say-to-get-people-who-believe-what-I-believe-to-vote-for-you, and not because they are her true beliefs.

Aside from gay marriage, what I want from my government is the, well, the governance, that will lead us to a humane world. Everyone wants a humane world. We’re human beings. We ought to have a humane world. That said, the three areas which I think are most important for a humane world – Health Care, Education, and the Environment – are all poorly represented by these three would-be-representatives.

Joe Kennedy is by far the most realistic candidate of the three. His website shows that he’s familiar with bills currently under review by the legislature, and that he understands what the job he’s applying for actually is: he’ll be reading a lot of complicated bills written in legalese. He’ll be writing other bills, filing bills, and voting on bills. That’s it. Promises like

“Martha will fight to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access to housing, education, health care, and employment opportunities”

or

“I believe we ought to strengthen our border enforcement and institute an employment verification system with penalties for companies that hire illegal immigrants (Scott)”

are un-detailed statements of large scope essentially beyond anything that a senator can actually do and they do little to convince me that Scott or Martha are actually aware of what the job is (odd for Scott, who is already a state senator). Joe Kennedy is, at least from the impressions he’s given, trustworthy. He makes his share of un-detailed statements of large scope too, like “I believe we must promote free trade and peace” (who doesn’t?) but he also includes detailed ideas about what bills he’s going to write and file, and how he’s going to vote on current ones. Unfortunately he seems to be wrong about Health Care, and claims to be against both income and sales taxes, which sounds nice but does beg the question of where he expects the government to get any money at all. China?

Like Joe, Scott is also wrong about Health Care. Both of them vehemently oppose the current Health Care bill (although only Joe claims to have actually read it) but neither of them provide any workable alternatives. The bottom line is that we absolutely have to change our Health Care system. It’s awful. It’s inhumane and utterly embarrassing that a country claiming to be civilized doesn’t provide healthcare to all of its residents. While Martha is at least vowing to support the reform the Obama Administration is hoping to pass, she doesn’t seem to be aware that it doesn’t go nearly far enough and that while changing what we have is extremely important (so important that we must change it even if it’s only for the sake of change), changing it into something which treats health care as the humane right that it is is even more important.

None of them seem to understand this.

Martha is also weak on education, seemingly pleased with the foundation of “No Child Left Behind” stating that it just needs “several reforms” in order to “deliver the changes students deserve.” This is, of course, ridiculous. Joe thinks we should abolish “No Child Left Behind” as well as the Federal Department of Education and instead let each state innovate their own educational systems. It might work… it might not, but at least it’s an acknowledgement that our education system is in need of truly radical reform, something neither of the other two candidates seem to know. Scott is politically vague about education, saying he is “passionate about improving the quality of our public schools” (who isn’t?) and that he “support(s) choice through charter schools, as well as the MCAS exam as a graduation requirement.” Goodie. Let’s first give them a “choice” about which type of school to go to but then continue using standardized tests as a way to determine the education level of our citizens regardless of which school they chose. Great plan.

Nothing short of a complete redesign of our educational system is good enough. We need a system which acknowledges that each individual student has different interests, different ways of learning, and different levels of understanding which develop at different rates. Anything less is inhumane.

None of them seem to understand this.

As for the environment, here’s Martha:

“I support common-sense environment policy that will help to reduce pollution and preserve our precious open spaces. I realize that without action now, future generations will be left to clean up the mess we leave.”

Here’s Scott:

“Our planet is in trouble. I believe protecting our environment must be a priority, not only for today but for future generations.”

No, I’m sorry, that’s backwards. The first quote is Scott, not Martha, she’s the second quote. Point is they sound basically interchangeable.

Give Joe points for being different at least:

“I would consider myself an Environmentalist and I am a strong advocate of green initiatives… The Greatest Polluter in America is the US Government.”

I kid (a bit) about the similarity of Scott and Martha here but give Martha credit for at least being thorough and detailed and stating that “climate change is one of the most pressing moral issues of our time.” I’m not sure it’s a moral issue, but it’s certainly pressing. The only thing Scott’s website provides are vague promises and beliefs about the environment and his site doesn’t mention even once global warming or the climate crisis (neither does Joe’s) although I know from the debate that he’s not convinced it’s entirely caused by our actions. Scott says

“I support reasonable and appropriate development of alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, nuclear, geothermal and improved hydroelectric facilities”

as if there’s someone who doesn’t. Way to say nothing. I support the sky being blue. I support wheels being round.

Look, we can’t have a humane world if the planet our world is on is sick. It’s really more important than anything else. It doesn’t matter how well educated we are, how healthy, how safe, how peaceful, how anything, if our planet is sick.

None of them seem to understand this, though Martha comes out as the strongest of the three here if only because she’ll support the progress that the Obama Adminstration is trying to make in this regard.

So I’m genuinely stumped here. I have no idea which of these three represent the least of the three evils. I’ve read and heard that a lot of people are voting for Scott simply because he opposes the current party that’s in power. This is true, he does, but he represents the other party. Checks and balances aren’t supposed to work the way the party system works. If you really want to elect someone who is going to ensure that one party isn’t in control, vote for Joe. But is that even a good reason to vote? If I truly don’t want any of these people to represent me, shouldn’t I not vote for them? Isn’t that how a democracy is supposed to work? Votes are our way of saying “yes, I agree with you. You represent me.” Isn’t there more to you than just “I oppose large government” or “I oppose the currently-in-power party”?

How about “I support a humane world with an effective government”? I’d vote for the one who could back that up with details about how they’re going to do it.

I’ll get better

11 Oct

While painting fences today I was listening to a news report about the story that a report found Sarah Palin had abused her power (Alyssa brought it to my attention on facebook earlier). The reporters/talking heads essentially came to the conclusion that the report is a mere distraction. People who support Sarah Palin will just write it off because it says she didn’t do anything illigal for her position and people who don’t support her will just add this to the list of reasons why.

This lead me to have the thought that when I have supporters (or non-supporters) I want them to be smarter than that. If I come out and start spouting about how so-and-so is a dangerous irrational monster, or that I have extensive foreign policy credentails due to my experience living on both coasts of this country, I want my supporters to call bullshit. I want them to know better.

Yet I also want them to trust me. I want them to hear what I say and believe it. Take what I say at face value. So I guess what I’m saying is that it’s my responsibility to be honest, and to thus be honest about what I might not be sure about. Trust, for the sake of humanity, is what it’s all about.

Oh, also, since several you seem to be very worried that McCain might win this election I feel the need to reitorate here that Barack Obama is the next president. He’s been the next president since before he was the Democratic nominee. This is all just formality.

Trust me.

And with that, Junorhane comes back to the LJ Town in the Blogosphere County of the Internets. There is much rejoicing.

Ideal President ’08

5 Dec

So I caught part of the Democratic debate on NPR yesterday while driving home. It’s the first one I’ve payed attention to, even though all they talked about (that I heard) was immigration.

Were I to generalize what I heard I would say that half the time they were agreeing with each other, saying things like “Well, my colleagues are right about this, but…” and “I agree with so-and-so about this, and let me say…” and then they’d spend the other half of the time trying to articulate just how different they are from each other. They spent a lot of energy trying to establish their own solid political pasts while undermining the political pasts of the others.

Each one said things I liked and each one said things that I didn’t. They all spent a lot of time and energy saying how the current administration is bad, and how they would be not as bad. Were I to continue generalizing I would say that I wouldn’t much mind if any of them got elected, though I can’t say I’m filled with enthusiasm to vote for them after hearing them all talk on the radio about immigration.

Except for one person. One candidate said something that finally made me understand why he has as many passionate followers as he does. This is what he said:

“My political philosophy — I see the world as one. I see the world as being interconnected and interdependent and there being an imperative for human unity.
And so we need to reach out and education is the way to do it. Let’s have our children learn languages and let’s grow our economy in a confident way: full employment economy, jobs for all, health care for all, not-for-profit health care for all.”

Bravo. That would be Dennis Kucinich.

To be fair, other candidates said similar things with different words. The two candidates I keep hearing referred to as the frontrunners, Obama and Clinton, said it this way:
Obama said “The basic concept (is that) increasingly, we have to view our security in terms of a common security and common prosperity with peoples in other countries” and Clinton said that the Clinton Doctrine would be “a doctrine that demonstrates that the United States is not afraid to cooperate; that through cooperation in our inter-dependent world, we actually can build a stronger country and a stronger world that will be more reflective of our values.”

The difference I see between the three quotes is that one of the speakers, Dennis, has passion for what he is saying. What he is saying motivates his every action. Passion inspires passion. He wants nothing short of “human unity.” Obama and Clinton sound like they’re saying what advisors have told them is a good thing to say. Being “not afraid to cooperate” or viewing our own security “in terms of common prosperity with peoples in other countries” is not the same as seeing the world as one.

Seeing us all as being interconnected and interdependent just seems more… true. I’d be interested to find out what the others would say if they were asked about that. Are we all interconnected and interdependent? What is America’s responsibility to humanity? What is peace? And it would be interesting to hear them answer who they would vote for if they couldn’t vote for themselves…

Also, what would be wrong with a “no-party system” where each candidate would have to define themselves by who they are and what they believe? Short of that we could at least have an all candidate debate and let the Republicans and Democrats mix. Listening to them all agree with each other is boring.