As recently promised, here I am with my first rant on the American presidential election. Expect a few more before November, but here’s the first one, at least.
I am not going to beat around the shrubbery (yesterday was International Monty Python update day on Facebook, after all) … I want Obama to get reelected.
I want him to get reelected as the lesser of two evils, mind you. I had so much hope when the current administration took office, and much of that hope has been dashed in the meantime, but … admittedly … not all of it. However, American politics continue to show itself as a study in childishness and kindergarden antics. And I agree firmly with Jon Huntsman who said that America needed a third party. A genuine party. Not the libertarians who, in my opinion, are not so much a party as an anti-party, wanting to dissolve practically everything except the armed forces, but a genuine, real political party, able to take part in the political discourse on par with the Republicans and Democrats, with sufficient representation in Congress to have real influence.
I don’t see it happening for a whole complicated number of reasons, but in the end, America still has two political parties. One constantly engaged in an internal struggle between its left and its right, and one so extreme in its right wing radicalism that it constantly beggars the imagination. And both parties are unable to work together. The Republicans filibuster everything, and I do mean everything, and the Democrats are bending over backwards to placate people who have no intention of cooperating with them anyway.
And all of this because a black man had the audacity to win a one-on-one election against a decorated war-hero.
This is at the heart of all this, but no one wants to say it. The entire problem arose because a black man won a mano-a-mano election against a former POW from the Vietnam War.
But I do believe that Obama has done good things. For one thing, forty one million Americans without health-insurance coverage now /has/ it, and health insurance companies are banned from calling teenage acne a pre-existing condition (you think that’s an exaggeration, do a simple google search on “preexisting condition acne” and see for yourself), and denying citizens who have paid their premiums for years, even decades, necessary treatment even when lives are at risk for the most horrible of reasons.
I still prefer a single payer system, by a mile in fact, but that’s probably not going to happen in the foreseeable future, if ever.
Obama has also repealed the atrocious Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell-legislation which openly discriminated against homosexuals in the armed forces, and his administration has declared that they would not try to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as they consider it unconstitutional.
As of two days ago, the president even outright said he was in favor of marriage equality. Of course, this has conservatives railing against him, using their usual lie (yes … it is a lie, no other word for it) that marriage has always been between one man and one woman.
Not only did Mitt Romney’s own great-grandfather move out west specifically so he could be allowed to have five wives, but the entire Mormon church practiced polygamy until very late in its history, and even the BIBLE speaks of polygamy as permitted.
Exodus chapter 21:10 to 21:11 … “If a man marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights. If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money.”
1Kings, chapter 11 … “But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites; from the nations of whom the LORD had said to the children of Israel, “You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart.”
In Islam it is still practiced in certain countries, without the influence of Christianity. Hinduism speaks highly of Draupadi, who was married to five men, and all of whom had secondary wives. Having many wives or even, more rarely, many husbands, has been the norm throughout history. Not one of each.
But there’s even something to suggest that Christianity has homosexual saints …
St. Sergius and St. Bacchus, two Roman soldiers who were killed for their Christian faith in the early fourth century AD, were described as “erastai” which literally translates as “lovers”, joined in “Adelphopoesis”, which is a same-sex union. The word translates to “to be made brothers” but is considered a marriage in scholarly circles. This was not a unique affair either … Adelphopoesis was a church ceremony, carried out for many couples of “erastai” in pre-modern church history.
It was part of what the church did in those days.
And in any case, this is not a religious issue. It is an issue of civil rights, and the 14th amendment which in section 1 clearly states “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of laws.”. It does not say “… nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction, except homosexuals, the equal protection of laws.”
Learning of Romney’s bullying of gay students (so far two separate cases have come to the public’s attention, and at least one of these cases is attested to by people who took part in the bullying, not only those bullied) does not make him look like he’s going to come out squeaky clean from this mess.
In the end, gay rights is about human rights, and the hatreds and prejudices of those who hide behind their faith to justify their utterly immoral and downright inhumane positions will be judged by history … and judged just as harshly as those who stood against the civil rights movement of the 1960′s. They will be remembered for their narrow-mindedness, their pettiness, for their hypocrisy and for their innumerable lies.
Oh, and can someone please explain to me how two men getting married in any way hurts the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Taxpayer? I have waited for years while that argument has been thrown around, but to this day, no one has actually explained to me WHAT this horrible “damage” consists of. Presumably, if it damages marriages, it means that Mr. and Mrs. John D. Taxpayer will get divorced out in Wyoming, because Mr. and Mr. Everyman got married in New York, despite the two couples being happily unaware of each other’s existence. Or at least Mr. and Mrs. John D. Taxpayer will have a less loving and less happy marriage. Or maybe they will simply never get married in the first place, despite being very much in love, because “No, we won’t marry, since those filthy homos can get married too”.
In which case, of course, they are simply bigots …
But the American election is about a lot more than gay rights. It is about the economy too. Despite the ardent attempts of the Republicans to say that the bad American economy is Obama’s fault, the simple, clear-cut fact is that the economy was almost destroyed after eight years of truly awful economic policies under George W. Bush, combined with two hideously expensive wars …
Do any of you remember the days when American security advisors said that the war in Iraq would cost a maximum of ten billion dollars?
I do. That was over 990 billion dollars ago.
It is about jobs, too.
Romney wanted to throw out a million or more jobs in the auto-industry because … well … we all know Romney likes to fire people who provide services to him. On top of the jobs from the assembly lines, of course, there were jobs in the entire chain of suppliers leading up to the assembly lines that would also get hit. Hell, Honda … not exactly a sterling example of American automotive industry … begged lawmakers to help the Big Three, Chrysler, General Motors and Ford out, as they used the same supply-chain and would get hit as well.
Domino-economics, in other words.
Obama, on the other hand … in spite of the incessant and by now very childish “where are the jobs”-cries from John Boehner and his ilk, have overseen 19 straight months of job growth … 26 months if you only look at the private sector, which the Republicans love so dearly. So, Mr. Boehner … THERE are the jobs. In fact, Obama’s first 13 months saw a steadily shrinking workforce, but that, by ANY stretch of the imagination, is attributable to the budget laid down under his predecessor. The 12 months that went before that, under George W. Bush, saw that same trend get worse and worse and worse. When Obama took office, the curve was broken within six months, and while there were another seven months of job losses on top of those, the net losses were smaller and smaller for each month. After 26 months of then-consecutive private sector job growth, the Republicans still shriek “where are the jobs?”.
If they look at the statistics, the newspapers and the world around them … they’ll see those jobs. Recessions do not turn on a dime. They do not go away from one day to the next. They take YEARS to overcome. What America is doing under the Obama administration is historically, economically and socially almost unprecedented, and that is meant in a positive way.
It is the ultimate proof that Raeganomics, the idea that if you make the rich richer, everyone will automatically benefit, was utterly wrong. Even George H. W. Bush knew this, when he called his predecessor in the Oval Office’s economic policies for “Voodoo-economics”.
On top of that, this election is also about moral courage. About staying the course. Romney has turned his position on practically every single issue out there at least once, sometimes twice and sometimes even three times. He calls the Papers Please-law in Arizona, SB1070, “a model for the nation”. We are talking about a law created by a man named Russel Pearce who has since been recalled by Arizona voters. A man who openly and proudly flaunts his neo-nazi connections by publishing articles written for the National Alliance, a neo-nazi group where members greet each other with an enthusiastic “Heil” and who openly spews Anti-Semitic garbage and white supremacist nonsense.
Romney calls legislation created by such a man “a model for the nation” … legislation which makes it a punishable crime … a misdemeanor, but a PUNISHABLE CRIME … not to carry documentation proving that you are a legal resident of the United States IF you do not LOOK like you are a legal resident. This legislation was, by Russel Pearce’s own admission, created to maintain a white majority in the United States. In other words, “Look white or carry papers”. This is racial segregation via the back door … creating distinct classes in the eyes of the law, based solely on skin-colour. And Mitt Romney endorses this policy wholeheartedly.
The election is also about women’s health. While the Republicans absolutely hate this grave they’ve dug for themselves, it is nevertheless a simple fact that women in the United States require healthcare, and that this includes hormonal birthcontrol. Hormonal birthcontrol which the republicans wish to outlaw as a matter of official party policy.
Mind you, I would die within six months or at most a year if I did not have access to such medicine. I don’t use it for birth control … I have no uterus, so there’s no point in me trying to avoid becoming pregnant. But I need it because it is my main source of estrogen, and without it, my body would give in and collapse. It wouldn’t happen right away, but I would get increasingly more poorly, and eventually, I would die.
This medicine must be outlawed according to the Republican party. Not only as birthcontrol but COMPLETELY. This was seen most clearly when Sandra Fluke, a law student at Georgetown University Law Center, was banned from taking part in an otherwise all-male panel-debate, called by a Republican congressman, Darrell Issa, on the socalled “Conscience Clause” in health care, which allows religious institutions certain liberties when it comes to providing health coverage for their employees. Ms. Fluke’s argument, which was later made public via TV and through the intercession of Democrats, was that hormonal birthcontrol was not only extremely expensive in some cases (hormonal birthcontrol is not only limited to the pill which in itself is not necessarily going to crash anyone’s budget), but that it was a matter of life and death to women with certain very serious medical afflictions. The Republicans did not want to hear this, and so they banned her from speaking her mind.
In the end, this kind of politics serves only one purpose, and it is a purpose no one is willing to speak about aloud, for fear of pissing someone off. But this is about control. It is about controlling women by keeping them weak and helpless. And sadly, it seems that if this is going to cost lives, then so be it, according to Republican lawmakers.
Now that I have railed against the Republicans, however, I feel it is necessary to reiterate what I said at the beginning. I want Obama reelected because he is the lesser of two evils. I do not like what a great many democrats stand for, and I do not appreciate the vacillating, demure and half-apologetic stance they take to practically everything. There are exceptions, but they are few and far in between. I think a man like Harry Reid needs to grow a backbone. I think the Blue Dogs are a disgrace and should get it over with and join the Republican party rather than pretending to be something they are not. And there are many other examples of Democrats who frankly need to get their act together.
I am not happy with the United States or the direction it is taking, as perceived from the outside. I am increasingly convinced that USA should be replaced with DSA, for the Divided States of America. I am saddened that Lincoln’s immortal parable, that a house divided against itself cannot stand has been forgotten so completely. And I am stunned that a nation that for generations and generations was the banner-bearer of freedom and enlightenment is sinking further and further into the abject morass of religious dogma and repression of great, great parts of its own citizenry.
It is horrible to see that so many Americans, including elected officials, publically state that the first amendment does in fact NOT mean the separation of Church and State. To hear them agitate for religious rule and Christian exceptionalism is nothing short of harrowing.
The United States stands before one of the most important elections in its history. Will it go forward, and try to regain its position as a world leader for good, or will it choose to step back, into a position where the rest of the world does not respect it as a nation, but fears it in the same way one fears an unshackled wolverine.
You know it is inherently violent. You know it will eventually attack you. You know it will shred you and leave you mangled or dead.
You just don’t know when.
And before anyone complains about me being preachy, or about me propagandizing … I am unapologetic about this. These are my personal views, and I stand by them.
This entry was posted on Friday, May 11th, 2012 at 12:37 pm and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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