Thursday, October 23, 2014


The choice is clear and the stakes are high.  Some powers are intent upon imposing obstacles between some American citizens and the ballot box.  But for some, voting is not worth the effort.  Fear and greed are the two most powerful weapons against rational thinking and that is another obstacle in the way of setting the American government on a better course..

Representing the interests of the 1% you have those who mock scientists, are dead set against health insurance coverage for the masses, .  You can argue that the other side don't do much to help the common man, but you would be overlooking they are handicapped.  It is also true that nobody gets elected without a lot of financial support that in fact ties their hands a bit.  Politics should not be a horse race, but rather a forum of ideas.

Barack Obama has his hands tied by Congress and his own obligations to those who finance him.  What is a voter to do?  Don't trust those who blame him for the problems.  Obama has offered solutions for the benefit of the common man and tried to surround himself with people who can help boost the country, but he is pretty well stymied.  Still the facts support he has done a good job and the attacks on him are mostly unworthy.

Affordable Health Care (socialized medicine if you prefer) has been an idea accepted by most of the developed world who have discovered that it is more cost effective than most of the alternatives.  Obama selected a plan that originally had been developed by Republicans and works within a market system.  It had been tried in Massachusetts with no major problems and many benefits ironically under a Republican governor who again ironically renounced  it while currying favour with Republican power brokers.  Since its partial implementation has proved itself capable of saving money as well as boosting health.  Republicans still rant against it, but their logic should not be accepted.

Foreign policy is always a delicate affair.  At one time a super power could impose its views on any dissenters.  Armament manufacturers do provide jobs and wealth and have pressured government leaders to use weapons to protect their interests.  The world is a complicated place with countless points of view and somehow we need to learn how to get along to solve global problems that can do us all in.  The Republicans took advantage of 9/11 to invade a country not connected to the event.  They thought they could force foreigners to their will, but found taking sides and deceiving people is not a good plan.  It is far better to take the time to understand the situation than to jump in.  Obama has been more cautious and long term in his thinking.

Immigration is another dicey problem.  Many businesses and individuals see it has a chance to get cheap labour.  Others feel their jobs threatened.    Still others distrust strangers with different cultural values.  The Republican rhetoric concentrates on sealing the border.  Their tough stance indicates that they think they can use this as a wedge issue where prejudice and fear make people irrational.  At the same time businesses like to have cheap labor and see immigrants as another way to minimize worker choice.  America has been made great by immigration and there is every reason to think they will actually benefit from future immigration.  There will have to be tough decisions, but they should not be based on prejudice and exploitation.  Obama seems to be more understanding.

Climate change is laughed at by Republicans who claim it has not been proved.  There has been an overwhelming conclusion by the global scientific community that this is the major problem in the world.  (I would just add aggravated by overpopulation).  Republicans have fossil fuel money and religious conservatives demanding the rejection of any plan to deal with the future disaster.  This alone is grounds for voting for an alternative to the Republicans

Inequality concerns are brushed off as envy.  Most Americans are unaware of just how much the 1% controls in their country.  Republicans claim the wealthy are job creators, but that overlooks outsourcing, union bashing and other practices.  The true job creators are consumers, but the bulk of Americans have less money and job security than in the past.

The Republicans are obstructionists.  What does that mean?  Instead of compromising and working together they vote against Democratic proposals on principle.  There may well be legitimate principles, but if they really want to serve their constituents they should be working to create laws that work.  There is a lot of money that could help fix the deficit and get Americans working, but the Republicans are far more interested in protecting their rich supporters.

The Presidential election stirs a lot of attention, however too many voters underestimate the importance of mid term elections.  The President certainly has a lot of power, but cannot accomplish what he promised without Congress.  At the moment the American Congress is very obstructive and ignoring the common man in favour of their rich donators.

Campaign financing has come to distort the discussion platform and if anything most Republicans would tilt it even further.  Corporations are not people, but are allowed to influence the outcome. At bottom campaign finance laws should be altered to limit the influence of money.

It is true that a lot is stacked against a single voter.  Those who have the most to gain by a Democratic victory seem to have the most hoops to jump through.  Those who are wishy washy will be bombarded with a lot of distortions.  Gerrymandering means single votes might have very little impact.  Even though the rules allow a party to dominate with fewer total votes the party with most votes does gain some moral leverage. Single votes do add up so make sure your vote is part of the equation.  You can be sure many others with different priorities will make it to the voting booth.

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