Let me make clear from the beginning, if it is not already clear to readers of this blog, I am one hundred percent behind Barack Obama. I believe he has the potential to become a truly great President. If he is elected President I think it will be one of our proudest moments. It will indicate to the world that we truly live up to our values of equality, justice, and fair play. Until I learn otherwise, I believe he is sincere in his desire to help our nation overcome the nightmare years of the early 21st century. I do not believe he will merely continue the status quo with the rich becoming richer and the gap between rich and poor increasing yearly. I believe he is, in fact, on the side of the middle class rather than the corporations and the obscenely wealthy. And I also believe he will appoint decent non-partisan Supreme Court Justices. I embrace his message of hope and change.
That being said, I do not believe he is the Messiah or that he walks on water. I fear our expectations for him may be unrealistic and some of his goals unobtainable. Further, there are areas in which I fear we may disagree. I will review these one by one, but not in any particular order of importance as they are all of great importance to me.
Afghanistan. I believe continuing the “war” in Afghanistan to be a lost cause and sending more troops there may just be the first stages of another Vietnam fiasco. As far as I can see there are only two reasons for our presence there, to try to capture Osama bin Laden and to rescue Cheney’s pipeline. I do not believe either of these goals is worth even one more American life and that any attempt to control Afghanistan, or even to capture bin Laden, is doomed to fail without reinstating a draft and raising a million man army and all that entails. While this may be a bitter pill to swallow, remember than the 9/11 hijackers were not Afghans, but Saudi Arabians. If Pakistan and Afghanistan want to continue to give them refuge, so be it. They can’t harm us much from there (if, indeed, that is actually where they are).
The Drug “War.” This is apparently not an issue for anyone in this election. It should be. This is a completely failed enterprise that is doing far more harm than good. It is every bit as bad, and perhaps even worse, than prohibition. Our current drug laws are simply absurd. We have made drugs a political issue instead of letting them remain a medical problem. Drugs should be legalized and their abuse put back in the hands of the medical profession. As Joe Biden has been in the forefront of this for some years, and has authored some of the laws, I fear he and Obama may resist taking any action to rid us of this unnecessary, expensive, and terribly damaging, failed :war,” which is mostly based on lies and false propaganda in the first place. Can you believe they are still showing Reefer Madness?
The military. I am absolutely opposed to any increase in our military or pentagon budgets. In fact, I sincerely believe we could cut our expenses in half and still remain sufficient strong to handle anything that may happen. Our current military/industrial/political complex has little to do with national defense and mostly to do with corporate profits. We are not being challenged anywhere on land or sea, and are unlikely to be in any foreseeable future. We should withdraw most of our far-flung troops, largely in places where they don’t need to be, and attempt to get along with others on this tiny planet. This would allow us to strengthen ourselves at home by investing in our infrastructure, schools, research, health care, retirements, and what-have-you. If we are strong at home we will be strong otherwise. We should be promoting peace, not war, and we should stop our belligerent attitude towards anyone who doesn’t agree with us, and try to seriously use diplomacy.
Health care. I commend Obama for wanting to establish a system of universal health care. But his plan, like Hillary’s, includes the insurance companies. I do not believe in any plan that includes the insurance companies. We should have a single payer universal health plan which could be accomplished much more efficiently and cheaply without the insurance companies. Besides which, what business do insurance companies have meddling in health care? Why should they decide whether or not you can have your appendix removed or whatever. Leave health care to the doctors and nurses and other health care professions. I hope that Obama’s plan will eventually lead to this more sensible solution. It might.
Energy. I think Obama (like most everyone else now) will try to increase our amount of energy through windpower, solar, hydro, and other renewable sources. I believe he is much more sincere and dedicated to this than McCain. I do not believe any amount of drilling is going to make any appreciable difference in the next few years. And hopefully, after that, we shouldn’t need as much oil and gas. I do not like the fact that Obama has capitulated a bit on offshore drilling. And I am not sure where he stands on nuclear energy. I know he has said he would favor it only if we could figure out what to do with the waste. As my non-scientific brain cannot imagine what one might do with the waste, short of sending to Russia (or Idaho) I think this is a dead end. Besides, nuclear is fantastically expensive and would have to be taxpayer funded and this has proven to be just one boondoggle after another. I think anyone who promotes nuclear energy basically has no respect for life on planet earth.
Accountability. I want to see our war criminals held accountable for their murderous and torturous acts. Obviously many people were complicit in the criminal “war” on Iraq, some much more directly so than others. It is unrealistic to assume than everyone who participated in this terrible tragedy, in relatively minor ways, or without full knowledge of what they were doing, should be held accountable. But we know who the principals are: Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Perle, Hadley, and a few more, and they should definitely be held accountable for their lies and unconscionable behavior. Obama has said that he would have his Attorney General look into this, and Biden has more recently suggested some action. I hope they will follow through on this, partly because it is the right thing to do, and also because I don’t think we will gain any respect from the rest of the world without doing something along these lines. I cannot imagine in a situation of this magnitude, with the enormity of the crimes involved, simply letting bygones be bygones.
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so.