Saturday, June 16, 2012

Is "Political" all Bad?

President Obama, using his Executive powers, has given a marvelous gift to some 800,000 young Hispanics, making it possible for them to avoid deportation and even be allowed to legally work and stay in the U.S., at least for a time. As Congress refused to vote for the Dream Act this was the least Obama could do about this unfortunate situation. Remember, these are young Hispanics who were brought to the U.S. illegally, through no fault of their own, by their parents prior to their 16th birthdays. Thus they have lived in the U.S. most of their lives, have attended our schools, developed friendships, and are clearly Americans in every way except legally. If they have lived here for five years or more, graduated from High School, served in the military, and have no criminal record they are eligible to stay and work and need not fear deportation, at least for a time. This is not amnesty, nor does it give them citizenship (possibilities left for another time).

Republicans, of course, immediately cried “foul,” or at least have accused Obama of having made an (implied) cynical “political” decision designed to capture the ever-growing Hispanic vote. Ignore for the moment the obvious fact that Obama already has the overwhelming majority of the Hispanic vote and need not have done this at all. Yes, it is political, at least insofar as it will no doubt increase his popularity with this important voting block, and yes, that may even have been an important part of his motive, but it is also a decision that is perfectly sensible, fair, compassionate, realistic, logical, practical, moral and ethical. From the way our two parties accuse each other of playing “politics” you might well think that everything political is necessarily and inevitably always ”bad.” I guess you might excuse Republicans for such an attitude as they are certainly not noted for compassion, fairness, morality, ethics, or any other of what might well be considered ordinary American values. Of course if you subscribe to an economic system in which labor is considered merely a commodity to be used and sacrificed in the holy quest of ever-increased profit, you need not even bother about such questions.

I have been increasingly convinced that not only does Romney lack compassion, fairness, morality and ethics, he is completely unable to think outside of the belief system of the one percent. He has no comprehension whatsoever of what life is like for those who lack the wealth and power of his peers. Nor does he have even a rudimentary knowledge of foreign affairs and how it is the U.S. must interact and cooperate with others. He seems to believe that war is completely justified and should be employed in any situation that stands in the way of American or Israeli desires (or profits). I think he is unaware the Cold War is over and that world affairs at the moment are far different than they were when he was busy proselytizing in Paris. This might well be seen in his claim that Russia is still our number one “enemy” and that Obama is more interested in defending Iran than in protecting Israel. If Obama can resist the pressure to attack Iran at Israel’s request, and thus avoid another war in the Middle East, it will be one of the greatest accomplishments of the last fifty or more years. Indeed, if Obama could somehow maneuver Israel into making a just peace with the Palestinians it would easily be the greatest feat of the last seventy years. Romney, of course, seems perfectly willing to bomb Iran with no regard for the consequences, consequences, I fear, he is even incapable of understanding. After all, he and his five sons will never have to be involved. It seems the same hawks that aided George W. Bush in starting a completely unjustified, unconstitutional, illegal, and devastating “war” in Iraq are now advising Romney to make a similar terrible mistake in Iran.

I believe it is quite true, as Obama has said, that a Romney Presidency would simply be a repeat of Bush/Cheney except on steroids. The same lies and mistakes that brought about our recession and national debt would be repeated in an even more devastating form, the world situation Bush/Cheney brought about making us into a pariah nation would continue in an even more unhealthy way, corporations, as people, would rule, and ordinary people would suffer more poverty and poor health. I concede that President Obama has been in important ways a disappointment (I’m not certain all the disappointments are entirely his fault), and he has followed policies I do not at all approve of, drone warfare, nuclear energy, continued hostilities in Afghanistan, protecting Bush/Cheney, for example, but I do believe Romney and the Republicans would bring new meaning to the concept of disaster.

I have given two cousins to war and I stand ready to sacrifice my wife's brother.

Artemus Ward

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