Monday, February 11, 2008

JMO - Lesser of Evils

Why is picking a Presidential candidate so hard? So hard, in fact it's a choice of the lesser of evils. Last month I wrote an essay about my opinon on the issues in an open letter to the candidates, meaning if you want my vote, you have to consider these as ideas for a better country and nation. Like it matters to them?

I know I'm one of many votes the candidates are trying to entice into their camp. I'm an independent - not registered as either a Republican or Democrat, and I choose my view on the issue, not the party or person. And I also select my candidate not just on their views on the issues, but on their personality, character and values. You can disagree with someone but if they have the character to listen and discuss an issue, and are will to negotiate a compromise, then they're better than someone who isn't even if you agree with them.

Why? Because being obsinate won't get you very far in the world and very far working with other people. I know, I'm obstinate on some issues, but I'm also willing to talk, listen and compromise to get an agreement. It's not always true, but sometimes, something is better than nothing. And being obstinate often leaves you with nothing. Been there done that.

My point? Personally I would like to have a buffet with the candidates. Can I make one from the many? Reading their views on issues, I realize I like a some of their views and dislike many of their other views. I even like some of the views the Libertarians have on the Iraq war and civil rights and protections, just not on government and taxes. And it's the same with the other candidates, a few here and a few there, and soon I have a whole candidate, just not in one person.

I know I can't, and you have to pick one from the array of issues you agree with and the array of issue you can live with. And the rest of the issues, the ones you hate them for? Well, you swallow and hope that they will change, knowing they won't. And that's sad part of it, you know you won't like some of their views you value, and there is little you can do about it.

What also bothers me with the primaries, and will be even more in the election, is the sheer volume of political rhetoric we all know is simple rhetoric, and for the most part, meaningless, simply designed to sway you to vote for them. And all the while we've argued for real debates, all we still get are snippets, nothing of substance or value to really understand who the candidates are and where they stand on issues. And what they're willing to do about solutions.

All we hear are problems and general or, worse, generic solutions. We don't hear about the complexity of an issue, their willingness to talk about the facets of an issues, and their interest to find a good solution which works for everyone and works for this country and nation - country being our whole economic and social environment and nation being our identity about ourselves and in the world.

I would love to hear answers to questions like these where they talk for 30-60 minutes on each with people asking questions to clarify their views, ie keep them honest.

"What is your realistic view of the right of a woman to the whole array of medical information and choices with respect to her reproductive rights, from when she first becomes a woman through menopause?" Abortion is part of the array, so where do they see what right a woman has to it. Why do you think, if you do, anyone other than the woman and her doctor has the right to interfer with your choices to information and medical proceedures?

"What is your realistic view of the role and work of the US in the longterm solution to the Middle East and South Asia - from Egypt to India?"

"What is your realistic view of the future of this country economically to prosper in the global economy given our current labor structure, organization and costs?" What would you do to ensure Americans will earn liveable wages with good retirement benefits to have a home, raise a family, feel safe in their neighborhood, have access to good health care, have access for their children to a good education through college, and so on?

"What is your realistic view of the role of the US military in the world?" Do we really need to outspend all the other nations combined on annual budgets, act like the world's police, and continually degrade American values toward human rights with wars, prisons, torture, etc.?

"What is your realistic view of the role of the US in international politics?" Do we need to be a leader and a partner with other nations, to promote human rights instead of dictatorships, military oligarchies, etc.? Where do you stand on working toward peace initiatives to ensure we don't have wars again?

And so on. I'll add questions as I think of them. And until then, I'll wait, watch and listen for something to feel good about in this election. So far, I haven't seen any good feelings other than telling me what I want to hear to vote for them. And that doesn't win my vote.

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