Because the fall semester is almost over, I thought I would use this post – my last post – to talk about what I have learned about politics this year from this blog and from my research.
One Dec. 1, Ken Salazar, the Secretary of the Interior of the U.S., announced a five-year ban on offshore drilling. This law comes after the devastating BP oil spill, which started in the Gulf on April 20, 2010.
A month before the spill, Obama and Salazar opened up parts of the Gulf to offshore drilling.
While this decision pleased environmentalists and angered oil companies, the ban has both good and bad qualities to it, which I hope to explore in this post.
If you’ve been reading and watching the news, you probably heard about the new DREAM Act trying to make its way through Congress before the end of the lame duck period. The DREAM Act stands for “Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act,” a bill which would “provide certain inadmissible or deportable alien students who graduate from US high schools, who are of good moral character, arrived in the U.S. as minors and have been in the country continuously for at least five years prior to the bill’s enactment, the opportunity to earn conditional permanent residency if they complete two years in the military or two years at a four year institution of higher learning. The alien students would obtain temporary residency for a six year period.”
Yesterday, I read an article in the New York Times about Obama’s bi-partisan debt-reduction commission’s proposal to cut trillions from spending and increase taxes. The article mentions that liberals are “in near revolt over the issue” because of the attempt to cut spending to many social programs while conservative Tea Party members are uninterested in tax increases.
Following the results from the nation-wide election this Tuesday, I wanted to talk about one of the most important aspects of the election for Californians – Jerry Brown’s victory speech. Now while a lot of the previously Democratic states chose to elect governor candidates from the GOP, or even the one independent in Rhode Island, California was the only state to actually gain a Democratic governor. You can watch the video of his speech here.
I thought I would focus on the election coming up this Tuesday again this week, just because of the importance behind being an active political participant. This week, I’m going to focus on a few of the propositions in this election and explain each briefly because a lot of the time, people do not bother to read about or explore what the props have to offer – they just read the one paragraph in the sample ballot booklet and believe that to be the truth and vote.
Because the November 2 election is approaching, I thought I would introduce you to someone you have never seen with an endorsement on TV: Chelene Nightingale. She is the American Independent candidate for California’s governor. A lot of the time, people do not even realize that there are these other candidates out there until they see the ballot on Election Day and have already decided who they are voting for. Not only is that horrible political behavior, but Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman spend countless dollars to trash each other in the election because they think either one of them will ultimately become the next governor. Well, if more people knew about the other candidates, and actually read what they are promising to do before voting, Brown and Whitman may not feel so comfortable as our next leader.
Most of the time on this site, I spend my time talking about all of the things wrong with politics and the political world we live in. It’s unfortunate, I know, but pretty much everything one sees on the television or reads on the Internet regarding politics focuses on the corruption and controversial behavior of the government: the salary scandal in Bell, the 2010 California races for governor and senator, the scandal where the U.S. government infected Guatemalan people with syphilis after WWII – the list goes on and on. So this week, instead of focusing on the negative, I want to focus on something positive in the political world. Something I found really helpful, informative and inspiring.
In my last post, I took a position against the health care reform and large government Obama has continued. This week I want to show my position against the Bush administration’s complete disregard for the Geneva Conventions as well as the civil rights and liberties we expect every American to receive.
From 2002 to 2006, the Bush administration denied the prisoners of the Iraq and Afghanistan war held at Guantanamo Bay the rights given to them under the Geneva Conventions. In one case, the administration wanted to establish a special military commission to try an individual expected of terrorism, which violated the individual’s right to a fair trial (all sources below). Even the U.S. Supreme Court recognized that the suspect would not be treated fairly if he were to be tried by the U.S military in its decision, which is a violation the administration would not concede until they were made by the Court. This idea of a fair trial is not some new idea that originated with the Geneva Conventions – it was established in the U.S. Constitution under the Sixth Amendment over 200 years ago, and is one of the primary expectations in U.S. courtrooms. So why would the Bush administration think that just because the prisoners are not American citizens they do not deserve the same rights and fairness given to Americans by other countries? It would be different if there was nothing that the U.S. had to agreed to that met these specifications, but the Geneva Conventions do not fall under that category. The U.S. government does not have the right to pick and choose when they would like to follow certain rules and when they would not, especially when it comes to acts against humanity. Under the Geneva Conventions, the lack of a fair trial is one of the worst breaches of not just civil liberties, but humanity as well. How can we expect other countries to treat our detainees fairly if our own government asserts and publicizes that we are not going to do the same?
The Beatles said it the best: let it be.
That is exactly what laissez-faire economics means; under this type of market, transactions between private parties are safe from the intervention and monopolization of the state – or government. And while it’s not a widely popular idea in our political society today, it holds a vast amount of importance in protecting civil liberties as well as the small government the Founders believed in.
This belief, however, is not reflected in our new universal health care reform bill. And my position is this: once people start to get everything they need from the government – and not work for even basic needs like health care – there really is no distinguishable line between what the government has the right to regulate and what the government knows it should not regulate, but chooses to anyway.