I'm not a very political person. Mostly that's because politics tends to be a hobby for people - a spectator sport, with Monday morning quarterbacking and full emotional involvement. The casual politics-watcher is never going to understand every nuance of each politician's actions unless they commit to having a CNN-style news ticker running across their field of vision, and that's something I'm not willing to do.
I get most of my political news from the morning paper (Deseret News) and Google News, which is my homepage, but I only take in enough news to understand the jokes in Jay Leno's monologue. Any more than that and I'm teetering on the verge of political overload and with it a precipitous descent into complete cynicism. Frankly, I'd rather stay uninformed.
But being uninformed has never stopped me from having opinions. Far from it! This is America, after all, the land of the free and the home of the opinionated. Any yokel with a blog can spout whatever kind of drivel their deranged minds can come up with. And this yokel doesn't want to be left out.
Stephen King, that author known for his pithy comments and also gruesome murder scenes, said, "I write to find out what I think." That is so true. And pithy. Sometimes it takes writing thoughts down in order to get them nicely organized. And while I don't see myself ever being an avid political junkie, I think apathy is more likely to damage our country than either extreme's policies. So to stave off my apathetic thoughts, here are some of my opinions on the latest political happenings.
On the one hand, I hope his election lifts the hearts of minorities in this country who don't believe they have a future. It's easy enough for me to sit here and say "With enough hard work and a little bit of luck, you can do anything you want to!" I totally believe it, and I hope that Obama's election if nothing else takes away a reason to be victimized.
On the other hand, I feel bad for Obama. I've never seen someone so idealized, and there's only one way down for the guy on the pedestal. People seem to forget that he's mortal - talk change all you want, but Washington is too established to change much, especially when the qualification for being an advocate for change seems to be "worked in the Clinton administration." Obama is being painted as the country's Messiah, and you know how that ended for Jesus.
I hate the bailout. Hate it with every single sentient part of my being. I most especially despise the attitude of politicians that they know better than the rest of America what the result would be if their desired actions are not taken. It's not just a Congressional thing, either. Governor Huntsman (who I generally like) approved state funding for a professional soccer stadium that the general populace, the mayor of Salt Lake County, an independent financial consultant, a Debt Review Committee, and every economist with a pulse declared was a bad investment. Why does one person think they know so much more than the country as a whole?
When the bailout was first proposed, the people said no, it was too expensive - and Congress appeared to actually listen. But no, as it turns out, they just need to be bribed with a little pork. Now half the money has been spent, no one knows on what, and the political answer is "Spend more!" There is some basic logic missing here; namely that we got into this mess when people spent more money than they had. At some point the bill comes due, and that's when the house of cards comes down. If the government thinks it's bad now, just wait until we have to dig out of $1.5 trillion in bailout spending. The only way to shed debt is to - wait for it - SPEND LESS! Amazing! If only someone had mentioned that before the first bailout was approved! The economy is going to need to retract, and throwing money overboard like that's the thing causing the boat to sink is a bad idea.
Regular people get the idea - that's why we're all spending a little less, and as the demand for stuff goes down, the prices are going to go down, until we just can't take it anymore and we start spending. If some companies go under, then they were probably the least efficient companies to begin with. And it's not like the assets of those companies are going to disappear into thin air - some new, more efficient company, maybe a younger company with a better handle on technology or at least less encumbered by old, bad decisions - that new company will buy the assets at a discount, paving the way for a new, better company. Do you really think that if GM went under, someone else won't be there, ready to buy a discount factory to employ all of these unemployed workers, also at a discount? Maybe we don't need a Big Three - maybe this country only needs a Big Two. Handing failing businesses money will cure them in exactly the same way that handing failing schools money cured them. Oh wait, that didn't work either.
Man, what a mess. What it comes down to is this: Do all people have the right to live peacefully, in a land with no threat of violence? Israel says yes - Hamas says no. The Palestinians don't belive that the Israelis should be allowed to exist. For them, it's not a matter of finding the correct dividing line between an Israeli and Palistinian state, it's about wiping Israel off the map altogether. Israel has made concessions and given up territory, but nothing seems to satisfy Palestine other than Israel's non-existance. How can anybody defend this? Why do some people think that's okay?
The latest flare-up between the two groups only muddles the issue for some people. Palestine sent rockets into Israel civilian territory. Israel responds by bombing the crap out of them. The media starts comparing numbers, making the agressors look like the victims. After all, the reports claim, Palestinian rockets only killed three Israeli civilians. Really? So, a terrorist act is acceptable if it only kills a few people, is that it? If it had been ten dead Israelis, would it have been okay to retaliate then? How about fifty?
Let's put it into a situation that's a little closer to home. The government of Toronto decides that they hate America. They decide that America is evil, and should be destroyed. So they launch a rocket over Niagara Falls and it hits a neighborhood in upstate New York. It only kills three people. Toronto is unrepentant, and in fact will continue to lob rockets over the falls until their supply runs out.
Is there an American alive who believe we would just take that? No! We would beat those Canadians into submission - they'd be wishing they'd never heard of New York before this was done. If the 9/11 terrorists had been Torontoans instead of Muslims, I don't know if we Americans could have stopped ourselves from marching up there with pitchforks. The only reason we, as a country, didn't take revenge on Al Qaeda is that the Middle East is a really long plane flight away. Plus, they seem to be hard to find. But in any case, my point is this - we wouldn't put up with someone killing just a few Americans, and bombing the crap out of Hamas seems to be the only answer. Pacifism hasn't worked, conceeding hasn't worked, fences haven't worked. If someone has to go, should it be the Israelis or should it be Hamas? I think the bully in this equation is Hamas. And as kids everywhere know, it does matter who started it.
Well, I think that's all the political opinions I can muster for one day. I was going to also discuss gas prices, but that might have to wait for my next diatribe. I'd love to get your thoughts in the comments, but keep in mind, I'm just some yokel with an opinion and an internet connection. I think that's the textbook definition of "blogger".