Thursday, September 30, 2004

election looming

Part of my mood, if that's what we're dealing with, may be because there is an election going on. Under the American system, my vote for president means little. Neither of the major candidates are campaigning here, deciding long ago that Bush will win Indiana. I always vote and will continue to do so, but since this is not a battleground state, my vote will be little more than a protest.

Elections are promising and hopeful events -- where we as citizens gather to agree (or argue) about where we are going as a country. For some time, especially since the impeachment process back in the Clinton years, we have become more separated, finding less consensus.

If we are going to face terrorism and terrorists as part of our future, it seems to me that we ought to figure out what that means. Slogans and catch words are wearing out.

Is the war in Iraq helping us or hurting us? We set up Kurds for gassing in 1992 by promising them and then abandoning them. Are we about to set up others in Iraq with a long, protacted civil war? At the beginning of the war, the president's men talked about freedom and liberation (squares named after Bush in Baghdad). They should have thought through more deeply. The mission has not been accomplished. Folk are dying daily. And we have no clue where it is going.

Hussein and his family were devils. Awful people. I celebrated that they were no longer in power. And yet, it's as if we thought we had some magical power to recreate a new country. Our good thoughts did not preclude the hard work and effort needed to rebuild Iraq. Trust us, they'll name plazas after us. Need more soldiers? Trust us, we can do it on less. People are blowing themselves up, something few of us understand.

The president and his crew intimated that Hussein had biological and/or nuclear weapons -- that appears to be false. The president has continued to link our fight against terrorists/terrorism to the war in Iraq, and yet we have little or no proof that the Iraqis were involved in the 9/11 attacks, or the series of attacks leading up to 9/11.

When a roque state does begin to act using nuclear or biological weapons, are we prepared to deal with it? Are we now in a position where we cannot act if or when that happens?

Oil is part of all of this. The world's supply is dwindling, and we still act as if it is not. If Iraq becomes a hostile country, and Saudia Arabia too, where are we going to get oil? Why are we not pushing ahead to figure out how to make the world less oil dependent?

The economy. I grew up in the 20th century where the long held view was that societies create wealth in part by making things. Obviously, America is not about making things. In this new century, how will Americans afford to keep our multi-cultural society afloat?

Leadership. The president has never worked very hard to be the leader of the whole country. His issues, his emphasis on the issues, all appear to be about comforting the right wing to the exclusion of everybody else. There were moments after 9/11 where I thought that might change. It didn't. He rarely trys to sell his programs, but presents them with a take it or leave it attidude. For some, this speaks of resolute strength. For me, it speaks of arrogance.

I am ready for a new president who sees the job from a national perspective.

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