Sunday, May 17, 2009

* The conservative agenda ~ or lack thereof – Today a Washington Post article was titled, “Gay-Marriage Issue Awaits Court Pick, Same-Sex Unions Supplant Abortion As Social Priority for Conservatives.” Despite no evidence that same-sex marriage has a negative influence on the institution of marriage or the fabric of our society the conservative movement has hitched their Trojan horses to this empty wagon. Imagine the benefits to the American people if the full force of the conservative movement, be they social or anti-social conservatives, actually advocated for meaningful issues that include:

~ Affordable, quality healthcare for all citizens (as is the case in most industrialized nations)
~ Energy and environmental policies that protect the air and water essential to human existence and the food supply to sustain that existence
~ Responsible inspection of imported and domestic food and products
~ Workers rights that assure fair wages and reasonable and safe working conditions
~ Limitations on interest rates that have now reached levels that qualify as usury and were at one time outlawed in America
~ Public financing of elections so that special interests do not override the real interests of the people

Perhaps God should be recruited to the policy-setting committee for the conservative agenda. Rumor has it that She cares about the actual well-being of people.

* Romancing a Sheep – Religious-right leader Pat Robertson says, “The ‘ultimate conclusion’ of legalizing same-sex marriage would be the legalization of polygamy, bestiality, child molestation and pedophilia.” As the religious-right apprehensively watches its relevancy wane, its inflammatory rhetoric increases in intensity and absurdity. Appropriate responses to such nonsense would be “Nah” and “Baa.”

* Ignorance is bliss ~ or, just ignorant – John McCain has returned to the Sunday talk show punditocracy. These days he is weighing in on the military’s policy of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT). If one is in the armed forces and is gay, just don’t admit to it and you are permitted to face a Taliban sniper or the possibility that the family jewels will be blown off by an al Qaeda operative or Sunni insurgent. McCain says that the policy is working. A fair question would be, “What are the results of inserting one’s head in the sand on this issue?”

From Since 1994, DADT has resulted in the discharge of more than 13,000 military personnel across the services, including approximately 800 with skills deemed “mission critical,” such as pilots, combat engineers, and linguists. According to a 2005 report from the Government Accountability Office, “the cost of discharging and replacing service members fired because of their sexual orientation during the policy’s first 10 years totaled at least $190.5 million — roughly $20,000 per discharged service member.

With war on two fronts and a military extremely over-extended Senator McCain says that the system is working. At a time when the strategic goals in Iraq and Afghanistan critically require personnel with Arabic language capabilities many have been dismissed. At a time when many military personnel have received deployment to combat zones four and five times because of a shortage of trained soldiers, this has resulted in very high numbers of military personnel with stress disorders. McCain would have us believe the system is working. Appropriate responses to such nonsense would be “Nah” and “Baa.”

* Seeing the obvious ~ when it is right in front of you – “Census data from the Mexican government indicate an extraordinary decline in the number of Mexican immigrants going to the United States.” I guess one could say that the U.S. government’s effort to stem the flow of illegal immigrants across our borders is finally working. Nah and baa. “If jobs are available, people come,” said Jeffrey S. Passel, senior demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan research group in Washington. “If jobs are not available, people don’t come.” The recession is proving more effective in reducing illegal immigration than incompetent and malfeasant U.S. policy.

Something we have always known is that the attraction for people to enter our country illegally was the availability of jobs. Something we have known all along is that it is illegal to employ undocumented workers. Something we have known all along is that said law was not enforced. Why? One reasonable guess would be that politically influential farmers, food processors, manufacturers, builders, landscapers… convinced the powers that be to look the other way. There was too much profit to be relinquished if they could not use these immigrants who work for low wages, no benefits, no worker rights and protections. Now that the not-so-secret “secret” is out, how will this affect enforcement of existing law and the formulation of new laws going forward? The answer depends upon the balance of power in this country between the special interests and the interests of the American people.

* “Power always thinks it had a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak, and that it is doing God's service when violating all His laws.”
John Adams (1735 – 1826) second President of the U.S. (1797 – 1801)

1 comment:

Ruth Z Deming said...

while our country may be in a recession and the republicans are at the nadir of what little mind-sense they ever had, look at stephen! you are never in a recession for words or thoughts or ideas! bravo for your always thought-provoking well-written columns.