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The State of the Union (as seen from the outside looking in)

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pbca Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 09:09 PM
Original message
The State of the Union (as seen from the outside looking in)
I was once a Ward Captain for my local DCC, I wholeheartedly, enthusiastically and energetically supported democratic candidates - of various races and genders. In the run up to the 1996 election I had many heated arguments with other members of my DCC. It was my position that I became a Democrat because I believed in certain core values and that I felt that Bill Clinton had betrayed most of those values. Others, the majority of the Central Committee argued that it wasn't about values it was about winning election period and that candidates should be free to adopt any values they chose, to take any positions they liked in order to win elections.

If that's truly what it is about that's fine, but I won't swear loyalty to an organization that stands for nothing but winning. I was given a glimmer of hope in that election season as the late Senator Paul Wellstone prepared to challenge Bill Clinton in a primary. I told my DCC that if Clinton met Wellstone in a free primary and Clinton won that I would support him. That didn't happen and the day after backroom talks and party insiders persuaded Wellstone to abandon his bid I resigned from the DCC and switched my affiliation to Independent.

Much has changed since those days, obviously. In addition to the many obvious changes that the U.S. has gone through - I have left the country. My wife is originally from Canada and as soon as Bush was elected, before 9/11 or any of it we began the immigration process. I have not though, in Canada or the US pledged my support to any party since then. I have sought out individual candidates that I believe in, that I share values with and I have donated to and worked for those candidates.

My opinion doesn't, and probably shouldn't count for as much. I'm not residing in the US anymore - nor do I plan to. From an outside POV though the current state of affairs (very briefly) is this:

The U.S. is in decline, economically and otherwise - this was happening before, the Bush admin merely accelerated it.
  • China/India and other parts of Asia and Latin America have been gobbling up jobs (especially in manufacturing), but now they are replacing the US as desirable markets too. Despite the poverty their incomes are rising and their much, much larger populations have the same retailers that have been making goods there, drool at the possibility of selling goods there.

  • The US has been living on credit cards for decades. True Clinton balanced the budget for awhile, and even paid down some debt but it has generally been going up and up - the US now finds itself under the diplomatic thumb of countries that hold sizable portions of that debt and now countries are starting to question the wisdom of tanking on any more US debt or holding US dollars

  • The US will soon have little to no discretionary spending ability. Social security, medicare, medicaid, veterans affairs and other entitlements combined with income on the debt are gobbling up the entire US budget.

  • At the same time the US has to seriously reduce government spending it finds itself in a position where it must make massive investments in education, health care, the environment and infrastructure (all of which are crumbling). To avoid further deterioration.

  • The failure of the US to achieve it's objectives in Iraq and Afghanistan have emboldened enemies of the US and created more of them. Fear of US military might forced many countries to sign unfavorable trade pacts and make other concessions to the US, that fear is now largely gone and the US finds itself feeling a backlash in many parts of the world that has been decades in coming.

  • Climate Change: The real effects of climate change (and sea life deterioration) are only beginning to be felt. As time goes on storms are going to be more frequent and severe, flooding and draught will be more common occurrences and longer lasting, the US needs a plan that not only curbs climate change but deals with the effects that it's too late to prevent (most of the western world is crafting such plans now.)

  • The US is in for political instability and general dissatisfaction because what is inevitable at this point is (A) A weaker trade position in the world (B) Ever increasing prices for resources (especially non-renewable ones) (C) Steadily increasing inflation and (D) the likelyhood that tax hikes will be required to pay the way out of the situation outlined above.


  • There's more, but that I think is a good basic summary.

    As to this election.

    None of the candidates are offering real solutions to all of this but out of the three, I'm backing Obama.

    Mr. Obama at least address' some of it and, of the three, he is the one that inspires the most optimism in people, that motivates them to get involved, pitch in and help. Neither McCain nor Clinton do - both of them are, to varying degrees, more of the same and neither offers any real solutions to anything I listed above.

    It should also be noted that if the Democrats nominate Hillary, she will lose. She will not get the Hillary vote + the Obama vote, she will get the Hillary vote and about half of the Obama vote. She also has no record on anything that she can stand on against McCain. If this election is about National Security, McCain will clobber her. If it's about experience, McCain will clobber her. If Mr. Obama gets the nomination and can make it about hope vs. fear, about change vs. stagnation, and about the people rolling up their sleeves and helping to bring about change rather than sitting back and waiting to see what government will do, I believe he can win.

    He, at the very least, widens the Democratic party, bringing in young people, minorities and others who abandoned the Democratic process long ago. Clinton only brings Clinton Democrats left over from the 90s, to face Republicans left over from the 90s - a continuation of a battle that's already been written into the history books.

    I have been told frequently that failure to support the (D) candidate in this election is the same as voting for McCain. It's a nice talking point but it is an anti-democratic statement. It is the equivelant of saying that given a choice between (A) Good Cop (B) Bad Cop and (C) other that it is somehow a betrayal to choose neither of the cops.

    Well guess what, I'm not voting for either of the cops. As I mentioned at the beginning of this - it's not really my fight anymore. If Obama gets the nod I will do what I can to help in the hope that the US can pull itself out of it's current dilemma.

    If it's down to Clinton or McCain there is no point - everything I've listed above will get worse, it's only a question of which ones and how much worse. I reject the argument that doing anything other than voting for Clinton is the same a voting for McCain - voting for either is the equivalent of the US declaring war on itself and I would advise anyone with a sense of self preservation to head for the life boats.
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    Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 09:14 PM
    Response to Original message
    1. Living off credit cards? I call cow ploppies on that!
    Well, not me personally:

    http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Banking/CreditCard...

    Fortunately, in our global economy, if we fall, so does everyone else. We've already seen the signs of those tremors, so you can lower your nose back to ground level from up in the air.

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    pbca Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 09:15 PM
    Response to Reply #1
    2. Sorry 'credit cards' was figurative
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    ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 09:16 PM
    Response to Original message
    3. You were wise to go live in a sane country
    I wish I had had the sense to emigrate there after attending university. But I know I am in a place with a high survivability rate, so I must be content with that. Your assessment is correct, I fear. I've sensed that this country was going downhill ever since Viet Nam--I still remember, when, in 1969, the amount of oil we imported exceeded the amount we produced. And since Bush has turned a blind eye to economic catastrophe, I fear it may be too late to stop the planetary decline.

    So I live on my mountain, finding peace within myself, trusting in That which is All, to write what may very well be the final chapter. May all learn their lessons in a good way.
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    pbca Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 09:28 PM
    Response to Reply #3
    4. Still fighting to keep it sane up here
    The same Neo-con groups that helped put Bush in power are at work here. Fortunately, at the moment, their golden boy (Stephen Harper) can't do what the things he'd like to because it would be political suicide. As things stand a womans right to choose, equality for gays, universal health care, public education, the social safety net etc are all sacrosanct among the vast majority of voters so he can't touch them. He has a hard enough time keeping our soldiers in Afghanistan.
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