Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Three Comments

To be honest, I have disconnected with politics in our country and in Washington as of late. It's actually quite refreshing to not have to read about and listen to self-interested politicians bicker.

I firmly believe that we have to be active citizens. That means making our voices heard and paying attention to what's going on in our country. Fight for what we believe in and be responsible, respectful citizens.

But, being back in the US after many years living abroad, I am finally realizing why so many people throughout the United States disconnect from politics, become complacent and disassociated, and even avoid politics altogether. They are sick of the endless bickering, infighting, slur-fests, and obsessive self-interest.

People are sick of how politicians oppose all types of policies just because it's in their political/electoral interest, not because they care about what that policy actually means for our great nation! It's despicable and disgusting. No wonder why once-active citizens now hate and ignore Washington.

Three comments about what I read today in the newspaper:

1. How is it possible that in our democratic and supposedly "exceptional" country, we can't even abolish a law that discriminates against gays in the military? Even if they fight well, are respected by their peers. Washington politicians have hijacked this issue too. What ever happened to simple respect for one another? Don't we all have free will to be who we are without fear of discrimination?

2. The Post highlighted Woodward's book on Obama's Wars (no longer Bush's Wars) and the internal debate about Afghanistan. I enjoyed reading about a leader who actually is NOT interested in staying in this war (and any war for that matter) indefinitely...But no matter what intentions Obama and his team have, it's almost impossible for him today to win a battle against the military machine and the incredible obsession with war that pervades our society.

And what endlessly frustrates me is how we can be so completely focused on perpetuating wars forever without any real legitimate public debate about what war really means for so many people, the human toll, and the economic cost for all of us.

We have a military industrial complex so ingrained in our society and politics that to even consider finding non-violent solutions to our problems is considered unpatriotic or even to be supporting insecurity.

Where is the leadership in Washington to build schools and support educational initiatives in these countries? The recognition of what it will do over the long-term to better our collective security? Where is all the talk about fighting poverty as much as or even more than (my belief) fighting terrorists? The true root causes of most terrorism are poverty and the incomprehensible income inequality that exists everywhere today. So let's do something about that too. We have everything backward.

3. In the upcoming mid-term elections, the TEA PARTY is looking to be a big factor and influence. I know that many of them are angry with Washington and where they think our country is going. They want a new direction. I agree there. But everything about this movement seems hopelessly negative.

Where is the national movement of people who believe in dignity for all, for equal opportunity, for acceptance and love as important values to be cherished every day, for building a new society that cares more about helping and empowering others rather than tearing them down. Once again, more narrow-self interest and the channeling of anger in ways that don't seem to move us forward as a society.

I realize that these are complex issues and that they can be debated endlessly. All I am advocating for is people, especially our leaders, to consider for once what might be best in the collective sense for our nation, not their own narrow beliefs about what they think is best for everybody.

They have a responsibility to lead and all they seem to do is lead in such a way that advocates division, anger and opposition, and "getting even" with other politicians whose ideas they despise. It should not be too much to ask.

What's it going to take to wake us all up? I'm afraid to imagine...

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