I have been thinking a lot about the upcoming election, as I know everyone has. My kids have been so bombarded with information that I watch and listen to all day long that they have begun making jokes at the table, egging each other on to say things like "I'm going to vote for McCain" just because they know it makes my face go red.
Because it's been such a big part of my daily routine lately to think about, read about, listen to and discuss the election, I decided to really sit and think about what issues are really important to me and try to find some "real" information on what the candidates believe about these issues. Here, in no specific order is my list of issues that I think make or break my ideal candidate:
1. Equal Rights: This is a big issue for me, and it encompasses many different things that are all very important to me. First of all, gay marriage. I have been reading about different states, including California and Arizona, who have issues on their ballots that are proposing to make marriage between same sex partners illegal. This stuff makes me crazy. I don't understand the desire to make it illegal. I don't understand why people use the term "defense of marriage" when you're not defending marriage, you are taking away equal rights. It's like the term "pro-life" - it makes it sound like if you aren't pro life, you are anti life, which bugs me. Why can't we say "anti-choice"??? Ah, but that's another issue to be talked about later. In any case - gay marriage is an equal rights issue, and I really don't get the people that are against it... do they that think that allowing same sex couples to get married means that EVERYONE has to marry someone of the same sex? Why do people care what other consenting adults do? Whatever. Get over yourself. The other equal rights issue that matters to me is the equal pay for equal work issue. A new study from the momsrising ladies shows that women are paid $.75 and single moms $.60 to the dollar for the same work as a man. Seriously? That makes me angry. I think it's ridiculous that in this day and age there is still any kind of seperation between the sexes. Whatever. Let's fix that, shall we?
2. Roe V. Wade: I have heard a lot of people saying this is a moot point. That it will never be overturned. But it scares me nonetheless. Back to my earlier point about the whole wording of the sides thing - I am pro-choice. That does not mean I support every woman going out to get an abortion, I don't think it's birth control, and I think there are some ethical concerns on the late term abortion issue. However - I don't think it's anyone else's business but the woman whose body is in question. And lets be clear - there are rape and incest victims, women whose lives can be endangered by pregnancy, babies who will not survive or that will suffer for short lifespans if born that should all be protected by this law. The idea that even those who oppose abortion would say that these cases should still result in a full term pregnancy scare me. I wonder if they would feel the same way if it was them, or their daughter who was forced to go to term with a pregnancy that came about due to rape. How would they feel bonding through those 9 months with a child who would be born in pain and suffering only to live a few short, excrutiating months and then be forced to watch it die. Is that really preferable? I don't get it.
3. Embryonic Stem Cell Research: I support, fully and completely, the idea of all stem cell research, including embryonic. I understand those that feel life begins at conception don't agree here, but scientists have said over and over again that these stem cells are the BEST and possibly the ONLY way in the forseeable future to cure the most awful diseases that plague our society. These embryos are created in a lab, in a petri dish, specifically for this purpose. They are not created in love, or created from a couple wanting a child, or anything of the sort. It is simply science. And it is the most beneficial science we have developed in centuries. How can the life of a created bunch of cells be more important that the millions and millions of living, breathing, loving and loved humans that are suffering all over our world?
4. Religion: I have come to the inevitable conclusion that no matter what the law says, seperation between church and state is a big fat lie. There is no seperation. Blame it on the candidates, blame it on the bible belt evangelicals, blame it on the "In God We Trust" printed on our money - whatever the reason, there is never going to be a true separation. That said, there can be an effort to try to find a happy medium. I don't judge anyone on their beliefs. If you want to believe in God - do it. If you want to believe in Buddah - more power to you. If you don't believe in anything - that's is fine with me. But why on Earth does every Christian in this country seem to think that they have the strong hold on what is "right"??? Why do our candidates have to prove how Christian they are, and end every speech with "God bless"? Why does every issue have to come down to religion??? And if we are really going to simply ignore the whole separation idea, can we at least do it outright? Let's stop claiming we have religious freedom in this country when it's clear that the only religion anyone cares about is Christianity. Our whole "moral" makeup in this country is based on it - we can't allow "the gays" to marry because it says they are bad in the bible. Abortion and anything that looks remotely like it is wrong because the bible says so. Whatever. I don't care what you believe if you can just keep your moral superiority complex AWAY FROM ME!! This country is supposed to be free from religious persecution, but I can't get away from the christian judgement police telling me every day what is right and wrong. We get it. You have a God and he says so. Guess what - maybe ya'll can just start worrying about yourselves and your own souls and leave everyone elses alone??
5. War: This is a big deal to me, because A. I belive in peace. B. I believe that Iraq was a big fat lie and I still don't get how people supported going to Iraq to fight Osama in Afghanistan - um, hello - ya'll did realize those were two DIFFERENT countries, right?? and C. I think that our lovely and adored current president did a fabulous job showing the whole world that we are just big bullies that don't care what anyone else says. I have never supported this war. Let me be clear - I think it is the right thing to do to go after Osama bin Ladin. I think that Saddam Hussein was a horrific war criminal who deserved to be taken out of power and killed. BUT - I also think that our government went about both of those things in the absolute wrong way. We went into a war out of fear, and didn't demand the knowledge and information that we should have. We were lied to, and our families and friends have gone to fight and die for the wrong reasons. As a mother, I have learned that one of the best lessons I can teach my children is that it is okay to admit when you are wrong, apologize and make ammends. When I make a mistake, I don't pretend that it was okay just because I am the mom. I don't act like it is okay because I don't want to admit fallibility to my children. I think that as a president, W should come forward and say hey - I am sorry I lied. I was wrong. The country should approach the word and say - hey, we're sorry we didn't listen, we didn't wait, and we got into this mess. Forgive us, please? So that maybe the next time we are in a situation where we need some support they won't think we're crazy and tell us to screw off. And we need to get the hell out of Iraq. Please.
6. The damn Economy: Let's be clear, I am by no stretch of the imagination an economist. I really have no idea what any of this crap really means to me except that gas prices are rising, food costs more, our mortgage payment is still rocky (still hoping to get caught up here soon!) and I worry about money all the time. I know that things can and probably will get worse. I know that as a one income family where the Hubs job relies on other people and companies having money to put out for things like events, meetings, weddings, etc. that we could easily find ourselves jobless and relying on an ever dwindling state aid program to feed and care for our kids. That scares the beejesus out of me. I don't like being broke, and I don't like that it looks like we will continue to all be on the verge of broke for a while. We need to fix it, and figure out a way to bring back the Clinton years where people had jobs, some extra moolah and felt good about the economy.
7. Heath care: I don't know about everyone else, but I really hate not having insurance. I hate relying on the state to cover my children, though I am grateful every day that my severly asthmatic child has access to care becuase of the state program. I wish that there was an affordable option that would allow everyone in the country to have the care that they need. Not only for sickness and treatments, but I'd love some good solid preventative care programs. How about more money put into educating parents about good nutrition and the benefits of excercise for our kids? How about money being put into finding cures for diseases that are killing our people? How about money for less conventional treatments instead of always medicating for everything?
8. Education: Enough said. School system sucks. Year round school should be mandatory. Early childhood education and College shouldn't be "maybe's" they should be guaranteed. Teachers deserve to be paid more (maybe those ridiculously overpaid musicians, actors and sports figures could take some pay cuts and pay our teachers and doctors more??? I'm just saying I kind of think we should start compensating based on our priorities - oh wait, we do - it's our priorities that are so out of whack!!).
So that's the major list I have of the things I care most about in this election. I am hoping that the debate goes on as planned tomorrow night. I get the whole "the economic crisis thing is kind of important and we need to fix it now" thing that McCain has going on right now, but frankly - a few hours to chat with the people that he's trying to win votes from and maybe explain his positions about the crisis and all the other issues we're all concerned with might not make a huge difference to the time he has to fix the economy that he just said was "fundamentally sound" after all "we're not headed to a recession", right Johnny boy? LMFAO.