Archive for the ‘Marriage Equality’ Tag

Election Results   Leave a comment

Content Note: Government Corruption, Civil Rights Abuses, Drone Strikes, Police Militarization, Incarceration, the Drug War, Homophobia, the War on Terror

So here’s my reaction to what happened yesterday.

Obama Won

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, in terms of judicial appointments, the direction of federal leadership, and the future of health care in this country, we are significantly better off with Obama than we would have been with Romney. Overall, I think the country chose the lesser of two evils.

On the other hand, those two evils probably weren’t very far apart in almost any other respect. Under either Romney or Obama, our fiscal policy will print money and give it to the banks, our foreign policy will consist far more of bombs than development aid, and rampant corruption will continue with federal agencies cheering it on.

And while I do ultimately prefer Obama to Romney, I have to admit I’m curious how the Democrats in congress, who have cheered on Obama’s augmentation of executive power, would have reacted to a Republican president with the power to detain and kill anyone political expediency allow. Ah well, it looks like the mainstream left will ignore civil rights abuses for another four years.

The Democrats Still Control the Senate

This has most of the same tension contained in my reaction to Obama remaining president. Granted that the Democrats in congress are mostly cheering on rampant corruption and the erosion of civil liberties, they’re still a far preferable bunch to the likes of Akin, Mourdock, and Brown, who all lost.

But while I’m ambivalent about the Democrats retaining control of the senate, I am ecstatic that the Republicans were mostly rebuffed. Akin and Mourdock lost in parts of the country that they should have won in, and it is a sign to me that the US isn’t hopelessly mired in destructive conservative ideology.

The Republicans Still Control the House of Representatives

Which was expected. Actually the near inevitability of Republican control of the House (along with terrible filibuster rules in the senate) added to my ambivalence about the presidential elections. No matter who won the presidency, congress was going to make any major legislative agenda impossible.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY!!!

This is the election result I’m most excited about. Marriage Equality was affirmed in one form or another in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington. I knew three years ago the demographics spelled the end of “Traditional” marriage, but I am thrilled that things are moving so quickly.

Marijuana Legalization

Several states voted to legalize marijuana, which I am praying is the beginning of the end of the Drug War. For those who don’t know much about our War on Drugs, it is arguably even more destructive than the War on Terror (even in foreign policy terms, if you consider its impact on Colombia and Mexico). The War on Drugs militarized our police force, drove gang violence, and gave the US the largest prison population in the world. It has torn apart families, and I’m hoping that these legalizations will be the first major step to end it.

For those of you considering moving to Colorado to open a pot shop, you should know that the DEA still considers Mary Jane illegal under federal law, and would be happy to prosecute you. Local police will leave you alone (at least, they should) but Uncle Sam won’t.

Monsanto’s GMO Victory

No good here. GMO’s will not be labeled in California. Monsanto and other big ag groups came in, outspent their opponents 4 to 1, and defeated an initiative that had more the 70% support a few months ago.

Overall

I’m far more excited about the election results than I expected to be. We’re still running our country into the ground in terms of corruption, infrastructure, education, non-lethal R&D, labor law, and general quality of life. But marriage equality and the rejection of reactionary Republicans gives me hope.

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Making the Subtext, Text   Leave a comment

A very smart person once told me that when people talk, the subtext of what they’re saying is usually, “Wouldn’t the world be such a better place if I were in charge?” Well, today I’m running with that. I’m going to list the things I would do immediately if I were even just uncontested ruler of the United States. (Because I’m humble like that.)

1) Decommission all US military bases overseas. They’re a drain on resources, they serve no productive purpose, and their presence tends to promote prostitution and sex trafficking that persists long after the base leaves.

2) End the war on drugs. Seriously, its expensive, it makes drug lords rich, it’s massively destabilizing for South and Central America, and it doesn’t work. Portugal’s usage rates have dropped since they decriminalized drugs.

3) Establish a universal healthcare system that focuses on prevention. We pay way more than anybody else for our healthcare with poor results. Nobody should have to choose between groceries and medication.

4) Dramatically alter US farm subsidies. Subsidies currently favor the production of corn, soy, and wheat over everything else. I heard the other day that corn is in 75% of food at the grocery store. Lack of diversity in foods means lack of diversity in nutrients, and that’s bad for our health. It shouldn’t be cheaper to eat at McDonald’s than make a homemade salad with fresh ingredients. You shouldn’t be able to get a candy bar in every gas station everywhere, but not be able to find turnips at the grocery store. The American diet is thoroughly un-nutritious, and we’re paying for it.

5) Make classified documents the exception, rather than the rule. The Obama administration has been leaking for years about all the secret programs they’ve got going on, but when those policies are challenged in court, the US Government argues that these programs are too secret to be subjected to judicial review. One family tried to put an injunction on the CIA to get a family member taken off a “kill list.” Instead of arguing that the government needed to be able to have a kill list, the CIA argued that they couldn’t even acknowledge that such a kill list existed and thus couldn’t have the case tried in court. The judge sided with the CIA. The man was killed a few months later.

6) Move to publicly funded elections. Money in politics protecting unpopular, unregulated industries. Public funding isn’t perfect, but it’s much better that a few hundred millionaires and billionaires providing 80% of the funding in an election. Politicians will serve the people who put them there, and right now that isn’t the American people.

7) Give renewable power sources as many subsidies as oil gets. China is going to be leading in solar power because our companies can barely compete with their (Chinese government subsidized) low prices. Renewables are the way of the future, and I’d prefer not to have to send even more money to China to get a piece of that action.

8) Establish marriage equality. I used to think that religious marriage and civil marriage (which would all be called civil unions, to allow for arrangements outside of romantic relationships) should be entirely separate. If I was making up a society from scratch, that’s still how I’d do it. However, I live in the United States, and the bigots need to lose. (To clarify, I don’t think all proponents of so called “traditional marriage” are bigots. Some are just misguided or misinformed.) There are too many people in this country with prejudice in their hearts and it would be good for the country as a whole to turn its back on that prejudice.

9) Make most restrooms non-gendered. It is my understanding that restrooms are a mine field for non-cisgendered people, and there’s no need for that. Europe does just fine with non-gendered restrooms.

10) Make school funding based on state or federal rather than local taxes. Inequalities in school funding are unnecessary, and are seriously harmful for social mobility. Wealthy people should have the same public education as the rest of us. If they don’t like that, they can either remove their kids from the public school system (thus freeing up funding for other kids), or they can raise taxes on themselves to make the school system better.

11) Give decent funding to public universities and schools. Teaching isn’t really a respected profession in the United States, but it should be. More money would attract badly needed talent to our failing school system.

12) Raise the minimum wage. We need more consumption right now, and unlike giving free money to the banks (who just squirrel it away), people working for minimum wage would spend it. Yeah, inflation will suck up some of the spending power, but the poor should still have a bigger share of the economic pie than they had before a minimum wage increase.

13) Infrastructure spending. We needs it. It actually costs us more per year to fix the problems with things that should have been replaced or updated already than it would to replace or update them. That’s just silly.

So that’s what I would do if people did the sensible thing of making me uncontested ruler of the United States. Oh wait, there’s one more…

14) Permanently abolish the office of uncontested ruler of the United States after I vacate the position. ‘Cause it’s not like there’s anyone else who can do as well as I would.