Tag Archives: foreign policy

Our place in the world

I’ve said before that when Bush was elected to his second term, I almost couldn’t bring myself to move back to the States from overseas.  Living in S Korea at the time, my girlfriend bought me a t-shirt which read, on the front, “Official American Apology T-shirt,” and, on the back, “I’m sorry my President is an idiot.  I didn’t vote for him.”  It was written in about six languages.  Now that I’m down here in Alabama, the only one who wears it is my daughter, to sleep in.  Telling people here that I’m a Democrat is scary enough.  Wearing that shirt might get me kicked out of the PTA (!).

The goal of that shirt, of course, was to let anyone and everyone overseas know that I understood.  I understood that the people back home were under some sort of mass delusion.  Stupid had apparently been put into the water system in every city and town.  It was the only conclusion I could draw.  How does this country elect that man … twice?

In this election, Bush might as well be on the ticket again.  We have, in John McCain, a politician who would run rough shod over the world just as Bush has done.  And the world knows it.  Jonathan Freedland had a piece about just this in The Guardian on Sept. 10.  I encourage you to read the whole thing, but here is the part you need to read for my purpose:

Until now, anti-Americanism has been exaggerated and much misunderstood: outside a leftist hardcore, it has mostly been anti-Bushism, opposition to this specific administration. But if McCain wins in November, that might well change. Suddenly Europeans and others will conclude that their dispute is with not only one ruling clique, but Americans themselves. For it will have been the American people, not the politicians, who will have passed up a once-in-a-generation chance for a fresh start – a fresh start the world is yearning for.

Freedland goes on to say:

For America to make a decision as grave as this one – while the planet boils and with the US fighting two wars – on the trivial basis that a hockey mom is likable and seems down to earth, would be to convey a lack of seriousness, a fleeing from reality, that does indeed suggest a nation in, to quote Weisberg, “historical decline”. Let’s not forget, McCain’s campaign manager boasts that this election is “not about the issues.”

It’s not only domestic and foreign policy issues at stake here, it’s our very soul.

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AshPolitics, Barack Obama and the NH Primary

I’ve decided to start a new blog today, AshPolitics.  I’ve been blogging at The Long Vortex for awhile, but that blog was getting personal and I want to spend some time focusing on the ’08 election.  So here we are at AshPolitics, “fired up, ready to go,” as the campaign slogan for Barack Obama goes.

In the interest of disclosure, I will tell you straight away that I am in support of Barack Obama for President.  Certainly, I believe that of all the candidates using the “change” buzzword, he is the one who will actually make it happen in Washington.  But that’s not the only reason, by far, that I support him.  For those of you looking for the substance of his message, let me detail below why, in policy language, I support him.

1.  Education.  As the parent of two young children, I’m concerned about the candidates positions on education.  With a young daughter, I’m interested in how our education system addresses math and science education for girls.  Here is Obama’s issue statement on that:

  • Make Math and Science Education a National Priority:  Obama will recruit math and science degree graduates to the teaching profession and will support efforts to help these teachers learn from professionals in the field. He will also work to ensure that all children have access to a strong science curriculum at all grade levels.
  • OK, so this is not earth shattering language.  The point is that he recognizes this is as an issue and addresses it in his platform.  That’s major to me.  He has great things to say about recruiting, educating, and retaining teachers.  Check out his Education Platform.

    2.  Service.  As a military wife, I understand the importance of serving one’s country.  My husband and I have this dream that, once he retires from his second career (the one he will have after we retire from 23 years of military service this year), and the kids are safely off on their own independent lives, we will put everything we own in storage and join the Peace Corps.  We want to teach our children that service to others is not optional, but mandatory in this world.  Barack Obama has a plan to help us do this:

    Integrate Service into Learning

    • Expand Service-Learning in Our Nation’s Schools: Obama will set a goal that all middle and high school students do 50 hours of community service a year. He will develop national guidelines for service- learning and will give schools better tools both to develop programs and to document student experience. Green Job Corps: Obama will create an energy-focused youth jobs program to provide disadvantaged youth with service opportunities weatherizing buildings and getting practical experience in fast-growing career fields.

    He has more great ideas on how to help people serve others and America, both domestically and world-wide.  Check them out here.

    3.  Foreign Policy.  Let’s face it, our reputation in the world is shot.  Our family knows first hand:  we lived in South Korea from 2003 – 2005.  As a nation, we must repair our relationships with our allies and work very hard on rebuilding the avenues of diplomacy with our current adversaries.  Part of our recent problems have been created by the manipulation of intelligence information for political gain.  Barack Obama has a solution for that problem:

  • Getting Politics out of Intelligence:  Obama would insulate the Director of National Intelligence from political pressure by giving the DNI a fixed term, like the Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Obama will seek consistency and integrity at the top of our intelligence community – not just a political ally.
  • Currently, the Director of National Intelligence is a political appointee who reports to the President and serves at his will.  Obama recognizes the danger of such an arrangement and would solve the issue by modelling that position after the position of Fed Chair (remember Alan Greenspan?).  I think this is a fabulous idea.  For more information on Obama’s foreign policy initiatives, read his issue statement

    4.  Reproductive RightsRH Reality Check, Information and Analysis for Reproductive Health  issued a questionnaire to all ’08 Republican and Democratic candidates on sexual and reproductive health rights.  Barack Obama’s campaign staff responded and below are excerpts from their responses, all of which cement my support for him.  Read the entire response here.

    Throughout his career, Senator Obama has consistently championed a woman’s right to choose, earning him 100% ratings from pro-choice groups during his tenure in the Illinois State Senate and the United States Senate. In 2005, he was the honorary chair of Planned Parenthood of Chicago Area’s Roe v. Wade celebration.

    And just last year, Obama was the only U.S. Senator who supported a fundraising initiative to defeat a proposed abortion ban in South Dakota. And Senator Obama was the only presidential candidate to weigh in on the controversy surrounding the opening of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Aurora.

    Senator Obama believes that reproductive health care is basic health care. His health care plan will create a new public plan, which will provide coverage of all essential medical services. Reproductive health care is an essential service – just like mental health care and disease management and other preventive services under his plan.

    Under Obama’s health care plan, women will be able to receive coverage of prenatal care under the new public health plan. And participating private insurers will be required to provide the same coverage.

    Obama has proposed a $1.5 billion fund to encourage all fifty states to adopt paid leave programs. Under these programs, women would be entitled to take paid maternity leave.

    Barack Obama shared these issue views and others with the people in Iowa and turned in a staggering win.  He is now moving through New Hampshire with tremendous grass roots support.  If you are in New Hampshire, my first plea is that you vote on January 8.  For information on the primary, a daily calendar of candidates’ events in New Hampshire, etc., visit the official site of The New Hampshire Primary.  My second plea is that you carefully consider the candidates.  Try and go meet as many as you can.  Listen to what they have to say.  If you can’t go see them, go to their websites and read about them.  Be an informed voter.  My final wish is that you strongly consider voting for Barack Obama.  But above all, vote.

    Here’s to an exciting ’08 political season!  Thanks for reading,



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