Some (belated) Thoughts on the Debate and Politics

9 Oct

So I’ve been thinking a lot about the direction this country is going since the (embarrassing) debate last Wednesday night.  As I sat on my sofa, watching these two men vying for a job as President of the United States of America my stomach dropped.  To be entirely honest, the feeling in the pit of my stomach actually kept me from sitting through the entire debate and the residual discomfort will, very likely, keep me from watching any of the other three.  Maybe this feeling will pass and I will give it another go but I doubt it.  Anyway, here are some thoughts.

I am someone who believes in government, who believes that it is important for there to be some sort of check to business expansion, that there should be services provided for people who, for whatever reason, are unable to provide those services for themselves.  Yes, politics can be dirty.  Yes, politicians can be corrupt.  But I am entirely unwilling to write this entire system we have built off and characterize everyone that makes up our government, and the government of other countries, as clowns.  Perhaps I am idealistic but I do not see a better outcome if we scratch the whole thing.  I think the system needs changing, the rules of the game need changing, and the behavior of our politicians  need changing.  All this was very clear by the disaster that was the first debate of this election season.  But I do think the system can still work and, a lot of times, actually does.  I think the system relies a lot on those of us who spend the time reading and learning and take the time to speak out against things, or in support of things, and go out and vote.  Just vote.  As a good friend of mine said the other day, write someone into the ballot if you have to.  Make a statement.  Let people know what we have, the options we have, does not work for you.  That is how change starts.

But I am off track.  Back to some thoughts.

Thought #1.  How can two candidates spend the amount of time they spent talking about healthcare and never, not once, mention that women pay more than men do for healthcare across the board?  Our rates are higher.  We, ladies, are pre-existing conditions.  ObamaCare actually addresses this issue.  Obama never mentioned it.  Romney certainly was not going to given his new found distaste for women thanks to Rick Santorum, Paul Ryan, et al.  So, Obama, let me say this to you:  think about us, like, really.  You did a great thing with ObamaCare.  You included us in there.  Flaunt it!  Women are watching, we are listening, and we care about more than just jobs and education and tax rates.  (Don’t get me wrong, we care about those things, too.)  We are smart, we educate ourselves, we know what makes us better off.  We vote.  God damnit, we matter!  We matter a lot.  We fight an uphill battle every day against things we might not even be able to articulate.  We are so immersed in a world in which we are undervalued, in which we are considered less than, that it makes a difference when a policy is written that actually takes us into consideration.  You did a good thing, Mr. President.  Own it.  Show that you care about women and that Romney and Ryan still think that our internal organs and lady brains somehow make us enigmas.

Thought #2.  Clean coal.  I’m sorry.  Really?  Clean coal?  There is nothing clean about coal, really.  And if you gut the EPA, as the plan is, then there is absolutely no incentive whatsoever for industry to try and make coal cleaner.  Here’s the thing about business.  Business wants to be efficient, and business wants to make money.  Profits.  Period.  Business doesn’t wake up one day and say “oh, hey, I feel like doing a good deed, let me go ahead and spend millions and millions of dollars to lower my carbon footprint.”  No.  If there are no regulations, business has no reason to clean up.  And who can blame business for that?  But guess what?  A few decades down the line when the earth is even more polluted than it is today, when polar bears don’t even have small bits of ice to depressingly float around on in all of those gloom and doom NatGeo specials, and most of the energy sources we rely on in the good old US of A are depleted, a lot of other countries will have come up with other ideas.  And they will have businesses that work on them.  And those businesses will be making money.  And we will have no EPA and water that catches on fire when you bring a match close to it.  Clean coal my ass.  That ship has sailed.  Actually, no, that ship tried sailing and instead sunk.

Thought #3.  Shut up about PBS.

Thought #4.  I think manners are really important.  One of the things that always gets me into hot water at the bar in which I work is that I really believe people should have manners and should respect those around them.  I consider this a high expectation when copious amounts of alcohol and late nights are involved.  I am going to go out on a limb and assume that there was no alcohol involved in the poor performance delivered by both the President and Mitt Romney.  It would be inappropriate and, besides, Romney is a Mormon.  Anyway, the smug looks they both delivered have got to go.  And the interrupting.  I’m pretty sure I learned to let people have their turn to speak in kindergarten.  Or!  Maybe we should institute a talking stick at debates.  Could you imagine?  It would go like this:

Obama:  So, if you look at Romney’s plan, he wants to cut 5 trillion dollars from blah blah blah blah

Romney:  That!  That is not true!  That is not in my plan!

Jim Lehrer:  Now, Mitt, do you have the talking stick?

Romney:  (looking down at his very empty hands) No…but..he started this round and…

Lehrer:  No talking stick, no talking.

Now that’s a debate I could get behind.

More thoughts undoubtedly to come.  But for now, dinner.

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