14 October 2010

From the Outside, This Time

So I must say, I'm glad to be sitting out this election cycle, from the media standpoint. The 24-hour news cycle has helped to ruin politics, of that I'm sure, but so have the players.

It was plenty bad before the Supreme Court ruled that corporations could have free reign in the election cycle. Last I heard more than $200 million had been pumped into the election cycle, with much of it from entities that get to hide behind organization names. If we're going that far, then why not let EVERYONE make anonymous donations? I mean, if corporations and people are being considered essentially the same, how are corporations, unions, etc. actually getting a privilege not afforded to individuals?

Could you imagine a presidential candidate with $200 million and not having to disclose where any of it really came from? Of the conspiracy theories from the last presidential election, that Barack Obama was planted at birth as an extremist agent was the most laughable, but there really isn't anything preventing foreign entities from buying and distributing the propaganda this election cycle, or any after.

What really gets me is how the law the that was struck down regulating the disclosure of campaign contributions was a bipartisan bill, but now that the Democrats want another version of this to withstand or weaken the possible results of the Supreme Court ruling, the GOP is pointing fingers at the Democrats saying there are being unfair and sore losers.

Yeah ... It was called the McCain-Feingold Act, McCain being the failed GOP presidential contender and decades-long GOP politician. Of course, he's changed his tune on immigration and Don't Ask, Don't Tell, so this is par for the course.

Of course, missing out on the election cycle is easily more possible this time because of the amount of reading graduate school is throwing at me. Hundreds of pages a week, textbooks, online reading, printouts ... It's a good thing I'm getting my eyes checked out; glasses are certainly a possibility after 2 years of that. But isn't that part of the psychologist's look? I've got the beard going already ...

What I am finding in some of this reading is quite eye-opening, and not for the best. In a country with a GOP party that claims "family values," how is it that after 20 years in the executive office and at least 12 years in control of Congress that the "United States is the only industrialized nation in the world that leaves it to individuals to arrange and pay for child care services" (The Expanded Family Life Cycle, 2011)? While at the same time allowing real wages to actually decline over that same time period?

Is it really a surprise that divorce is so rampant in a country where policy is to essentially add to the stress of the expanding family? And that "Poor families spend almost 3 times as much of their income on child care as middle class families" (The Expanded Family Life Cycle, 2011)? So the people most in need are the most left behind? Where are the family values in that?

That recently enacted health-care reform - with the GOP standing in the way from the beginning and now calling for repeal - will benefit children with the availability for all pregnant mothers to receive pre-natal care and early child medical care, one has to wonder which party really has "family values." Of course, we were also the ONLY and largest industrialized country that failed to provide universal health care, which is a universal feature of industrialized nations around the world ...

Of course, to wrap this up, before I jump into the crossroads of my new profession and the reality I and many other will face, I must say, the problems the U.S. has faced recently are the result of more than 20 years of dismantling the systems put in place to prevent this. That people have lost faith in the Democrats after only 2 years of working to fix it is saddeningly and maddeningly laughable. Even 4 years of Democratic control wouldn't fix it with all the road blocks and watering down of policy they have to do just to get through what needs to be done.

If anything, Democrats need greater control. Are they a tax and spend party? Yeah, but look how much money needs to pumped into the broken systems to fix them. The political ads would have you think the Democrats are taxing to give themselves raises or hide away the money, but we have a trillions of dollars in debt - a majority of it from before Obama's rise to the presidency - to pay down; a crumbling education system, from kindergarten to college; a crumbling and unbalanced transportation infrastructure and millions without jobs, which is stressing family life even further, and we're falling further behind industrialized nations around the world in myriad key statistics.

We need money to pay for it, and who would be the beneficiaries? The citizens.

We've been giving free enterprise and capitalism greater responsibilities in all these areas, and yet we continue to fall behind.

I wonder why?

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