Andrea at Beanie Baby posed an interesting challenge a while back -- why don't we do more reaching out, and blog about things that aren't within our normal scope? Andrea typically has posts that run the gamut from slices of her life with her family, to Wicca, and then to her living with diabetes, and on further to all points in between. There's nothing that shows up at her site that really surprises me any more. Andrea is the Queen of Research -- if you want to know about anything, she can cite chapter and verse about it. Her comment that we need to broaden our blogging horizons hit really close to home for me. My blog is not exactly what you would call really heavy on the "issues."
So, today -- it's all about the issues! I want to talk politics.
I am a very lonely blue shirt in a red shirt state. Actually, that's not quite true. I was once, but not any longer, a card-carrying member of the Libertarian Party. While it's true to say that in most cases, casting a ballot in any given election for the Libertarian candidate was pretty much throwing a vote away, at least I did it with an easy conscience. I would have rather voted and "thrown my vote away" than to not vote at all. Women's and minorities' voting rights were too desperately fought over for me to be blase' about casting a ballot. I typically don't think along party lines. I tend to vote for the guy who will do the best job -- the guy that I think will be the least corrupt.
I detest the idea of government as Big Brother. I understand that governments do need to establish rules as a means of keeping anarchy from happening, but there's a difference now. All this talk of "Homeland Security" is a thinly veiled metaphor for "we're going to do what the hell we want, and we can pass it off as all for the good of the country!" I can't help thinking that just a few decades ago, doing whatever he wanted and damn the torpedoes was why Nixon had to resign! Times, how ye have changed! Things are happening, right now, in the US that would have made rational thinking people explode in indignation only a few short years ago. Yet, we tolerate them now because we're told it's all for our own good. Detain people illegally -- oh, it's for YOUR protection!
I understand that the US needs to protect itself. We do need to look after our own, because at the rate we're making enemies on the world stage, there won't be anyone else left to look after us. Our president started a war, one that has killed FAR too many people on both sides, and has made enemies of people who have no compunction about blowing us all to smithereens. A war that we should not be fighting in the first place. Since when is it America's job to be the world's police force? How many of our young men and women are we going to sacrifice to the greedy jaws of the war machine and our president's ego? How many have to die before enough is enough? How much money do we have to pour into a country that largely does not want us there? Not to mention the people here at home who could greatly use the money wasted in that effort? Giving the Iraqi people infrastructure and health care is all fine and dandy, but we have our OWN citizens here that could use a little of that.
I'm all for the war on crime as well, but how many civil liberties do we have to sacrifice to win it? I hate guns, and I refuse to have one in my house, but it's getting to the point where all the bad guys have guns, and the law-abiding are hopelessly outclassed! The criminals have better weapons than many law enforcement officers do. Not only is crime too commonplace, it's being glamorized so in the media that young people think that it's not only a viable option, but something to admire in others! How skewed is our perception if a jail sentence is something that our children can *look forward to*? The rate at which we are jailing our young people, mostly young black men, is both alarming and disheartening.
That brings me to illegal drugs. Let me say that I've never done any drugs. I don't approve of them personally, and I think that I have enough obstacles in my life without creating pharmaceutical ones as well. That having been said, I can understand fully how some people escape who they are, and their surroundings, by using drugs. Too many people have been ensorcelled by the siren's call for the government to ignore the situation by just throwing the enslaved into jail cells. We need more treatment programs, not more jail time. We won't be able to fix every person with an addiction, but even if one percent gets clean and returns to something resembling their lives before drugs, isn't it worth it? How much treatment do you think an addict gets in jail? And it's not hard to get drugs in jail, either.
We won't even go into how many women and children suffer as a result of drugs -- either from being the dupe of a dealer in their lives, or the loss of a husband (or father, son, uncle, or brother) . How people have to still manage to eke out an exsistence on whatever scraps are left.
I don't claim to know how to fix it all, but I do know that we're headed down the ruin, and at an astonishing pace, too. Hopefully, we can soon stop attempting to repair the cracks in the policies and infrastructure of other nations and look to attempting to fix our own.