hesperornis: (Default)
hesperornis ([personal profile] hesperornis) wrote2008-09-02 06:37 pm

Stupid Politics

You know, I gave up hoping for the perfect candidates a long time ago, but I was really looking forward to having a couple of really solid choices this time around.  I was cautiously enthusiastic about both candidates and their respective VP choices. 

Now I find out that Governor Palin is a friggin' creationist. 

I hate to be a one-issue voter, especially since deciding to vote pro-life was one of the main reasons I voted for Bush, and I eventually ended up disagreeing with virtually everything else he did.  I also hate to reflexively vote against the Republicans.  I'm not a fan of heavy government involvement, and my dad keeps telling me just how much "universal health care" is not going to work as promised. 

But I have very, very few buttons to be pushed that I really feel I know something about, and keeping "Intelligent Design" out of science classrooms is one of them.  Normally, I would assume that the VP doesn't really have that much say in such things, but I've been recently reading about how Dick Cheney personally managed to see to it that the Endangered species act was violated, in Oregon, back in 2001, with the blessing of the National Science Foundation.  So I guess there's some clout to be had.  And there are enough people willing to believe the line that "all views deserve to be heard" (so go take a comparative religions class!  grumblegrr...) that it would worry me a bit to have another person in the White House who thinks that ID is science.  

It's tempting to give up what research I'd been doing into the issues and just resign myself to voting Democratic, but I still feel the need to try to convince myself that Obama is all we've been hoping for... or at least a little bit of what we've been hoping for. 

Please forgive this barely informed ramble.  *puts away soapbox*  God I hate politics so much.

[identity profile] dinogrrl.livejournal.com 2008-09-03 12:05 am (UTC)(link)
I am seriously this close to not voting at all this election :/. I don't like either of the candidates, and I hate voting on a 'lesser of two evils' premise.

[identity profile] fellmama.livejournal.com 2008-09-03 12:45 am (UTC)(link)
If it helps, there are few true economic "conservatives" left in the national Republican party. They're no more committed to small government than the most ardent socialist. Have you considered voting Libertarian?

[identity profile] superquail.livejournal.com 2008-09-03 09:17 am (UTC)(link)
There are many things about the Libertarian platform that I like. They are absolutely committed to not going to war overseas, which just seems like common sense to me.

[identity profile] hesperornis.livejournal.com 2008-09-04 01:11 am (UTC)(link)
I have, actually. My dad is going all Libertarian on me, and I find his arguments more and more persuasive. But Ron Paul is a wee bit scary himself.

[identity profile] superquail.livejournal.com 2008-09-06 03:30 am (UTC)(link)
Yeah, there is definitely a branch of Libertarians who are basically anarchists, and I don't support that.

[identity profile] perdita-dream.livejournal.com 2008-09-03 07:00 am (UTC)(link)
It is frustrating. It is like no one can get any candidates we can really get behind, for whatever reasons. They all have to say what is popular in their party in order to get the votes, not because it is what they believe (or don't believe).

So we are stuck with these puppets of people... chosen for their perceived elect-ability and not because they are worthwhile candidates. I recall I once liked McCain and his "straight talk express" but not anymore. He has become just another puppet.

Palin is awful on many levels. It is annoying how she and the conservatives are using her daughter's pregnancy to promote Palin to conservative voters. I don't understand why they keep saying the daughter is "choosing" to keep the baby. There was never any choice there. That is sort of the point of being pro-life.

It is such a messy issue. People are often confused when I say I am pro-choice but that I think it is morally wrong to abort a baby for reasons other than serious medical ones. It is that I think people have a right to ultimately decide this matter for themselves. It doesn't mean I think they should pick an abortion.

For example, if I somehow got pregnant right now, I wouldn't abort, even if it totally messed up school for me. I think it would be selfish and wrong to end a life for my own convenience. But I want to have the right to come to that conclusion. By implying Palin's daughter was allowed a choice at all... we know she wasn't. Now she is being used at a prop in this whole sham. It is sad. Everyone really needs to leave the poor girl alone. No one should even know but her and her family.

[identity profile] superquail.livejournal.com 2008-09-03 09:18 am (UTC)(link)
I hear you on Palin's false claim of her daughter's great "choice." If Palin had her way, no woman in America would have that supposed luxury.

[identity profile] perdita-dream.livejournal.com 2008-09-03 10:13 am (UTC)(link)
If they had said something like "In accordance with our beliefs, we are not allowing our daughter to decide if she wants to have the baby or not. That is not a right she has. She is going to have the baby, period." That would have been correct.

Not this "We are proud of her choice" thing. Hell, she is a minor, so it is especially true she has no choice.

[identity profile] superquail.livejournal.com 2008-09-03 12:03 pm (UTC)(link)
Right on, perdita. I kind of wish there was some kind of interview with her, some chance to get her side of the story. The way this is shaping up, it Bristol Palin is looking like quite a classical tragic figure.

[identity profile] hesperornis.livejournal.com 2008-09-04 01:13 am (UTC)(link)
Oy, and if I understand correctly, the boyfriend is not at all happy about the situation. Talk about your shotgun weddings.

[identity profile] superquail.livejournal.com 2008-09-04 03:24 am (UTC)(link)
I can't blame the guy for being pissed about the whole situation. 5 months ago when the knocking-up took place, no one thought of Palin as a potential VP pick. In fact, I don't think any one was thinking about her all that seriously until after the announcement was made!

My guess is that after the election, if McCain/Palin lose, she will vanish of the front pages, and perhaps the wedding will be called off. If McCain/Palin win . . . well, then I think the family will remain in the harsh spotlight, and Bristol and Levi can be expected to just suck it up and deal.

Whatever people might say about Bristol, my guess is that Levi's future is unquestionably being sacrificed at the alter of Palin's ambition.

[identity profile] hesperornis.livejournal.com 2008-09-04 06:33 pm (UTC)(link)
Frankly, I'm unsympathetic. People who really think that their future will be totally ruined by having a kid really shouldn't be having sex. Birth control is all well and good, but the only way to be sure is to abstain or to have one's sex organs completely removed.

...Heh, I just had a humorous vision of 'abstinence-only' sex ed making way for 'abstinence or castration' sex ed. Hee.

Anyway... Levi is equally responsible for the kid and I don't think he should be allowed to back out of it regardless of Palin's political status. Whether or not they get married, Levi's future is toast because now he'll have to help support a child. Actually, he'll probably be better off if McCain/Palin do get elected and he marries into the family. I shouldn't say that, I don't know what his background is, but I'm sure it couldn't hurt his future to be married to the VP's daughter.

Anyway-anyway, the pregnant-daughter thing was never what annoyed me about Palin to begin with. What bothers me is that she's the daughter of a science teacher and she supports ID in science classes. :-P

[identity profile] superquail.livejournal.com 2008-09-05 12:45 am (UTC)(link)
Dude, no offense, but that is exactly the sort of attitude that really pisses me off. A baby is not a punishment for being stupid. A baby is a human being and deserves to be treated as such. If a parent does not have the wherewithall to care for the child, or the desire to care for that child, than they should do the responsible thing and find a family that wants a child. I don't think that a person's future should be "toast" just because they had sex. Everyone has sex. We are programmed to have sex. Our culture is built around the concept that sex is something everyone should be doing, there is no escape from sex in advertising, television shows, movies, music, you name it. To expect celibacy from anyone other than a priest or a nun is unreasonable.

That said, I agree that there are plenty of other reasons to dislike Palin other than her family drama. She doesn't believe in evolution or global warming (probably not to sure about gravity, either) and she is corrupt as all get out.

[identity profile] hesperornis.livejournal.com 2008-09-05 01:59 pm (UTC)(link)
Ah, but therein you have the 'choice' in keeping the baby. She (or her parents, maybe, especially considering that she's a minor) has chosen to keep it as opposed to putting it up for adoption. (This is why pro-life does not equal anti-choice. There are still choices, it's just that abortion is not considered a moral option.) But that was off-topic.

I do agree that a baby is not a punishment, and I absolutely agree that a baby is a human being before and after birth. But I'm unsympathetic with a guy who's angry because he helped create a life. If it helps you understand where I'm coming from, I'm mostly concerned that if _her_ life is going to be disrupted, then _his_ should be too--they both chose to have sex, and if stereotypes are to be believed, he may have even had more of a say than she did (though I'm being careful to give him the benefit of the doubt for the sake of argument). It's not fair that she should have to live with the consequences of their actions and he shouldn't. Hopefully that clarifies things a bit.

Anyway, if I understand this correctly, it could have gone much worse for him. Technically, if he's 18 and she's 17, he could be charged with rape of a child and carry the sex offender label for life. Not that I think he should be, but I've heard of that sort of thing happening.

With that said, though, not 'everyone' has sex out of wedlock. I managed to run the culture gauntlet and still wait until I got married. There are plenty of people who abstain for religious, personal, or safety reasons. Teenagers do have crazy hormones, but they still have brains. Sex ed may be abstinence-only or safer-sex-oriented, but last I heard most schools still teach basic biology as a matter of course.

Of course, I have no idea what goes into 'abstinence-only' education, I guess. For all I know, it's a one-day course consisting of one word: don't. But the Catholic school I went to (where you'd expect such things) started getting into the basic biological aspects way back in 4th grade. Sexual morality was taught in middle school (sex is a good, sacred thing but should be shared with someone you're willing to merge your soul with for life, etc.). By the time we got to high school, it was mostly review coupled with "this is why the church teaches that birth control is selfish, immoral and ungodly." I wish we'd have gone over the sanctioned alternatives, frankly, because then I wouldn't have gone into my Natural Family Planning class afraid that I'd have to take my basal temperature any way other than orally. But anyway, _that_ was our abstinence-only education. As in, it actually felt like education, not total silence. Some students still ignored it, but some didn't. I guess at that point, your informed choice is, in fact, your choice and living with it is the only thing you can do.

Also, you are correct in saying that celibacy only applies to religious who have taken vows. But it's not unreasonable to expect chastity of everyone. Simply, that means waiting until marriage. But generally it means respecting yourself and others, and respecting sexuality as the sacred, creative, bonding force that it is.

[identity profile] superquail.livejournal.com 2008-09-06 03:37 am (UTC)(link)
Ah, I see what you are saying. It is true that in the general swing of things the dude gets of scot-free (ala Juno) and the girl is the one stuck with the pregnancy, the publicity of everyone knowing what she's been doing, and the ultimate responsibility for deciding what happens before and after the birth of the child.

While I agree that men should be held responsible for their actions to the same degree as women, the few cases of teen pregnancies that I know about personally (I do come from a small town, after all) the guy was not father material. If we're talking about what's best for the child, sometimes not having the father in the picture is better than having him there. To be fair, the same can also be said of some mothers.

You are right that not everyone has sex prior to marriage. But the cultural, social and biological pressure is enormous, and not everyone has the capacity to fight it. Furthermore, not everyone has the desire to.

As for abstinence-only education, one of the things that I find most lacking is that they don't generally describe strategies for how to remain abstinent. They don't talk about what do you do when you're in love with someone and you have a desire to be intimate, but you know that sex isn't right for you. What are the kinds of things you and your partner can to do together that will leave you both happy and feeling close and loving that does not violate your belief in abstaining from sex? These sort of details I think are really important. You can't just tell people to "say no" you have to tell them *how* to say no. How many people have sex for the first time because their boyfriend/girlfriend says he/she will dump them if they don't? My first boyfriend said he would kill himself if I didn't. That's some serious pressure.

[identity profile] hesperornis.livejournal.com 2008-09-07 07:37 pm (UTC)(link)
*boggles* Yikes, that is some serious pressure. And cruel. I agree that it would be better if alternatives and strategies were provided, not to mention if common sex myths were debunked.

[identity profile] superquail.livejournal.com 2008-09-08 02:09 am (UTC)(link)
Yes, like the myth that having sex will make you happy and solve all of your problems.

Well, I survived that nasty part of my life, and though I am happy with the person I am now (and as a human being is, arguably, the sum of his/her experiences) those are not memories I cherish.

I think there are some very conflicting messages our culture sends about sex that require an adult mind to sort through. For example, there seems to be this general assumption that men are always horny and want to have sex no matter what. This myth is then taken to the next level by arguing that men cannot be expected to control themselves sexually, especially if there is a girl around who is wearing a short skirt and is drunk.

Many people say that feminists are man-haters, but I don't think that has to be the case. Feminists say that men do have the ability to control themselves, that they aren't just testosterone driven animal, and I think that is a far more man-loving view of men then some of these nasty myths that stick around.


[identity profile] superquail.livejournal.com 2008-09-03 09:22 am (UTC)(link)
One of the problems that comes up a lot during any campaign season is the way politicians and political parties tend to group clusters of issues, not realizing that the issues aren't necessarily all that related. For example, you can be pro-life and an environmentalist, there is no ideological contradiction there. And many people are. But if only one party supports pro-life positions and the other party supports environmentalist policies, which way are these folks going to go? Or are they just going to stay home?

I am sure there are a lot of people out there like you who are pro-life and not pro-creationism. Similarly, it is possible (though I have never met anyone like this) that a person can be pro-creationism and also an environmentalist.

Back in the day, there was this image that people who cared about the environment were hippies who smoked pot, practiced free love, and didn't believe in any particular god. It is time for us to move on from that out-dated mindset and recognize the true diversity of the political environment in our country.

[identity profile] perdita-dream.livejournal.com 2008-09-04 04:18 am (UTC)(link)
OK, off topic, but I am staying with my Catholic grandparents. I have some questions about the Catholic culture and traditions. I would be curious to hear what you and cheyinka know. Should I start an entry on my LJ? Or would you be interested in doing a Catholic question and answer thing on your LJ?

[identity profile] hesperornis.livejournal.com 2008-09-04 06:38 pm (UTC)(link)
I think you should start an entry on your LJ--that way it's easier for you to check for comments. I'll keep an eye out for it!

[identity profile] hesperornis.livejournal.com 2008-09-04 06:42 pm (UTC)(link)
Incidentally, has anyone been watching the Republican Convention? I'm a bit biased now, but it seems to me that there is somewhat more mindless chanting than there was at the Democratic Convention. It reminds me unnervingly of a football game. Chris says that's because Bush has whittled down the Republican party to that kind of crazy hard-core group.

Can anyone either back me up or disagree? Maybe I just wasn't paying as much attention before.

[identity profile] superquail.livejournal.com 2008-09-06 03:39 am (UTC)(link)
Have you ever read George Orwell's "Animal Farm"? In order to make the complex philosophy accessible even to the really dumb sheep they developed the chant of "Two legs bad, Four legs good!" Then when the pigs started walking around on two legs and taking on all the trappings of the humans they had over thrown, they changed the chant to "Two legs bad, Four legs better!"

[identity profile] hesperornis.livejournal.com 2008-09-07 07:39 pm (UTC)(link)
Heh, yeah, I read it when I was in 6th grade, actually. I didn't get a lot of the political details at the time, but the gist was obvious. That's not quite the vibe i was getting from the conventions, though--it was more like "OMG it's like a NASCAR race let's cheer on our guy!!!!" You know?

[identity profile] superquail.livejournal.com 2008-09-08 02:12 am (UTC)(link)
Sports are an interesting cultural milieu that people like to tap into when they need that dose of mindless enthusiasm. I read a Dave Barry column once where he was talking about how people seriously believe that if they cheer hard enough for their team, that their support really makes the team play better. I am not sure if you could ever prove or disprove such an assertion, but it does seem to be widely believed. I think in some ways that's what an embattled political party does to: "just believe hard enough and we can make a miraculous comeback!" is what happens when you no longer have any policies or ideas that appeal to the people.
cheyinka: A sketch of a Metroid (eeek! a metroid!)

[personal profile] cheyinka 2008-09-06 03:09 am (UTC)(link)

I wanted to like Obama as a candidate, but he and his potential VP have too many intended policies that I disagree with too strongly.
Meanwhile, I was dubious about McCain, and I want to like Palin as a VP but keep finding reasons not to like either of them so much. (Thanks for another one! :p)

Ia! Ia! Cthulhu fthagn!

[identity profile] superquail.livejournal.com 2008-09-06 03:40 am (UTC)(link)
Which of Obama's policies give you trouble? Personally, I think his energy policy is weak and I don't feel he has a firm enough commitment to universal health care. Otherwise, it's a little difficult for me to tell exactly what he stands for.
cheyinka: A sketch of a Metroid (Default)

[personal profile] cheyinka 2008-09-07 04:37 pm (UTC)(link)
I am strongly anti-abortion, and Obama has consistently voted against restrictions on abortion. (Let's not go down that particular rabbit hole in [livejournal.com profile] hesperornis's journal?)

I support the right of adult Americans with no felony convictions or mental health problems to have firearms at home to defend their homes and to carry concealed firearm to defend themselves; Obama doesn't.

There are other small things that I disagree with (his position on nuclear power, his vote for reauthorization of the Patriot Act...), which confirm my decision to not want Obama elected, but they're not as important as those two, as to me they seem like issues of protecting the weak from the strong.

Of course, Obama's opponent is likely to do nothing more than preserve the status quo at best...

[identity profile] superquail.livejournal.com 2008-09-08 02:16 am (UTC)(link)
Ah, I see where you are coming from.

Obama has disappointed me in a number of ways. Personally, I liked Hillary Clinton much better. I worry that Obama won't really stand up for any beliefs and all he is about is compromise. I don't think you can compromise on certain issues.

The fact that he voted for the reauthorization of the Patriot Act . . . what is up with that? What is up with any of it? The warrant-less wire-taping, arresting people without probable cause, holding them without trial - that's not what America is about.
cheyinka: A sketch of a Metroid (Default)

[personal profile] cheyinka 2008-09-08 12:55 pm (UTC)(link)
It'd be one thing if we were in a declared war with a discrete enemy. "Until Outer Tzinishastan surrenders, habeas corpus is suspended!" or whatever.

But "terror" will always exist.


[identity profile] superquail.livejournal.com 2008-09-08 01:06 pm (UTC)(link)
Aesop wrote that a tyrant can always find an excuse to justify his tyranny. That's why we have the constitution in the first place: there should be checks on *every* individual's power.