I turned 18 in the year of a Presidential election and I was fervently eager to make my first trip to the ballot box. I discovered, however, that aside from weighing in on the question of the Presidential ticket there were all sorts of other choices including questions of millages and proposals for which I was unprepared. Since I had barely a rudimentary understanding of political and economic ideas I based most of my decisions of some whim or another (which is more important, public libraries or lower taxes? I use the libraries so I’ll vote for the millage) I think I also asserted my race consciousness by voting for every candidate with a Z in their last name which in retrospect is only good policy if you’re hiring for a tacqueria but I digress. My point is that, absent a good working knowledge of ethics and political theory, ones public policy decisions are likely to be decided upon whim.
Fast forward to the current time and I find that my decisions are based first upon ethics and political theory before the identity of the candidates or the direct impact of policy on me enters into it. I would not vote in favor of a policy if I thought it was the wrong policy even if I were to directly benefit from its implementation. I also would not denounce a President’s actions if I would have applauded the very same action had his opponent been elected and done the same thing.
This is what frustrates me about the political scene today (and let me be clear that members of both the conservative and liberal camps do this). Many of the same people who denounced Dubya’s military intervention in Iraq remain silent when Obama commits military intervention in Libya. Many of the same people who applauded George Bush’s efforts to oust Saddam Hussein remain silent regarding Obama’s efforts to unseat
Qaddafi Khaddaf Ghadaff the Libyan President. I maintained this during Bush’s Presidency and I repeat this now: Right does not cease to be right and wrong does not cease to offend simply because your guy did not get elected. Moral condemnation of dictators and support for American efforts should not have to wait for the election of another President and to act in such a manner does a disservice to the civilians who suffer under such regimes. Valid questions may be raised about whether the US is responsible for policing the world and whether we can tactically do so at any given time but the moral right to remove dictators who violate human rights is unassailable.
One more thought and that is that the entire flap about Obama’s birth certificate was just stupid. If you want to challenge a candidate’s legitimacy, the time to do that is before an election. Whether Barack Obama was born within the US borders or not (and I’m certainly not conceding anything with this supposition), the requirement that a Presidential candidate be US born was implemented so that foreigners could not attain the nation’s highest office after becoming naturalized citizens (think Arnold Shwarzeneggar and Jennifer Granholm). Say what you want about Barack Obama but he is an American. He has never held allegiance or been a citizen of another country, his language is English, his dialect is midwest and his university grades weren’t terribly good which is probably the most American thing about him (Little known fact, African students attending university in the US on average score higher than African-Americans so to Donald Trump I call out a hearty booya). I hope the untimely raising of this issue by Trump serves to hasten his departure from the Presidential conversation. I’ve had enough of the political sideshow.
Perhaps there will be more to come.