16 November 2007

Vegas: Democratic Presidential Candidate Debates

As always, a qualifier is in order here.

I consider myself an Independent, fiscally conservative, socially moderate to liberal person. I was against Bush's policy originally in cutting off negotiations with North Korea as well as the halting of the Kyoto Treaty, probably the first two actions he took as President which were red flags to me that he had a broader agenda to undo most everything Clinton had done. I was vigorously opposed to the war with Iraq from very early on, feeling that it was a fait a compli that we would attack Iraq. I also consider myself a Christian Moderate, a believer who has always felt uncomfortable with the Christian Right. I have felt that God was wrongly claimed by the Republican Party and the Religious Right, that they alone were followers and understood God's will in all things.

Having said all of this, I haven't been involved in politics, haven't actively supported any candidate since campaigning for Gerald Ford when I was eleven. The dynamics of this upcoming election, though, pull me in. In my lifetime, the world has become smaller, time has quickened, and change impacts each of us wherever we are more and more quickly. Is this a momentous time in our world, is the upcoming selection of a new US President over the next year a ground breaking decision for our future here as well as throughout the world? Yes, and the big decisions will come more and more quickly in our lifetime.

It is now easier for each of us to understand issues, to understand the positions of candidates, to get involved directly in change, to get involved in a candidate's campaign, to voice our support and concerns. It begins with understanding. I don't prowl political blogs, relying on news sites and my own life experience to form my own opinions. Admittedly, many of my opinions are based on little data and sources on most everything. I assume that is the case for most of us around the world. I want to move with more diligence to form my own opinions and views.

With that, I'm listening to the video from last night's Democratic Presidential Candidate Debate in Las Vegas. I've felt like our choices previously haven't been America's best and brightest. What I'm hearing is a mix good stuff and rhetoric, which is fine and to be understood. From these debates from Democratic and Republican candidates, from the caucuses, primaries, and general election, can we as Americans select the right person to lead us and reshape our direction and that of much of the world? Is the right person electable? Is there a prioritization of important issues which should guide our selection?

If you listen to the entire two hours of this video (if you have the time to do this while you're working), it's hard to ignore how articulate these men and lady are. It is easy to nod occasionally when I hear something I agree with and shake my head when I disagree. It is time, though, that we find the best person whomever he or she is to take on the big, hard questions.

The big, hard questions (in a particular order):

1. How do we re-chart America's place in the world, a position where our influence has declined over the last six years?
2. How do we address the following groups and countries over the next five years: Active and Future Terrorist Groups, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, China, Saudi Arabia, Religious Extemists?
3. With the growth of economies in India, China and other Asian Tigers (e.g., Vietnam) how do we alter our core education system to create more capable young people, especially in socio-economic disadvantaged communities?
4. What is our path back to fiscal responsibility, including the viability of Social Security, the funding of a volunteer military in our current situation (e.g., with outsourced areas of responsibility)?
5. How do we change our environmental policies in light of the current situation and momentum around the world, including population growth, increases in life expectancy, higher living standards around the world?

Are these the right questions we need to be grappling with in the right order? Are there a few others to add?


Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Hey CC. I appreciate the questions, but what I would like to know are your answers. The same is true for your vlog. What do you think the answers to your life and political questions are? I think it'd be helpful for your readers to get your perspective.

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