Now that Labor Day is over, the 2008 election season has officially begun. Many causes have been bandied about by both parties, all of seemingly crucial importance. Like virtually every recent election, this election is crucial to the direction and success of America, and it's key that people pay attention to the issues that matter, rather than the issues that simply divide.
To clear the air, The Obnoxious American has put together a complete list of what issues are really important, and what issues you should be ignoring this election season.
Issues you should ignore:
The other day I got a good laugh when CNN reported with all hackles raised that Fred Thompson would ban abortion. First, it's worth noting that in this great country of ours, the president does not have the authority to ban anything on his own. And while there is a chance that 2008 will yield a Republican president, the makeup of the houses will likely not change. Thompson has made some comments to the effect of creating a constitutional amendment to end abortions. This is laughable as the odds of such an amendment being ratified by 75% of the states are nearly impossible. But making such claims makes candidates sound tough on abortion, and this helps rally the evangelical base.
Thompson has been caught as a possible flip flopper on this issue, as he has been involved in pro-choice movements which he claims were actually states rights issues. Mitt Romney has made similar gyrations in either direction of pro-choice, or pro-life. Hillary is pro-choice but wants to reduce abortions as much as possible. The bottom line here is that no candidate will win a general election running on a pro-life platform. All candidates know this. Thompson is right that Roe v Wade is bad law, but I'd argue that it's bad because it does not completely protect the right to abortion. I believe that there should be law passed guaranteeing people the right to pursue whatever (tested and safe) health care choices they want to make, including abortion. Regardless of my personal view, this is an issue which will receive much talk in the coming months, but won't be acted no matter which candidate is elected.
In this day of religious warring, genocide in Africa, volatile markets and crucial decisions to be made in terms of taxes and our economy, leave it to partisan ideologues to discuss gay marriage as if it were a crisis. The Obnoxious American is in favor of gay marriage, and I find it quite hard to understand how the GOP, a party of smaller government wants to pass laws that encroach upon private life.
However, this is not an issue that is impacting most people's lives and not one that should be deciding a presidential election. Many health care plans support the notion of a life partner that is of the same sex, civil unions are now available in many states, gender based prejudice is already illegal and gender based violence is classified as a hate crime. Certainly more can be done. However, other than as a way to expose some supporters as hypocrites (i.e. both Clinton and Romney are against Gay Marriage, but Gay Rights Activists support Clinton), this is simply not an important issue for the vast majority of Americans.
I am going to catch a lot of heat for this one (no pun intended), but let's face facts. Even if we elected Al Gore to be the next president, there wouldn't be much of a reduction in terms of CO2 emissions (and judging by the way the former Vice President uses energy in his own home, we might possibly see an increase). Although signing onto the Kyoto treaty, most EU nations and Canada have fallen very short of meeting their goals, and China and India continue to pollute the atmosphere with abandon.