The first Presidential debate is coming up on Wednesday, and we're five weeks from the general election. I think I speak for many Americans when I say...THANK GOD!
This has been a truly aggravating election cycle. There's been a lot of lying, mud-slinging, in-your-face campaigning, and a headache-inducing amount of money spent on ads and rallies. While that money spent has undoubtedly helped local media outlets stay afloat in these tough economic times, it also means more crazy people have more time on the air to spout their insanity directly to the American People. Here are a few examples.
1. Senate Republicans have blocked another jobs bill, this one designed to put veterans back to work. Veterans, who suffer from an 11% unemployment rate, are not only national heroes, but also struggling in the job market. The bill would have devoted $1 Billion to establishing a program based on FDRs CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) of the 1930's and 40's. This bill, as with the CCC, would have given vets the opportunity to build and maintain national parks, highways, infrastructure projects, and more. It would have meant good pay for a lot of people, jobs, and a boost to the economy by giving consumers more jobs, more money, and more buying power. Republicans killed it in the Senate, claiming it was flawed, that we already have programs to give vets job training, and that the price-tag was too much and would place a greater burden on our children and grandchildren. I would like to point out here that these are the same lawmakers who refused to cut an amount 600 times that from the defense budget, even after the DOD told them they didn't need all that cash. What the GOP are doing here is the same kind of shell game they've been playing, that all politicians play at some point, with our national issues. They complain about jobs until someone comes up with a plan for job growth, and then they switch and complain about the cost of that plan and start complaining about the debt. When that becomes the focus, they switch back. It's a very nifty little trick that works well for stopping legislation, but not too well when attempting to govern.
2. A new report by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics confirms that Obama's first term in office has resulted in a net job gain, essentially throwing a wrench in the gears of a GOP talking point about losing jobs. As the article points out, Obama's job growth numbers are not fantastic, but that's because he started with an economy that was gushing jobs at the rate of hundreds of thousands a month. Not only did he stop that within a year, but since then the economy has added jobs every month. Granted, the rate has been slow, and there are a lot more factors besides the President. But, if the Republicans are going to put responsibility for the economy squarely on Obama's shoulders when the economy is bad, they can't very well say he's not responsible when it turns out to be getting better. But this probably won't change the narrative of the Right, who will continue pressing that Obama has caused huge job losses in four years. It's funny to me that people don't seem to recall the state of the economy in 2008/09. As has been pointed out in the past, it was pretty abysmal. But it's not anymore. Slow? Yes. Depressing? Sure. A failure? Not at all.
3. This is why organized religion gets a bad rap. It's also why religion and politics should not mix, why we're NOT a Christian nation, never should be, and why Theocracy never works and should never be attempted. That being said, this is humorous. As I hope you know, I don't believe in attacking politicians on who they are as a person. Romney can have his faith; that doesn't bother me. I believe in critiquing our leaders and prospective leaders based solely on their policies. Social policies are part of that, but I believe we can have a grown-up discussion about social policy without getting into personal attacks. So when bishop Thomas John Paprocki released this video claiming that Dems are "placing the eternal salvation of their own souls in serious jeopardy" by voting for Obama, it struck me as deranged in a silly kind of way. What really gets me about this is that Paprocki is making a political decision into a moral issue, which seems weird to me. After all, if you tie morality to politics, you end up with dictatorship (in my opinion). It also bothers me that people are making political decisions based on moral beliefs because, when it comes to morality, I don't believe you can debate someone. You have to let people believe what they will, but it's difficult to have a diplomatic and democratic debate with someone over policy when their political views are completely dependent on moral issues. As I said above, I don't believe in criticizing people for their personal beliefs, but I believe we need to be able to talk back and forth on political issues without people becoming personally offended by it. Videos like this do not help us get there.