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Bridge the partisan gap

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Bridge the partisan gap (read all 4 entries…)
One thing I do love about Europe...

Whenever I have political conversations with Europeans, be they Italians or whatever, it impresses me that they’re always able to seperate individuals from the actions of their parties or governments. Maybe I’m just talking to the right people, but they’re always able to distinguish individual Americans from the policies of our administration. The ones who don’t like Bush or US foreign policy (most of the people I’ve talked to, but not all) are always quite clear about saying how they like Americans individually, and they talk about the good encounters they’ve had with Americans, and such. Makes me happy.

I think Americans can do this to a certain extent, but on the whole we really aren’t to good at it. Take this, and this, for example. Necessary? I think not. I feel like too often, too many people forget that everyone has an identity NOT RELATED TO POLITICS. Just because I self-identify as a Democrat does NOT mean that I a) agree with everything the Democratic Party supports; b) hate Republicans; c) am a hippie; d) am an athiest pagan heathen or whatever Democrats are supposed to be; e) plan on moving to Canada because of an unpleasant election result; f) am Socialist or Communist in any way; or anything like that. Try again. If you stop at my party association you won’t know anything about me.

Red states, blue states…screw that, I like purple. There’s way too much emphasis on division and difference going on. Republican, Democrat, whatever, guess what? We share one country, and belittling each other and mudslinging at each other really isn’t going to do anything for it.

Excuse the baby rant.



Bridge the partisan gap (read all 4 entries…)
Issues we can unite on, vol. 1.

{gargantuan entry warning}

Ok, so I’m going to start listing issues that I think Democrats and Republicans and everyone else (except maybe those crazy La Rouche-ies) should be able to unite on. I realize that I’m a bit biased, but I’m going to try to explain why I think this particular issue and a compromise solution to it should appeal to everyone. Like I said, I am the first to admit that I’m biased, so go ahead and tell me why I’m wrong. If you have a better idea, tell me that too. But it would be nice, if you want to argue me, if you could do so in a clear, logical (read: no angry rants without any real substance) manner.

Anyways.

Issue #1 we should be able to unite on:
Energy policy.

Ok. Democrats have cars. Republicans have cars. Democrats are paying out their asses for gas. Republicans are paying out their asses for gas. Prices in general are going up as a result of crazy gas prices. Inflation. (stagflation?) So, superficially, this should be an easy one, right?

So it seems to me that our dependence on the Middle East for oil isn’t working out so well. Developing a more independent national energy policy (or, how bout we start with just developing an energy policy?) is a pressing current issue. I’ll try not to make this an obnoxiously long entry, but here’s what I’m thinking…

Reducing our dependence on the Middle East and other nations in general for oil should be a national security priority. The Middle East isn’t exactly the most stable or American-friendly place in the world. Framing energy independence as a national security strategy should appeal to the realists in both parties.

We should create incentives for r&d into alternative sources of energy, and into technologies that allow energy from those alternative sources to mesh smoothly and quickly into our existing national infrastructure (like more r&d into cars that run on alternative fuels, for example, or making more buildings “green”). Not only could this reduce our dependency on foreign oil, but pouring money into the development of alternative energy sources could create a lot of jobs in many places all over the country (wind power generators can go just about anywhere!), but it could also stimulate interest in science and engineering in the nation’s universities. There’s been talk for YEARS about how the US is falling way behind China in the number of students graduating with science, math, and engineering degrees. Increasing federal incentives for new research in the energy field would attract bright young minds to these exciting fields, and would help the United States keep its position at the front of new discoveries in science and technology. Alternative sources of energy are also often more environmentally friendly than oil or fossil fuels, and environmental stewardship is another issue our country needs to take a serious look at.

Also, federally funding projects in building mass transportation and development of new systems of mass transportation would a) create a whole lot of jobs, b) encourage r&d in urban planning, science, math, technology, architecture, engineering…all those fields that the pundits and newscasters keep whining that China’s beating us on.

Ok, so there’s my bright idea for the night. I’ll admit, I don’t know a whole lot about energy policy, so there’s probably a whole lot of issues in there I missed. Point being, I think that it’s really very possible for both parties to unite on this issue and actually agree on concrete principles and GET SOMETHING DONE.



Bridge the partisan gap (read all 4 entries…)
My inspiration...

Well, part of my inspiration, anyways…



Bridge the partisan gap (read all 4 entries…)
First step...mutual understanding.

I’m reading George Lakoff currently. I read his essay on the different metaphorical bases for the conservative and liberal views of the world. Next I’m going to read Moral Politics – it’s sitting on my shelf right now.

I feel like, with the country as divided as it is right now, thanks to mudflinging elections and our friends in the White House, well…this goal…somebody’s got to do it.

So I’ll start.

This would be great as a team effort…any takers?




 

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