Oh, the pressure. This somewhat tardy edition of the Carnival of the Liberals happens to be the last one before election day, which makes it important to bring up the issues we ought to be considering as we make our decisions about who we’re going to vote for…although, if you’re liberal, this is a year when the decision is remarkably easy to make. So here we go with an issues-oriented carnival.
Foreign policy: What do you think of the Bush Doctrine, the idea that we should unilaterally and preemptively attack anyone we think might be a threat? Here’s a better plan: Let’s be the good guys.
Health care: Compare and contrast Obama vs McCain on Healthcare. There are important differences in how they would improve the management of the country’s health.
Abortion: To a liberal, abortion is also a health care issue — we care about the health and autonomy of women, something Republican candidates don’t seem to comprehend. Consider McCain’s Legal Errors at the Debate, and Why They Matter.
Poverty: It’s a related issue. How do women break out of the entrapment of pregnancy? It’s a question of Poverty & Choice.
Homosexuality: Conservatives want to strip a significant minority of their rights, and in every election cycle someone gets the bright idea of rousing the right-wing vote by throwing anti-gay legislation on the ballot. This year, California has Proposition 8, a proposed law that would once again make whipping boys of the homosexuals. Read a Brief Analysis of the Yes on 8 Side — they’re really bringing on the sleaze.
Race: Every American election is about race, deep down. When Republicans rail against crime, or welfare, or immigration, it’s all about suppressing minorities further. Greg Laden’s Review of the Science Museum of Minnesota’s Exhibit on Race and Racism has a lot to say about the cultural effects of racial differences.
The economy: With the economy in its current state of crisis, with lending companies receiving massive bailouts, you might be wondering Are you stupid for paying your mortgage? After all, if Wall Street can be forgiven for errors and mismanagement, why can’t you?
Religion: I’m often told that religion is an institution that provides support for the underprivileged — it is a private, charitable source for public assistance. How can that be if, in their ignorance and dogmatic biases, the faithful dismiss important issues in health? There’s nothing like the fallacious belief that mental illness is the work of devils to deprive people of good medical care.
Patriotism: To a liberal, patriotism is not an unquestioning faith in the perfection of one’s country, but a recognition that a country can always be bettered and its flaws corrected. We have a perfectly horrid example of illiberal, unthinking jingoism right here in my home state, with Michele Bachmann and her Anti-American Paranoia. Let’s hope we can get her out of office soon.
In a similar vein, none of our candidates are perfect; there’s a lot I personally dislike about Barack Obama, for instance. What we have to do on 4 November, though, is balance our concerns about the issues in the election, and perhaps follow a harm reduction model of politics — let’s try to get a candidate in office who at least moves the government in a better direction. I think we all know what that means, and the choice is clear: despite his flaws, we need to put Barack Obama in office. Let’s make the country better. Not perfect, but better.
The next edition of the Carnival of the Liberals will be at The Lay Scientist on November 5th. Hey, that’s the day after the big election — that’s going to be an interesting one.