The recent resignations of presidential advisor Karl Rove and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, which President George W. Bush blamed on partisanship on Capitol Hill, have provided political observers numerous opportunities to comment. Although I've found Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's shows on Comedy Central amusing, I'm distressed to see the current administration's inability to accept criticism and the Democrats' failure to stir popular support for reformist policy alternatives.
I prefer positive discourse, so rather than criticize current policies as I had originally planned, here are my broad goals. I support campaign finance reform, gun control, and full marriage rights for homosexuals. I also think that we should consider legalizing marijuana and prostitution, so that they can be taxed and strictly regulated rather than waste resources that could be spent fighting other crime. Contrary to popular belief, Massachusetts residents aren't taxed much more heavily than people in other states (especially if you count sales and property taxes in addition to income taxes), and the middle class reliance on educational and infrastructural subsidies means that demand for services can only be met with careful taxation.
I believe that health care should be considered a basic utility and not a profit center. Growing medical expenses have become a drag on our economy, as have excessive executive wages and real estate speculation. Offshore outsourcing may be inevitable, but we should work to guarantee proper labor and product standards in our trading partners, as well as more training and retraining support in the U.S.
Fuel-efficiency standards for all classes of vehicles should be raised higher than they have been to encourage environmentally responsible driving, the use of mass transit, and the development of alternative fuels. More research is needed to understand global climate change and to develop new energy sources. While I am a proponent of human space exploration, NASA needs more reform and a safer launch vehicle than the expensive space shuttle and limited space station.
In foreign policy, I support investing more in military recruitment, training, and veterans' care. The U.S. has tended to rely on technology rather than on human intelligence. I think we should send our troops to fight direct threats to national security and to stabilize regional conflicts, but other agencies should be responsible for so-called nation building. We should resist the urge to privatize our defense, which is one of the basic functions of any government.
We should continue to encourage democracy and free markets through alliances, leading by example rather than intimidation. The U.S. should stop selling billions of dollars in weapons to both Israel and its hostile neighbors, and we must continue to contain nuclear proliferation. If peace can come to Northern Ireland or the Balkans after generations of bloodshed, than we should strive for no less in Africa or the Middle East.
Religious fanaticism, like imperialism, fascism, and communism, must be countered with the promotion of human and civil rights everywhere. Americans are a generous, creative, striving people; our talent can yet be harnessed to make this country as much of a beacon of liberty in this century as it was in the last one. I'll support the presidential candidate I feel can best advance these goals.
Next time, report on my niece's wedding in Upstate New York and more!