WARNING: Inflamatory liberal ranting ahead!
The first thing I have to say is that although I share a few other posters' concerns about the reddening of the Democratic party, I am so happy to say, "We're back, baby!" Now that the Dems have the ball, however, I'm hoping that we'll be able to actually run it to the end zone. It's easy to talk big when there's an unpopular party in office and several of them have been stupid enough to get themselves caught doing dumb things (um, Mark Foley, for example?), but now it's time for action.
I'm also very heartened by the resignation of Rummy. Even though the new Secretary of Defense is a Bush appointee, which makes him suspicious from the start in my mind, it sounds like he's much better at consensus-building as opposed to the Bush/Rumsfeld strategy of "do what I say, or else". Never mind the fact that we never should've gone to war in Iraq in the first place, we're there and it's time to figure out the best way to get out. I watched Dubya's press conference today and was so irritated when he talked about not withdrawing from Iraq until we "win" and how leaving now would make it a haven for Al Qaeda. Well, how do you think it got to be like that in the first place? Yes, Sadam was a brutal dictator, but at least he kept everyone in line.
I think that the Iraq war has been a study in how NOT to handle a regime change. Unfortunately, our soldiers are paying the price with their lives. How many more have to die before we say "enough is enough"? When will people realize that we're making ourselves more vulnerable to terrorists the longer we stay, not less? Haven't we learned anything from the movies? The schoolyard bully may get his way most of the time, but the little guy always has an opportunity to kick his butt in the end. GW has been running this country as that schoolyard bully. Yes, America is a great nation and all that, but we're living in a global economy and a world where people can fly just about anywhere in a matter of a few hours. In the age of high-speed transit and the internet, we need to learn to play well with others. Just because we say something's right doesn't mean we don't have to prove it to our allies. Just because we think we have the moral high-ground and every single detainee that we've tortured is a terrorist doesn't make torture okay.
It's one of those fine lines that we have to walk because of the nature of human beings. It's a very interesting thing to think about - how we shouldn't care if phones are being tapped or our library books are being monitored because we'd only need to be nervous about it if we were doing something wrong. Well, that's all fine and good when you're on the side of the majority, but what if you're not? Or what if something you do is misconstrued? For example, my husband was saying today how if someone assassinated both Bush and Cheney, then Nancy Pelosi (as our new speaker of the house) would become president. As soon as he said it, he then remarked "Uh, oh, I'd better be careful - they're probably monitoring this call. I meant, when both the president and vice president die of natural causes..." Of course he was kidding, but if someone was taping that call and did some selective editing, it could be made to sound very incriminating. Do some research into Senator McCarthy's reign of terror if it sounds too outlandish.
This is one of the huge problems I have with the tendency of social conservatives in this country to legislate morality. This is the land of the free. And with freedom, comes responsibility. Consider abortion. Now, I for one am anti-abortion but pro-choice. I think that the decision needs to be a private thing between a woman and her doctor. After having been pregnant twice and given birth to two wonderful children, I have a hard time thinking about abortion in a positive manner. I can't disassociate the potential human that fetus will become from the fetus itself. However, I don't believe that banning all abortions across the board is the answer until we are responsible enough as a society to deal with the consequences. We need to value motherhood and parenthood much more highly than we do. Women shouldn't be forced to give up their careers to raise a child, or give up their child to have a career. And I'm not just talking about high-powered career women who are working to make payments on their BMW - I'm talking about the mothers who ride the bus two hours to their minimum wage job and are working for survival. Why can't we take care of these mothers as well? I could go on and on about the minimum wage thing, but instead I'll recommend you read Barbara Erenrich's excellent book Nickled and Dimed.
We also need to be able to take care of every unwanted child that results from an unplanned pregnancy. Sure, it's easy for the pro-life groups to flash around pictures of healthy white babies and say "oh, please give your baby up for adoption instead". But it's just not that simple. What about the babies with ridiculously expensive health problems? Or autism? Or HIV? Babies of color? Babies born addicted to drugs? Not to mention all the babies of women who just can't take care of them but are afraid or unwilling to just give them up to a stranger. Who's going to take care of all of them? Yes, the rosy picture of adoption spooned out by the pro-life groups is nice and gets people all fired up about those evil "baby killers", but it's not reality. Just talk to anyone working the foster care system, and it's very clear that we can't as a society take care of the kids that are being born today, and that's in a society where abortion is legal (but not necessarily easy to get). In order to have the freedom to dictate that your neighbor, or co-worker, or the homeless woman on the corner can't get an abortion, we have to take responsibility for those mothers and children.
I am proud of the voters of Oregon. We re-elected our Democratic governor, Ted Kulongoski, who got the state through a difficult four years, even though the national Republican party threw tons of money at his opponent because it was seen as a vulnerable seat. Portland voters renewed both school and library funding levies and state voters rejected the two TABOR measures by huge margins. We've got a tough couple of years in front of us leading up to the next presidential election. I'm very happy that the checks and balances are back and that Bush isn't running all three branches of government anymore. I think the past couple years have shown everyone why our founding fathers set the government up as they did - too much power in any party's (or president's) hands is never a good thing.