Monday, October 13, 2008

Healthy (?) Debate


I've been thinking a lot about what Sarah wrote on her blog about the difficulties in discussing politics. I want to link her blog here, because it is hilarious, but I'm not sure how she'd feel about it (if you're reading this, Sarah, let me know if I can). I have in the past enjoyed talking to Iz about his politics, and I've wished he was here so I can hear what he has to say about McCain (and Palin), since our previous discussion was about a certain Mormon who has vanished from the race, and at the time he disliked McCain.

Sarah's totally right that talking to people who agree with your politics is not a discussion. It is hard to find people from either side who do not only want to speak partisan politics.
Basically, I'd like to think I'm not a totally crazy Obama supporter. I probably am.
Two of the encounters I've had (with people I actually KNEW and respected):
1. Student, who reads my blog, who I think I offended because I questioned her representation of the partial-birth abortion situation, and I admitted in the conversation I didn't know enough about it either. We both came back with more information, and I think I came back more confused. I have had a difficult time finding information that was not obviously partisan, and I totally agree that Obama voted against partial-birth abortion ban, 3 times (?). From what I understand he defends himself saying that the language in the ban could be construed to not protecting abortion in certain situation, except the 3rd time of voting was not reflecting that, and his vote doesn't make sense in that case. So shame on Obama for that. I am pro-life, except in abuse, rape, and when it threatens the life of the mother (many would say that makes me not pro-life), so that is an issue I've wrestled with. I'm also not sure how that should affect my vote.
2. A teacher at school who I respect and had done some obvious digging into Obama. His problems with Obama that I didn't have answers for? foreign campaign contributions, remarks Obama made in Westbank, offshore drilling tactics, liberal voting records indicating that he will become Marx #2, and he's sure that taxes will go up for middle America... There were more but I lost mental notes to write on. I did some hard thinking, I did not deny, and then I did some research, which distracted me from work I should have been doing. Hard to say what's true here. Almost no information on the foreign campaign contributions situation that isn't a specifically partisan source (snopes denied 2 specific claims to foreign contributions, but doesn't address the rest). Liberal voting records, according to http://voteview.com/sen110.htm refutes the other report that Obama's is liberal, and according to their study (which seems legit and scientific) actually looks more middle of the road dem (not between the two parties). I couldn't find what remarks he made in Westbank (someone will help me out with this, and I found some good stuff on the tax plans here. Not that it assures us that he won't lie and change it later.
Anyway, I come away from all this wishing there was a way to get solid stuff that didn't have clear bias.
One problem I have with both candidates are their political tactics. Why is it that the only kinds of people that want to run for president obviously want to be the boss?
One problem I have with all of my encounters (small and large) with those on "the other side" is that I am mostly on the defense. It's never about McCain, it's about what's wrong with Obama. So that's what I want to know. Why do you support McCain? Why do you think people support McCain? I probably only know the negatives about him (I do know some pros, but I'd like to hear what other people think before I say so). I'd actually like to know. And does anyone know about these issues I've posted about here?
I realize I'm opening up a possible rats' nest here. I'd like to avoid slander, I'd like to see your sources (look for sources that appear to be showing facts rather than partisan opinion). And I'd like to protect friendships. I'd like to think I could engage in some debate without being threatening. I'm trying. Help me out.

18 comments:

John & Linds said...

I'm okay with healthy, friendly debate- I also want to hear why people are FOR certain people instead of against someone. It's probably too long to put here, but we can discuss over email.

IZ said...

I commend you for your willingness to open this up for debate, I know as you do that it ain't easy to do with most people. As you might have guessed, I have a lot to say about (some of) these issues, and more. But it will have to wait for when I have a little more time. But to set the record straight (not that you were accusing me of anything), I (still)do not like John McCain, and will probably end up voting for Obama (I never thought I'd say that, and my reasons for doing so are many and long, and probably a bit confusing), though I still struggle greatluy with that possibility, the partial birth abortion (having witnessed abortion first hand, this is particularly distressing) being only one issue that adds to the dilema. I will try to catch you in email sometime.

sienna said...

i am with you. i have a hard time seeing the other side. i am almost convinced that there are no real totally unbiased sources out there. EVERYONE picks and chooses what they want to read, think, focus on, etc (even if they won't admit it). there is just too much information out there. even the candidates themselves have to make decisions about what to talk about and what to ignore. i agree with Obama that abortion is an issue beyond his jurisdiction. I am morally against it, but I would never base my vote on it. I don't think the government making it illegal will change the real problem which a general lack of moral and ethical education in our families. maybe that's too pessimistic.

unfortunately, anyone that is willing to go through the smut of our campaigning process has to be somewhat motivated by power. some more than others.

i think that right now for a lot of people the biggest question of the campaign is economics (as it probably should be). obviously, the ideology that you can let economy run itself by deregulating big business and giving tax breaks to the rich and letting it trickle down DOES NOT WORK.

and then there's energy independence. and not just by going nuclear.

i know you didn't want to hear from people who already agree with you, but i just couldn't pass up the chance. McCain seems like a nice guy too and I do like that he's a relative moderate and tries to be fiscally conservative and "reach across he aisle." if he wins, i won't cry quite as hard as i did when bush won. but if he wins, dies in office, and then sarah palin becomes president--it's over.

jessi said...

Mrs. Jackson, as I said before, I was not offended. I'm not a liar...XD... don't worry!

Damaris said...

Today as i was listening to Democracy Now I finally admitted that it was for pure entertainment rather than "news" Given my obsession with Amy Goodman this is something new/hard for me to admit. I'm admitting this to illustrate that we do pick what we read and watch and listen to mostly to satisfy our need to validate our intelligence. I've recently been watching on You Tube over and over again the videos of Palin's rally where her supporters were yelling "Kill Obama" and "Hussein Osama" and lots of other things that I'm embarrassed to even write. Why do I watch this over and over again? Because I like to tell myself "That woman is Crazy, why won't she stop them?" and mostly "how can bigot people like this exist?! I'm glad I'm not one of them" In the 10 minutes that I waste watching videos on you tube am I going to search for "angry democrats yelling bad words at McCain videos"? No. why? because I do that at home. just kidding!!! I don't want to watch those videos b/c I don't want to be wrong.

I just listened to an awesome documentary called Shades of Gray about abortion. It made me disgusted with abortion. I am very liberal on lots of issues but abortion is one I won't budge. However, it is not the issue I vote on. It's not going to change. It's just not. At least not right now. I am very much against killing fetuses but I am also very much against the deaths of so many American soldiers and Iraqis who are dying in this useless war. This war that people like to talk about the progress we've made when in fact we should of never been there in the first place.

because Obama wants to end the war I will seriously pray and send all the positive energy I have in to the universe (and also do calling parties, bake sales, voter registrations) so that in 22 days Obama is elected!

Mariko said...

I was also wanting to google crazy democrat videos, but got lazy. I will, just to put myself in check.
Iz, I know you're busy, but I still want to hear what it is you don't have time to say.
I feel similarly, Sienna, about Palin. Linds respects her experience with oil and energy, which I see as something. Joe H. said she's probably the least evil of the bunch, and I think maybe that's true in the sense that most politicians ignore or accept evil, and she hasn't been in the game long enough to be so much a part of that.

Masayuki said...

I'd love - and am willing - to have some sort of conversation with ANYONE here for McCain in Provo/Utah... but I'm hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't start attacking Obama the minute they find out I'm not a die-hard Republican. Most of the things here - like that article I showed you - are Anti-Obama. I don't think I've seen a good letter about McCain yet. And I think most Republicans here are just trying to ignore bringing up Sarah Pailin. The one comment I heard from my Pro-McCain roommate during the Vice-Presidential debate was, "Well, at least she said a few things that were good."

Bekah said...

Because our income, my father's income, my mother's income, and two of my brothers' income depends on healthy government spending on education and social services, it's in my best interest to vote for someone who believes that government has an obligation to make these services available to citizens.

I'm also incredibly concerned about healthcare (since I don't have any). I've heard many people are afraid that Obama will create a socialized system of healthcare. I and millions of other uninsured Americans are more afraid that we are going to get sick. Or even worse, that we'll have to go to the hospital. My experience overseas with health care has been good. I can't explain how good it felt to know that the Japanese and Taiwanese government cared enough about me, a foreign visitor, to make sure that me and my children could seek health care if we needed it.

For the most part, a candidates view on social issues such as gay marriage and abortion do not determine my vote. I feel that though they may be important, they do not affect as many people as the economy, poverty, health care, war, education, the environment, and energy.

I find Sarah Palin frightening. And though she knows much about energy, it's the kind of energy that I think we need to move away from, oil and gas.

Jesse said...

I agree with most of what's been said so far. I think mormon's being republican are often their least saint-like. Of course it isn't true for everyone, but my experience has been, once the talk turns political they get very negative, uncharitable, and basically become one with the negative republican political culture, that is totally antithetical to what we learn at church. The basic republican strategy is negative. To lie about their opponents, tell stretched half truthes, etc. etc. The truth is McCain has actual associations with people much more unsavory than those Obama isn't connected to at all. But the democrats aren't going after that. Republicans feel like it's all justified because they feel oppressed and attacked, but by who? They've had the white house for 8 years, and had congress for a long time before that. I actually agree with a lot of conservative positions, less government spending, balanced budget, but clinton did both of those way better than bush, or reagan, for that matter. (Don't even get me started about who is more moral? if you think republican politicians are any more moral in their personal lives than democrats, its because you are naive and haven't really done any research.) There's nothing conservative about the current administration. And now, because global warming is a fact, almost universally acknowledged by everyone who's devoted their lives to studying it, the most important issue is the environment. if we mess this one up, everyone is screwed. especially the people who are suffering the most now anyway. middle class america will probably scrape by, but not the rest of the world. this is a crisis and we need real leadership, not more equivocation.

Mariko said...

Well, I can certainly see we've scared any McCain supporters away. Great work team!
Totally kidding. But we did do that. I've had a few private e-mails but no one wanted to post. Kind of sad, huh?

sienna said...

it does seem like we are all pretty decided. I wish there was a better way to talk about it without scaring people away. at least we are passionate. and if we are all wrong, nobody wants to correct us. but then again, i think it goes back to what you choose to focus on.

IZ said...

You are not as scary as you might think. And I can only speak for myself, but I am far from decided. You are not all wrong, at least not wholy ;) But the problem with being passionate is that when your view is criticized, you take it personally. It comes with having invested in an issue emotionally. Everyone is susceptible to it, so this isn't a criticism. It is an indication of how much you care and have thought about these things. I only mention this to say that you should use caution in assuming that no one is posting a contrary view because they are "scared". It could be that they have had too many conversations with "passionate" people in the past which were unfruitfull because of the level of emotion involvement.

I'm not saying any of you are thin skinned or anything, and this very well may not apply to you in any way. But I for one have had my fair share of online discussions that wouldn't go anywhere due to exessive emotional investment. It prevents one or both sides from really seeing the other sides perpective, and stops real dialogue dead in it's tracks. So maybe those republican conservatives out there simply don't want another attempt at dialogue quashed before it can even begin...on second thought, maybe they're just scared.

And I would be happy to play devils advocate and point out where I think you are right and wrong if that is indeed what you want. But in the end, we will most likely end up voting for the same person anyway, so isn't it kinda futile? At least in the context of the next...how many days is it until the election?

Anonymous said...

I am coming in way late and way ANON, b/c I keep my blog very upbeat and noncontroversial and don't want any issues, not saying that anyone would.... but just in case. :)

If all of these comments were made by all of my nonLDS neighbors it wouldn't phase me, but the fact that (I assume) you all are LDS, surprises me. And I'll tell you why.

Each have talked about really REALLY disagreeing with abortion and yet it's not your reason to of NOT voted for Obama. Here is the deal, you all are aligned with a party that is for abortion and gay rights. Both of which the Church is against. And you each brush it (abortion) off as not a good enough reason to of voted Obama.

Then there is the "economy" "global warming" (which is a hoax, mark my words, time will tell) and the war as what is ... MORE IMPORTANT?? Really???? When was the last COnference talk on the war, or global warming or the economy??? YET the church REPEATEDLY speaks out against abortion. And protecting the family. So clearly abortion is THAT important.

And so for us (as in you all) to sit and decide that the war is more important (or whatever) when the church is fighting to protect marriage- which the party you voted with is fighting to ruin... something stinks.

We are at a time when members are struggling with the church's view on same sex marriage and it's time to get off the fence. Is this church true or not?? I think a lot of people need to decide.

I am not saying that any of you are in that boat.... just sayin.

Mariko said...

Glad I keep my comments e-mailed to me, or I never would have gotten this comment!
Well. This is a lot to reply to.

1. Here's my view on abortion. Totally against it. Here's my view on abortion rights: I don't really get to decide that for everyone else. Mormons have a higher law that we're subject to. For most people there's basic right and wrong, and we classify abortion as murder, but it's not that way for other people. Like I said, we have the higher law. It is more complicated, because if it wasn't, the church's position wouldn't allow for abortion in cases of rape or incest or health of the mother.
I also know that voting for a president doesn't necessarily vote in a law. There are theorists who think Obama's going to rush in a protect all abortion law. I don't care if you are the president, that doesn't get in just because you feel like it. If there was a proposition, for example, I'd vote against abortion, but with a president, there's so many more steps. I also like that Obama's going to address how to reduce abortions. Forcing them by law is one thing, changing the system so people don't want to or need to is so much better. We need to get to a place in this country where abortion is looked down on in disdain, by everyone. You gotta move from the bottom up. Freakanomics discusses the correlation between the dramatic drop in crime and the increase in abortions (from when abortion became legal and the age of most criminals as young teenagers 17-20 years after roe vs. wade). It's disturbing. You've got to see that this is a problem with many things, not just whether or not abortion is legal. Even if McCain had won, there's no way he'd bring in some sweeping national law that said abortion was illegal. It came through the supreme court after a long process. It's not going to be changed by one presidency.
2. Whether or not global warming is real (and I do believe it is--CO2 is a poison, and there are many reasons to cut down on CO2 other than global warming), humans have a duty to our planet, and making it cleaner is important. I don't care if global warming is true, because I do think SUV's are bad for the people, plants, and animals that live here. Pollution is real. That being said, I would never vote for a president entirely based on this issue, hence, I did not vote for the Green party.
3. I voted for Obama because of many social issues. The war and the economy are important to me, but so is health care reform, education reform, and other issues. I also feel like he is a good man. Yes, this is an impression I have and is based on many assumptions, and I also think he will do a good job. It's true that the church can't make suggestions on who we vote for. The fact that they did basically make statements about prop 8 though, tells me, that in the face of clear choices (meaning that I think voting for president is a leadership situation where there is not a straight pipeline from white house to law) the church will make their position known. I don't see the church clearly on either side of the candidate. Between these two candidates there is not right and wrong. We are still able to live by our principles either way. In many way Obama is more clearly aligned with many of our church's policies than a McCain administration, economically and socially.
4. I do find it slightly disturbing that there would be an assumption of aligning the church with an entire party. I am a registered independent and I voted democratic in every presidential race so far. I voted against George Bush who I count responsible for the murder of Americans and Iraqis, knowingly. Does the church want to align themselves with this? If we had Obama, and a clearly poor candidate for president, would we choose to align ourselves with the Republican candidate simply because we are Mormon? You're voting on a person who needs to have many traits of good leadership. I believe Obama displays those. Prop 8 won because there are many many people who believe gay marriage is wrong. Yes, gays are traditionally democratic. But there is definitely a majority of democratic voters in the state. So why did Prop 8 pass? Well, democratic voters voted yes on prop 8. A whole lot of them. Even Obama feels that way. They made that vote clearly, not just sat on the fence about it.
I feel badly that you are worried about being attacked (blog stalked?) and while I am very curious I have (and my friends) no ill will towards your comments. I think on here they may come out and sound more one-sided than they are, because they know we agree on many basics already.

Anonymous said...

1- On abortion.... I can't wrap my head around THAT being a higher law that we Mormons anything. It's a life, period. And when I lived my few years in Utah, The Church was very insistent that we are proactive and protecting the faith, when gambling was being introduced to the state, we see what The Church did with gay marriage, why would it be different with abortion? And why wouldn't WHO we vote for be the key to fighting evil? And so it may be true that a President will never change the abortion law, because I don't really see that happening either, they can and have and will change parts of the law. Like, Obama is for appalling late term abortions. Have you read his thoughts on abortion? He's the liberal of the liberal on it. And it's disgusting and sad and shows character. Skipping 2 b/c it is what it is. Time will tell. In the mean time, I am for keeping the earth clean, to an extent. 3. The Church CAN'T pick a candidate for us. For tax status purposes. But if you want to talk about a high law, let's get into socialists- living like that WOULD be higher law, when we have to "share the wealth", that's sounding like The Law of Consecration. Which didn't work under The Lord's watchful eye and He had it come to end because we aren't ready. I can't imagine He would want Obama (and not Pres Monson?) or any other politician to bring the law back. I can't imagine it working through the Government if it couldn't throughout The True Church. As far as health care goes.... have you talked to many people that live with socialized health care? I have a son who has a chronic illness and I belong to an online support group with about 5 Canadians. One of the 5 is pleased with their health care. They talk of how Canada does "just enough" to keep their children alive, the very bare minimum. They are 20 years behind in their medicines and procedures, which has been proven to shorten the life they will have. All of our children will eventually need a organ transplant. In Canada- they are 'too old' at 65 and will be refused the transplant. But not here. Not only that, but many of them come here to have such things done. And you want that? 5. As far as the war goes, I would encourage you to read this, from Pres. Gordon B Hinkley, after 9/11- and I would like to point out these parts of the talk- "Those of us who are American citizens stand solidly with the president of our nation. The terrible forces of evil must be confronted and held accountable for their actions.""No one knows how long it will last. No one knows precisely where it will be fought. No one knows what it may entail before it is over. We have launched an undertaking the size and nature of which we cannot see at this time""Now, brothers and sisters, we must do our duty, whatever that duty might be. Peace may be denied for a season. Some of our liberties may be curtailed. We may be inconvenienced. We may even be called on to suffer in one way or another." So the Prophet himself said we stand behind him, he knew it may go into other countries and he said we stand behind our president, even though we don't know WHERE it will go (Iraq) and we don't know how long it will last. I think that should answer your question.

Anonymous said...

http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=9caa8c6a47e0c010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1

Mariko said...

1. Like I said, I'm okay with being political about it, but I am not going to pick one candidate for one reason and then end up with a candidate that has a whole slew of reasons I shouldn't be following him. You can't really line up the issues and equate them like that. It's not a numbering system. I am aware of Obama's feelings about abortion. And I don't agree. There's a big problem here. We definitely need to work on it. I don't think just banning abortion is going to work out, however (and certainly not just accepting it in all situations, and YES, I have read all about FOCA). And McCain was more liberal on abortion than the traditional republican side, so just picking a Republican, in this case, wouldn't just block that whole issue out.
2. To an extent? Hmmm.
3. Even if they COULD pick a candidate, how could they possibly pick a candidate? The prophet is not running for president, and until he does, they certainly would not be expecting the candidate to follow the laws of the church, or have any control over him/her. Even if he was Mormon.
4. OBAMA IS NOT A SOCIALIST. Health care reform is not socialized health care. The government is NOT contracting all the health care for each American citizen. The whole plan is about offering health care for those who do not already have it (and that health care will be provided by a private company contracted by the government, just like many things in the U.S. that do not disrupt our whole cutthroat capitalism). Plus, it will help small businesses afford to offer their own health care plans (not through the government, again, just because they will have incentive to provide health care coverage for 1) the health of their workers so they can keep working and 2) tax breaks that make it more affordable to offer it).
The last point about what the prophet said in response to 9/11 is not in response to Iraq. If the church is always behind the president, no matter what he/she does, then wouldn't they be behind this president? I assume your answer is no, so I also assume that the church would not be behind a president if he/she made very poor decisions. The terrible forces that hurt us were, as we found out, NOT Iraq. We've created more terrible forces, I think.
I'm okay with being "inconvenienced", certainly. Lied to? Taken away other people's liberties? That's something else.

Anonymous said...

I only have time for #4-

The Prophet met specifically with Pres Bush, he was saying that we are behind him. He said that we do not know where this war will take us (as in, Iraq?) or how long. The war was on terror, there were/are terrorists in Iraq. Would the same the same to Pres Obama if we had a new war to fight, heavens forbid? I don't know, but if it happened and the Prophet spoke, then that would be that. For me.

Nobody's libterties have been taken. Iraq is and is becoming more free each day. Any soldier I've ever talked to that has come from there says so.

#2- To keep it short- to the extent of not taking people's freedoms of driving what they will. For one example.