Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Politics Again. Sure to Upset Everyone Somehow.

This morning as I was leaving for work the phone rang. I picked up only to hear a robo-call from some (I assume) right wing lunatic asking me if I was aware of the tea parties and "what was happening with our government." It closed by asking me to "pay attention."

Well, I have been paying attention. There are many things going on at both the state and federal level, and I have opinions about some of them. Mostly I'm disgusted.

At the state level the recent news is the CA supreme court upholding Prop 8. I've seen blog posts and Facebook status updates from people - including friends - on both sides of this issue, and I'm afraid I have to come down on the side against prop 8. Strongly. I know this may upset some of my friends and coworkers, but here's the thing. I know several gay couples, and marriage - real marriage, with all the attendant rights and responsibilities - matters to them. And you know what? They deserve it.

These people are just as much a part of America as any other citizen, and they are - or should be - the equals of any of us. But no, they're not. Not here in California. Instead of equality we get a slim majority voting away the rights of a minority, and that is appalling. This nation's founding fathers were afraid of the tyranny of the majority, and here we have a textbook example of the principle, in one of the (supposedly) most progressive states in the union.

Here's a thought: next time around let's modify the constitution so that left handed people can't get married. It's a nice narrow subclass - much like gays & lesbians - so the supreme court should have no problem upholding that too. And then, the election after that, we'll stop bald people from getting married. Don't want them to raise children. And then brown eyed people, after all, you can't trust people with brown eyes. And after that? Jews? Non-whites? Gee, for some reason this is starting to sound familiar.

There is no threat to anyone in gay marriage. All prop 8 does is legalize discrimination. So much for the land of the free.

And as if that wasn't bad enough the state's economy continues to crumble. There isn't enough money to go around and there aren't any places to cut without hurting people - a lot of people. California has been ungovernable for a long time and it's only going to get worse in the coming years. I am not optimistic, but I don't know what to do about it. Moving - thanks to our jobs and the roots we've put down in the community - is not an option we like thinking about. I suppose it could come to that, though.

On the federal level - which is what this morning's stupid robo-call was about, I guess - the picture is slightly more mixed. President Obama has changed a number of policies from the Bush administration for the better, and I appreciate that. Even better, the Republicans are being forced to call themselves a "regional party" now, and their falling support is something I can only call a "good thing."

On the other hand I'm not so sure I like the government owning large chunks of major banks and auto manufacturers, but that might have been inevitable. Or not. The bailout is an enormously complicated thing and I can see arguments on all sides of it. I can even appreciate and agree with many of them, and I have to admit that I don't know what the "correct" solution is, or if there even is such a thing.

What disturbs me is we're starting to hear that the Obama administration is doing some things in the way that the Bush administration did. In the most recent example I know of, they are essentially following a Bush administration policy of denying that the list of visitors to the White House is public knowledge.

Excuse me? Didn't we have screaming lawsuits about this when Cheney didn't want to release his list of visitors while he was setting up his "energy policy"? And don't I recall Obama saying he was going to do things differently, starting with a reversal of the "don't disclose it if you don't have to" crap that the Bush administration was doing? They were going to be more open, or so we were told.

Well, it appears the Obama administration isn't quite living up to it's own ideals in all cases. But then again we knew that already, didn't we? We were told "no lobbyists", but there were all those exceptions for key positions. And then there were all the appointments of people who had "tax issues" discovered only after their selections were announced.

How completely unsurprising. People in power abuse that power, regardless of their party affiliation. We saw it - in spades - in the Bush administration and now we're starting to see it in the current crop of politicians as well.

The Obama administration may be more to my liking - on any number of fronts - but they're still politicians, and we should all know what that means by now. Cynicism, I'm sad to say, is the only defensible position when it comes to politics.

And with that I've probably alienated the last three friends I had. That's a shame, but I have this honesty problem...