Friday, February 19, 2010

State of the Union, Part II

See Part I here...and yes, this is still overdue. ^.^

"Let's try common sense, a novel concept."

Something that will never cease to amaze me- both sides claim to be on the side of 'common sense'. Does that make sense at all? Of course, the logical conclusion is that neither of them has common sense on their side.

"With all due deference to separation of powers, last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections."

As I've said, I can't really find it in me to dislike this move. For starters, I think a lot would be helped if Americans would actually pay attention, and let those little alarm bells go off when they see someone getting an excess of money from corporations. Sadly, that doesn't happen so often anymore. So I can see the danger with this move by the Court.

"I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests or, worse, by foreign entities."

Unfortunately, the entirety of America is bankrolled by foreign countries. Let us think of the Federal Reserve- a central bank run by foreign investors. Our government is trillions of dollars in debt with other countries. That's not foreign bankrolling, oh no, not at all.

"Now, I'm not naive. I never thought that the mere fact of my election would usher in peace and harmony and some post-partisan era."

Especially not when Obama himself is so extremely partisan, he can't do a single thing without mentioning the opposite party as some sort of scape goat- when both parties are equally to blame.

"But make no mistake: This war is ending, and all of our troops are coming home."

Something I can agree with. And I hope it isn't just rhetoric, because if it is, I'll be very disappointed. But I would like to say that I agree with his current plan to bring the troops in Iraq home by this August. I think that is commendable- if they don't get shipped out again to Pakistan within the month, which, from the sound of Obama's rhetoric, might very well happen.

"That's why North Korea now faces increased isolation and stronger sanctions, sanctions that are being vigorously enforced."

Sanctions only hurt ordinary people. The ordinary people are the ones who get hurt because of the limits bigger countries impose on them. It is wrong. Yes, nukes may be terrible, but is it really any of our business whether they have them or no? Have we considered that maybe they'd like to be able to defend themselves from other countries?

"We find unity in our incredible diversity, drawing on the promise enshrined in our Constitution, the notion that we're all created equal, that no matter who you are or what you look like, if you abide by the law, you should be protected by it, if you adhere to our common values, you should be treated no different than anyone else."

For someone who constantly talks about the Constitution, he really understands very little about it. Especially, oh you know, those little parts about the limits on the government.

"This year -- this year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. It's the right thing to do."

For the record, gay people aren't kept from serving. They just aren't supposed to trumpet it to the skies. And I don't see why they should want, or feel the need, to. Does anyone care which sex you engage in relations with? I certainly do not, and I don't see how it should have any bearing on your military service, job status, or your life outside of the personal.

Anyway. I have effectively reached the end of this review. The rest of his speech was just like the beginning- talking about how great America is (or possibly just was) and how we have to move forward...


suntzusays said...

"gay people aren't kept from serving" - True, since there are estimates of up 60,000 serving already. But this is basically the same critique that we use for gay marriage. Gay people can get married, they just cannot get married to the people they would want to be married to. If it is discovered that someone has engaged in homosexual relationships, they can be discharged and prevented from serving on that basis alone. Which would seem to belie the notion that they aren't prevented from serving.

I don't particularly think it's any of our business who anybody has sex with either, but the comfortable assumption that somehow gay people are only okay if they don't trumpet and announce their sexuality is also just plain wrong as it assumes that somehow heterosexual people don't do the same thing. Sadly, I can find many examples of "our" people who do. It would be probably a better more idyllic society that treats its individual's sexuality as a private affair confined to the bedroom or the private sphere of the home, but that's not the world we live in, and in a military barracks filled with mostly proud young men, it's practically an impossible world to assume will begin to develop anytime soon.

As a bigger problem, the integration of women has been far more complicated for the same reasons that people claim would be a problem for integrating gays into the military (sexual fraternization, sexual predatory habits, etc). That problem, at least from my perspective, isn't the women. It's the handful of dishonorable men who end up raping them or drumming them out of the military on accusations of homosexuality because they didn't respond (favorably) to sexual advances. I'm fairly comfortable as a result assuming that the people who would cause the problems integrating an open homosexual are other men, and not the homosexual somehow wanting to flaunt and trumpet his private sex life with his comrades in arms (which I would surmise that the military's cultural norms would prevent and limit to friendly discourse among the most trusted squadmates, just as it does for actual closeted homosexuals within the context of their friendships and familial relationships for many).

For the record, I don't think this is as widespread a problem as is commonly believed, but it's pretty obvious to me that the true problem isn't going to be homosexuality or gender equality in serving line units. It's homophobia and sexism.

suntzusays said...

And I think it's obvious by now I'm in the minority who happened to like the CU decision. As you noted, for someone who talks about the Constitution, Obama does sometimes have the most curious grasp of what it means and what limitations it places upon government.

Anonymous said...

An excellent analysis, as always! But I'm sure President Obama understands the Constitution well enough: he just doesn't believe in it (an attitude he shares with almost every other politican in Washington, Republican or Democrat). Politicians believe in an "evolving Constitution" that means whatever they want it to mean instead of what it says. There's a grain of truth in that view, because it has to be adapted to changing times and conditions -- but politicians naturally use that grain of truth as an excuse to defy the clear meaning of the Constitution. They shouldn't get all the blame, however, because the Supreme Court has been equally guilty of reinterpreting the Constitution to fit its prejudices.

I do disagree with your suggestion that President Obama is too partisan. Nobody in Washington is being much of a hero these days, but Obama is more frustrating because he hasn't seemed to fight for what he claims to believe in. His partisanship is a fairly recent development, probably due to the looming 2010 elections.

Liberty said...

Sun Tzu- good point. I didn't realize they could be discharged because of it. Thanks for clearing that up- and you're right, that does do away with any ability for them to serve in any free way.

I still don't see any need for them to trumpet it to the skies though. :P But you're also right- heterosexual people do the same thing. Unfortunately. ^.^

Noah- He understands it, just chooses to play dumb or something like that. >.<

He's been partisan for quite awhile though- as far back as when he wrote his book Audacity of Hope. That book was nothing but Republicans vs. Democrats/Democrats are infallible, Republicans are was a pretty disgusting book in that respect. :P