May 3, 2007

I like it… but maybe I’m dreaming…

Posted in Campaign, Gore, Iraq, U.S. Attorneys at 1:30 pm by saracallow

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2003688838_snoquillman02.html

Admittedly, I look to news which supports what I want to hear… especially in this case.  And maybe it’s grasping at straws, but I’m holding on until it’s absolutely clear that it won’t come to be…  So we’ll see.  Barack, you’ll have to wait a little longer for my check…

On Attorney Firings

I’m the first person to admit to supporting the idea that we should “plant a Bush in Texas” – or whatever the latest bumper sticker says.  I’m also sure that the firings of the U.S. Attorneys were politically motivated.  What I’m not sure about is whether I agree that is the problem here.

U.S. Attorneys are part of the bureaucracy, housed in the executive branch.  Ultimately, they are responsible to the White House.  There has been an ongoing debate regarding the administrative component of our government and its professionalism vs political status almost since it has been created.  Do we want a professional bureaucracy, one that borders on technocracy – or is it meant to be a political institution?  I actually think I would argue for the later – and that leaves me with the question of whether these firings were problematic or not. 

According to the Constitution, the president “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”  The modern bureaucracy came into being around the time of the New Deal, in part to help deal with the magnitude of this task.  It is my opinion that if we have a completely professional bureaucracy, then the election of a President doesn’t make a very big impact.  The bureaucracy should reflect the views of the President.  It is his constitutional power to see that laws are faithfully executed, and to determine what deserves highest priority.  We elected the President.  Even if we didn’t personally cast our vote for him (and not getting into the correctness of the Bush v. Gore decision) – he is the President of the U.S.  The rights and duties accorded him under the constitution are his.  And the politicization of the bureaucracy should go along with that.  I certainly want the implementation and faithful execution of the law to change and reflect the politics of our next elected leader (I guess that somewhat assumes a party change in leadership of course!).  Complete professionalism would largely prevent that.  Just because the choice of president in the election and the actions of the administration don’t reflect my politics doesn’t make it constitutionally wrong. 

That being said, I don’t understand why they don’t just own up to the truth.  This was a calculated political move.  Executed poorly.  The attorneys received no warning, and that clearly is not appropriate.  Gonzales appears to be lying.  And it all just seems like another perfect example of the willingness of the administration to hide and distort the truth.  That, in my opinion, should be the bigger story here.  The implications of the Bush presidency on  the transparency of the executive branch towards the public may outlive and prove even more troubling than the legacy of Iraq War.  Hard to imagine, but possible.  At least, that’s my opinion.  Now I just need to figure out how to put it on a bumper sticker.

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March 31, 2007

Dear Gore . . .

Posted in Campaign, environment, global warming, Gore at 3:13 pm by saracallow

Dear Vice Pesident Gore,

I have a bit of a problem, and I really believe that you can help.  I’m an avid follower of politics and consumer of the news.  But I just can’t get excited about the race for 2008.  In fact, I am pretty sure that come the primaries, I still won’t feel enthusiastic about my vote.  Anyone who knows me well can tell you, this would not be right.  I am a passionate person who cares deeply about our world.  I know the issues, read about the candidates, detest the current situation, and want to see things changed.  I want to feel strongly about this race, but I don’t.  I will go to the poles and vote, to be sure – but I would like to care so much that I spend time convincing my fellow citizens to agree with my choice.  I want to help change the world, but I need your help.

The truth is, you have a moral obligation to enter this race, and until you do, I will have a hard time getting strongly behind any existing candidate.  Yes, I said moral obligation.  I know that is a pretty strong statement, laden with values…  and I’m not someone who wants to impose my value system on others.  But it’s not really my value system, it’s yours… so it seems reasonable to hold you to it.  I watched your movie, and you told us that global warming is a moral issue.  You said we had an ethical obligation to act.  Well, you have an obligation here as well.

You know what else?  You talked about your child, his accident, and your renewed perspective on life.  Well guess what?  I have children too.  I don’t want to leave them with a world on the brink of disaster – facing storms, floods, drought, famine, disease that we have never seen before.   This is the issue facing the world today – and we have you to thank for helping bring it to the forefront of America’s conscience.

You have done so much for the cause, and maybe we have 2000 to thank for that.  But think how different things could have been if you did all this from the White House?  Yes, I know, you couldn’t have done exactly this from the White House….  But maybe you could have done more.  And let’s not even get into the war in Iraq, and the War of Terror…  just think about what you could have changed as far as environmental policy…    (At least you’d have been there to help get Live Earth on the mall…  climate change is still today being called a partisan issue?  That might be the most depressing thing I’ve heard.)

The reality is, Congress only acts when the majority of congressional districts agree on something.  This doesn’t happen often, and for that I believe we should actually be thankful…  Madison’s plan was well-designed.  But when big change is necessary, there must be a public advocate… a change agent.  Someone to convince us all.  You have spent the last 7 years invigorating the citizenship, and the world, warming them to the “warmth” – and yet, every time you spoke publicly, was there a news corp around?  Were your words published nationwide, tv cameras trained on your every move?  What if you really had the bully pulpit, what could you do for this issue?  More.  You could do more.  There is no way around it.  You have been amazingly effective outside of office… but you could do more as President.  If this is truly the moral obligation you have been convincing us of…  then it is time for you to step up.  Accept your place.  You created it. 

Win or lose, even a campaign focused on this issue would get more coverage.  Win, and you have the power…  Lose, and you’re still right where you stand today.  

You owe it to us…  you convinced us of it… please remember all our children, and take the action necessary to save our planet.

Sincerely,
Sara Callow

Yes…. I mailed it.  If you agree… write him yourself.  Help make a change.

Honourable Al Gore

2100 West End Avenue
Suite 620

Nashville, TN
37203

 

March 7, 2007

Isn’t it okay to be different?

Posted in Campaign at 2:26 pm by saracallow

I don’t know… I couldn’t help being bothered by some of the campaign coverage this week.  Both Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama were in Selma, in recognition of the “attack on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and a subsequent march to Montgomery led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., that prompted Congress to pass the landmark Voting Rights Act.” (Faussett and Jarvie, Los Angeles Times, March 5th, 2007)

What gets to me a little is the desire by both candidates to appear “blackest.”  Hillary claims allegiance to African Americans because their movement led to greater rights for women.  She spoke and attended church services and could be seen “pouring herself into the traditional Baptist service with gusto — nodding her head, hollering “Amen,” slapping her hand on her thigh and swaying from side to side” (LA Times).

Obama, for his part, spoke of the similarities between his father’s life as a “houseboy”in Kenya and the struggle of African Americans in the U.S.  He related his father’s knowledge regarding the achievements of civil rights as a large reason for coming to the U.S.  Obama’s “delivery, which started out lawyerly and dry in the morning, had by the afternoon flexed to fit the more traditional cadences of a black preacher” (LA Times).

I guess that both candidates may have a reasonable message to deliver.  They probably both have a greater appreciation of minority struggle and life in the U.S. than the average politician.  But it seems condescending to me that they both have to pretend to be as much the “same” as their audience as possible.  Wouldn’t it be much more genuine and honest if they could stand up in the churches and say, “I’m not a part of the same community and experiences as you, but I am your ally.  I appreciate your struggle because of experiences in my life, and I am committed to your cause.”  It just seems dishonest to change your tone of voice, inflection, or worship style to court voters… and it seems disrespectful of the audience’s ability to appreciate that your differences do not exclude you from being an advocate.

Basically ALL candidates, elected officials, etc take part in this kind of act.  I don’t look down specifically on Clinton or Obama for their actions.  It is just the reality of politics.  But aren’t we asking a bit much of our president… if he or she has to be “just like us”?  It’s our fault really that they behave this way, because this is what we (the public) seem to want when we vote.  For my part, I want someone better than myself…  They don’t have to be like me, they have to respect me, be well versed in areas of importance to me, and committed to much the same vision for the country.  I don’t need to hear about how well they relate to mothers in their thirties, or discuss diaper rash with them.  They don’t have to use the word “like” when they visit the Valley.  Just some honest discussion from a real person would be fine with me….