Monday, September 08, 2008

Weighing in--Issues and "The Media"

I have John McCain’s and Barrack Obama’s websites open side-by-side so that I can take an issue and read what each person says. When I’m on the computer checking email or whatever, I go to the sites and read a little bit. It’s not easy because there are a lot of generalities, a lot boring repetition, and a lot of sentences starting in third person, which drives me crazy (John McCain believes, Obama believes . . .). But it’s been interesting and enlightening in a couple of areas. Every now and then, I think I’ll write about what I’m reading on those sites.

What struck me first as very telling about the candidates is that on Obama’s site, under “Issues” is the category, “Women.” There is no such category under McCain’s “On the Issues.” Obama addresses pretty much every issue that women are dealing with, even taking the larger issues such as the economy, national security, and education and applying them directly to women. This is also where he discusses a woman’s right to choose. McCain addresses this issue under “Values.”

A woman’s right to choose is a deciding factor for me, and I will not vote for someone who supports repealing Roe vs. Wade. Obama’s site states,

[Obama] has been a consistent champion of reproductive choice and will make preserving women’s rights under Roe v. Wade a priority as President. He opposes any constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court's decision in that case.

On McCain’s site, it states,

John McCain believes Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned, and as president he will nominate judges who understand that courts should not be in the business of legislating from the bench. Constitutional balance would be restored by the reversal of Roe v. Wade, returning the abortion question to the individual states. The difficult issue of abortion should not be decided by judicial fiat.

So my understanding is that John McCain believes that, #1, abortion shouldn’t be legislated by judges, yet he is going to appoint judges who agree with him to overturn Roe vs. Wade, and #2, reproductive rights should be the decision of the state. The federal government shouldn’t be legislating a woman’s freedom to decide what she wants to do to her body, but it’s OK for state government to do so. However, that’s not good enough, either. The site goes on to state:

Once the question is returned to the states, the fight for life will be one of courage and compassion - the courage of a pregnant mother to bring her child into the world and the compassion of civil society to meet her needs and those of her newborn baby. The pro-life movement has done tremendous work in building and reinforcing the infrastructure of civil society by strengthening faith-based, community, and neighborhood organizations that provide critical services to pregnant mothers in need. This work must continue and government must find new ways to empower and strengthen these armies of compassion. These important groups can help build the consensus necessary to end abortion at the state level.

Government must help pro-life groups? Must empower and strengthen them to end abortion at a state level? The federal government now will interfere with state issues? How will he “empower and strengthen” these groups? Will he provide money for these groups? Will there be federal government programs they can apply for grants from? If these pro-life groups have done such great work in faith-based organizations, will they get government funding? So, will the laws separating church and state now be overturned, too?

On NPR this morning they said that abortion isn’t usually such a big issue with voters, with only 13% of voters choosing a candidate on his/her stand on abortion. Well, it better get more important pretty quick because it’s even bigger than just who will be our president. It’s who will be our judges and what laws they will take on next, and it’s our state governments who will have even more say on how much freedom we really have. And I think we’ve all moved beyond thinking that John McCain chose Sarah Palin to appeal to Hillary voters. He’s appealing to the right-wing, uber-conservatives who didn’t support him before and who he can’t win without.

I want to say one other thing about the “Women” issues. Obama addresses women’s issues in National Security, i.e. our military members who are women and the special issues and problems they face. On his site, it states:

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that was built to care for World War II veterans is not ready to handle the influx of women veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. As a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Barack Obama has introduced legislation to force the Pentagon and VA to better track the newest generation of veterans – including the number of women veterans – so that the VA can better plan their care. Obama also introduced legislation to fight homelessness among veterans, with a special focus on treating women who may have been victims of sexual trauma. Along with Senator Claire McCaskill, Obama has also co-sponsored legislation to provide funding for additional caseworkers and mental health counselors, a women’s mental health treatment program, and a comprehensive mental health study of returning soldiers. As president, Barack Obama will fight to ensure that women can get the care they deserve at the VA.

This is the closest statement I could find on McCain’s website that I thought was comparable. It was under “Veterans.”

John McCain believes that America's veterans who dedicated themselves to protecting our country deserve the highest quality health care. He is committed to ensuring that veterans' health care programs receive the funding necessary to provide the quality health care our veterans need and deserve. He has worked to ensure that the Veteran's Affairs provides care for all eligible veterans, no matter where they live or what they need. In addition, John McCain has fought to ensure that retired servicemen and women have meaningful access to affordable health care.

McCain goes into more specific detail about helping veterans, but he doesn’t specifically address the issues of women veterans. It could be argued that he doesn’t need to because they are included in “veterans.” However, personally, I believe the fact that Obama addresses women as having issues of their own, says a lot about him. Both Obama and McCain have sections devoted to issues concerning veterans, and we can go over that later.

I know this has been a long post, but I just want to address one more thing quickly. If I hear one more person say “The media is being so unfair to [fill in the blank]” I’m going to scream. Just what is “the media” any way? Best I can tell, the definition of “the media” is “anyone who publicly doesn’t believe the same way I do.” Honestly, what constitutes the media? Is it anyone on tv? Anyone in publication? Do you have to have a journalism degree? Do blogs count? How about message boards and forums? How about forums on political sites? It seems that there is no news any more, it's all op-eds. And you can argue with an opinion; therefore, it's OK to dismiss almost anything as "the media." However, there are still legitimate outlets for news, and they have every right to ask questions. So basically, I just want to say--Grow up and get over it. There’s an election going on, and it’s just going to get worse.

That's enough for now. Thanks for stopping by.


Karen said...

I think that everyone has an issue that is "the issue" for them. For me that issue is national security.

My views have always been very conservative so I tend fall on the Republican side of most things. But our national safety is something I would never compromise. I lived through 9-11. I saw and smelled death on that day and I never want to go through that again.

I morally oppose abortion. And I would not have a problem with Roe v. Wade being overturned. But at the same time, I don't think that my personal moral convictions should overturn legislation. So I would also have no problem with Roe v. Wade remaining in effect - as long as the government doesn't fund it. ;)


Thank you for pointing out this comparison on 'women's' issues. I had not looked for the information in this format....yet.

The thought of McCain/Palin leading the Administration scares the bejeebers outta me.

Kimmie said...

Wow Kell, great post! You surely put alot on the table in comparisons. I have felt that John McCain has thrown his Campaing together in a rather sloppy manner. He continues to be vague in whats important, and that is the issues. Obama has a nice tidy Campaign that has been well thought out and planned. I like how you addressed the differences in Women and Security Issues. I applaud you. I am certain of who I already knew who I was voting for, but the Conventions sealed the deal. I have to say that McCain & Palin both scare the hell out of me!

I am happy you are home. :-)


Betty said...

Good blog, Kell. I haven't seen any other ones dealing with womens' issues in this election. Keep on researching and I think you can probably come up with some more information about McCain's attitude about women veterans and just women in general.

Jay said...

I'm sorry, but this kind of reasonable, well-researched and thoughtful discussion of a political issue has NO PLACE on the internets. hhahaa ;-)

Dianne said...

LOL @ Jay!! He's a hand full isn't he? ;)

I'm seeing a growing movement of people wanting to research and discuss the issues. Thank goodness!

and thank you for such a well written post.

and of course - hugs to Cosette.