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Monday, December 17, 2007

What I Want For Christmas...

If you regularly read and enjoy this blog, I would like to ask you to do two things in return for the encouragement you get here. Don't worry--it won't cost you anything, and will only take up a little bit of your time.

The first thing I'd like for Christmas is for you to send a link to this blog to someone if and only if you think they might get something out of it. The major satisfaction I get from this blog is knowing that it might inspire or motivate people to take a look at their lives and make sure they're not wasting the precious time they have here. Life is such a gift, and if you think throwing a $2 million necklace in the ocean is hard to watch, seeing people squander their priceless lives in jobs and situations they hate is completely devastating. I feel called to help people recognize what resources they have within them, and I ask that you help me help even more people.

The other thing I want for Christmas is something I hesitated to even mention here. It has to do with politics, which this blog usually isn't as concerned with since it is so much a part of the daily, petty world. I'm more interested in what's eternal, what is Truth, and not as much in what is news and what is the fad of the day.

However, because I believe that our abilities to pursue our own truths--our liberties--are so gravely threatened by the politics of the day, I ask that you take a look--that's all--at Ron Paul's website. I won't say much more--I'm not a big fan of trying to persuade people politically--but if you like what you see, consider telling others and perhaps donating. If you don't, cool. No biggie. We'll still be friends. :-)

That's it--that's all I want for Christmas. Thank you for everything you've already given me, and I look forward to sharing the new year ahead...

4 comments:

meredith said...

I respect Ron Paul because I think he is someone who says what he thinks and isn't just trying to play the political system to his advantage. I think he takes principled views on issues, rather than just subjecting each question to some kind of electoral calculus that most of the other candidates seem to be playing at most of the time (see: Hillary Clinton in the Philadelhia debate.) I couldn't vote for Paul in a million years because of those same views, but at least he makes me feel like democracy is alive and well in America again. I agree that, as you say, our liberties are gravely threatened by the politics of the day. We need to elect a President who shows real leadership, not just another shrewd political machine. To that end, I think we all need to be a little more vocal about what we think, and a little less afraid to offend. So here goes...

Things I can dig about Ron Paul:

- He's the only Republican who voted against the Iraq War Resolution in 2002.

- He takes a strong stance on protecting civil liberties, meaning he opposes the Patriot Act, domestic surveillance programs, and the federal government's use of torture. To me these are no-brainers, but most politicians' brains have been clouded by the fog of war and fear.

- He supports stem-cell research.

- He knows the war on drugs is a joke, and says as much.

- He opposes eminent domain. OK, I don't really oppose it, but I think the Supreme Court has expanded it ridiculously far which has allowed city, state and federal governments to take property for no good reason. I say YES for building public transportation lines, NO for building mini-malls. Hmph.


Things I can't:

-He wants to replace income taxes with excise taxes. Excise taxes are regressive and unduly burdensome for the poor-- taxes on some of our poorest citizens would actually go UP.

- He advocates a foreign policy of nonintervention. He believes the U.S. should be involved only in wars to protect its own citizens. This is a stand against the Bush brand of preemptive wars against ill-defined threats based on shoddy intelligence (hallelujah!) but this view also favors ignoring what's happening in Darfur and Somalia. It posits that we were right to stand by and watch what happened in Rwanda, and I cannot agree. I think the issue is much more complicated, and ultimately should come down to questions of whether it is morally right for us to get involved in a foreign conflict, and whether it is feasible for us to improve the situation. We needn't check someone's passport to decide whether they are worthy of our help. Sometimes sending aid isn't enough-- sometimes people need military protection.

- He takes a weak stance on gay rights. He's against a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, but he supported the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, which means that even in states where gay marriage is legal (like where I live, in Massachusetts), married homosexual couples are denied all the rights that the federal government confers on married people. Paul also criticized the Supreme Court's ruling on Lawrence v. Texas, the 2003 case that found state sodomy laws to be unconstitutional. Along the same lines as Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court said that the 14th amendment gives us a right to privacy, which extends to our choices about our sexuality-- whether or not to use birth control, whether or not to terminate a pregnancy, and whether we are going to have heterosexual or homosexual relations. Paul doesn't believe the 14th amendment guarantees any such right to privacy, and therefore thinks states should have the right to BAN homosexual sex. Yikes.

- He opposes universal health care coverage. I see problems with it too, but I don't know what else can be done. We are a very wealthy, very unhealthy nation. As long as the insurance companies are in the game, many of us can't afford to be healthy.

- He says the environment is best protected under individual property rights. This means I have to sue my polluting neighbors to keep them in check. I don't see how a private citizen and property owner can possibly monitor all of the polluters that may possibly impact his or her property, and sue for damages.


Well, that's more than enough fodder for a political discussion for another day. As for your other Christmas wish, I've already sent a link to your excellent blog to a couple of friends. Today, I'll do you one better and add you as a link on my blog.

Happy holidays to you, the hubby, and the pooch.

love,
meredith

Tiffany Hamburger said...

Mer--
your blog is so cool! I had no idea, you crafty girl, you!

Yes, we need to be able to debate, I agree. And I see your points, and understand them.

But I don't see a single other presidential candidate of any party who even acknowledges our need to return to the Constitution.

And, as the dollar slides and inflation goes up, I see no other candidate who even acts like he/she knows anything about the importance of monetary policy.

Health care, the environment, personal freedoms--these are all issues that we will not even be able to afford to address if we don't get this country back on surer financial footing, and I don't know about you, but I see the wheels coming off the wagon as we speak.

The resonance of Paul's message has a lot to do with timing--if we don't fix the economic policies of this country soon, we will surely face an economic ruin that this country hasn't witnessed in generations. That is what makes his candidacy so urgent to me.

Tiffany Hamburger said...

One more thing from Paul's website, which I think addresses why if you're concerned about our poorest citizens, you should be concerned about our nation's monetary policy:

"Government officials consistently claim that inflation is in check at barely 2%, but middle class Americans know that their purchasing power--especially when it comes to housing, energy, medical care, and school tuition-- is shrinking much faster than 2% each year.

We look at GDP numbers to reassure ourselves that all is well, yet a growing number of Americans still do not enjoy the higher standard of living that monetary inflation brings to the privileged few. Those few have access to the newly created money first, before its value is diluted.

For example: Before the breakdown of the Bretton Woods system, CEO income was about 30 times the average worker's pay. Today, it's closer to 500 times. It's hard to explain this simply by market forces and increases in productivity. One Wall Street firm last year gave out bonuses totaling $16.5 billion. There's little evidence that this represents free market capitalism.

In 2006 dollars, the minimum wage was $9.50 before the 1971 breakdown of Bretton Woods. Today that dollar is worth $5.15. Congress congratulates itself for raising the minimum wage by mandate, but in reality it has lowered the minimum wage by allowing the Fed to devalue the dollar. We must consider how the growing inequalities created by our monetary system will lead to social discord."

OK, I'm shutting up now, I swear. Back to bliss for me and for this blog... But hooray for democracy and debate!

Anonymous said...

For as much as I am not political, I do hold myself responsible for being an informed citizen. I appreciate the reminder to examine all options and I love the respectful discussion between you and Meredith. Thanks!

Quick anecdote:
My father was career military. When I was in middle-school, I asked him why he was willing to die for people he doesn't know. He looked at me and said, "I'm willing to fight for the people, not die. It's the Constitution I'll die for. If I give my life, it's for the ideas in the Constitution."

I've told some of my friends about your site before but I suspect writing a link in a handwritten letter lacks some immediacy... Bad, Luddite, bad! I'll send them one of these new-fangled "emails."

Merry Christmas!

-erzsebet