Thursday, November 6, 2008

Unity

As is typical following an election, we have calls for "unity" and working together. It's always interesting to me to hear the victorious side issue calls for unity when they know and we know that in reality no such unity is really needed for them to accomplish their goals and ideas since they hold the majority. The same was true for Republicans in 2004 and now holds true for Democrats in 2008. So as I read comments from people like Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi telling us how we all need to work together, their cries for unity ring pretty hollow to me since I don't recall them saying such things after their party's defeat four years ago. Really, it's one thing to stress unity when you win, but it's entirely another to call for that when you're on the short end and you realize that you don't have total control over your goals and ideas for the country.

My sister was just watching the Ellen show this afternoon, so I watched the opening. I have always enjoyed Ellen DeGeneres as a comedian and mostly as an actress, but I obviously completely disagree with her politically (though she seems to be a much more pleasant person than Whoopi Goldberg, Roseanne Barr, or Susan Sarandon , other people whom I enjoy their work but not their real-life endeavors or ideas). Her talk show is usually pretty funny, though I'm hardly a regular viewer. Well, she said watching the coverage was "exciting" and talked about the "country really coming together." Well, yeah, if you like Obama and the Democrat way of thinking, then yes, it was very exciting, but to say the "whole country" came together is hardly realisitic. Obama did not pull a Nixon 49-state landslide nor did he pull in a super-majority of the popular vote. My point? Just like when Bush won in 2004, the country is still very divided, almost evenly between the left and the right. Right now I see a lot of unbridled idealism, which isn't at all surprising, but a lot of things still have to happen. And seriously, I don't doubt Obama will make a lot of liberals happy during his presidency (though they are a tough group to KEEP happy!), but that doesn't mean everything is wonderful since many things liberals view as "progressive" conservatives view as "regressive" or "oppressive" and the opposite holds true as well.

Really, I don't have the feelings of doom and gloom that many conservatives feel right now, though there are a few things I worry about. There are two potential bills that I worry most about, one being making the "Fairness Doctrine" (which was repealed in 1987 by the FCC) law and another bill, known as the "Employee Free Choice Act," which would essentially make it more difficult for workers to not join unions and eliminate secret ballots for workers among other things. John McCain said the title was "deceptive" and I can't agree more. The bill is supposed to make it easier for employees to start or join unions, but in doing that opens the doors to other problems. By eliminating a secret ballot, you open the door for union coercion and intimidation for anyone who doesn't "fall in line" which hardly equates to employees getting a "free choice." That goes against democracy in my opinion. The Democrats really love this bill and so does Barack Obama, but I hope they see how much this would end up hurting most workers and especially small businesses. The more I have seen of unions, especially larger ones, it seems many have become corrupt and have lost sight of their meaning to promote workers' rights. Like the ACLU, it seems unions started out as a great idea with noble causes, but have morphed into organizations that promote political platforms over serving their originally intended interests.

As for the "Fairness Doctrine," a policy used by the FCC from 1949-1987, it is the idea that radio and television need to be balanced in terms of views presented. In other words, if a radio station runs a three-hour conservative talk show, the Fairness Doctrine would call for it to also run 3 hours of liberal viewpoints. The doctrine was repealed in 1987 because Freedom of Speech couldn't really be guaranteed. While the idea of making this law seems to be popular with Democrats, particularly high-ranking ones, I was happy to at least read that Barack Obama is opposed to making this law since it is anything but fair. In reality, this is an attempt by liberals to try to bring down conservative talk radio which has proven highly popular (whereas liberal talk radio is virtually non-existent and has failed to catch on). Since many smaller radio stations wouldn't be able to "balance" out, many would simply drop the conservative broadcasts than face a fine or being shut down. Funny thing is, you never hear anything about the TV networks being forced to be "fair" and as I previously blogged, independent studies have shown that most of them are anything but "balanced" in their coverage. In other words, it's OK if a station leans left, but if it leans right it's not fair and needs to have more of the "other viewpoint" presented like there is no other place for people to find it. Right. And one senator seriously compared promoting "fairness" on the airwaves to censoring pornography on the airwaves, since it's OK for us to censor those kinds of images it should be OK to censor other things as well (can I get a Heil Hitler?). Yes, conservative talk radio is on an equal level with porn. I sometimes wonder what's inside (or maybe what ISN'T) some of these politicians' heads. So if it's passed does that mean CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC all have to get conservative commentators to "balance out?" Somehow I doubt that would happen even if this ridiculous idea came to fruition.

To close, I do agree we need to come together as Americans and work together, but I am cautious any time I hear a liberal say that since they usually mean "do it my way" (like when they say conservatives need to be "more open minded" meaning they need to be more "open minded" to the liberal point of view, but liberals don't need to be "open minded" to the conservative view). Working together sometimes means making compromises and sometimes it means making sacrifices while other times it means not getting anything done when two sides simply don't see eye-to-eye at all. I hope those in Washington understand what their purpose is, but so far their track record leads me to believe that the next few years won't be anything close to remarkably different than anything we've already seen over the last few decades. I hope I'm wrong for all our sakes. I'm interested in the success of the United States of America; not the success of the Republican or Democratic parties.

4 comments:

Jessie Austin Kohl said...

oh my gosh, adam and i were just talking about these things this morning! it basically came down to an obama supporter telling me that we should all come together.. and then me asking them "why should i do it for obama if you wouldn't do it four years ago for bush?" and ended with me being called racist. haha

Granny J said...

Ditto!

In the Spring of 2001 I visited Washington with a group of students from AZ. They had set up a meeting with someone from John MaCain's office for a Capitol tour. Someone asked about working in Congress under a Republican President. This "little man" so angered me with his response. He said,"It's time for payback."

It occurred to me that politics is just a game to Washitonians (and others)...paybacks and gotchas seem to be the rules of today. Where is country first?

Jen said...

Yes I totally agree that we should view ourselves as Americans as in one country instead of split into two parties.
Also, I enjoyed looking at pictures and they looked great!

Cat Chat said...

Your pictures are fantastic!