Recognizing the Other

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

I’ve been trying to identify why this presidential election campaign has been so depressing to me. I didn’t particular like either of the candidates or the parties behind them. But in looking at the debates and the candidates campaign websites, what is most distressing is that the candidates, and the country, don’t ever seem to acknowledge the good points of the other side. This is what I wish the candidates would have said:


  • Pork-barrel spending is an extremely important issue, not because it represents a significant percentage of our national goverment’s spending, but because of the attitude it represents: each state or district in the nation fighting against the others for government handouts; not of spending wisely for the common good, or building a national infrastructure, but of making states and districts dependent on the national government.
  • The duty of the national government is to ensure the common good, and not the individual good. The taxes imposed by the national government should be applied primarily for the purposes of improving the infrastructure of the country at home and defending it abroad. As long as people are not starving or homeless, income equality is not something that should be solved by government intervention, because the risks to business and free enterprise are too great.
  • I want people to have good health and a financially secure retirement: but this is not the place of the federal government; the dangers and inefficiencies of government are too great, and the restrictions it would place on individual liberty are too severe. State and local governments are perfectly capable of performing these functions, and should be allowed to do so if the citizens decide it’s a good idea. A national health insurance mandate will do little to reduce the actual cost of health care. It will spread the cost among more people, and be temporarily cheaper, but the inevitable result will be that the national goverment is put in the position of either rationing health care, bankrupting business, or spending more than it can afford. We should instead focus on making everyday health care available and affordable without insurance coverage: by reforming malpractice tort laws and by working with existing health insurance providers to reform the incentives for specialist treatment that leave basic care underprovided and underfunded.
  • We have a responsibility to the safety of our own country as well as the people of Iraq. If we pull out of Iraq now, it is very likely to return to a state of insurrection and eventually dictatorship. Whether or not the Iraq war was a noble idea when it was launched, the honor of our country depends on Iraq being a stable and productive country.


  • The duty of government is not only to build the physical infrastructure of bridges and roads, but also our human infrastructure. Universal health care is important for the general welfare of our nation. It would be better if states or municipalities could provide universal coverage, but they are not able to, because ___. This leaves the federal government as the only level of government capable of implementing a solution. My proposal of mandatory coverage by employers will not cause the federal government to ration or control individual health care, while still providing our citizens with affordable health care.
  • The expense of the war in Iraq is ruining our own country in a time of economic crisis. Whether or not you believe we should have entered the war, we are now at a point where we cannot help the Iraqi people further. The Iraqi people have achieved a stable government. There is nothing more we can do in Iraq that will make it better off. Leaving Iraq will not lead to chaos, insurrection, or anarchy.