veneficus_rh (veneficus_rh) wrote,

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Hey, Mr. Soul!

Events, as they so often do, have moved America. We're having national debates without an election. Outside the elite classes this seems rather novel behavior. Katrina/Rita, The High Court, a substantial (and legitimate?) anti-war movement, gas prices, scandal, and strong political dissatisfaction have all emerged as major issues in this election off-year. Some of us see this as an opportunity to raise major discussions regarding race, economic disparity and poverty, sustainable development in terms of energy and city/environmental issues, the legal process, and doctrinal policymaking. Indeed, with nothing to be 'won' or 'lost' until late next year, why shouldn't we be engaging these issues with real national discussion and debate?

There is a veritable laundry list of issues with which legitimate debate should occur. For example:

1. New Orleans - what should the future of this city be?

2. What should happen if some sort of ideological loon is appointed to The Court by Bush? He appointed a very serious Judge the last time around, and not too many people had too many problems. What happens if this time he appoints someone with ideology first in mind, and places the objective of an unbiased judiciary second (I personally would be ready to wage holy hell, but what of others? What of Democrats?)?

3. What should be done about a timetable in Iraq? Phrases like 'short-term' don't apply so much in Iraq anymore. After all, it has been a multi-year project to date. When is it time to start asking serious questions about long-term goals, and continuing U.S. involvement?

4. When is a CONSERVATIVE administration going to start taking the issues of race/poverty/and economic inequality seriously? These issues, in the wake of Katrina/Rita, are no longer ideological differences but issues of pressing need and reality. What will conservatives do about it? What should the historical legacy of the conservative approach to these issues be?

5. What should this country do about its energy crisis? We are beholden to OPEC, we are beholden to the smooth operation of nature, and we are beholden to low-prices. Is this country still willing to chase its tail on these issues in the near and distant future?

We appear to be heading towards a fascinating political season. Currently, all signs point to domination by the Democrats in the mid-terms. But the short-term dissatisfaction with the current conservative majority may not be indicative of long-term dissatisfaction. Since 1980 there has been a mostly uninterrupted, bold, and sweeping conservative dominance over mainstream American politics. It is fast becoming time for Americans to decide the verdict on the conservative policies of the last 25 years. The aforementioned issues (lingering, but raised in prominence this last year) suggest a re-evaluation of the courses we have previously set is in order. This demands more involvement in the political process than reactionary voting to social issues. Will we do it? Will we hunt for the 'soul' of the country? Or will we continue to muddle through these issues? Now, in the political 'silly season' is the time to have the debate. So, let's go...
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