Now That That’s Out of the Way, Mr. Obama, Let’s Talk

Your administration, in spite of its significant achievements, appears to be continuing some of the illegal and immoral behavior instigated by your predecessor, and this must stop. Worse, it has failed to address some of the most important issues facing us.

This, of course, is not entirely your fault. The past four years of Republican anti-democratic obstructionism will probably continue, and you should call them out on it frequently. Seek moderates among them, but plan on going it alone.

There’s this trifling matter of international law. We’re in danger of the same kind of perfidy we practiced in the not-so-distant past. When a sovereign country specifically tells us not to fly killer drones over them, and not to fire weapons, we are morally bound to honor their wishes, and there should be no secret arrangement that says otherwise. We may have killed a few hostile terrorists, but we have also killed children and other innocents, so many of them that the shameful toll is being kept secret. The price for that may well be the lasting enmity of people around the world. Stop it. Fly spy planes if we must, but quit these anonymous killings from the sky.

Mr. Obama, in spite of your considerable achievements,
you have failed to address some of the
most important issues facing us.

You promised to close Gitmo, and you haven’t. Whatever it takes, the prisoners in detention must be tried somehow and either imprisoned or—if they are among the many not-guilty persons whose lives we have ruined—released, preferably with generous payment for the decade or more of years we have stolen from their lives. Gitmo remains a suppurating wound to our democracy, decency, and morality. It will remain a moral wound long after it is permanently closed, and it will take many decades to restore our compass to the proper heading. Gitmo must close now.

We must get out of all wars ASAP, within months. Our instigation of wars in the Middle East was foolish, extremely costly, and fruitless. Whatever goals we had there could never be accomplished by destroying the country and killing lots of people. Get the military out.

We must have a coherent immigration policy, and soon. Meantime, US agencies must cease and desist in their cruel treatment of immigrant families, whether or not they arrived legally. Sending a young person to a country where he has never been and does not speak the language is an abomination, and it has happened repeatedly. Holding undocumented workers incommunicado for months defies common decency. Deporting an honest family who have worked and paid taxes here for decades, with no hope of citizenship, is cruel and senseless. We have even exported our own citizens, some repeatedly, presumably because someone didn’t like the way they looked. These things should never happen in a democracy. We rely heavily on immigrants, and always have, whether they be top scientists or laborers. We must have a better pathway to citizenship that doesn’t involve years of fruitless waiting with no way to earn a living. We need to legalize foreign workers for certain work. And we must stop this gratuitous cruelty toward immigrants.

You have also allowed American citizens to be held indefinitely under certain circumstances. This must end immediately. Democracies do not do such things.

Inequality has become the hallmark of the country. We have the worst Gini score of all OECD nations, hardly the sign of a vibrant democracy. I believe the first place to battle inequality is where it is worst, among those kept in poverty by grossly inadequate wages. Anyone who works full time at any job whatever should earn enough to provide all the essentials plus healthcare and savings for old age. That’s Living Wage. Anything less is poverty purposely inflicted in the name of capitalism.

But all of this is irrelevant if we don’t do something big about climate change. No matter what Republicans think, climate change is obviously upon us, and it is serious. Very serious. It is decades too late do actually avert it. Now we must deal with the consequences of climate change, which become more extreme with each passing month. Climate change must get some significant action.


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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Well put. The last point will bring us all to our knees: democrats, republicans and aliens alike. I have been asking myself about your previous post around unemployment. I think the problem will persist unless we stop thinking at such a macro-system scale. We are cogs in a machine and too far removed from how we make a truly meaningful contribution through the predicts we create or the services we provide. Until we get more in touch with all of that, I don’t think people are going to be valued as an end, but increasingly as a means (and an inferior one to the robot replacements we within industry, no doubt).

    Permaculture, local food production, and working for results not hours per week are just a few things that I am personally focusing on.


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