[Update: Latest reports at CNN]
By the time I wake up in the little city-island of Singapore, America would have voted. If the polls are anything to go by, George Bush junior will win by a narrow margin. However the Democrats may gain a new Senator in the very charismatic Barack Obama (did you hear his speech at the DNC?), and hopefully others who will act as a moderating force in the decision-making process.
[Update: Obama wins but Democrats lose more seats in total.]
I visited one of my favourite Christian resource websites and was disappointed because it was obvious the writers were supportive of Bush, focusing on what else but abortion. I am alarmed that so many Christians have decided not to vote for John Kerry largely on this premise. It portrays us as one-track minded zealots who wish to impose our views on other people who do not share the same faith as us.
[Update: I like this slogan – “God is not a Republican… or a Democrat.” Take back our faith!]
And look at the big picture. Surely the death of 5,000 innocent civilians in Iraq would also account for something? What about the growing numbers of seniors without health insurance? Some may die when they can’t afford to pay their bills. What about lax gun laws, thanks to the NRA supporting Bush? What about the death penalties back in Texas when Bush was a governor?
The stance of this current administration has been to attack the symptoms and not the source. Take terrorism for instance. It has taken decades of American intervention in the Middle East, often viewed in favour of Jews at the expense of Muslims, to turn the latter group against America. Together with a generally lower level of education and standard of living, and the rise of fundamentalism, it has been a fertile ground for resentment.
A much slower but more stable approach would be to show that you respect these peoples, that you will not use force to win them over, that you will sincerely give them aid and improve their earning and learning capabilities. They will take their focus off extremism and focus on getting on with their lives.
It has not simply been a case of someone hating America’s freedom. It has always been the case of an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Many Americans however have been too removed from ground level to realise that many innocents have been killed because of US intervention in other countries. Of course, no matter how Christian the President claims to be, he would never turn the other cheek because he must be strong and decisive. (Kill 3000 of my people? I’ll kill 2000 MORE of yours with my new pre-emptive doctrine. Oh, they’re not really related to Osama but hey, we got another tyrant! I’m a war president! No, I’m a peace president! And my opponent, by the way, is a flip-flopper!)
Take abortion as another example. Why focus so much on whether or not to ban abortion, when we should also be examining what is causing this to happen in American society and in the rest of the developed world?
As a Christian I agree with conservatives that abortion is a form of murder. However the point where a cluster of cells, or a foetus, takes a life (or soul) of its own is hard to pinpoint. Maybe to make it easier for everyone, we should say it begins upon conception. Or, we can say it only happens after the baby is born. Or, as we Medical law students were taught, it happens somewhere in between, which puts us in a rather ‘iffy’ predicament. Going for an abortion one day later than originally planned, might constitute murder.
Also, as a cynical law graduate I would say that no law will be followed in any part of the world, entirely to the letter. Some laws, such as that of copyright, are much easier to break than others. But even if Bush gets re-elected and bans abortion in almost all cases, what’s to stop a desperate teenage mother to attempt one herself, which may be worse? Even in an increasingly liberal society I’d say there is still a great amount of pressure on the women to ‘carry the baby’ in both metaphorical and literal senses.
Many of them become single mothers and some are stigmatised and cast out of their family. Even American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino was criticised for not being a good role model. What about the men who’ve got women pregnant, and left them to take care of the babies? It takes two hands to clap, but it seems only one gets slapped. It’s like a double-whammy, almost always aimed at the woman.
As I was saying earlier, these current approaches deal only with the resulting symptoms of a much deeper problem. It’s like, you have a cold and all the doctor wants to do is pinch your nose to stop you from sneezing, when the reality is that much of your body is immersed in icy water. If your economy is weak, more jobs have been lost than created, if health care is insufficient, if the gap between rich and poor is widening – these are all danger signs stemming from poor government, among other things.
In a way I pity the winner. America may be in for another recession soon. Iraq shows no signs of stabilising. US troops are staying on longer than planned. Osama meanwhile is laughing because he gets off scot-free, gets a good bang for his buck and the US government lands itself into deeper debt as they continue to wage their war on what they call ‘terror’.
And so, with these thoughts I shall sleep tonight. At work tomorrow we shall find out who the new US President shall be.
Abortion, Iraq and the Presidency
[Update: Latest reports at CNN]