Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Your future

Here you sit as 16, 17, and 18 year olds. We are watching a political debate and and economic reality that forces us to think about short term implications and issues. But try to look ahead. Twenty years from now (or when you are turning 42 if you want to get in my shoes), what do you hope is different about America? What do you hope to have witnessed by then? What role will you play to get there?

27 Comments:

Blogger Bri B said...

First of all, this is ironic that Mr. Meyer posted this question because I just posted on "Our Election Blog" about looking ahead as future leaders in America. Actually, we are not leaders yet...not until we take action to become one.
In twenty years or so I think two things need to happen. One-our nation needs to consider our roots, the framers of the Declaration of Independence. Our nation has Christian roots: "Under God We Trust." Our nation stood on something and for something. The fathers of the Constitution, likewise, were religious men. If you are religious or not, no one can deny that religion was a strong unifying force in our nation's history. I believe we were better for it...and today we had lost that tie. Separation of church and state has fragmented our federal system even further. Division and balance of power is needed in a large nation based off of individualism, however, this division of church and state has not worked for a positive for out nation. Just a thought.
Second, in the next twenty years I believe we need to aid our country NOT to become a socialist one. I feel that Obama could be the start of this turn in America. Socialism is the result of industrial capitalism and the tie between democracy and socialism is the most important element in socialist thought and policy. Those countries that have been successful in socialism have strong democratic traditions such as Great Britain and Sweden. Our nation is headed in the socialist direction...
"Equality!"...
"Change!"...
"Medical services for everybody regardless of the purse!"...
"New housing, re-planning = programs!"...
"Education for all!"
"Opportunity for the underprivileged!"...
"A SOCIETY BASED ON THE FOUNDATION OF COOPERATION, NOT COMPETITION, INCENTIVE, OR PROFIT!"

Does this sound familiar? What will America be like if we keep heading in this direction? Do we want universal healthcare? Do we want everyone and everything to become equal?
Do you think we are headed in this direction or am I off?... I am not really sure but I think it is interesting to consider where America might be headed...

2:06 PM  
Blogger Sander K said...

Bri b, I have to disagree in general with your first point. I would agree that, yes, religion was a major unifying object in early America. However, early America is so incredibly different from America today that to imply that we should return to the old ways is a bit extreme. You said: "Our nation stood on something and for something." What did our nation stand for? I would argue that it wasn't religion, but rather religious freedom. Most of the original immigrants to the American continent were religiously persecuted groups fleeing. Second, why hasn't the seperation of church and state a good thing for our nation? Those same founding fathers who were religious men decided it was important enough to put it in the constitution.

Instead of considering the past, I think that in the next twenty years, America should clean up its act. Literally. We need to improve our environmental practices. Whether or not you believe in global warming, it doesn't make polluting our planet any less of a crime. In places like Yellowstone National Park, the land is relatively clean and unpolluted. Most of our country could possess significant natural beauty if we just took care of it. Also, continuing to endorse practices that increase the salinity of our oceans would be a serious mistake. In order to help ourselves in the long run, we should clean up now.

5:01 PM  
Blogger adamb said...

Bri B. - Separation of Church and state is entirely necessary, it was one of the purposes of our country. The last eight years have given our president more power than usual and he is a religious man, but this did make anything better. His administrations decisions have led to a moral decay in our government.

Also, we are headed in that direction, but very little. We should have universal health care. I think it is an abomination that a civilized country, especially America, can let people die or remain sick because they don't have money to pay for medical attention. But no matter what the government does, no one will truly ever be equal. No one ever has and no one ever will. Someone will always have more and someone will always have less, nothing can change that. All that the government can and should do is protect it's people and give them the ability to live relatively well. The government should educate it's people well, it should protect them, and it should care and help them if needed. This would just allow people to compete equally, not be equal. We are already pretty socialist, but as you mentioned countries like Sweden and Norway and Germany all have democracies, all have freedoms and all have strong economies, but just have more government control so irresponsible actions don't lead to a national economic crash. As the economic leader in the world, we should do the same.

8:58 PM  
Blogger Bri B said...

Ok I would like to continue on the issue of separation of Church v. State for now.
Sander K - I agree with you that the original immigrants were escaping persecution of the Church from the British monarchy.
The clarification that I think we forget about our founders is this: they created separation of Church v. State for the SAKE OF THE CHURCH, not for the State. So many it was necessary for our nation...but it I think it is interesting and crucial to keep in mind that the separation in the Constitution by these same religious Founding Fathers was done to protect the CHURCH that was so crucial to the foundation of their new nation. It was not done with the state, but the church in the forefront of their minds.
Second, I do agree that America is different today than it used to be. No one can deny that times change. However, does that mean all things should change with the times. I am not a believer that truth is relative....along with other things. I think it is dangerous. Not as a political example but for an example of relativism in general: Since the times have changed, should sacred texts such as the Bible or the Quran be changed to "fit the times." I would undoubtedly argue NO.
Adam B- The idea that the Founding Fathers created this separation for the well-being of the CHURCH, not the state, proves my point that the church was a unifying factor in our nation and I believe we need to recognize and consider our roots.
Also, I have seen other blogs you have posted and quite frankly I think you just don't like Bush. Yes he was religious and for all the fire he was put under over these past 8 years he did an amazing job. Instead of just bashing Bush and going along with the crowd, what examples do you have that show "his administrations decisions have lead to moral decay?" If anything Bush kept prayer and religion in our nation!!!

9:39 PM  
Blogger adamb said...

Bri - Bush's administration did and is not doing an amazing job. We have entered two wars, one needlessly or at least under false pretenses, have allowed an entire city to be decimated, he has turned the entire world against us, and now his administration is at the helm of our financial meltdown. Yes, I don't agree with Bush at all, but I don't agree with a lot of conservatives. As for the moral decay, his administration has overseen illegal wire-tapping of it's citizens, his administration has authorized torturing prisoners, and he entered a war, which is always bad. I would agree that he kept prayer in our nation, even if ti was for him to leave.

5:35 PM  
Blogger BenH said...

I think it is somewhat tenuous to say that the presence of prayer and religion is a good barometer of morality. There are plenty of people who are deeply religious and pray frequently that our culture (myself included) considers immoral, and there are plenty of atheists who are moral.

It is also an oversimplification to say that separation of church and state was for the church, and I disagree with your statement that "this division of church and state has not worked for a positive for out nation."

I personally fear a government where church and state are not more clearly separated. Just look at countries where separation of church and state is practically nonexistent. Iran, Saudi Arabia... These are certainly not countries I would want to live in.

Religion is often a divisive force as well, and has been since our nation's inception. The only way to prevent this would be a religious purge.

America is the most religious Western nation. And as things stand, there are still many ties to church and state, from the pledge of allegiance to our currency and oaths of office. It is commonly argued that a reference to God does not constitute an endorsement of the church by the state, but what about polytheists? It is God after all, not God(s). And what about atheists, who do not believe in any god at all?

But regardless of what the found father's meant or believed, they were not perfect. My own personal belief is that there needs to be a wall of separation between church and state for a society to be fair and just, as well as effective.

8:41 PM  
Blogger BenH said...

And by "found father's" I meant "founding fathers." Whoops.

1:33 PM  
Blogger 5thhrsuprise said...

Adamb, please clarify which city Bush allowed to be destroyed. I think that you are alluding to New Orleans. Under this assumption, I have to think your're wrong. President Bush doesn't control the weather, and it really isn't his fault that the Army Corp of Engineers didn't build the levees right. Bri b is right, you seem to be on a Bush-bashing campaign. Also, entering a war isn't always bad no matter what you think about Iraq.

I believe that in twenty years America could be a better place if we make it so that things that could show bigger returns in our energy and economy are enforced. One of these is a realization of the "Drill, Baby, Drill" motto. Plans to increase our energy independence that prioritize drilling should be increased so that America isn't the lapdog of nations that don't like us and that we have to buy our oil and gas from. And even if we managed a complete energy turnover to cleaner sources overnight (WHICH IS IMPOSSIBLE) we would still need gas to create petroleum products like plastic.

6:47 PM  
Blogger BenH said...

Only about 7 percent of crude oil (not natural gas) goes to non-fuel uses, which would include plastics. So our usage would be dramatically cut to levels that could be more easily sustained for much greater periods of time.

I appreciate that 5thhr at least admits that offshore drilling would take around twenty years to actually improve America. But by then we should realistically be able to transition to alternate fuel sources, which would enhance our own economy as well as bring energy independence while safeguarding our environment.

Also, what exactly is wrong with "Bush-bashing?" Just because something can be given a juvenile, alliterative nickname doesn't mean it is necessarily silly. I would argue that, as opposed to doing an "amazing" job, Bush has presided over 8 years that have undermined the very fabric of our democracy and resulted in the loss of thousands of lives, among other things. How much "fire he was put under" does not change this tragic reality.

And that's the test of a good president, isn't it? If you can't handle pressure and tough situations, you are not fit to lead America. It takes an extraordinary man to lead an extraordinary nation.

7:31 PM  
Blogger TomR said...

Bri, I fail to see from your post how modified "socialism" akin to that of Sweden would be a bad thing. Incidentally, Sweden, and other Scandinavian countries, are among the most irreligious in the world, yet enjoy bountiful wealth and tend to have a prosperous populace (say that five times fast), low crime rate, &c. I doubt the lack of religion and the affluence of citizens are correlated, but it does prove that a country whose government distances itself from religion can be successful. I am not religious and I do not pray, yet somehow I consider myself a moral person. I also find it a bit presumptuous to assume the intentions of the founding fathers were to protect the interests of the church, particularly in writing a document that attempts to shield the minority from an oppressive will of the majority.

I'd like to point out that while religious texts may have remained largely unchanged in recent years (despite many changes early in their histories), the interpretation can certainly differ. Their are sections of the Bible that decree draconian punishments for those who eat shellfish (Leviticus 11:10-11:12--I don't know if this is the proper way to cite the Bible, so if anyone would like to correct me, please do), yet most people in America today would undoubtedly find this quite absurd. I'd agree that people may accept the fundamental teachings of texts in a similar way to people of the past, but tides shift over how passages are interpreted and what becomes socially acceptable.

I agree with Sander that the environment should be a great concern to us as well. The legitimacy of global warming is entirely irrelevant; any measures taken to prevent such a crisis should be taken regardless to improve the quality of air and prevent the rampant destruction of natural resources. The drilling of oil is a temporary solution for a long-term problem, that of supplying energy to an ever-growing population. Solar and wind energy are effectively infinite (when they run out, our problems will be larger than not being able to power our shiny Xboxes), and rapid advances in technology are increasing their efficiency. I believe that government should give substantial subsidies to those who power their homes with solar panels (enough to cover the cost of a loan to buy them in the first place)--at least initially, until they become mass-produced enough to be affordable to a large variety of people. 5thhr brought up the issue of other petroleum products--I think that a switch to more efficient means of energy provision would leave enough petroleum to continue producing plastics &c. until a new synthetic material was developed.

In short, I hope our future is cleaner and we uphold a high standard for our government, one that's kept separate from religion.

11:45 PM  
Blogger adamb said...

5thhoursurprise - I don't blame Bush for the weather, I blame his administration for the lack of aid going into New Orleans then and now. Entering a war is always morally deplorable. Sometimes it is necessary to wage war when it is the lesser evil, but killing and conquering is always a moral black spot.

10:47 AM  
Blogger 5thhrsuprise said...

So adamb, the question that you must then ask yourself is: Was this war an alternative to a greater evil? This question cannot be answered simply by looking at it from the American perspective. One has to take into consideration the suffer of those populations in Iraq that were not in Saddam Hussein's political party. Are the number of lives we've lost worth the amount of lives that we have saved in Iraq? Also, motive is important. What did we mean by invading Iraq? Was it for oil, was it for killing terrorists, or was it to find the fabled WMD's?

Also, Bush alone cannot be blamed for the lack of aid going into New Orleans, especially now. While the president has powers during a time of emergency he can't control the amount of money going there now. Please stop blaming him for everything.

4:07 PM  
Blogger kyle said...

To answer the original question, I hope that in 20 years the WORLD will still be alive, not irreversably polluted, and not blown to pieces. To be honest, if America didn't exist in 20 years, I wouldn't be upset, although America could also change a lot of things, (be less belligerent, less pollutant, and less idiotic,) and become a nation I actually feel good living in in the next 20 years.

5thhr- The only actual argument you made as to why we are in Iraq is the suffering of certain Iraqi people, but I want to know what makes you think that the suffering of the Iraqi's was any different from that of the people in North Korea or Darfur. If the US had attacked to stop the suffering, why haven't we also declared war on N. Korea? Basically, I don't see how that argument legitimizes the war.

And finally, on the subject of New Orleans, nothing could have been done about the hurricane, but I think the people of New Orleans would have made a better choice to not return to New Orleans. Half the city is below sea level and with the amount of hurricanes that occur each year, it is bound to be decimated again, so why rebuild in the same location?

8:41 PM  
Blogger adamb said...

With Iraq, I think that war was the greater evil in this situation. We have caused many Iraqi deaths on our own, not to mention the ones caused by terrorists which weren't even in Iraq until we invaded and occupied. Yes, Sadaam was a horrible dictator, and there are positives, but we handled the war so poorly that we have counter-balanced their gains. As Kyle, there are worse dictators out there. One of our primary reasons for removing Sadaam was his killing attack against the Kurds, but our "ally" Turkey is doing the same thing, and we haven't done anything to stop them. I don't think we'll ever really know why we invaded Iraq, maybe the administration truly believed there were Weapons of mass destruction or they just used that to cover up some other reason.

8:17 AM  
Blogger Sander K said...

Looking back through previous posts on this blog, there are some things that need saying. Bri b,Bush didn't keep prayer and religion in America. It isn't in any way as if all religion would have ended in America had Al Gore or John Kerry been elected. Perhaps we should also consider that Bush was better at some things than others. For example, his handling of 9/11 was far, far better than his handling of the Iraq war. Also, there seems to be a consensus that the environment needs to be preserved for future generations. Would everyone agree?

9:24 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

I have a few words about the separation of church and state issue floating around from US history. It is true that SOME of the original colonists came as religious fugitives. However, once they got to America, they all did not promote religious freedom. The largest single migratory group was the Puritans. After they set up shop in New England, they condemned other religions (Catholic, Quaker, Anglican). It is the reason Maryland's original governor, who set up Maryland as a safe haven for catholics, was over thrown by the Puritans who moved in. If religious freedom was promoted, we would not have Anne Hutchinson or Rodger Williams who are forced to leave Massachusetts and go to Rhode Island. So while religious freedom may have been a draw to America, it was not very well practiced in the early colonial times.

The separation of church and state, advocated by Rodger Williams was two sided. In part, it was to protect the leaders of the church from corruption. However, it was also to keep the leaders of the state from corruption of the church. The Puritans and Quakers viewed the Catholic religion and the Anglican religion, especially the hierarchy present, as corrupt. With the Pope and the King, both religious and political figures, Rodger Williams advocated this view probably to protect BOTH the church and the state from corrupting each other.

3:21 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

I'm just throwing this out there.

From a logical citizen stand point, many government actions (declaring war or not, environmental issues, bills passed, religion, corruption) do not make sense and are completely contradictory. However, in looking at the political standpoint, the views of the exact same events seem more logical. Why not go against Turkey persecuting Kurds? adamb provided the reason in questioning our motive. They are our "ally." They are in the Middle East and they are one of the few whom we cooperate with. Politically, would a president or congress want to do anything to make the Turks mad or provoke conflict, shooting ourselves in the head by stirring up more trouble in an already unstable area? We are already in a costly, unpopular war. Is adding yet another war on top of it advisable, or even feasible? Changing environmental laws and concerns two quickly could cause the fall of two large industries in the United States--oil and auto. Along with that are all the other industries who must destroy part of the environment in order to operate and stay in business (i.e. make a profit). If our economic situation is not bad enough already, making considerable restrictions for industries to quickly would lead to a loss of jobs due to down sizing or sending jobs to other countries much faster than any could be made. While our environment must be protected, I would prefer to be alive in order to enjoy it rather than dead due to some of the negative side effects of a massive recession.

In other words, there is a balance we must keep in mind as we debate/discuss these topics. Going too far on either side is dangerous. We must find the middle, and yet we are having a difficult time discerning where that middle is. Any ideas from a citizen stand point? Political standpoint?

3:41 PM  
Blogger AaronW said...

Bri, you are completely wrong about the Separation of Church and State. I've said it before, but you ignored my comment so hopefully I'll catch you this time?

Anyways, I hate to reiterate things I've already posted, but it's horribly presumptuous of you to assume that Church and State was instituted to protect the church, and saying the Founding Fathers were religious, pious men is another false generalization. C vs S was implemented into our Constitution because Christianity mixed with Government has always produced oppression and corruption!

The separation of Church and State is especially important for minorities. I know it's easy for a nice white christian girl like you to say that we should live in a theocracy, or whatever, but America is not made up of JUST white christian people. Any law that is passed based on christian morality will interfere with the rights of non-Christians. Abortion is wrong because the Bible says so? What if I'm Jewish? Gays should not be allowed to have unions because my God tells me they are sinners? What if I'm an Atheist?

By supporting closer ties between Government and Religion you are selfishly trampling the rights of your fellow Americans by FORCING your CHOSEN morals on them. We can only thank god (tehehe) that our Founding Fathers were forward thinking enough to keep Religion and State away from each other.

Finally, Bri, I don't know where you've been living the last 8 years, but Bush has done an awful job. I'd even go so far as to say that Bush is our WORST PRESIDENT YET. Sure, when we were 5th graders right after 9/11 he had the highest ever approval rating, but that means nothing now that he has dive bombed to the WORST rating ever.


Now, hopefully over the next twenty years our Country will move in a more liberal direction.

I would love to see the government move away from religion. Sure it unifies people, but so does the World Series and the World Series does it without flagrantly spitting on the rights granted to us by the Constitution of the United States.

I would love to see environmentally friendly technology go main stream. Please, no more oil. Energy independence is petty to argue over when the Earth is dying. The Earth can live without humanity, but humanity cannot survive without our planet. With this in mind, an international coalition against pollution needs to be formed, and strict laws regulating CO2 and green house gas emissions need to go into place.

I would love to see the United States concentrate on domestic issues. We are not the police of the world, we aren't even the campus security of the world. So let's get our nose out of other people's business and make life better for Americans before we make it better for everyone else.

8:01 PM  
Blogger MichaelH said...

Hey Bri, how about this? Islam is pretty peaceful and cooperative at heart. How about combine Mosque and State, cuz that'd be equal right?


Thats how sane people feel about any religion and state. No thanks.

10:37 PM  
Blogger MichaelH said...

sorry typo. replace pretty peaceful and cooperative at heart with just "just as good as Christianity"

10:39 PM  
Blogger Clyde said...

aaronw.
Democratic Congress has been at one of the lowest approval ratings in history, AND IS EVEN LOWER THAN PRESIDENT BUSH! So in using your reasoning, does that say we should move for a more conservative legilature?

3:07 PM  
Blogger AaronW said...

My reasoning doesn't say that clyde, maybe you didn't understand what I said? I simply stated a fact to prove to bri that the deification of George Bush is stupid. Maybe you should have done some background research too, because congress usually has a lower approval rating than the president. It would make sense that the current congress is seeing it's lowest ratings because the current president is experiencing the worst as well. And to wind it up, I never once mentioned political affiliation in my opinion of Bush, so YOUR logic is skewed!

Good day to you sir!

4:11 PM  
Blogger Clyde said...

Just making sure. Thanks for the clarification.

Good day to you as well!

5:00 PM  
Blogger nathana said...

This is a happy day for me even though the republicans recieved their expected defeat. Finally, we can blame hurricanes on the Democrats. Finally I never have to see another unfair crappy youtube video about bush or mccain that the sheep absolutely love. Furthermore I'm hoping that Obama can move America to the middle. The left is too left and the right is too right. In additon, the situation in Iraq has now improved enough that it is feasable to begin to withdraw. I don't even care anymore if Obama takes the credit for the save Patreus pulled off. I feel refreshed today. The most important thing is foreigners can no longer view us as racist hicks.

10:48 AM  
Blogger Sander K said...

I don't think that any weather anomalies have been blamed on specific parties on this blog, yet. The Katrina comment was meant to be about providing aid, where everybody failed, not about causing the hurricane. Also, I'm not quite sure how to take your comment about racist hicks.

11:03 AM  
Blogger AaronW said...

I don't think this was the appropriate place to post this. The election blog would be more suitable, eh?

11:26 AM  
Blogger adamb said...

Sander, I think Nathan was saying that Obama has automatically repaired and improved other countries views of America. However, while I really like McCain(pre-election), I think Bush deserves all the criticism he recieves.

6:35 PM  

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