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Voice of the Voter - This Week's Articles

Mushroom Cloud over Nagasaki Japan

Is American Foreign Policy Partially to Blame for Global Terrorism?

With all of the debate going on today about the Iraq Study Group Report and The 9/11 Commission Report as well as what America's role in the world should be, it seems to be a good time to talk about the impact our actions of the past have had on world affairs and the current climate of anger towards the U.S. felt around the globe. Are we the innocent target of monsters or have the poor decisions in our past come back to haunt us?

With the nation's attention being focused on the current "threats" to our nation, how many people have stopped to think about the threats from within? How many dangers do we face from the decisions our own leaders make now and have made in the past? We are constantly warned about the threat of Iran and North Korea acquiring nuclear weapons when the U.S. is the only nation to have ever used nuclear weapons in time of war. Our leaders have adamantly refused to consider dismantling our nuclear stockpile while demanding that other nations halt all research that could lead to nuclear weapons as if the only nation to ever use the weapons has the moral authority to tell other nations that they should never have them. If we are not willing to disarm as the only nation to ever use the bomb, how can we expect the rest of the world to disarm or not seek equal capabilities while we have the bomb? They can only see us as a threat because we have proven our willingness to use weapons of mass destruction in war and we use every means at our disposal to maintain our destructive superiority over them.

With the agreement reached with North Korea during the six party talks in China this week, the administration will likely be claiming a major victory. While this is a positive step for furthering the cause of peace, it also demonstrates that talking to other nations over disagreements is more productive than saber rattling or preemptive invasion. North Korea would not budge on the nuclear issue when we were simply making veiled threats toward that nation. Once we actually opened a dialog and offered something in return for their cooperation, things began to move in a positive direction. It stands to reason that if talks produced favorable results with North Korea, they might produce results with other nations such as Iran and Syria. Obviously, we can't be so naive as to think that a total disarmament by the U.S. is wise at this juncture but in order for long term peace to be achieved, nuclear disarmament must be part of the overall plan.

We have made many of the threats we face through our actions and inactions over the course of our history as a nation. We have repeatedly made the enemy of our enemy our friend even when it was ill advised. When America supported Osama bin Laden and his band of "freedom fighters", the Mujahadeen, during the Soviet-Afghan war in the 1980's, we gave rise to what is now Al Qaeda. Not only did we fund and arm them, we trained them in our tactics. It's no real surprise that we have had difficulty locating Osama bin Laden. He knows our tactics and battle philosophies as well as many of our soldiers know them. To add to the problem of having propped up a leader like Osama bin Laden, when we decided to withdraw our support before a stable government was in place in Afghanistan after the Soviet-Afghan war, we gave rise to the Taliban who stepped up and filled the power vacuum our foreign policies created. In a sense, you could say that the policies of the Reagan administration are indirectly responsible for the attacks that took place on 9/11/2001 in New York and Washington D.C. Most people in America don't want to think that an attack on our nation could be the fault of our own leaders but if we are to prevent future attacks we must examine all possible causes that could motivate such future attacks.

We repeatedly hear the leaders of our nation now speak of the "Islamo-fascists" and simply accept that they are right and the terrorists have no legitimate issues. How many people have bothered tuning in to Al Jazeera to see what they are really saying about America? How hard have we really tried to understand both sides of the issue? There is always more than a single viewpoint in any conflict. Even now, we assume that we are completely right in our efforts to combat the "terrorist threat". In 1776, George Washington was a "terrorist" to the British. Should he have been put into a place like Guantanamo by the British and tortured until he gave up his compatriots? If you had listened to only the British version of the story, you would have thought George Washington and all that followed him were monsters and traitors. It is always dangerous to only listen to one side of an argument and the odds are not in your favor of being right. In fact you have only a 50/50 chance of being right at best.

Unfortunately, when you look deeper into the issues, you are confronted with the sad truth that America has indeed been the architect of its own misery in many cases. We have at times supported despots such as Saddam Hussein who murdered and tortured their own people and we have supported states like Israel even when they crossed the line of decency in their treatment of the people within their borders. The U.S. government in no small part was responsible for Fidel Castro's rise to power in Cuba so who is really to blame for Communist Cuba? How many mortar rounds fired by Israel into Lebanon were manufactured in the U.S. and given by our government to Israel? How many times did we welcome Saddam Hussein into our company with handshakes and smiles before 1990? We must look inward as a nation at our faulty decisions in order to address the problems of global terrorism and anti-American sentiment. There is no shame in admitting mistakes if you work to correct them. Pride can be a positive but hubris is folly. When you wrong another, at some point the time must come to make amends if there is to be peace and prosperity for all. If you make peace with your enemies, they are no longer a threat to you. Perhaps the might of the United States would be better put to use solving the problems in the world as a partner to other nations instead of as a club to beat our "enemies" into submission.
Troy Wilson-Ripsom - Staff Writer

Where Has Logic Gone in America?

To find yourself, think for yourself. – Socrates

The greatest thing about this man (President Bush) is he’s steady. You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday, that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday. Events can change, this man’s beliefs never will. – Stephen Colbert

This was not the article I intended to write. I had intended to write a well-researched, unbiased piece that explored both sides of the issue of same sex marriage. I quickly found myself absorbed in articles and arguments about Obscenity or Morality Laws. I read the ACLU, Wikipedia and others. I got to reading some of the Evangelical Christian / GOP backed sites; I started yelling at my computer screen. Who are these people? What’s going on here?

The whole point of this publication is to generate discussion, to propagate change through the exchange of ideas, both to honor the intent of our founding fathers and to expand on the one and a half party system currently ruining, I mean running the country. We, as citizens of a free voting democracy are at least partially responsible for the leaders we elect, ok Florida and Ohio not so much, and ultimately must endure the lasting results from the decisions our representatives make. Yet we as a nation hate to accept our responsibility for anything. Everything is somebody else’s fault.

Somehow we, the (little) people, have been pitted against each other to the point that we lament the immigrant who crossed the border by hiding in a porta-potty for fourteen hours to pick grapes at a buck fifty an hour. That guy is costing us our livelihood, our way of life?” But we give the CEO who guided his company into bankruptcy, outsourced and laid off 15,000 and then voted to give himself and his poker buddies, the board, 60 million “retention” bonuses a pass. One President starts a war under questionable circumstances, based on faulty and fabricated intelligence, spends trillion of dollars with the Vice President’s former company to help run the war and claims victory before the real fighting even begins, the other gets a happy ending in the Oval Office and we impeach which one? How did this happen?

Politicians spend millions capsulating and homogenizing their message. They, bomb Iraq, use more misdirection, bomb Iraq, than David Coperfield, and when, bomb Iraq, they do get caught in a lie, bomb Iraq, deny, deny, deny until it sounds like the truth. Thomas Jefferson wrote that it is a citizen’s first duty to question the leaders, and yet we’ve been told for the past five plus years that to do so is unpatriotic. Nonsense. I say it’s unpatriotic not to question our leaders!

The last Presidential election generated some much-needed discussion. Unfortunately it was by a bunch of like-minded people sitting in a room agreeing with each other. Pro-choice first door to the left, estate tax, down the hall to the right. Finally we all are in agreement about something. We all agree that we should support our troops, we just can’t agree on what “support” means. Republican, Democrat, Independent or Other, we all want safe, healthy, happy and productive lives for our families and ourselves sitting in our own rooms and talking to ourselves isn’t getting the job done. We need to get out and disagree with each other, listen to listen to both sides of an argument to find solutions that we can all, not just live but prosper, with. It’s ok to come to the table with our beliefs and convictions, but if we can’t put those aside for a moment, if we can’t start from the common ground we as Americans all share, we might as well pack it in an move to India or China. Why not, most of our jobs already have.
Kyle Pesonen - Staff Writer



Your Article Here

Reform America is about your views and your ideas for solving the problems faced by America today. We need the input from the people of America if we are to have any hope of solving the problems faced by our citizens today. Are you concerned about downsizing or outsourcing? Tell us about it. Do you have an idea that could revolutionize alternative fuels and eliminate our dependence on foreign oil? Let us know. We want to be your voice in the political arena. Send your article to stories@reform-america.net. America was founded on the principle of a government that is of the people, by the people and for the people. It's time for the people to have their voices being heard by the leaders of this nation. Only with your involvement can we change the things that need changing in America. Only you can tell us what is important to you and your family. If you don't speak out, you can't be heard.

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Political Revolutionaries

There is a new force for change in the political arena with an idea that would take us back and forward at the same time into a more representative form of presidential politics.

Their idea is a unity ticket with a presidential and vice-presidential candidate from different parties on the same ticket. If you look back in American history, there is a precedent for it. In the first four elections for U.S. President, the runner up in the election became the Vice President. After that we amended the Constitution and moved to the format that would become the standard for elections today.

The idea that Unity '08 has is one that could bring some balance back to the process. With representation for both the conservative and liberal viewpoints on one ticket, more Americans would actually be represented by the administration and foster more bipartisan policies. This writer applauds the effort to bring some balance to the process and hopes that Unity '08 will have much success in their efforts.

Troy Wilson-Ripsom - Staff Writer



Can Critical Thinking Return America to the Forefront of Education?

With the US moving away from an industrial economy towards a research based economy, do we need to change our ways of teaching our children? Some would posit that Critical Thinking or the Socratic Method might provide a better model for education than the typical rote method used so prominently in our schools today. The Critical Thinking model teaches students to look more deeply into subjects before making evaluations and that defining the question before giving an answer leads to more understanding and better solutions.

For example, instead of just responding in the affirmative or negative to a question like "Do you think religion has done more harm than good over the course of human history?" the student might reply "First we need to define what you mean by religion and then what is meant by harm and by good." These simple follow-up questions help both sides to understand the actual scope of the conversation and help them to stay on the same page so to speak. The questions also help the student give a more considered response which is more likely to be appropriate to the question asked.

In a research or design environment such as web design, it is critical for everyone to agree on the goals and to contribute to the process. When our economy was based on many people doing repetitive tasks on assembly lines, the repetitive rote method made sense but times have changed and so has our economy. If we model our overall educational system around the needs of our current economy, we will likely find ourselves once again leading the world in the effectiveness of our educational system.
Troy Wilson-Ripsom - Staff Writer


 

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