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Voice of the Voter - This Week's Articles

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Globalization Without Sensitivity

The world seems to be becoming a smaller place and the people of the world seem to be increasingly in contact with one another in the modern world. Where it once took days to travel from one state to another, it now takes mere hours to fly from one side of the planet to the other. With this increased ability to travel, cultures have increasingly come in contact with one another and it would seem at some level in conflict with one another.

We see our fellow man as not being different from us in some ways while being completely assured that they are absolutely different in others. There is a dichotomy of thought within our own perception of our relationship to the peoples of the world. I can best relate this to Americans as an American. I see our leaders telling us that the peoples of the world all yearn to be free of "tyranny" and "oppression" while telling us that we must go invade their countries to free them. In the same breath, they call the people in their country who oppose our brand of "freedom" in favor of their own ideas of how life should be as "insurgents" or "terrorists". How can the people of that country be free if they aren't allowed to choose how their society is run?

The problem lies in the definition of "freedom" as I see it. From the American neo-conservative viewpoint, "freedom" is democracy pure and simple. And in their viewpoint, nobody knows more about democracy than America because we have the greatest democracy in human history. So if the people of the nations of the world would just wake up and accept that we have the best form of government in the world and accept that Jesus is the only path to heaven, the world would live in perfect harmony and peace for all eternity. Of course this is an oversimplification of the neo-conservative viewpoint and meant only as a representative example of the extreme of neo-conservatism. On the American liberal side, there is a belief in an absolute freedom of expression and the acceptance of differences in others without judgment. They see the solution to all problems in the belief that if we just let the people of the world find their own path and help the poor people not be poor anymore, the world would be transformed into a giant happy place. Again this is an oversimplification but it is fairly representative of the extreme side of liberalism. The problem is both sides are wrong and right at the same time to varying degrees.

We as the predominant power on the planet have some responsibility to be mindful of the dangers posed to the world by extremists and to take some action to keep them in check. We also have some responsibility to look after the poor that may suffer for our opulence. What we don't have any responsibility or right to do is force our belief structure on the rest of the world. The problem with trying to "make the world a better place" is that, you are only trying to make it fit your vision of a better place. What if your vision doesn't work for them?

The continuing war in Iraq is an outstanding demonstration of our lack of understanding of the rest of the world as a nation. We went into a sovereign nation with thousands of years of history to "correct" the situation created in the last few decades of their history without considering the previous history first. In Iraq, the Sunni and Shiah have been in conflict with each other since around 600 C.E. (Common Era also known as A.D.) Their conflict stems from the leadership of Islam after the death of Muhammad and runs deeper in their society than any loyalty or hatred for Saddam Hussein. When Saddam was in power, the minority Sunni had control of the nation and were cruel to the Shiah. When we toppled Saddam, we created a power vacuum and the Shiah quickly filled it bent on payback. So now, we have a situation where the more numerous Shiah and the better equipped Sunni are at odds with one another and since the historic conflict between the parties goes well beyond Iraqi borders, there is no shortage of committed fighters wanting to lend their services to both sides from outside Iraq.

While unsavory to most within the U.S. as an idea, it would have served us better if we had backed a coup from within Iraq or had covert operatives go into Iraq and assassinate Hussein to avoid this nightmare scenario. Our lack of sensitivity to their overall situation has made daily life hell for the Iraqi people and has cost our nation over 3,100 American lives. Until we as Americans become more sensitive to the differences of other world cultures, we will continue to grow the pool of enemies we face. This is not to say that we should just sit and watch the world go by because there are real monsters out there that would kill and destroy as much for pleasure as power but we need to be measured in our approach and mindful of the people we impact in the process.

Beyond the diplomacy realm there also lies the impact that average Americans have on the perception of our nation in the world's eyes. When we go abroad and expect people to speak English, we are being arrogant and that is never appreciated. When our citizens exploit the people of third world countries for pleasure and profits without being held accountable for doing so, we create more enemies. We have to be aware of the things we do on all levels if we are to live up to the responsibility of being a leader in the world. Enemies do not just appear, they are made. We have a lot of enemies as a nation. We would be wise to start looking at why and how we can repair some of the damage we've done to those who would happily tap dance on our graves.
Troy Wilson-Ripsom - Staff Writer

Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders

What Ever Happened to Bootstraps?

What ever happened to bootstraps, or the people who pulled themselves up by them? Where are our larger than life heroes, our Roosevelt and Lincoln, our Ford and Hemmingway? Looking at the last presidential election, is it any wonder that more people vote for American Idol on a weekly basis than do for the leader of the free world? And hey, these people don’t just vote, they’re willing to pay to do it, normal texting fees do apply, and all because they don’t want the judges to have the last word.

In modern day America image is everything, perception has become reality. Just last week a federal judge upheld the convictions of two individuals in Florida accused of possessing and distributing child pornography. These “menaces to society” will now have to serve the maximum time allowable by law. Upon their release back into society they must both register as sex offenders, and since the registration process tends to lump the guilty together into the one category, they will forever be branded as child molesters as well as pornographers.

So, what’s the problem? Sleazy bastards got what they deserved right. Should lock them up and throw away the key. Extend the sentences, even if you have to transfer them to adult prison facilities when they turn eighteen in a couple of years. Wait, what? You see the problem here is that these so called child pornographers were in fact children themselves. Fourteen and fifteen years old, roughly the same age as two of the worlds most celebrated lovers, Romeo and Juliet, and the pictures they took, were of themselves, yet in the eyes of the law they are no different from any other sexual predator.

Due to the fact that both parties involved are minors, not all of the details of the case have been released and their names have been omitted, once again, because they are minors. Apparently the couple took cell phone pictures of themselves “fooling around” and then sent the digital images to each other. They didn’t post it on the Internet or share it with anyone else, just two lovers sharing images of themselves in an intimate moment. As statutory rape charges were not mentioned in the appeal or conviction for either party it can be assumed that the images in question did not contain evidence of intercourse.

Once you have all the facts of the case it becomes an entirely different scenario. Should they both be punished, of course, but should they serve jail time and have to register as sexual deviates that prey on children for the rest of their lives? Seems a little extreme doesn’t it. Yet that is probably what is going to happen.

The judge will not reverse or lessen the conviction not just because he is afraid it will set a precedent and create loopholes, but because of the way the law is written with sentencing guidelines. The decision to prosecute to the full extent allowable was political, no high profile official ever wants to be seen as someone who doesn’t throw the book at a child pornographer, remember these are the guys who hate to have their capitol convictions overturned because it looks bad on their record.

It is a mess, just like Iraq, Social Security, health care, welfare (corporate and the other). A mess, that was created because more attention was paid to the issue in general and to how it reflected on those officiating over it, than to the case at hand. Our leaders have ceased being our heroes and have become more of a thing we tolerate and try to not get too worked up about. No wonder we prefer to vote for the next American Idol, it’s a much cleaner process.
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. Did you read an article on this site and think "You guys are full of it!"? Tell us about it. We will print your article right next to ours.

We want to be your voice in the political arena. Send your article to

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.

Criminal Justice Reform and Prison Overcrowding

Does anyone wonder why America's prisons are so overcrowded? Is it because we have so many more bad people in the U.S. or could it be perhaps because we have so many more laws that can be broken sending someone to prison?

I wonder what the prison population would look like if you took some of the lesser crimes off the books. How many people would get out tomorrow if you took all the marijuana trafficking laws off the books today and made the laws retroactive? How many more would get out if you removed prostitution and gambling laws? While some would argue that these laws are necessary, others would see it differently. What if you let all the people out who are in on third strikes for non-violent offenses? Would the prisons be so overcrowded then?

The subject makes for an interesting discussion. What do you think? What laws would you take off the books if you could or what would you add? Tell us about it.

Have You Been Downsized Due to Outsourcing?

For several years now we have listened to some within the business community tell us that America can't compete on a global scale unless they send our jobs overseas where they can be done cheaper. The question becomes, if we don't have good paying jobs here, how can we sustain our own economy? We want to hear from you. Have you lost your job? Have you been forced into a lower wage job due to outsourcing? Has outsourcing been a success for you? Did you end up in a better job?

Tell us your story so we can make sure the politicians see how outsourcing really impacts the workers who are backbone of America. Send your story to

Why Should I Get Involved?

Well if you can stomach hearing that question, you are a better person than I am to begin with. Whenever I hear someone utter words like that, it fills me with the urge to throw them on a barge headed out to sea and tell them to "Stay Out!" Of course, I have also been called psycho on occasion by the people who love me so you can only imagine what the people who don't like me call me.

The question I like to ask more is "Why shouldn't you get involved?" The last time I checked, we all lived here and all benefit from the good things and are all threatened by the dangerous things. Doesn't that give us all a vested interest in the health and well being of our nation?

Some seem to see democracy as freedom from responsibility. I just can't follow that logic. The core of democracy lies in the involvement of the citizenry. I believe that the founding fathers forgot to draft an important document when they drafted the Constitution and Bill of Rights. They forgot to draft the Bill of Responsibilities. There apparently needed to be an additional document that told Americans that they could not sit by and idly watch their government run if they didn't want to end up as mindless masses for the use of the wealthy and powerful. There needed to be something that told Americans that democracy runs on ideas and fresh perspectives and when those stop coming corruption takes hold and the powerful seek power only to hold power instead of using that power to serve the people who made them powerful.

If we don't speak up and we don't get involved, we no longer matter to the process. We become the cogs in the machine that are easily replaced and given no more thought than the rusted out lug nut on your car that you throw out when it has outlived its usefulness. The shiny new lug nut makes you forget all about the old one and the old one is left to disintegrate into a pile of rust on the ground. Do any among you want to be the rusty lug nut? The only way to keep from sharing the fate of the rusty lug nut is to become a useful part of the machine that is vital to its operation and that requires involvement.

You have but to watch the news and see the corruption scandals that plagued the last election to see where the government is headed. If we choose to bury our heads in the sand and continue to let the business-as-usual politicians get away with selling out our future for power today, we will all become the useless cogs who cost too much to maintain and are replaced with cheaper foreign parts. Not only should you get involved, you should do it soon because there may come a time when it is too late and then we all lose.

Troy Wilson-Ripsom - Staff Writer


Contact Us | E-mail us your ideas for future stories! This is your site! | February 11, 2007 | ©2007 Reform America
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