Free Leaf

"Don't gain the world and lose your soul, wisdom is better than silver or gold..."

Location: Falls Church, Virginia, United States

I have a lot more questions than answers, but I just keep asking. I constantly want to leave, but somehow manage to stay. I am both perfectly happy and completely miserable because of it. I think I am misunderstood but that could just be a huge misunderstanding, either way I guess the best way to put it is, "I ain't often right, but I've never been wrong."


We Live in a Political World

“We live in a political world
Everything's hers and his
You can jump into the flame
And shout God's name
But you're not even sure what it is.”

Recently I have tried to avoid politics, but here in DC that is almost impossible to do. Even a friendly night out at dinner brings out some political conversation. My recent departure, or desire to avoid politics, has really come from what is a total disgust and lack of faith in our current representatives. The US Congress has been in session 19 days so far this year, earning there comparisons to the Do Nothing Congress. This has nothing to do with partisan politics since I am actually ashamed to be represented by everyone involved in American politics right now. I don’t think our elected leaders are doing anything but political grandstanding and they are certainly not acting in the best interests of their constituents. So, I took my leave but as always certain issues have claimed my attention and other individuals have made me consider my political leanings.

Last night at dinner for a friend’s birthday a few people began discussing their political ideologies by what party they vote for. One liberal attorney-to-be claimed to be a Democrat and called my roommate a Republican to which he replied to being a Libertarian, and they bantered back and forth until I interjected jokingly that I was an Anarchist. I have actually been half-jokingly claiming to be an Anarchist for quite some time but its not so much the ideals of Anarchism that I claim, its more so that I see myself actually outside of the political structure in the US. Anarchists for the most part are atheists which I am clearly not, however there is also a stream of religious Anarchist who feel there should be no authority but G-ds, I don’t really fall into that stream either since I feel that belief in G-d is an entirely personal thing. Where I do agree with Anarchists is that I do not think those who run for public office are doing so out of their desire to do good things for society. I think those who run for office in this country are doing so out of their own desire to succeed. Anarchists feel that if a person was a positive member of society that benefited all mankind in the actions of their daily life they wouldn’t have to leave that life to join the government. Compare that to those who say they dedicate their lives to the public good meanwhile they are oppressive bureaucrats who are wasting a large amount of our tax money and borrowing at a completely irresponsible rate, the debt ceiling was recently raised to 9 trillion. The question I am now consumed with when considering my political future is how I should handle this years elections and the big one in 2008? Currently I am at a loss, but if the elections were today my political statement would be the lack of a vote since I don’t have faith that new representatives would be any better than the ones we have now.

Given my lack of faith in the representatives I am happy to say that I still care very much about many issues. Two that I have been debating over the past couple of days have been obesity in America and the always hot-button issue of abortion. I am not really sure if obesity is a political issue but abortion certainly is. There is plenty of scientific data and more than enough controversial laws on either side of the debate. Where I stand on both issues actually falls in line, I don’t think it’s the governments job to make people more healthy and I also don’t think it’s the governments job to tell a woman or a couple what to do in their personal lives. I feel adult obesity is a matter of personal responsibility; I fully understand the fact that healthy food is more expensive than the unhealthy kind, and I know that the high number of obese people is driving up my cost of healthcare. Furthermore, I see people going out of their way to accommodate overweight people when they should be helping them cure their disease. Too many obese people are getting handicapped placards and using electric carts to get around grocery stores and occasionally people too heavy to sit in a regular airline seat are upgraded to larger first class seats. I think I deserve a first class seat for eating fruits and vegetables and working out five times a week, but I am not getting one. Still, though it upsets me I don’t think the government can do much to cure adult obesity.

Where I do think the government needs to do more is with our youth. Ultimately, I think parents who don’t promote a healthy lifestyle to their children are horrible parents but it is really hard to say what someone can do with their own children in their own home. So, the government should do its best where they can, in public schools. The physical education for elementary schools in some states has been dropped to a half hour a week. That is downright shameful, it should be at least 30 minutes a day and PE should stay mandatory all the way through 11th grade instead of just through 9th as it currently is in most states. Then there is the issue of the meals, they are terribly unhealthy and many schools have snack and soda machines in cafeterias full of more unhealthy options. I don’t think it would be so hard to provide sensible alternatives for kids who need to get at least one good meal a day. The third thing schools should be doing is promoting health and fitness more in the classroom, if there is a club like D.A.R.E that is anti-drug there should be one that is pro-health. Outside of the schools the only other area government can play a roll in helping our youth stay fit is with youth sports leagues and providing rec centers. Ideally, the costs of the sports leagues and the use of the rec centers would be minimal if not free. I would also hope that communities have scholarship funds available for local sports so that even the less fortunate can participate. I will continue to do my small part with my friends and family and if I ever have a family I will make sure that the kids are active and eat well from a very young age.

Having a family actually brings me back to the abortion issue. I have seen all the scientific findings and discussed the merits of zygotes and blastocysts and whether or not life begins at conception. I have even debated whether life is actually the term we should be debating since life could mean many things. Is there a difference between a fetus and a baby? I say yes, others say no. What about an acceptable time period for abortions? I would have no problem with that as long as it is based on some solid scientific facts and not political banter. So, I am pro-choice, and that has nothing to do with the religious aspects of the argument. It has to do with the pragmatic decisions people sometimes have to make in their personal lives and I fall on the side of responsibility. If an 18 year old girl who is not ready mentally or financially to support another life makes the best decision for her I would be all for that. Even today at 25 with a decent job it would be a tough decision to make and I do not envy anyone who has to make that decision but I still think it should remain a personal decision, one that the government has no business regulating. So that’s where I stand on the issue but I refuse to align myself with either side of this argument because they are so blinded by their single-minded pursuit of accomplishing their goals that good positive energy is wasted. Pro-lifers spend so much time and money trying to overturn Roe when they could be caring about the well-being of so many underprivileged children who are already alive. Meanwhile, Pro-choicers are spending all their energies keeping Roe legal instead of educating people properly and helping get people what they need to know on all their options. I hope this debate will someday end so that the well being of the living can once again be the focus of our pathetic politicians.


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