Tuesday, January 24, 2006

State of the Union

Since President Bush's State of the Union is going to be complete and utter nonsense, I thought it was a good idea to write one of my own. Of course, I shall make my State of the Union address shorter because I'm not a talking mouth and I don't get a paycheck from the American people.

Dear Congressmen, Women, Senators, fellow American citizens and readers,

I would like to report that the State of the Union is strong! Our country is seeing new growth, both economically and socially. People are finding jobs and men and women of all shapes and sizes, colors and creeds, are gaining more and more equal rights. However, progress has slowed over the past few years.

Jobs are still being shipped overseas. While it will be impossible to prevent these job losses in the future, the federal government has been an all too willing accomplice. Meanwhile, the federal government has not vigorously supported new economic growth. Other countries around the world are gaining a scientific edge. America ranks in the middle of the pack when it comes to teaching our children and that is unacceptable. Too few people have the opportunity for a college education and those who are able to secure such an education pay too great a cost.

If America is going to continue to prosper, we need to hold a scientific edge. We need to create new industries as we have in the past. There are two industries in particular that can create jobs as well as help this country and its people. If this country invests in energy independence, not only will we free ourselves from tyrannical governments around the globe, we will be able to create new jobs and improve the environment. Right now, as we speak, governments around the world are looking for ways to improve the environment and become more independent from the foriegn influence of oil. Governments like Brazil are able to run off alternative fuels, yet America cannot shed its oil addiction. The people of Iceland power themselves, almost completely, using renewable resources. Furthermore, Iceland has begun to stop using oil and gas in its vehicles and is quickly moving towards running off hydrogen, a form of energy that leaves no pollution: only water vapor.

However, America has reversed its stance on oil and pulled out of Kyoto. Meanwhile, the price of gas has skyrocketed. Americans are paying for this foolishness at the pump. People in the Northern states are paying dearly for the cost of oil during the cold winter months. Many are forced to live cold instead of in comfort. No one in America should be forced to live cold. No one should have to worry about the cost of oil, especially when America can find a better source of energy. Oil is prehistoric, as old as the dinosaurs. It's time to move on!

There is another vitally important way to both improve America's economy and improve the lives of Americans. America has some of the most advanced medicine in the world. We have the best doctors and the best hospitals. We have researchers all over the country finding new medicines and advancing new surgical procedures. However, there are flaws in the system that is slowing that growth. One of those flaws is the very fact that this government has bitterly resisted some of that research. Specifically, the government has allowed Stem Cells to become a moral issue instead of a matter of health. A stem cell is a cell, little different than what one may get by rubbing a cotton swab on the sides of their mouth. It is time to end this debate over Stem Cells and allow doctors to figure out if they can be useful in curing diseases that to this day remain incurable.

However, stem cells alone will do little to improve the economy and is still untested when it comes to patients. The best way to improve the lives of Americans through the health field is to increase access to it. This country cannot afford to have one person that does not have adequate healthcare. We can invest in access and improve the lives of many. When people are healthy, they are able to pay into the system. Our workforce will be more productive and America will be stronger. Investments can be made into new medical fields, diverted to diseases that remain incurable. Instead of giving money to drug companies so they can create new medicines to do the same thing, money needs to be invested in truly new medicines and vaccinations. It would be a boon to our economy even if it merely prevented diseases such as the bird flu from ravaging our country, preventative medicine. This country needs to look to the future in order to avoid disasters such as Katrina and advancing the healthcare industry is one of the best ways to do it.

With more jobs being created and a stronger economy on the horizon, this country needs to make sure we don’t forget the past. Our country has a rich history; many children read about American history everyday in their school textbooks with reverence. However, often times those textbooks have a revisionist history. While it is important to remember all the great moments of our past, it is equally important to remember the tragedies and travesties. The most important lessons Americans can learn about the past are the stories of Japanese-Americans being sent to detention camps during World War Two merely because of their past lineage, the stories of Martin Luther King, Jr wiretapped so the government could find dirt on him to mute his message, the fact that Native Americans, the people indigenous to this land, were sent from one part of the country to another if they were lucky and killed off if they weren’t. This country, a country that has done great things, has also done terrible things.

In the past, when America committed crimes against our own population, there seemed to be an easy temptation that made doing a terrible deed seem a little easier. When this country subjected Native Americans to cruel and harsh punishments, it was to settle the land. When African-Americans were enslaved, it was to boost the economy. When Japanese-Americans were interned, it was to hypothetically protect America.

I question whether right now that temptation exists today: are we protecting Americans by illegally wiretapping them to protect us like we did when we locked up Japanese-Americans? Are we creating laws in dozens of states that ban gay marriage because it somehow protects society, or is it out of fear of something most people may find odd and a little unnerving? Stereotypes are dangerous and if society acts on those stereotypes, people lose their equality and the American dream dies. It is time to end illegal wiretapping, it is time to end the subjection of this country to its bigoted ways.

While we try to promote a better, more progressive society in America, while we try to change our ways here, we also must change abroad. The days of American dominance over other countries is over. No longer can our economy sustain a military that is more costly and expensive than almost all other militaries on the globe combined. America can reduce its arms and still be well able to protect our borders and help maintain peace in the world when necessary, especially when backed with other leaders around the world. America cannot create a neo-colonialism and must end our unwanted presence in Iraq.

As we can see, America is a great place to live! The American Dream may have dimmed, but it still is bright. Together, we can refurbish that dream. We can bring it into the new millennium; we can bring that dream to our impoverished children and all hardworking citizens. It will not be easy, it may take a few years, but together we can do it and together we will!

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