Sunday, December 2, 2007

Umbert left a bad taste in my mouth (wait...ew i didn't mean it that way...)

After writing about Umbert, I couldn't help but continue thinking about the whole abortion debate.
Why is something so personal, so emotional, becoming increasingly more political? There are many reasons for this but one of the most pressing is access to sex education.
The presidential campaigns started much earlier this term than i've ever remembered in the past. Probably because there is so much at stake. I think both democrats and republicans alike are ready for change and expressing negative feelings towards Bush is no longer controversial.
There are so many issues to take into consideration when deciding on candidates: budget & economy, corporations, crime, drugs, education, the environment, foreign policy, government reform, gun control, health care, immigration, jobs, tax reform, etc.
For me though, it's the social politics that make or break a candidate. Stands on abortion, civil rights, same sex marriage, access to education, immigration, etc. are what's most important to me. I'll write a couple of blogs purely dedicated to the election as we get closer but for now let me address access to sex education, all thanks to our dear friend Umbert.
This is a great website that breaks down each candidate's stance on sex ed. Here's a summary that i took from the page:

Joe Biden: supports "age-appropriate" and comprehensive sex education but also voted to fund abstinence programs.

Hillary Clinton: has favored abstinence-plus for a decade. In 1996 as first lady she helped launch the teen pregnancy campaign, which has a goal of reducing teen pregnancy by one-third by 2015 through comprehensive education and awareness. Ten years later, as New York senator, she introduced the Prevention First Act, which would have allocated $100 million for family planning services in an effort to curb teen pregnancy.

Chris Dodd: is "appalled" by the Bush administration's abstinence-only programs.

John Edwards: promotes comprehensive sex education.

Mike Gravel: favored comprehensive sex education in a questionnaire

Dennis Kucinich: co-sponsor of the Responsible Education About Life Act that emphasizes comprehensive sex education programs.

Barack Obama: introduced the Communities of Color Teen Pregnancy Prevention Act of 2007 in Illinois. He respects abstinence as a choice but also advocates age-appropriate comprehensive sex education.

Bill Richardson: favors abstinence-plus.

Rudi Giuliani: the only Republican candidate still waffling about his pro-choice stance, avoids the topic.

John McCain: promotes abstinence-only programs but has previously promoted comprehensive sex education.

Mitt Romney: promoted abstinence education in Massachusetts classrooms as governor of that state from 2003 to 2007. Believes schools should "promote abstinence as part of their health curriculum and teach that marriage comes before babies."

Fred Thompson: backs abstinence education.

Duncan Hunter: favors "equal emphasis" on abstinence. He wants to give abstinence the same amount of teaching as the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases.

Mike Huckabee: favors abstinence-only and opposes abstinence-plus.

Ron Paul: favors abstinence-only programs.

Tom Tancredo: favors abstinence-only programs.

Here to learn more.


Christopher said...

Now I understand why Same Sex marriage and abortion are important to you, but as presidential issues? To me these are what Senators and Reps are to be chosen on since in the end it'll probably be a constitutional amendment issue rather than a bill that will or will not be vetoed.

Obviously voting for a candidate with views repugnant to your own is a terrible idea (which is why I can't stomach voting for Hilary Clinton with her conservative social positions if Obama loses) but I always feel like people pay too much attention to social stances on presidential candidates then forget to double check other candidates.

Which is one of the problems with an election starting so god damn early, who will ever pay a lick of attention to their representatives when 2008 rolls around?

Christopher said...

I meant to say that it was also an issue of Supreme Court appointments, which is something that comes up so rarely it is amazing to see people vote so vigorously for. (More so in the past, since now the balance of the court is threatened and we're just a couple years away from the death or resignation of a liberal justice so a Pro-Choice president will be very important.)

But my main point is everyone needs to look at their Congressmen when thinking about social issues too. Social issues get debated so much in Presidential debates and often its issues where the Congress has domain and just sort of acts as a distraction for voters.

Feminist Gal said...

Chris, you wrote that "people pay too much attention to social stances on presidential candidates then forget to double check other candidates."
Really? I have never found that to be true. Based on those i've talked to about politics over the past few years, i've noticed that people put all the weight on tax reform, foreign policy, and jobs (outsourcing & US employment rates). However, if you've had an opposite experience, that's great to hear because that means people are actually talking about the social issues and they aren't being kept quite as "private problems." All too often the social issues are put aside as part of the private sphere and aren't really brought up in politics until something or someone stirrs the pot.
The reason social politics matter to me, even though you're right and the president may not have a DIRECT impact on the laws i'm talking about, it's the president's ability to appoint supreme court judges that scares me. The indirect effect the president has matters tons.
Bush has given quote that marriage is a religious union between a man and a woman (puke...) and the supreme court that bush has set up now has made a number of decisions that could lead down the path of over-turning roe v wade, that's what terrifies me.

Christopher said...

I've found in the past few election cycles it has been far too common for the Republicans to inroduce a social issue as a talking point despite it being of no real political importance at that particular time in the election it was being contested in. Abortion and Same Sex marriage in 2004 for example.

Same Sex Marriage was a very clear attempt to take an issue the Republicans had no actual intentions of acting on in any serious manner and turning it into political hay. They made the absolute minimum effort to ban it and got people riled up. The same with abortion since the Supreme Court is very unlikely to overturn abortion rights on a 5-4 decision since it would ruin the Court's credibility. (obviously it is still a possibility.)

It's just very easy for emotions to be played on in these situations generally for Republicans to play to their base. They will rarely dominate the debates or the candidates talking points, but will be all over the tabloid news media.

In pretty much every case where social issues come into play it isn't the opening up of the private but rather attempting to keep it closed though, so it's easy to overlook since it is generally business as usual.