Last week both the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates held debates. The Democrats on Sunday and the Republicans on Tuesday. I don't have cable so I didn't get to watch either of them live. Thankfully, CNN has each debate broken up into 4 parts that allowed me to view both debates. I'm glad I got a chance to watch both debates. ...
While I attempt to align myself with neither party, I mostly lean democrat and so far I am leaning very strongly towards one candidate I have written about before. Despite my leanings, I took the time to watch both debates.
I'm not going to be voting in the primaries for a Republican candidate so what's the point? I wanted to hear, the other side of the story. While I believe there are more than 2 sides to any story in politics, in the U.S. there are definately 2 stronger sides and it is important to at least listen to them. The obvious differences between Democrats and Republicans were present. However, by watching the Republicans hearing what they had to say I heard some ideas that I didn't hear from Democrats that had merit.
One topic they both brought up I have talked about before was English as the official language of the United States of America. Senator Hillary Clinton made a good distinction between English as the national language versus being the official language. It makes sense to respect the language so that we can all have some common glue, but making it official denies too many people full rights by not allowing translator requirements in hospitals, courts and other places. Only one Republican seemed like he may not be fully for making it official but one talked as though there was a conspiracy to remove the English language from our lexicon. On the Democratic debate, many were decidely against making it an official language.
Other than the Iraq war part of each debate, a large topic of discussion was gas prices and dependency on foreign oil. Both sides talked a good talk but only a few really talked about affecting the problem ( using up too much oil and other resources ) rather than doing something about the symptom ( gas prices ). Most republican's stuck with traditional forms of cleaner energy, such as clean coal and nuclear. I think nuclear is a good approach, it has gotten a bad rap but is scientifically proven to be very efficient and less damaging to the environment than many other options we have now. On the democratic side, people spoke more about alternatives, wind, solar, biofuels. All good options to research as well. As long as the focus is to improve energy efficiency. Only Governor Bill Richardson truly spoke about the problem - we use too much. Yes, he talked about alternative fuels, but he also talked about asking the American people to use less energy. Give them incentives to use less. That is the kind of talk I like to hear. Facing the problem from many angles, and it helps that it is aligned with what I believe :)
If you didn't watch the debates I recommend it. You can go to CNN and browse the videos. Do a search for GOP debate and Democratic debate and it should come up. As long as you start watching part 1 of 4 from either debate, the other parts will show up in the right hand menu.
Remember: It is your country. Be a part of shaping it!