Next set of issues, since I don’t have anything better to do.
4) Teach family values in public schools
Had a hard time figuring this out at first, so here is OntheIssues definition:
- Strongly Support means you believe: Judeo-Christian values are American values. Belief in God is what America was founded upon, so praying in school or other public places does not violate the separation of church and state. Displaying the Ten Commandments is appropriate because they are the moral basis for Western law. The Pledge of Allegiance should continue to include the phrase “Under God.”
- Support means you believe: We need to teach values in our schools. The more our children are exposed to prayer, the Ten Commandments, and other traditional values, the better off they are.
- Oppose means you believe: Prayer in schools is inappropriate because it fails to recognize American pluralism and religious diversity.
- Strongly Oppose means you believe: Separation of church and state precludes allowing school prayer. It also precludes other aspects of religion in schools, such as posting the Ten Commandments in public places. We should not violate the Constitutional principle in this case
I guess I am strongly opposed to this. Separation of church and state is very important, whether you believe in a god or not. Regardless of what pundits and others may say, this country was not founded on the idea of “God’s Country.” Granted, words like “creator” and the like appear in the Constitution and whatnot, but there wouldn’t be an amendment if it wasn’t a big deal for the Founding Fathers. They left a society, England, that was dominated by one religion, the Church of England, and they didn’t want that to happen in the new America. Though some groups did come to the good ol’ US of A for religious freedom (Puritans and their ilk), the majority of people just wanted to get away from the monarchy. That being said, “Judeo-Christian” values are not necessarily my values, and I believe that this is something that parents should handle at home. My parents raised me well, and even though the majority of their teachings were based on a religion I now dislike, I like to think that I turned out okay. On to the candidates:
Obama’s View – Couldn’t find a real match for this, though Obama has stated that he is Christian and generally lives a Christian-like life. He even gave a speech, which you can find here. It was reviewed by E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post thusly:
“(Obama’s speech on faith) may be the most important pronouncement by a Democrat on faith and politics since John F. Kennedy’s Houston speech in 1960 declaring his independence from the Vatican…Obama offers the first faith testimony I have heard from any politician that speaks honestly about the uncertainties of belief.”
McCain’s View – Thinks schools should allow, but not mandate, prayer in school. He also believes that teaching the Ten Commandments would bring virtues to our schools. Blech.
Match: While faith is not a big issue in my life, I do believe that they should be separate, so I guess I go with Obama on this one.
5) Death Penalty
My View: Not a big fan of the death penalty. Something about numerous death row convictions reversed after more evidence surfaces. It is a insignificant number in the grand scheme of things, but one innocent person being killed is one too many. That’s why life in prison is good. Don’t let them out…ever. Rehabilitate them so they don’t kill other inmates and whatnot. It isn’t that hard to figure out. For those of you that poo-poo the costs, I say, “Whatever.” The money is going to be spent anyway, so why not keep killers and rapists behind bars forever. If they try to escape, break their legs. If they kill other inmates, put them in solitary. It’s all about Darwin here. And if you think there won’t be enough room in prison for these folks, stop throwing minor drug users in prison, regardless of how many times they were caught with an ounce of weed. But we’ll get to that later.
Obama’s View – Obama pushed Illinois bill to videotape all capital interrogations. He also believes, however, that some heinous crimes justify the ultimate punishment, which I can get on board with depending on the circumstances. The death penalty should be enforced fairly and with caution and should not discriminate by gang membership.
McCain’s View – Is very pro-death penalty and wants more prisons and increased penalties. He voted yes on rejecting racial statistics in death penalty appeals and on limiting death penalty appeals.
Match – A little from column A and a little from column B. Apparently Mr. McCain enjoyed his torture as a P.O.W. and wants to inflict it on all criminals. I’m with Obama on this one too. I’m sensing a trend…
6) Mandatory Three Strikes Sentencing Laws
My View: As mentioned above, just because somebody does something three times doesn’t mean they are necessarily bad, depending on the circumstances, obviously. But just because someone shoplifts and goes to jail three times for it does not mean he should spend 25 to life in prison for stealing something. Prisons need to be better at rehabbing the people behind bars before they decide to put them back out on the street, usually early for “good behavior.” The better prepared felons are to re-renter the real world, the less likely they will commit another crime. I am not saying that you can’t punish someone severely on a third offense; it just shouldn’t be mandatory.
Obama’s View – Suggests that we provide ex-offender support to prevent returning to prison. Also feels that their should be no extra penalty for gang association and supports alternative sentencing and rehabilitation.
McCain’s View – Wants more death penalty and stricter sentencing. He was rated at 29% by CURE, indicating anti-rehabilitation crime votes. Voted yes on mandatory prison terms for crimes involving firearms and wants more penalties for gun & drug violations.
Match – Obama, though I do support stricter penalties for crimes committed with illegally obtained weapons. It’s all about the rehab, folks.
Thats it for tonight. I’ll eventually get through these all, but it is almost time for McCain’s speech. Maybe he’ll over exert himself and die or something. He is super old!