Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Take It Off

I support Barack Obama's progressive and populist positions. If he is elected President and follows through on the policies outlined in the speech that he gave in early June, Change That Works for You, then maybe America can be saved from the economic and social ruin that we are now heading for thanks to the Bush and the rabid Republicans.

However, as a Jew and a nontheist I am worried about other news regarding Obama's campaign: his meeting with "Christian Leaders"--mainly evangelicals who subjected him to a philosophical strip search to which he apparently willingly submitted (see Christian Leaders Meet Privately with Obama.) I know that office seekers are subject to ideological scrutiny by various interest groups, but the implications are frightening that a candidate for president of the United States had better "explain" him/herself and undergo cross (no pun intended)-examination by the religious fundies.

Here in the Philippines, which is ostensibly a democracy with a constitutional guarantee of separation of Church and State, there is a very strong religious lobby called the CBCP (Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines) through which the religious establishment exerts its political authority and power. No serious candidate for office can possibly hope to succeed without the stamp of approval of this very conservative group of Christian clergymen. Has it also come to this in the U.S. as well?

Monday, June 9, 2008

Maybe We Had It Coming

Americans have long held a misplaced sense of entitlement to cheap fossil fuels. Maybe $4-5 per gallon is a long overdue wake up call for us to get off our collective asses, start conserving, and investing in mass transit as well as in alternative energy sources.

What a sorry sight it was to see President Bush go begging hat in hand to the Saudis to give the U.S. a price break for crude (which, the Bush ties to the royal family notwithstanding, they refused anyway). That spectacle in itself should be enough to raise American consciousness in favor of energy independence.