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The WI senatorial race is heating up, and I feel obligated to be a smidge more informed and certain of my position than I usually am.  When pressed, I want to be comfortable with explaining my views...and when presented with differing points of view, I want to be able to examine them with sufficient care to reach my own conclusions.

As politicians go, Russ Feingold strikes a favorable chord with me.  He seems to be honest and true to his personal views - which is frankly stunning in the political world.  And for the most part, those views mesh with my own.

The latest polls show Ron Johnson nearly tied with Feingold.  This concerns me.  Johnson seems, from what I know of him so far, to be in opposition to my views, and none too logical besides.  He "doesn't believe" in global warming caused by humans.  He does believe in Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.  If you believe a good, sustainable society is one in which everyone does for themselves and never considers the larger consequences, then he appears to be your man.   

My own views are that a society should provide a basic level of care for its members, and it should constantly strive to increase that level of basic care.  Not necessarily by taxation - there are other ways to support improvements.  But a community should not be comfortable with the idea of any of its members suffering from neglect.  It's a goal to aim toward, IMO, and about as anti-Rand as you can get.

On the global-warming front...I feel it is good and right for opposing views to exist.  So, there should always be some Ron Johnsons out there to keep people honest.  But, the evidence points to the planet warming up far faster than it has in the past, and nearly all scientists agree that global warming is occurring, and nearly all of those agree that humans have had a hand in it.  That said, even if we're somehow not the primary source, there's a lot at stake here:  it's wise to try and slow things down regardless of who or what is to blame.  More to the point, it's wise for us to learn how to manipulate the environment, so that we can do if it we need to, and so we can understand the mechanisms as much as possible. 

Johnson has never held any public office before, of any kind.  It seems that someone running for U.S. Senate should have at least some experience - some real-world knowledge of how government _actually_ works.  This is not an entry-level position.

What about Feingold?  Big on my list is that he was the only senator to vote against the USA Patriot Act in 2001; that's the one that significantly (some say unconstitutionally) reduced restrictions on the search of all manner of records - phone records, health records, library checkouts...yay him for standing up against that.  He is strongly opposed to the death penalty.  He does not vote entirely party-line, though; for example, he voted to confirm W. Bush's nomination of John Ashcroft for Attorney General.  Not because he agreed with Ashcroft, but because he believed Bush had the right to choose his own cabinet.  That's an intriguing sort of integrity that one does not often see in politics.

I despise coercing others to my position, through force or lack of full disclosure or any other method.  I prefer discussion to debate.  What I say above is, of course, not the whole picture of either candidate, not even close, and it is colored by my own personal views.  What is clear, though, is that the two candidates are not interchangeable. 

If you care at all about the future of the state/country and are a  WI voter, then vote.  And put some damn thought into it.  Do not - ever - take the word of one person, television show, or article.  Read opposing viewpoints and do not reject them out of anger or frustration, but instead make sure you can take them down logically - and admit to it when they have a point.  Even Johnson and Ayn Rand have a point - it's just not a world that I will ever be morally comfortable living in. 

factcheck.org is an excellent site:  an evenhanded study of what is true, untrue, and half-true on both sides.  Bless them for doing good work.     

The same goes for the rest of the elections out there:  do your civic duty and try to be an informed voter.  Rant over.


Friending welcome, but lurking is fine too.

Constructive criticism is also welcome - whatever it is, trust me, I've heard worse.



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