Election 2000Election 2000
Abortion, gun control, and social security reform are issues that everyone has an opinion
on. Including politicians. Despite the pressures to be en vogue and stay in the public
favor, these issues require Ralph Nader, Al Gore and George Bush to take a stand.
Abortion takes into account moral, as well as social concerns. And, the question
of governments power in influencing or dictating policies that affect those concerns.
Social security, is a serious aspect of a growing number of elderly persons, as well as
young professionals daily realities, and their election decisions. Ask any working
American, the monies being siphoned out of their weekly paychecks with the ‘promise’
that it’ll be there for them when they are eligible, and they will tell you how serious they
think it is. This topic also gives us the opportunity to see how well versed in economics
the candidates are, or are not. Gun control is an issue on which everyone has an opinion.
In this day in age where violence is not so far away from most communities, the question
of whether people should have the right to bear arms is debated intensely. What our
founding fathers had in mind when they wrote the constitution is a topic which puts our
freedoms against public benefit.
Abortion is an issue that is becoming a litmus test for office seekers these days
with many women voters. To openly take a hard stance against abortion is to end a
political career. As a congressman for Tennessee, Al Gore cast more votes against
abortion and related policies. As he became a national figure he changed his position,
and now claims he will do everything in his power to make sure Roe v. Wade does not
get overturned. Now an advocate of a woman’s right to chose, he also opposes parental-
notification laws and supports Medicaid funding of abortion! As the election near more
people are reminded of the fact that two of the Supreme Court justices are retiring.
Meaning new appointments could imbalance the court in favor of overturning Roe v.
Wade. Al Gore has said he believes in a potential justices right to privacy, but that there
are ways of assessing how they would interpret the constitution. And he feels that his
appointments would uphold the landmark case. Governor Bush also would not hold
appointees to a litmus test, but would make judicial appointment that are ‘strict
constructionists’ in their interpretation of the constitution. Governor Bush opposes partial-
birth abortions, as does Al Gore. However George W. is in favor of parental-notification,
with fines for failure to notify parent/guardian at least 48 hrs. prior to abortion. Also to
ban tax money spent on abortions, with exceptions for sexual abuse or physicians
advisement. Bush is supportive of pro-life amendments but says he wouldn’t pursue
them. Ralph Nader, the Green party candidate, has probably done the best at down
playing this topic. He is pro-choice, but doesn’t acknowledge that there is a threat to Roe
v. Wade, saying it’ll never be overturned. And like Al Gore supports the FDA’s decision
to allow RU-486( abortion pill ), sighting it’s benefit that it’s preferable to surgical
If the NRA could pick a candidate it would be Governor Bush. Although none of
the hopefuls are in favor of more restrictions on handguns, he is the most consistent.
Gore as a congressman was not opposed to them, but as Vice President changed tack
completely. He is now in favor of cracking down on gun shows, banning junk guns(
cheap guns used in many violent crimes ), limiting one gun to one person per month, and
requiring manufacturers and retailers to report gun sales to state authority. The latter
raising loud voices of right to privacy concerns. Other than that all sides are in
agreement to ban assault weapons, large ammunition clips, and certain types of
ammunition, such as armor piercing, high velocity, and ‘cop killers’. Ralph Nader has
been advocating tougher laws against gun wielding criminals, stating in accord with Bush
that the problem isn’t with the law-abiding citizens that purchase guns. So we shouldn’t
make it harder for them. The point where Bush and Nader differ with Gore is precisely
that. Gore would make mandatory registration with the government of all guns, and
heavy state and federal government overseeing of gun sales. Bush and Nader do not to
encroach on the rights of citizens with respect to bearing arms. Instead they are more in
favor ‘very strict’ sentences, because only criminals should be affected by legislation not
sportsman and people wishing to use guns for self defense.
Social security, without a doubt, the most successful, and, the noblest
government programs. To ensure dignity and financial security of our aged, and disabled
citizens is a responsibility that has been our good fortune to actualize. However with a
growing geriatric population, benefits for poor families and disabled persons, it is time for
reform of our system before it goes bankrupt. Ralph Nader is the only one saying that the
fears are unfounded, of not being able to meet the needs of the eligible. He agrees with
Bush that working people should have a reasonable measure of control over their
retirement assets. However he limits it to pension funds and retirements accounts and
not to the fraction of social security money that Bush would advance to privatize. Bush’s
idea has raised a many an objection to the idea of allowing individuals to invest part(1/6)
of their contributions in the private sector, namely the stocks market. Gore and Nader are
very vocal in opposing Bush’s plan, stating that it would replace security with insecurity.
There is to much uncertainty in the market to allow the populace to put money that the
government would eventually be forced to compensate. After all, if millions of people
are skinned in a market crash, it would be the government that would have to provide
social assistance in the form of food stamps, welfare and the like. Gore’s main point hat
republicans are vehemently opposed to is financing social security through general
taxation. Gore reasoning is that then the government could pay down the debt with the
surpluses, and with the savings from the interest payments, reinvest in the social security
program. Gore’s response to Bush’s plan to allow individuals more control over their
future financial well being comes in the form of ‘individual retirement savings plus’
accounts, in which tax exempt savings would be matched by government. Unlike what
Gore’s camp would want one to think, Bush’s plan wouldn’t affect retirees, or those close
to retirement, “no reduction in benefits for retirees”. Bush also takes a very conservative
view in regard to raising taxes for social security support; he is absolutely against it. He
is for dedicating social security money for social security, and leaving the paying of
interest payment on our national debt a separate issue.
These issues are a good measure of the candidates views about our concerns as a
society. Between appealing to popular opinion and standing for something, candidates
stances on issues are formed, and the people are left to sort through the images to make a
decision. Who do we want to entrust with the awesome responsibility of leading our
nation. Though we are fortunate to be a generally well educated society, the
complexities of our government have become difficult to understand. Politicians rely on
this to gain favor with the public. We as the power behind government must be better
informed, so we are not taken advantage of by our own elected officials. Whether
Nader, Gore, Bush, or any other candidate is elected, the benefits or the repercussions
will be felt by the American people. The three issues discussed are representative of the
moral, societal, and economical problems in our country, and are only three of many
issues being hotly debated. Ralph Nader’s proposals are far and away the most intelligent
and ambitious for the United States. Al Gore and George Bush are coming from opposite
sides of the political spectrum, but offer us business as usual. They are funded by and
fight for the interest of the same elite (of which they are also members!) class. Ralph
Nader has shown in the past with his exemplary record, that he fights for the people.
Though some of his stances are arguably too liberal, he is the prescription for corruption,
Deep-pocketed corporate lobbyists, and many of the ills associated with government.
Serious injustices in our system with regard to access to political influence, which are at
the heart of most social problems, will not be altered with the two party system. Noone is
na?ve enough to suggest perfection however with someone who’s genuine concerns are
the people of this country, and the oppressed globally, government might actualize the
myth of equality.