Saturday, June 18, 2005

15 Hours in the car, about 5 hours too far

I recently traveled over fifteen hours during a trip from Florida to Ohio. I woke up at about 3:15 a.m. and arrived at my destination after 9 p.m. Car trips can seem so long, even to me who has been on several trips of over twelve hours.
However, there were several things that made the trip much more bearable:
-The highways in the United States are absolutely beautiful. They are flat and devoid of potholes, a welcome change from my car trips abroad.
-There are many restaurants and gas stations. Being able to stop briefly almost anywhere and be able to choose almost any style of food to eat is amazing. America is a land of choices, and Americans have an amazing ability to make a large number of decisions. Abroad the choice is never 'Wendy's, McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell, Arby's, or KFC?'. Instead you would have to make the decision of slow service (more than an hour) or quick service (less than an hour). That much being decided, you would then have to decide between one or two restaurants in each category. You don't always get what you want, you make due with what is available locally.
America is a great country. It is fortunate. It has great leadership, a strong army, a good economy, and plenty of patriotic citizens. America should not be weakened by petty domestic squabbles. It should instead be truly united in all levels of government. America should help the rest of the world, not because it will necessarily help America in the future, but because when you are very fortunate, you should share with the less fortunate.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Capital Punishment: Caring or Criminal?

Capital punishment is death. But is it murder? Do those who have commited certain crimes deserve death?
I believe capital punishment can be good, within limits. Certain crimes do merit death (terrorism for example). Threats to society as a whole and to individual freedom cannot be left unpunished.

Here is a hypothetical situation:
If there was a man who commited murder once or twice, then changed, wanted to live and basically seemed to have turned his life around 180 degrees, does he still deserve the death sentence? Can it be reduced to life imprisonment?

Here is the other extreme:
If there was a man who commited murder once or twice, hated the world as a whole, would be a threat to society if he managed to escape, wanted to die, and somehow managed to get the life sentence, should he be given the death sentence instead? Since he does not want to live, is a threat, and is costing money to keep alive and healthy in prison, should they be executed?

If a prisoner wants to die, is of no value to the US government (such as a prisoner exchange or source of information), is a threat to society, and/or is costing the US government (and thus taxpayers) money, then capital punishment can be good. However, certain governments could misuse it. Capital punishment could be abused, becoming barely veiled genocide.
As long as capital punishment is not abused, it is not bad. Capital punishment must be decided case by case. It is a punishment for a crime, not murder. Actions entail consequences. I do think there are sometimes better alternatives to capital punishment (life imprisonment for example), however, if an unrepentant threat to society is put to death for his/her crime, then he/she brought it upon his/her own head by their criminal action(s).

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Somewhere out there... Who cares as long as it's not here?

This title represents an opinion of many people. The news close by is more important than the news elsewhere. When I look at news highlights from "MSN Today", I see mainly articles about the war in Iraq and entertainment stories with headlines such as "Jackson trial proves a media magnet". There are no articles about overseas politics. No updates on the political situation in Togo can be found on most news sites. News always seems to be negative. It's always about car bombs, kidnapping, trials... Countries such as Benin in West Africa never make the headlines. Benin has gone from being a French colony, to being a communist state, to being an example of true democracy in West Africa. However, this transformation is never praised, or even mentioned on any sites. America is too wrapped up in itself to take notice of major events happening overseas. America has to shift it's focus from itself to the world around it. America has been blessed with a good economy and good leadership. Time to help the world get those too.

An Outsider's Opinion

Having spent most of my life overseas, I believe I can offer a unique perspective on global affairs. I will comment not on the most urgent matters of American politics, but rather on overseas affairs that attract too little attention. Elections are held overseas, both corrupt and just. Corruption often goes unpunished and fair treatment is not rewarded sufficiently. The first step to action is being informed. I hope that through my posts you will learn of events that you had never even heard of before.