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Explaining American Politics To Non Americans – Part III: The Democratic Party

And so we’re back, dear readers, with another installment of “Explaining American Politics to Non Americans”, in which yours truly attempts to guide you through the strange, savage, and unforgiving terrain of our nation’s government. Today we cover the other side to our two-party system: the Democrats.

Democrats are, like it or not, usually seen as the good guys by plenty of folks out there in the wide world. More diplomatic, less rapaciously capitalistic, more secular, less imperialistic, and so on.

Or so the image goes.

But is that reputation an accurate one?

The answer might surprise you.

No, It’s Not

Okay, I guess that wasn’t really a surprise.

I’ve made no secret of my contempt for the president and my fundamental issues with liberalism in general. But my own irritations aside, the facts must be faced- Democrats aren’t the glorious heroes that the world (or they) imagine them to be.

Let me break it down here.

Democrats Are Still Incredibly Right-Wing

And that’s going to be weird for a lot of the world. Pretty much everywhere else on the planet, there’s a comparatively broad range of political discourse, though even relatively conservative parties still tend to endorse free(ish) healthcare and education. The Democrats seem to get mistaken as being simply an American version of what many beyond our borders take for granted- a center-left party advocating universal healthcare, free education, environmental protection, and championship of the poor and working class.

That’s just not how it is.

First, let’s start with healthcare.

Don’t get me wrong- there are plenty of vocal liberals within the party (we’ll get to them in a second) who advocate the principles I mentioned above, the party has more often than not capitulated to these demands, rather than having fought for ’em.

The Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare”, as it’s more commonly called, serves an example of this. While it’s absolutely an achievement (credit where credit is due), it’s about as far as possible from the systems used elsewhere in the world.

Now I’m not going to presume to know where you’re coming from, dear readers (Canada and Northern Europe tend to be big hits for us here at CWR), but I’m guessing that wherever it is, you enjoy some degree of universal healthcare. Chances are that you’re healthcare system is subsidized through hefty taxes, if not owned outright by the state. The present state of healthcare in the good ol’ US of A, however, works like so:

Since Obamacare’s legislation, all Americans are simply required to “have” health insurance. While certain points of the law keep insurance companies from preventing people with pre-existing conditions from getting service, these are all still private companies. Some programs exist to assist the extremely poor in getting some assistance in paying for insurance, but most everyone has to pay for it on their own (and it is not cheap, folks).

Does you cell phone bill equal about half of your rent? ‘Cuz that’s about how an insurance plan actually costs…

And that’s it. The hallmark of healthcare reform in this country.

The end. Continue reading

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When Is A Good Deed Not A Good Deed? [When Taylor Swift Does It]

Post four about Taylor Swift. How on earth did we get here? I suppose it’s because, for better or for worse, she’s managed to attain the kind of pop culture prevalence and staying power which has resulted in my writing:

Which brings us to this Friday, three days after the artist donated $1,989 to a fan to help her pay off her student loans.

Click the image to be linked to the tumblr post cataloguing the full gift-opening.

The fan in question, Rebekah Bortnicker, created a video which she posted to tumblr, and which I’m half-watching as I write this. It’s actually pretty great. You know what else is actually pretty great, though? The way that some people have been reacting to this news, like nicole and Angela in the comments section of the People article I linked to up above:

thanksnicole

thanksangela

Continue reading

Ms. Marvel, #1: A Comic Book Review

msmarvelreview

There was a lot hinging on this first issue, and that’s putting it in the lightest way possible. Not only is Marvel releasing a book featuring a brand new character [in secret identity, not heroic alter-ego], they’ve chosen to also make her a female, Pakistani, and a Muslim. How well this title ends up doing will strongly affect the publisher’s future decisions on diversity down the, and in their, line. In other words, this had better be incredible.

I picked up a copy this morning and read it cover to cover. I witnessed all that Wilson, Alphona, and Herring had made, and it was very good. Continue reading

9/11: Ten Years Later

I understand that there are people out there who believe that it’s
irreverent and disrespectful to refer to what happened to the World Trade Centre with an abbreviation, but the news has deemed it an acceptable term, so I have no qualms in doing so.

To further preface this post, I am a Canadian. More than that, I spent roughly half my life in Asia, so I don’t have the deep emotional connections to the event that many of you probably do. I watched the replays of the towers fall while in the Philippines, an ocean away.

I was deeply saddened and shocked by what occurred, but didn’t think much about it again until about two years ago, when I heard about what was being done with the remains of the towers. Right now there is a battleship named The USS New York, a Navy assault ship built with steel from the World Trade Centre. As a symbol it certainly holds a different viewpoint when it comes to beating swords into ploughshares.

Much more recently I stumbled upon the infographic on the right. It goes into detail about the new World Trade Centre, and the awe-inspiring ideas behind it.

The new building will be 1,776 feet, the tallest in the US. While the exact height is representative of the years of the country’s independence, I think it represents more than that. The USS New York is the remnants of a tragedy forged into a weapon. The new World Trade Centre may only be 49 feet taller than the former, but the fact that it stands that much taller communicates America’s fearlessness and audacity; if you knock it down we will rebuild it bigger.

There’s quite a bit of news all over the place about memorial services, and servicemen and servicewomen not being able to attend due to “important” people being there, but that’s for other, more well-researched articles. The point I’m trying to make is that ten years ago catastrophe occurred, and since then a nation has been trying to get back on its feet. The whole world is paying close attention to see how exactly America will choose move forward.