Much like the presidential debates through the year so far, I watched the 2008 vice presidential debates over the computer, again, and came away with less than I had hoped for in such an important debate. Both candidates went back and forth in dodging questions and refusing to acknowledge each others points. Unfortunately it was a typical debate, so I wasn't surprised more than simply disappointed.
To be fair, both of the candidates did rather well in speaking and giving their thoughts about what they stood for and what they intended to do during their vice presidential terms should they be elected, but I have a couple of comments for each of the candidates regarding their performances as a whole.
Biden had a bit of trouble in the beginning putting his thoughts together and wasn't quite fast enough to respond to Palin's comments. On the other hand, Palin was so fast with her comments she often didn't answer the moderators questions, but instead just spit out numerous talking points that often ran into each other. Palin spoke confidently through most of the debate, with Biden building up his confidence as time went on.
I'm not going to spit out who I love, who I hate, whether I'm democratic or whether I'm republican. What I want to share is what I believe in, what makes sense, and simply is right. Here are the top five things I think should be focused on that will help our economy, help our country regain its status as a respected global influence, and help the world in respecting each other.
We need to diversify - Take a look at the United State's energy capabilities. We have the largest coal reserves in the world (25%), and now have technologies for producing "clean coal energy". We also have the largest solar capability in the southwest, the largest geothermal energy capabilities, wind capabilities, and many others that are near or top of the world in capacity. Sharing eventual surplus in energy would only net us economic security.
Why are we not developing renewable energy sources fast enough? Because the oil companies are in control, bad politics get in the way through standard human greed, and until recently many of these renewable energy sources simple weren't economically viable to produce, despite the fact that an obvious energy crisis was looming.
We need to develop these technologies in a serious and full-force manner. Only then will we be free from limited and unstable resources as petroleum. And only then will we have a chance to survive at all when oil and "finite" resources do run out, and run out they will. Energy is the ultimate need for everything we know. Without energy we would have no food, clean water, and most importantly no ability to play our favorite computer games or movies...
New technology research and existing technology refinement - Research and investment in technologies helps grow the economy and provide a better future for us due to new technologies that make it capable for humans to live better. From new energy technologies, medicines that cure cancer, to space exploration that will give us more places to live, our only survival past the 21st century is to continue and explore new ways of surviving.
Investing in our future can only be a good thing, especially when it comes to helping us understand what that future is going to be like. Science isn't some "evil corporation" as some fanatical groups protest it is out of sheer ignorance and lack of anything better to talk about. Science is based on facts, clear thinking, and predictable and logical assumptions. Any sane being would understand that to be something worth investing heavily in.
3) SPACE EXPLORATION
Investing in private space companies - On the point of no. 2), we have to invest 10x fold in space exploration if we are ever to survive on this planet in a high-technological society. Why? Here is the best term I can give to sum up why - "Currently we have all of our eggs in one basket". Whether its another regional war that destabilizes energy supplies or an all-out apocalypse, as dramatic as both are but just as likely, we cannot afford to "restart" our civilization.
We've used most of the "easy energies", so we have to continue to expand and diversify in order to continue to expand and diversify. Much like the diversification in energy we must diversify our living locations, and the only place left is the vastness of space. One way or another, space will be our ultimate salvation if we are to continue on our current path of high technology and population growth. Where else can we possibly go that would make such a difference?
Connect the world - What better way to stop wars and ensure a global community than to get everyone to understand each other. It makes so much sense, yet is often ignored because of the difficulties in achieving such a goal, that is until recently. Some of the biggest reasons that conflicts begin are due to misunderstandings. Someone accidentally causes a problem and the other side sees it as a preemptive strike. They strike back and the cycle begins with no hope in ever seeing an end.
Wireless Internet technologies must be developed in order to spread open access to free information to those that may be repressed from it, so they understand what the world and countries they previously mistakenly hated are really all about. The same goes for military and governmental policies and strategies.
I'm not saying we should give up all of our secrets, as that would be a mistake, but to open up simple dialog and conversations with other countries just to help in creating a mutual atmosphere of trust and cooperation. This kind of atmosphere helps to loosen tensions and relieve preconceptions that ignite emotional responses instead of factual "cool-headed" responses. Ignorance may be bliss, but it may also cause the next nuclear war.
5) NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION
It must be stopped - I could probably put health care or education in here, as both are clearly obvious developmental needs that have little to true debate on the whole. But I must instead put nuclear proliferation in here for one reason only. If things get ugly and the world goes into a nuclear war, I can assure you there will be no winners. And not one soul on earth left standing will think of anything but how we could have rid ourselves of the weapons that caused destruction of everything that took centuries to build.
"We live in interesting times" was an actual curse from the Chinese, and it may yet be more accurate than they ever thought possible.
Nuclear weapons can indeed be thought of as a deterrent against an outcome of mutually assured destruction, but they can also be thought of as the end of all things. They exist, and by that in itself is scary and unstable in the hands of such emotionally run beings as we humans. Our race is currently in a state of technological and emotional adolescence, evolution having built us through natural selection as emotionally defensive beings and not civilization capable thinkers.
Some may point out that without nuclear weapons we would have horrible wars between countries that would last for decades and never end due to the incapable weapons to truly end wars on a global scale. While it may be horrible and wars really should never happen in the first place, at least we would still be around to continue our technological march in the hope that one day we'll ban together and grow beyond our need to settle differences by poking each others eyes out. Or in the case of nuclear weapons, incinerate each other and all life around us.
I'm not going to get into tax breaks or increasing taxes, marriage rights, abortion rights, the death penalty or any of the other more sensitive and emotional topics that have a less clear solution than the ones I spoke about above. I have a feeling though that if we can get all five points above nailed down, the rest will naturally fall into place. But as opinions, debates and other emotional arguments go, I could be wrong.