Worm Salad

Barack Obama, President Elect
November 5, 2008, 5:16 am
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Barack Obama is the president-elect of the United States, and will come into power, in all probability, heading up a strongly democratic house and Senate. While I can’t hope but see this as a change for the better, there are certainly parts and parcels of Obama’s policies which I can’t help but disagree with. Here’s what I’d really like to see from the new Presidential administration.

  1. Better positions on LGBTQ rights. Obama’s been incredibly reserved on subjects of gay rights. We need federal anti-discrimination laws that cover gender expression on top of sexual orientation. We need better federal health guidelines on the proper treatment of intersex children. We need to repeal DOMA and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. We need federal laws that will extend marriage benefits to same-sex couples who want them, and we need a federal administration that will combat the wave of anti-gay constitutional amendments and legislation that has become a  part of the constitutions of many states tonight.
  2. Better women’s rights. We need better sex education that not only teaches young women how to protect themselves, but one that teaches young men not to rape. We need better standards for sex education in general, and better, safer access to abortion throughout the country. We need a better health care system; one that doesn’t unfairly penalize women for being more likely to seek life-saving preventative health care, and we need better schools, preschools and day cares to maximize the opportunities of working mothers.
  3. Better science funding. Obama’s proposals on science funding are highly oriented towards “goal-directed” science, rather than basic research. There’s nothing wrong with goal-directed research, but especially in the biological sciences, basic research is still fundamental, critical, underfunded, and, of course, the birthplace of all of our current innovation. We need to promote, not penalize science.
  4. Better education. No Child Left Behind was an unparalleled educational disaster. We need more focus on both promoting excellence and on helping underperforming children to achieve. Teacher salaries need to be increased, educational standards need to be standardized across states, and more money needs to be diverted into underperforming schools, especially into innovative programs that are focused on the needs and rights of children. We need to be spending much, much more money in the arts, and in extracurricular programs.
  5. Better foreign policy. Our foreign policy is, currently a disaster. We need to ratify Kyoto, and need to sign international declarations of human rights. We need to improve our own image and standing within the world. We need to withdraw from Iraq, end highly problematic trade agreements, like NAFTA, and begin to forge diplomatic relationships, especially in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and South America. We need to fight terrorism with ideas, not weapons.

What do you want to see from Obama’s next four years?