Monday, June 11, 2007

BlogHers Act: Life, Liberty, and a Roof Over One's Head

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I've been thinking about the BlogHers Act Community Initiative for several days now. BlogHer has challenged its 11,000 female bloggers to identify "the top four issues that women online want the U.S. Presidential candidates to address in order to win our votes in the ‘08 Election."
It's hard for me to choose only 4 issues when there are so many problems our America faces at the current time. Energy independence, immigration, Social Security, terrorism- these are all very important issues our next President will have to tackle. After much deliberation, here are my four issues:
  1. Respect for human life from conception through natural death. This goes beyond just the "hot-button" issues of abortion, embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia, and capital punishment. Poverty, unjust wars, racism, human rights abuses, sexual exploitation, domestic violence, lack of stewardship of the Earth- working to end all these tragedies are part of holding a "consistent life" ethic.
  2. Fix the health care mess in this country. Having endured 5 years using the military healthcare system I'm leery of socialized medicine, but something needs to be done. Malpractice tort reform is important. Prescription drug marketing is out of control and driving up costs. Getting Americans to eat less junk and exercise more (perhaps by taxing the former and subsidizing the latter) would really help.
  3. Allowing all parents true educational choice for their children. Poor and middle-class families often lack the options wealthy families have to move to a neighborhood with good public schools, enroll in a private school, or homeschool. Public schools should convert from district-run to charters with open enrollment policies. Individual charters should have the autonomy to choose their own textbooks, set their own curriculum, and make staffing decisions. Public schools should allow part-time enrollment and access to extracurricular activities for families who wish to combine homeschooling with traditional schooling. Vouchers and tax incentives should be available for parents who prefer private schooling or homeschooling. Encourage true competition and let market pressures drive schools to innovate if they want to stay in business.
  4. Encourage the building of more affordable housing units. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition's Out of Reach report, the "housing wage" needed to rent a 2BR unit spending the recommended 30% of one's income for housing was $16.31 nationwide in 2006. 88% of renters live in areas where 2 minimum wage jobs are not sufficient to meet the "housing wage". The situation is even worse in many cities. In San Francisco, the "housing wage" was $29.63. Orange County near L.A. had a "housing wage" of $28.56. Boston had a "housing wage" of $26.27. Washington, DC had a "housing wage" of $24.73. Bear in mind these are just to rent an apartment. To afford to purchase a starter home (priced at 85% of the median) in San Francisco in the 1st quarter of 2007 required an annual income of $142,000. Fewer than 18% of the households in the area meet that threshold.
As for the one global red-hot issue that BlogHer should choose, my vote would be for encouraging women to become active and informed citizens. Women today are so busy with career and family obligations that it's easy to "tune out" politics. We need to do a better job of paying attention to issues that affect us and our families. We need to make our voices heard on every level from our local communities to global ones. Blogging can certainly help, but we need to go beyond just words into taking action.

Can I get a chorus of I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar?


Marcia (MeeAugraphie) said...

I am glad you stopped by, I might have missed this post otherwise.
Very well put.

I pulled away from politics many years ago and am only now, late in life, paying much attention. I find it hard to trust any candidate, but that is all the more reason I need to be more vocal.

Health care and housing are two I am focusing on, I have excellent retirement benefits for health care, but it seems so unjust that others don't. Housing is a major problem for us, but we are still in a much better position to solve our own problem than millions of others.

I can understand why you made your first cause cover so many issues. . . they all pertain to each other.

Linda said...

These are good issues. I'm glad you stopped by my blog and left a comment. I didn't know there was such a diversity of opinion on the BlogHers site.

PunditMom said...

First, it's so nice to hear someone talk about "life" issues and include a need to address things like poverty and domestic violence. While we probably differ on some of these issues, I've always wondered why some advocated could be pro-life, but at the same time feel like other issues like poverty don't fall into that category.

And, amen, on getting ALL women to be involved in the political process. No matter whether our views are blue, red or purple (!), think what we could do if we really spent more time being involved.