Sunday, March 18, 2012

Finding Solutions, not Problems

So I promised I would expand on what I meant by finding solutions this week, and I will. I'll just give a brief overview to a very busy week.

In terms of work, this week has had to be the busiest one yet. The other intern was out for spring break, so I had to juggle a few projects at once; they all got completed in their allotted time. My projects ranged from the UPU, Rio +20, IAEA, CCPCJ, and drafting diplomatic notes!

On Tuesday I went to a senate hearing on securing nuclear materials; Sen. Akaka (D-HI) presided and it was interesting to hear testimonies from DoS, DoE, and DoD. I also drafted two diplomatic notes and have been preparing for the Advisory Committee on International Postal Policy on Tuesday (Woooooo! Joking).

On Wednesday Dickinson hosted an event with P.J. Crowley and I got to network a bit. This week, I have been doing informational interviews with non-proliferation officers; it has been great to see how they got to their position as well as networking for the future. I am going to continue to do informational interviews especially with US-UN officials at state and many others.

The TWC program manager came to state for an on-site inspection (part of the program) and she received very positive feedback on my work. I explained to her my reservations with TWC and she agreed with some of them.

And it has been absolutely stunning weather in DC this week. No day was below 70 and there were a few days in the 80s.

 Now onto the second part of this post. I realize I may hit on touchy subjects, but these are my opinions and you can disagree with them, just act like an adult.

As I touched on last week, I said our leaders talk about problems, not solutions. So let me give an example by talking about the abortion issue. Its contentious, but what we have seen from congress and numerous states are laws which shut down legal abortion clinics, or ironically insert more government mandates (which the GOP does with Virginia's ultrasound bill, hypocrites much?). In my view, I 100% support the woman's right to choose. However, I think the pro-choice and pro-life labels are false. I would like to to think that no woman would want to have an abortion. The woman who do choose to have the procedure done never forget it. It's a big decision. I come from the view that everyone is pro-life, and this entire country would like to see the least abortions possible per year. I haven't met one person, one woman, or one man, that just loves to see an abortion. I challenge anyone who disagrees with me to find one. Seriously.

Now, the question for our leaders should be: How do we make policy which decreases the amount of abortion procedures per year? This is sensible, isn't it? Now you're talking about solutions, not the issue itself. But solutions should address a deeper question, why do women choose to undergo abortions in the first place? And once we've pinpointed why, how to do you try and solve it?

Here's a few possible solutions: greater funding for school programs which teach about being safe, greater funding for pre and post-natal programs which support low-income or single mothers. Let's be honest, there is a real divide between sex education and abortions between the different income classes in this country.  Some abortions happen because of unwanted pregnancies, and the lack of responsibility to use protection among partners. Other reasons are societal and so on. If the government provided grants for local programs which help women care for their children, particularly in low-income areas, then maybe the mother may have hope her child will grow to have a successful life. These are real issues and must be tackled by real solutions, this is how progress is made.

Lets talk another issue - food security. Now judging by our supermarkets, food security doesn't really seem like an issue, I am just securitizing something. But I'm really not. According to many stories, including Foreign Policy magazine its an impending global crisis. Currently we have and use a lot of genetically modified food (GMFs) (shout out Erin Carroll). Which is why we have so much. My opinion about GMFs?

While it lets us mass produce food, long-term its probably not in our best interest to keep GMF production up. Government should take the lead in encouraging organically grown (or non-GMF grown) food. Unfortunately, profit and ease often triumph smart policy in government. I also don't think there can ever be too much food regulation, Obama recently got new regulations passed in 2010.

However GMFs, as you mention, can have a significant affect on ending world hunger. There are many spectacular NGOs which do great work off food and financial donations to give people basic meals. While GMFs are harmful in the long run, there should be more exportation to places that need it most, or at least some policy which addresses this global problem. With over 7 billion people on this planet, I don't think it would be possible to feed them all without some GMF material, but then again, we don't feed everyone ether. Finding GMF to grow in hunger stricken areas would probably be a good step to take, if it hasn't already. There are signs of an impending food crisis happening in different sections of the world. As globalization continues, food security will keep becoming a paramount national and international security issue.

Yes I am a Democrat, but I am a strong believer in individual responsibility. My view as a Democrat is that government has the ability to remove barriers imposed by societal and economic conditions so everyone can be an an equal-er playing field to compete. Government has the role of helping the individual achieve what they want, not giving stifling human potential and excellence. Who says the next President, Albert Eisenstein, or next innovator can't be living in poverty right now, never able to become who he/she wants because of economic and societal barriers. This is the role I feel our government should play, enabling others to have the potential to live more amply. It's an ideal, but certainly not unrealistic.

That's all I got for today, I've thought about these in depth a little :p. Of course there are plenty more, I'll sprinkle them through the coming weeks. Wouldn't it be nice if we had policies that solved problems, instead of just debating them?

I know so.


P.S. Congrats Shannon on your amazing internship this summer! :)

1 comment:

  1. Dang man, getting deep. I love that you are getting logical and fully developing your thinking and not getting bogged down by the labels. DC is doing good to you it seems.