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What should be the big issues of the 2008 US presidential election?

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With 40 million uninsured Americans, the issue should be healthcare, healthcare, healthcare. Question: What should be the big issues of the 2008 US presidential election? Alan Dershowitz: I think there's a sharp dichotomy between Republicans and Democrats on several issues. One is secularism versus fundamentalism. When you have many of the Republican candidates raising their hand when asked if they don't believe in evolution and all the Democratic candidates saying they do believe in evolution. When you have many Republicans wanting to lower the wall of separation between church and state, and many Democrats pandering as well to religious constituencies, but at least saying the right words about separation of church and state. When you get the religious groups misapplying Jesus' message and trying to recreate Jesus in their own image. If you look at the Republican conception of Jesus, he's a gun toting, tax-cutting person who hates the poor. Nothing can be further from the truth. Jesus was a man of peace who loved the poor and didn't have such nice views about the rich. Something about the camel going through a needle. And it's bizarre. Now the religious right is trying to recreate Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams, and James Madison, and George Washington in their own image by pretending that these were deeply religious Christians who wanted to create a Christian society in America. So I think on the issues of secularism versus religion, on the issues of environmentalism, there are clear differences between Democrats and Republicans. On the issues of minimum wage and trying to help the poor; on the issues of immigration, perhaps not as sharply; but there are big differences. I think none of the candidates today wants to discuss the big, big, big issues. They're not good political fodder. They don't make good bumper stickers. And it's hard to campaign on anything other than slogans today.   Recorded On: June 12, 2007 Question: What should be the big issues of the 2008 US presidential election? Alan Dershowitz: I think there's a sharp dichotomy between Republicans and Democrats on several issues. One is secularism versus fundamentalism. When you have many of the Republican candidates raising their hand when asked if they don't believe in evolution and all the Democratic candidates saying they do believe in evolution. When you have many Republicans wanting to lower the wall of separation between church and state, and many Democrats pandering as well to religious constituencies, but at least saying the right words about separation of church and state. When you get the religious groups misapplying Jesus' message and trying to recreate Jesus in their own image. If you look at the Republican conception of Jesus, he's a gun toting, tax-cutting person who hates the poor. Nothing can be further from the truth. Jesus was a man of peace who loved the poor and didn't have such nice views about the rich. Something about the camel going through a needle. And it's bizarre. Now the religious right is trying to recreate Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams, and James Madison, and George Washington in their own image by pretending that these were deeply religious Christians who wanted to create a Christian society in America. So I think on the issues of secularism versus religion, on the issues of environmentalism, there are clear differences between Democrats and Republicans. On the issues of minimum wage and trying to help the poor; on the issues of immigration, perhaps not as sharply; but there are big differences. I think none of the candidates today wants to discuss the big, big, big issues. They're not good political fodder. They don't make good bumper stickers. And it's hard to campaign on anything other than slogans today.   Recorded On: June 12, 2007
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We should be over war by now. Question: What should be the big issues of the 2008 US Presidential presidential election? Billy Collins:    Well, finding a government that is more responsive to the real problems that we're having not just politically, but in terms of the globe, the planet.  I don't have anything new to add to this, but as someone said, I read the other day that if we start doing something about climate change now, it'll be a lot different from starting five years from now or worse 10 years from now.  I think people's minds are changing.  We've gone, I think, from some sense of alarm; a kind of a Chicken Little sense that the planet's going to cook up to 190 degrees and we're all going to die.   The evidence just keeps mounting, which as a result of; well growing consensus that yeah, this is real and it's not good. Question: What should be the big issues of the 2008 US Presidential presidential election? Billy Collins:    Well, finding a government that is more responsive to the real problems that we're having not just politically, but in terms of the globe, the planet.  I don't have anything new to add to this, but as someone said, I read the other day that if we start doing something about climate change now, it'll be a lot different from starting five years from now or worse 10 years from now.  I think people's minds are changing.  We've gone, I think, from some sense of alarm; a kind of a Chicken Little sense that the planet's going to cook up to 190 degrees and we're all going to die.   The evidence just keeps mounting, which as a result of; well growing consensus that yeah, this is real and it's not good.
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Lehrer says we should actually act on our pledges to improve education.
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The question, Chopra says, should be, "Can we find a creative solution?" Question: What should be the big issues of the 2008 US election? Deepak Chopra: I think the big issues of the next [US] presidential election is to think totally out of the box. Instead of saying, "Can we win the war in Iraq?" the question should be, "Can we find a creative solution?" which exposes our vulnerability, but at the same time requests the help of the international community, including the Iraqis or people in the Islamic world. We have to really think of creative solutions for all the problems. Instead of using words like "war on terrorism, war on drugs, war on AIDS, war on poverty," let's understand that creativity is the solution, and that we have to get out of our extreme nationalism as well. Unfortunately, people don't realize, but nationalism is a very dangerous impulse. Einstein said that nationalism is an infantile disease. It's the measles of humanity. Nationalism is a sophisticated form of tribalism. Eric Fromm, a great psychologist, said nationalism is our form of incest. It's our idolatry, and patriotism is a cult. I think somebody has to be brave enough, risky enough to tell the truth and not worry about whether they will get the vote or not. If they're authentic, they'll get the vote.   Recorded on: Aug 17, 2007 Question: What should be the big issues of the 2008 US election? Deepak Chopra: I think the big issues of the next [US] presidential election is to think totally out of the box. Instead of saying, "Can we win the war in Iraq?" the question should be, "Can we find a creative solution?" which exposes our vulnerability, but at the same time requests the help of the international community, including the Iraqis or people in the Islamic world. We have to really think of creative solutions for all the problems. Instead of using words like "war on terrorism, war on drugs, war on AIDS, war on poverty," let's understand that creativity is the solution, and that we have to get out of our extreme nationalism as well. Unfortunately, people don't realize, but nationalism is a very dangerous impulse. Einstein said that nationalism is an infantile disease. It's the measles of humanity. Nationalism is a sophisticated form of tribalism. Eric Fromm, a great psychologist, said nationalism is our form of incest. It's our idolatry, and patriotism is a cult. I think somebody has to be brave enough, risky enough to tell the truth and not worry about whether they will get the vote or not. If they're authentic, they'll get the vote.   Recorded on: Aug 17, 2007
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Big issues instead of bumper stickers. Question: What should be the big issues of the 2008 US presidential election? Alan Dershowitz: I think there's a sharp dichotomy between Republicans and Democrats on several issues. One is secularism versus fundamentalism. When you have many of the Republican candidates raising their hand when asked if they don't believe in evolution and all the Democratic candidates saying they do believe in evolution. When you have many Republicans wanting to lower the wall of separation between church and state, and many Democrats pandering as well to religious constituencies, but at least saying the right words about separation of church and state. When you get the religious groups misapplying Jesus' message and trying to recreate Jesus in their own image. If you look at the Republican conception of Jesus, he's a gun toting, tax-cutting person who hates the poor. Nothing can be further from the truth. Jesus was a man of peace who loved the poor and didn't have such nice views about the rich. Something about the camel going through a needle. And it's bizarre. Now the religious right is trying to recreate Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams, and James Madison, and George Washington in their own image by pretending that these were deeply religious Christians who wanted to create a Christian society in America. So I think on the issues of secularism versus religion, on the issues of environmentalism, there are clear differences between Democrats and Republicans. On the issues of minimum wage and trying to help the poor; on the issues of immigration, perhaps not as sharply; but there are big differences. I think none of the candidates today wants to discuss the big, big, big issues. They're not good political fodder. They don't make good bumper stickers. And it's hard to campaign on anything other than slogans today.   Recorded On: June 12, 2007 Question: What should be the big issues of the 2008 US presidential election? Alan Dershowitz: I think there's a sharp dichotomy between Republicans and Democrats on several issues. One is secularism versus fundamentalism. When you have many of the Republican candidates raising their hand when asked if they don't believe in evolution and all the Democratic candidates saying they do believe in evolution. When you have many Republicans wanting to lower the wall of separation between church and state, and many Democrats pandering as well to religious constituencies, but at least saying the right words about separation of church and state. When you get the religious groups misapplying Jesus' message and trying to recreate Jesus in their own image. If you look at the Republican conception of Jesus, he's a gun toting, tax-cutting person who hates the poor. Nothing can be further from the truth. Jesus was a man of peace who loved the poor and didn't have such nice views about the rich. Something about the camel going through a needle. And it's bizarre. Now the religious right is trying to recreate Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams, and James Madison, and George Washington in their own image by pretending that these were deeply religious Christians who wanted to create a Christian society in America. So I think on the issues of secularism versus religion, on the issues of environmentalism, there are clear differences between Democrats and Republicans. On the issues of minimum wage and trying to help the poor; on the issues of immigration, perhaps not as sharply; but there are big differences. I think none of the candidates today wants to discuss the big, big, big issues. They're not good political fodder. They don't make good bumper stickers. And it's hard to campaign on anything other than slogans today.   Recorded On: June 12, 2007
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Do you want more or less liberty?
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Pulling out of Iraq now, Wales says, would be immoral. Question: What should be the biggest of the 2008 election? Dan Gilbert: There are a lot of fundamental issues that should affect our votes in the U.S. election in 2008. But could there be one more fundamental than the environment? Again I think not. I think all ... all problems and their solutions are predicated upon our ability to be here, to solve them. If we undermine ... if we get rid of the platform on which we're all standing, it doesn't much matter what great realizations we come to. It doesn't much matter what we say to each other. It doesn't matter who's right or who's wrong. So solving the basic environmental problem seems, to me, the single most pressing issue for all of us.  Personally I care a lot about a number of issues. I care a lot about the issue of gay rights and gay marriage. It seems to me that this is a perfect example of a non-issue ... an issue in which there ... those against it can't name a single cost. They can't name a single harm. I hear opponents of this saying, "But it harms the institution of marriage." I don't know what those words mean. That's just a bunch of lip-flapping. That's a way of saying, "I don't like it." Well I know you don't like it. Tell me why. And there is no answer to why except, "But I just don't like it." The idea that in this part of the 21st century, in the freest country that's ever existed on the globe, we can deprive people of fundamental rights because, "Well, we can't really say why. We just don't like it," is a horror, and I would like to see resolution to that. I could go on and name issue after issue and you can probably predict where a Harvard professor would come out on many of them. You'd be surprised on a few. Recorded on: 6/12/07 Question: What should be the biggest of the 2008 election? Dan Gilbert: There are a lot of fundamental issues that should affect our votes in the U.S. election in 2008. But could there be one more fundamental than the environment? Again I think not. I think all ... all problems and their solutions are predicated upon our ability to be here, to solve them. If we undermine ... if we get rid of the platform on which we're all standing, it doesn't much matter what great realizations we come to. It doesn't much matter what we say to each other. It doesn't matter who's right or who's wrong. So solving the basic environmental problem seems, to me, the single most pressing issue for all of us.  Personally I care a lot about a number of issues. I care a lot about the issue of gay rights and gay marriage. It seems to me that this is a perfect example of a non-issue ... an issue in which there ... those against it can't name a single cost. They can't name a single harm. I hear opponents of this saying, "But it harms the institution of marriage." I don't know what those words mean. That's just a bunch of lip-flapping. That's a way of saying, "I don't like it." Well I know you don't like it. Tell me why. And there is no answer to why except, "But I just don't like it." The idea that in this part of the 21st century, in the freest country that's ever existed on the globe, we can deprive people of fundamental rights because, "Well, we can't really say why. We just don't like it," is a horror, and I would like to see resolution to that. I could go on and name issue after issue and you can probably predict where a Harvard professor would come out on many of them. You'd be surprised on a few. Recorded on: 6/12/07