Saturday, November 01, 2008

Final Push Before The Election

Back in January, I wrote a post that briefly summarized my thoughts about each of the major candidates in the primaries on both sides of the political spectrum. Unfortunately because my brain works like a raccoon that has just spotted a shiny object, I have no idea what I said about any of them and have little interest in looking it up because, hey, shiny object. Fortunately, we've somehow whittled the list down to two major contenders, if you don't include Ron Paul, with only four days left before the actual election. It was an arduous task, but somehow we got it done. The hardest part is now going to be convincing most of the country to choose just one in what could be the most important election since the last season of American Idol.

What a year it's been, too. We've come so far and learned so much about the candidates that doesn't really matter because neither of them has really done anything more shocking or dispicable than the other. We've been introduced to two previously unknown politicians nominated for Vice President. One is not really qualified to fill the position, not based on executive experience, but on the fact that she is a fucking idiot. Finally, political analysts are still baffled by tight poll numbers between a moderate Republican candidate and a moderate Democratic candidate.

There is so much ground to cover between these two. As much as I'm uncertain if I can trust one candidate, I know I can't trust the other, and that is the attitude with which I am going to cast my vote. I'm not going to be voting for someone I like so much as against someone I don't like. I am going to exercise my right to vote to voice my protest against John McCain. We have already suffered for eight years through a President driven by ego with no real idea how to lead. We have seen the damage wrought when the leader of the free world resorts to bullying tactics and abuses of power to get his own way instead of sound judgment to benefit the good of mankind. We can't afford to suffer even four more years of that malignant narcissism.

In the third debate, John McCain praised Barack Obama's slick tongue and noted that you have to pay close attention to how he chooses his words, but have you ever noticed how John McCain addresses the public? He calls people "my friends." Most people would overlook this as nothing more than a friendly salutation, but if you take a moment to think about it, it has a dangerous double meaning. Another word for "friend" is "ally" or "supporter," and the opposite of the word "friend" is "enemy." By addressing the public as "my friends," it seems he is specifically addressing his supporters and labeling anyone who does not support him as his enemy. I think it's a dangerous precipice for a Presidential nominee to toe to associate his critics and detractors as enemies. It's not a colossal jump from personal enemies to enemies of the State the man being criticized is President.

Counter that with the way Barack Obama addresses the public. He typically uses affections such as some variation of "My fellow Americans." Whether you agree with him or not, he thinks of you the same way, equal to him, as an American citizen. Although this address is a little less personal, it does seem more positive, because he's not implying that anyone in the crowd is his enemy. We're all united as Americans for a common good, and criticism is just as crucial as compliance to acheive that end. It is an important philosophy that the current administration, as well as the McCain campaign, seems to have forgotten in their overt fear of criticism. A person fears criticism if that person has something to hide.

John McCain is no friend of the middle class. Obama has been attacked as an elitist, from what I can tell primarily because he acts with dignity and speaks with conviction, but at least Obama has an idea of what it is like to be poor and to struggle and to work hard against difficult odds and to succeed. John McCain was the spoiled son of a priviledged family who was handed opportunity and often disregarded or destroyed it. Sound like anyone else we know? The only thing John McCain knows about the poor is that they smell bad and dress funny, and the only thing John McCain cares about the poor is that they are unbelievably stupid, gullible, and lazy. They would have to be, after all, to listen to all of the outright lies from the McCain campaign and still accept him as their possible leader.

Every politican stretches the truth to portray their opponent in a negative light, but I have seen few take it so far to the extreme as McCain has. In fact, probably the last guy I have seen cling so desperately to claims that have been proven such undisputed fiction was George W. Bush against McCain in 2000. In fact, when he was being attacked so viciously, McCain detested the dirty politics of the Bush campaign, and now he has hired much of the same campaign team against Obama. I guess it's hard to dispute the proven track record of America's fuckwit stupidity. When I see McCain decry an Obama ad criticizing his economic policy as mudslinging and Obama shake McCain's personal character attacks like water off a duck's back, I have to wonder when did the Republican party get to be such a bunch of victimized whiners. I always thought that was the Democrats' stereotype.

To be fair, I do recall one moment when Obama did express concern over hate speech and death threats coming from some of the supporters at McCain rallies, concern recently validated when a couple of misguided McCain supporters actually plotted to assassinate Obama. Well, I assume they were McCain supporters. They were Skinheads. I also recall a moment when McCain wanted Obama to apologize for independent remarks by Congressman John Lewis, who warned that McCain was "sowing the seeds of hatred" amongst his supporters, which in light of recent events seems completely unfounded.

Then there's Obama's ties to William Ayers, a radical Vietnam protester in the Sixties who served on an important education reform board with Obama in the Nineties. A bipartisan board founded by a member of Reagan's administration and funded by McCain's biggest single financial backer. As suspicious as Obama's ties to Ayers might be, they're still less than six degrees separated from McCain himself. Is it unbelievable that Obama didn't know offhand the history of a domestic terrorist when he was eight? Would you immediately recognize the name William Ayers before it was broadcast all over the news for the past several months?

Four months ago, would you recognize the name Joe Vogler the founding member of an Alaskan secessionist party that supported Sarah Palin's early political career? Four months ago, would you recognize the name William Timmons, McCain's proposed transition chief who once tried to help Saddam Hussein's regieme? Of course, if these questions are raised, McCain calls it a smear tactic. Every politician has questionable skeletons in their closet, and they need to be aware of their own associations before calling to question those of others. In McCain's camp are some of the most questionable politicians and dirtiest lobbyists to make Bush's associations pale in comparison, which is understandable, since these are the main people most significantly affected by McCain's tax cuts.

One thing that fascinates me about McCain, though, is that he and his yes men at FoxNews have actually convinced middle class Americans to serve as a mouthpiece for the rich. One of the latest ignorant rumors I've been hearing from many of the middle class machinists and technicians I work with is that Obama wants to spread our wealth around. What wealth? I'm not wealthy. Are you wealthy? Odd how none of them can offer a retaliation to that response. I hope Obama spreads our wealth around. I hope he spreads some of it my way.

They're trying to apply a clichéd stereotype to Obama that links his Democratic ties with Socialism. It's an obvious fearmongering Hail Mary play that's about as realistic as tying McCain to Hitler solely because he's a Republican. If these people would examine the facts, Obama's plan calls for taxing the richest five percent of the nation an extra four percent and giving breaks to the remaining ninety-five percent. McCain wants to actually give a tax break to the same five percent and tax the other ninety-five percent on a gradually decreasing scale to the point where the poorest families don't get a tax increase or a tax break. Still, Obama's tax plan ends up generating more tax revenue than McCain's. Probably why Obama's economic plan would only raise the budget deficeit by $236 billion in the first year as opposed to McCain's $500 billion in the same amount of time.

The working class is already sacrificing to make the wealthy wealthier, and the only gratitude the wealthy give is asking for more sacrifice. They make their money through the hard work and dedication of the middle class, so how is it fair that they get to keep more of the money that they don't need while the working class gets to keep less of the money they do? I want to buy a house soon. McCain has so many houses someone could firebomb a couple of them and he wouldn't even be aware they were his. It's only in the rich's best interest that you believe Obama is going to take your money and give it to lazy people who don't deserve it. McCain wants to take our money and give it to another group of people who really don't deserve it: the rich. They get our blood, sweat, and tears. Do we need to give them our money too?

Of course, it's equally impressive that Obama can convince a multitude of rich Americans that they could stand to give back a little more to ease the burden on the middle class. Americans are crying out that the country is headed in a direction we are no longer comfortable with, and McCain criticizes Obama for addressing those concerns, as if wanting to better ourselves somehow makes us less patriotic. Masking the problems facing the country with brainless jingoism isn't going to fix anything.

Finally, I don't think John McCain hates Barack Obama. There are candid moments when I sense that McCain has a great deal of respect for Obama. I think what annoys McCain about Obama is that Obama stands a very good chance of ruining what is probably McCain's last shot at the Presidency. Obama I think wants to be President because he really believes that he can change the country for the better. McCain, however, needs to be President, and it is that need that I don't trust. McCain doesn't need to be President because he is concerned about us. He needs to be President to prove to his father and grandfather that he is not a fuck-up, much like George W. Bush needed to be President to prove the same to his father. McCain cares more about being President than about actually doing the job.

This Tuesday you're going to choose between a moderate Democrat and a moderate Republican. The only reason their supporters have to continue to cling to their candidate is overwhelming party loyalty. I have no idea if Obama is going to be right for the country, but I am convinced that McCain isn't. I'll just have to cast my vote and hope for the best, just like everyone else. Well, everyone except McCain supporters. At least they know what to expect with the candidate of their choice.

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