03 September 2008
Political Rant I.
The more I try and wrap my mind around it, the only possible solution that I can come to is that John McCain is trying to pull some sort of Andy Kaufman performance art approach to his Presidential campaign, because the whole Sarah Palin pick strikes me as shameless and opportunistic, in the dumbest and most obvious of ways. For him to have built the entire linchpin of his campaign around how much more experience he has than Obama, then to turn around and pick a woman whom people in her own state call a glorified mayor- it’s either the height of hubris or some sort of shocking coup de grace for what was once a promising career.
There was a time when John McCain was a thorn in the side of everyone, a shrewd and volatile voice that was aiming for a bipartisan improvement of things in this country. This was a John McCain who refused to buy into the lockstep hypocrisies of evangelical Christianity, who had gay friends and who didn’t find same-sex marriage all that threatening at all. This was a man who got railroaded by George W. Bush during the ramp-up to the 2000 election. This was a man who was trying to change the face of the Republican party.
I knew it was over at the 2004 Republican convention, when he stood on stage with Bush, hugging the man who’d derailed his own campaign with some of the most ultra-Rovian tactics imaginable. That was the beginning of the end. He was hitching his horse to the way the wind was blowing, to continued war in Iraq, to obscene waste of the Federal budget, and to whatever reactionary Biblical pick-and-choose rules for society were endorsed by James Dobson and other jackals who’ve made the blind ignorance of their followers into their own personal empires. Mark my words- anyone who subscribes to Focus on the Family or feels that Sarah Palin is an icon of family values is not a follower of Christ. They follow their wallets, the fear that someone more powerful than they is watching, and whatever lets them feel good about their own lives and not rock the boat.
So I can’t muster up much respect for the poor shell of a man the Republicans have dredged up from the ditch George W. left him beat up and set on fire in eight years ago. He sold out, like most people do when the price is right. There’s only shame in that if you’ve tried to make your name and word of honor into something, and most people don’t. He did, and now it’s meaningless.
As for Sarah Palin, I feel nothing but contempt. She should never have accepted McCain’s offer of the Vice-Presidential nomination. The only good that will come from this debacle-in-the-making is that perhaps someone will finally get around into investigating the staggering amount of corruption that infests the state of Alaska. When she starts returning that $200,000,000 that was allocated for that state’s infamous ‘bridge to nowhere,’ then we’ll talk. When she explains how she can be a conservative, family values Christian woman who has currently put aside her four month-old special needs child to go run for Vice President, then we’ll talk. When she outlines a credible strategy for removing our troops from or entrenching them in Iraq, then we’ll talk. But for now, all I see is a pretty face who’s in way over her head. She may make it through this election without having too much dirty laundry spilled, but I don’t think that’ll be the case. And I don’t wish that on her; we’ve all got secrets we’re not too proud of.
My dog dropped out of this race a long way back. If someone asks me what kind of candidate represents my values, that’s easy- Dennis Kucinich all the way. But Dennis is a bit much for some people. Fine. So I have to look at who all is in the running and proceed accordingly. I’d like to think that I’m willing to cut people some slack when necessary. So I don’t think that either the Republican or Democratic nominees will willingly provoke conflict with another nation any time soon. Some would say this makes me naïve, but our resources are stretched way too think for any rational person to consider that. Again, some would say that I’m showing my own weaknesses by assuming that any of our prospective nominees can demonstrate consistent rationality. But that’s where I’m proceeding from.
Ending the War is a big thing for me. Health care reform needs to happen, and fast. The erosion of the separation between church and state needs to stopped, and the ideal way to do it is to tax churches. More money needs to go toward education than anything else. There’s no reason why climate crisis and non-petroleum fuel solutions can’t be part of our daily routine, and there’s no reason why science should be stymied by how a monolithic group has chosen to interpret ancient narratives. Abortion is not an easy choice, but until every child in this country can be cared for and nurtured and loved, it is a necessary option. The insurance racket needs to be gutted and reconceptualized. Discrimination against people for stupid reasons needs to stop. People without money are just as important as people with money, and it’s time we found a way of making that stick. SUVs should be stripped of their engines and hooked up to horses, becoming the modern stagecoach. Birth control should be available to everyone, everywhere. People who use their phones in movies should be ticketed and made to take a class. The drug war should be refocused onto drugs that actually kill people. Blue Laws should be abolished nationwide, and there’s no reason why wine shouldn’t be sold in grocery stores. Post offices and banks should have to keep normal business hours, because what makes them so special, anyway? People who are assholes should be taxed for it (I admit, I’m starting to get a bit fanciful at this point, but we all know at least one person who is an asshole of such a degree that no one would object to them having to subsidize a few poor kids’ lunches or language training for someone looking to improve the nation’s image around the world). Spaying and neutering for pets should be free for all. Sex work should be completely legalized and taxed appropriately.
That’s vaguely where I stand on things. And nobody represents all of those things, except me. So I have to figure out what works for me with what’s around.