Thursday, September 4, 2008

A disgruntled voter

In looking at my infrequent posts over the last year while I wrap up this MBA program, I realize that a good number of them have been political in nature. While we are in the midst of a world changing election cycle, I kinda surprised myself, nonetheless, by how much I had posted about this Presidential race. I suppose I have done so because I'm older and wiser and the real world seems to matter more now that I understand it a bit better and it affects me more. Even so, I still can't get fired up about candidates and in particular these conventions.

I have seen some pieces of the conventions and generally speaking I'm unimpressed. I have a few favorites that I like and I could listen to (where the hell is Tom Tancredo, by the way?), but overall these conventions are disappointing. Record numbers have tuned into Barack Obama and Sarah Palin, but I find their handling of this big stage fairly lackluster.

At the pinnacle moment, the grand pronunciation as the greatest person this political party can offer, these candidates continue to rely on propaganda, cutesy oratory and silly name calling. One person has to bring up community organizer and then the other brings up small town mayorship, which while relevant has to be done in a spiteful manner. Why not define what you stand for, explain differences, and let the public decide from there? Is that so much to ask?

For example, let's take the Iraq War.

Pro for war:
-Freeing Iraqi people held under oppressive rule for years
-Fighting terrorism by eliminating a previous save haven for them
-Promoting democracy, a long standing ideal America fights for

Con for war:
-Expensive, driving the country into even greater debt and we've seen the effect too much consumer credit has had on the stock market, let alone things like Medicare and Social Security
-Death toll while down is still high for the overall project
-Misdirected focus where we should be fighting in Afghanistan or not at all if you are peace activist

Look, I think both sides have incredibly persuasive arguments. Presented before me, I know which way I choose and what candidate best represents what I think should happen. Is it so much to ask that the issue is presented this way instead of through black and white TV advertisements that say absolutely nothing while bashing the opponent?

Pro for abortion:
-The Supreme Court a long respected entity has ruled this to be a legal right for a woman to do as she wants with her unborn child.

Con for abortion:
-The Supreme Court ruled erroneously and that life begins at conception.

One candidate falls on one side of this argument and one candidate falls on the other. Would it be so much to ask for a little chart at these conventions that actually say (gasp!) what they believe in and what action they would take when presented with this dilemma? I mean the big American flag in the background, flowing in the breeze that for some reason is supposed to make me think the person is more patriotic (?) is cute, but how about something with substance. How about a plan? A belief? Sure there is some of that in there but the I will do this vague action (wild cheering) while my opponent will do this unthinkable counteraction (voracious booing). You know, there just might be a viable argument for both sides and disrespecting the other side doesn't make yours more right.

Pro for tax cuts:
-People keep more of their own money to spend it as they choose

Con for tax cuts:
-Needed and necessary government programs better the lives of many Americans

Is it so hard to objectively take a step back, present why you think you are for or against tax cuts, and believe that people will move to your side and vote for you because of this. Or do we need 27 speeches building up how wonderful of an American you are because you have ascended to this point. Why not have 27 speeches outlining 27 tangible, measurable things you want to do in office?

As much fun as it is to fill an arena with people who think like you and support you, are all the cross-shots necessary? Are candidates so insecure that they have to take pot shots at one another instead of selling themselves and their values?

The worst movie I have ever seen was undoubtedly Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore. I eagerly rented the film wanting to see the arguments and the reasons why the Bush regime had done wrong. I wanted to learn something. Instead, I got cheesy, way over the top presentation of some stuff that might have been worthwhile but was so condescending and immature in presentation that I turned it off halfway through. Instead of presenting facts and making an argument, I got a warped, outrageous feature that had basis in something but ended with nothing. I feel similarly about these conventions. There's so much potential and so much inspiration to be had, but these feature presentations are just goofy. I guess I'm just a black and white kinda guy.

I look at these conventions and wonder if some circumstances were reversed if they wouldn't still be tearing at one another's throats. I watched a brilliant Daily Show package courtesy of one Eli Gieryna's blog that shows the asinine hypocrisy involved in these political rumblings. In one, Bill O'Reilly defends to the end the right to privacy of Sarah Palin's pregnant daughter and how we should support her and her decision to keep the child. The next clip shows O'Reilly going to town on the embarrassing situation of Jamie Lynn Spears pregnancy and that the parents are unequivocally to blame for teen pregnancy (complete with disgusted look). It's worth the click over to watch the clip.

It's pathetic these double standards. And I don't believe for a second that it's limited to Republicans. If roles were reversed, I'm sure we'd be hearing the same pandering and flip-flopping from the other side. It's this crap and these people that keep me, and I think a lot of the indifferent Americans, from getting excited about politics and getting involved. For some reason, there is this continual urge to blindly believe in whatever your guy says or does. Why can't you disagree with something that your preferred candidate believes in? Isn't it ok to be an Obama supporter an be concerned about his lack of leadership experience? Isn't it ok to be a Republican who thinks McCain overlaps some of Bush's system a little too much? Could their be some reasonable dissent at these conventions?

Dissent does lead me to a brief about the embarrassment that these crazy protesters have brought to themselves. I am all for disagreement in opinion, and I was asking for it in the last paragraph. I love a good political discussion, but why is the best way to speak your minority voice to break the law, disrespect others, and make an ass of yourself? Those getting thrown out of the Xcel Center tonight and those throwing feces on one another on the Capitol lawn the last few days are pathetic. The distorted perspective of the First Amendment is so far backwards that they have no concept of what it is or what it means. A basic civics class or better yet an Amendment law class will more than educate you on basic restrictions on the First Amendment, which yes, does include bottling your pee and throwing it through police car windows. Nothing makes a valid point quite like violence and chaos. A proud moment for you and your family, dear protesters.

And so the conventions have ended and both sides had their crazies dressed in red, white, and blue. The speeches have been filed and the "clever" remarks about the other side have been made. Vague suggestions on what the next four years should be are floating around. And perhaps for fear of turning off that oh so critical undecided voter, little to nothing definitive is said, certainly nothing we will hold our next President to. Instead, keynote speeches call out the opponent for something of some substance the other said. Maybe I'm boring, but I don't subscribe to this one-sided meandering and hollow propaganda. No, I'm not swayed by "change" and no I don't believe a "maverick" is going to make things significantly different. Why would I? Instead of saying something, anything, I hear the repetitive tooting of one's own horn and the spitting on the other.

Tom Tancredo wouldn't have stood for this shit.


CHCgirl said...

I saw the Jon Stewart clips earlier today and it really bothered me and I thought about it. I think you're right, the outrageous hypocrisy doesn't stem from the fact that the Republicans, but rather from the fact that they are politicians. Unfortunately/Fortunately (depending on your perspective) I think Republicans have been (in the recent past/present) better politicians than the Dems, which is why there are SO many of those clips and why watching them is just almost making me ill. Why do these people have so much power? I just thought it was interesting that the same clip from the Daily show resonated with you, as earlier this evening I emailed it to my brother and that guy in Florida because I knew they would enjoy it. Alot to think about.

lonewolf said...

I think you bring up a good point in saying that these clips are perhaps more numerous because Republicans have held the Oval Office 20 of the last 28 years. I also think that Jon Stewart is a tremendous talent and the show is naturally going to follow his more Democratic personal opinion. The bottom line is that Republicans should be funnier. But, I'm glad my point that this is not isolated to one party was not lost on the anti-Republican assault. No free passes here.

Eli said...

Good post, Drew.

It's weird how intense politics makes people get. It's like sports allegiances times 50, and I think people feel a deeper sense of personal stake in this. Hence the unwillingness to be flexible in their opinions. I know that I have to catch myself at times in my political views, because it's very easy to wallow in a contradiction.

The oddest thing is that the most passionate voters in this election already have their minds made up, and have for years. Yet it's the undecided voters who will actually decide the election.

America is kind of weird sometimes.

dani said...

I must admit this is the first election I've actually noticed. I didn't care in the past as I couldn't vote, but a lot of people seem ludicrous. At least once a day I get an email from one of my hardcore Harry Potter loving democratic friends stating the Sarah Palin hates JK Rowling. I've been blinded numerous times by Paris Hilton in a bikini telling me the Obama is the answer. Why? What makes this good advertisement or even a reason to vote for someone. Your a hockey mom, great. Now what will you do for the country? Or, Yes Obama you scream change, then burn McCain. How is firing insults at your opposition change? seems the same to me, but what do I know. Personally I'm just ready to be over with the election. If one more person asks me to save the country by signing their political petition, I may explode.