Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Topical rules

Rule #48: Apples and Agent Oranges
If you're still undecided between Barack Obama and John McCain, just tear up your voter registration card now. I understand there are voters out there who aren't satisfied with either candidate, and who are thus pondering such luminaries as Bob Barr, Ralph Nader and THE RON PAUL REVOLUTION. That's a completely understandable statement, insignificant as it is.

On the other hand, there seem to be plenty of people out there who have evidently narrowed their choices to the two major candidates, and yet still can't decide. How does this happen? Can someone really say, "Gee, McCain appeals to me...but so does Obama?" What's to decide, which candidate's ads are prettier? Aside from the superficial argument that the two are alike because they both have lots of money, there is very little in common between them. One wants to stay the course and the other wants to go in a less-horrible direction, for example. "Flip a coin" was the cool thing to say in 2000 and 2004, except that it turned out the coin had Bush's face on both sides. Then it bounced and went down the sewer, eventually draining into a polluted river where a fish choked on it and died. Get a grip. You undeniably have a choice this time. Use it!

Rule #49: Obama Nation abomination
If you're going to go out of your way to paint Obama as "Not American Enough," then at least be remotely pleasant yourself. By saying Obama is Different Than The Rest Of Us, you are asserting that you are somehow the barometer of Americana. Funny thing is, your bigoted, narrow-minded, uneducated ways are every bit as repulsive as the stereotype you choose to perpetuate about Obama. It may have been as American as apple pie in 2003 to strictly define a patriot as a more vengeful version of Toby Keith, but most people have come to their senses since then. Yes, we're all concerned about terrorism, but we've come to realize that not everyone who looks or acts different from Us (or doesn't have an American name like George or McCain or Condoleezza or Skip) has ties to killers. Not that Obama exhibits even half of the traits you so fear in a human being anyway. In any case, most of us have come to realize that the answers to our problems go beyond the simplistic solutions we've employed thus far.

You've had your eight years to play, and there's a reason no one's clamoring for eight more. It has as much to do with actions as words: "Hey! Maybe it's possible to love my country AND call out those who wave the flag while raping the treasury and invading the world! Wow!"

I don't envy you self-proclaimed arbiters of U.S. culture; you have an uphill climb this cycle. Resort to fear, bigotry and the world's most easily disprovable lies if you must; just don't be surprised if it doesn't work this time around. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if it did, but I like to think that people are better than that. I have to, because imagining a country full of border vigilantes does not swell me up with pride. Sorry, I'm Not One Of You.

Rule #50: Leisl Leisl and Cult Jam
No one who supports the GOP after eight years of unprecedented religious intrusion in government has any right to call the Obama campaign a cult. So 200,000 Germans showed up in support for Obama; this makes him Hitler? In the U.S., tens of thousands show up everywhere he goes; does this make him Jim Jones? If anything, Obama's call for change and restoring America's greatness is more reminiscent of Ronald Reagan than anyone else. And considering how conservatives fought to include Reagan's visage on something in every county in America, I wonder just how close to home that popularity actually hits for Republicans. On the other hand, maybe such cult-like devotion over Reagan's stirring presence struck fear into the GOP; it certainly explains George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. and McCain. And why the Obama phenomenon is so strong to begin with.

Rule #51: No name-calling
Obama is named after his dad. How can anyone hold that against him? It's not like we hated George W. Bush because we thought he'd be just like his dad; we're mad because he spent eight years being worse.

Rule #52: Snake Oil
Editorials in favor of increased drilling would carry more resonance if they weren't written by people with a direct stake in the oil industry. It's not that I blame the writers for defending their livelihood, but weak points combined with an unspoken (yet obvious) personal desire for profit is not the strongest argument. It's like reading an op-ed favoring the legalization of marijuana because "Dude, I just packed a killer bowl, man!"

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