Tuesday, October 07, 2008

What happens when you merge a revved-up mind with back pills

All right, I'm officially pissed off.

Just in past two hours, I have read enough bullshit to make what's left of my head explode. Even worse, much of it's coming from a crowd of people I consider good friends. Intelligent, caring people who nevertheless seem to have a serious screw loose when it comes to this election. It's not just one person, it's several, and it all seems to be coming at once. What I'm reading boils down to these composite thoughts:

"I don't like John McCain or his policies. He is a continuation of the disastrous Bush years. It's time for a change from someone progressive who will restore this country's morale and standing in the world. But I'm going to vote for McCain, even though I don't want to and hate his guts, because Barack Hussein Obama has a funny name and I disagree with him on abortion."

"I used to be a liberal but then I married an ultra-conservative soldier. And even though he sees the Iraq war as illegal and the worst possible thing we could've done, he wants to go because we need to keep fighting this war. If we don't, then our kids will be fighting it. So we need to stay there and fight."

"If you vote for Obama or McCain, then you are part of the problem. There is no difference whatsoever between the two. None. So vote McCain, like me. Because I'm willing to hasten this country's economic and moral bankruptcy just to make an obvious point."

"I don't like Barack Obama because he draws massive crowds and people are infatuated with him and his message. I can't trust someone like that."

"I want you to know my beliefs, so listen up! If you disagree, shut up."

"I love John McCain! His policies speak to me a person, and he really inspires me to be the best U.S. citizen I can be." (OK, I made that one up.)

What I've come to realize is that this election is not about Obama vs. McCain; it's about smart vs. stupid. If anyone can make a solid case for voting Republican this cycle, I'd love to hear it. I'll even give it the benefit of the doubt, as I always have. But I never, ever hear reasoned arguments. It's always, "Obama sucks, he's weird and different, blah blah blah." I guarantee you, if it was the Democrats who chose the sellout still riding the 1960s, known for a volatile temper and questionable family values, who chose a running mate based solely on her gender and whose pregnant teenage daughter is direct proof of both the failure of abstinence education and the hypocrisy of the pro-life camp, conservatives would be calling for that person's HEAD. Dead or alive. And they'd have a point.

But because Sarah Palin says "ya betcha" and reminds shallow people of themselves, everything's forgiven. And no amount of logic or reason can penetrate that anti-matter force. While I expect the religious right and narrow-minded bigots to vote for their own kind, it frustrates me beyond belief when they drag down some bright minds in the process. People who aren't narrow-minded or bigoted, but who somehow buy the line that those who don't want a theocracy must be out to destroy American values.

My problem, as I've often been told, is that I overthink things. Maybe I do, but too many people don't think at all. And that's the real problem. Intellectually, the McCain campaign boils down to this: "Times are tough. We need change. Four more years! Who better to right the wrongs of the present than the people who screwed up in the first place?" If people thought with their brains instead of their hormones, McCain wouldn't win his household vote. Any of the households.

But no. People choose their votes through anger, fear, self-centeredness and superficiality. I can't decide what's worse: people who refuse to vote for Obama because of e-mail lies, or because even though they've been given proof that the lies are wrong, they still choose to believe it. It's not that they don't know the facts; they don't even want to know. When it comes to rational thinking, they're suddenly pro-choice. And they choose to be ignorant.

On my end, I'm voting for Obama not because he's black, or young, or because I like his position on every single issue. In fact, I have significant disagreements with him on gay marriage (he's against it) and "clean" coal technology (which he cheers along with alternative fuels). But I like him as a whole. I think he is the best person to lead this nation, because he appeals to a wide cross-section of people. I'm more in line with Dennis Kucinich ideologically, but I understand this election is not about Ian. Obama's positions are important, but so is his desire to involve all Americans in his vision and dream. For him, America is more than about malls, wars and profit - it's about a community of people who share wants, needs, loves and experiences. It's the understanding that what affects one affects all of us, that we are at our best when we participate and have a passion to change society for the better. This is at odds with the worship-the-rich climate we have today, and why it's so grating for me to see people with hardly any money (and who have been gutted the most by the Bush administration) deride Obama for suggesting that rich people and institutions be held responsible for their excesses.

Then there's religion and "morals." If the recent video of Sarah Palin's church proves anything, it's that none of Obama's haters ever cared about Rev. Jeremiah Wright, they just wanted something to hang on Captain Different. After all, Palin has also had a controversial black preacher pray over her, imploring God to help her win public office and scare away all the witches. Not a peep. And before you reply with, "Yeah, but he wasn't her pastor for 20 years," consider this: Wright was an ex-Marine whom the Obama family had known for more than a decade before he made that single, out-of-context comment. We all have friends and relatives who've said disagreeable things, but we have other things we love about them that keep us going back to them again and again. Palin didn't have that kind of relationship with her witch-hunter, so it's hard to imagine that he was there for any reason beyond his snake-handling abilities.

And no one has yet sold me on McCain's morals. The man who once said, "I hated the gooks and always will;" married his rich second wife illegally after deserting his loyal first wife; wants to cut programs that help the less-fortunate; has reversed his position on torture despite firsthand experience; and wants to continue an illegal war, is somehow more moral than Obama in the eyes of many. How? Because he (now) supports an end to abortion? Is that all it takes to have character these days?

In the past, I've disagreed but understood why people voted Republican. Even George W. Bush, wretched leviathan that he is, appealed to some on an earnestly patriotic (or economic) level. But the McCain-Palin ticket is all anger, all cynicism, all show. They're like a dim, dingy light bulb in a dark room - good enough for navel-gazing, but nothing compared to the lavish sunshine outside if you'd just muster the energy to swing the dusty blinds open.

To my many dear friends who may be reading this, I beg of you to please look inside and ask yourself why you support who you do in this election. I'm not asking you to agree with me, but I hope that your support is grounded on a firm foundation and isn't guided entirely by your hatred of the other guy or because you're afraid of what the neighbors might think.

Come to think of it, shouldn't everything pass that test?

1 comment:

E.J. said...

Preach, brutha!