Back when I was younger, I always used to like to think of movies I wanted to see and then cast them in my head. This was in the nineties, and one of the major objects of my hobby was always an X-Men movie. While that has come and gone, I remember that pretty much the only character from my dreamcast who made it to the movie was Patrick Stewart as Professor X. Bearing in mind this was the mid-90s, I’d always thought Kurt Russell and Gates McFadden would have made a terrific Cyclops and Jean Grey, respectively, while Jean Claude Van Damme was at that time popular enough, short enough, and Canadian enough to seem like a good choice for Wolverine.
I can’t say I’ve stopped. I still would love for Gore Verbinski to buy my adaptation of Macbeth and direct it with Christian Bale as the titular character and with a supporting cast including Cate Blanchett, Sean Bean, Dougray Scott, Angelina Jolie, and Anthony Hopkins. That’d be so, so rad. Imagine the swordfights of Pirates of the Caribbean but in medieval Scotland (which, admittedly casts the setting a solid several hundred years post Scottish play, but whatevs).
And now that President-elect Barack Obama (God, there’s a lovely ring to that) is considering his cabinet members, I have, too. I think it’s really important, too, because these are people chosen, rather than elected, and you can tell a lot about a man by the company he keeps. The cabinet consists of 15 members (You can find the current list here): they are the Secretaries of Agriculture, the Interior, Commerce, Justice, Defense, Labor, Education, State, Energy, Transportation, Health and Human Services, Treasury, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs, and Housing and Urban Development.
Now, there are a couple I wouldn’t even venture a guess toward, like Agriculture or Interior or Commerce. But a couple of the others? I’ll start with the ones I’d certainly offer:
Secretary of Labor: John Edwards. Don’t care that he had an extramarital affair. I’d at least ask him.
Secretary of Defense: General Wesley Clark. Dude’s awesome, and seems to know what he’s doing.
Secretary of Homeland Security: Richard Clarke. Because Against All Enemies is, by all accounts, genius. He was counter-terrorism czar for a while, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State until he “retired.” Thing is, dude is only a couple years older than my father. Again, I’d at least ask him.
Now here’s the thing: I considered John McCain in one of those. I think I’d want John McCain in my cabinet. Thing is, you can’t very well offer either post to the man who joked about Bomb-bomb-bombing Iran. So I think that what I’d do is ask McCain to be Secretary of Veterans Affairs, but also increase the synergy between the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Veteran’s Affairs. They seem related, after all.
Secretary of State: Bill Clinton.
Secretary of Education: Hillary Clinton.
Now, I wrestled over this one. But Hillary wrote It Takes a Village, and education has always been near to her heart.
Secretary of Energy: Al Gore. Because we need new energy if we want to end global warming, which is his cause and all, and hey, the man invented the Internet, so I’m sure he could come up with something (that’s a joke. I know he didn’t actually build these here tubes). And shit, dude won a Nobel, no? And for Peace? I would so totally want a Nobel Prize winner in my cabinet.
Secretary of Treasury: Paul Krugman. Hell, why not two Nobel Prize winners? Dude is the latest winner for economics. He’s got to know something. I’ve heard Warren Buffett’s name mention a couple of times, though, and I’m sure he’d be good.
I wish I could figure out who my attorney general would be. We’ve been in desperate need of a good one for several years. But I don’t know enough about law to know whose name should be mentioned here. But I can tell you what I’d want: an expert in constitutional law, and someone unafraid to follow it closely. Someone unafraid to denounce torture as an interrogation technique. Also, would it be this guy’s job to introduce legislation to abolish the electoral college and revise the way voting works? Because I think we need that guy, too.
So those are my big choices, I think. Looking over it, it seems to lean slightly left, but I left several slots unfilled, and I’d definitely try to balance the cabinet in filling those.
I know I got very wrapped up in the election and discussing it. I hadn’t meant to. I hadn’t meant to avoid it, exactly, but I hadn’t realized I would become so focused on it. I think I got so wrapped up in it because McCain/Palin scared me so much, and because I thought there was so much at stake.
A lot of it was wrapped up in my feelings about September 11th. I realized that before, but watching Obama’s acceptance speech drove it home. I’m only 30 and ain’t been alive long, arguably, and missed some major cultural milestones. I may be mistaken, but I don’t think any man has walked on the moon so long as I have been alive. The sixties are full of a lot of cultural imagery that will only ever be grainy footage to me; JFK and RFK and MLK. I came in at the tail end of the seventies, and missed free love and freer sex. While I enjoy the Beatles music in some ways, I still don’t see what the big fuss was about, and by the time I came around, Elvis was gone, too. I enjoy few movies made before 1980, Star Wars being the most notable example.
Still, the other night, watching Obama accept the presidency, I thought of what I have seen. I saw a black man become president of the United States, and while I know that racism is in many ways still alive and perhaps too healthy in America, I think it’s the surest sign there’s hope.
I remember this, too:
Which was in 1987. Two years later, in August 1989, 28 years and one day after it was constructed, that wall came down:
I think a lot of us had that feeling first thing Wednesday morning, just after midnight.
The end of one era, and the beginning of a new one.
(I’ve just realized, too, that 28 years and three days after I was born, I left for USC. That’s kinda neat)
Because the other momentous thing I’ve seen during my lifetime is something that too often hurts too badly to talk about too much. A few weeks ago, I caught the premier for Life on Mars, a show by which I was singularly unimpressed save for a single moment:
I often feel like that day started a time of corruption and incompetence carried through 7 long years. Seven years during which America lost internationally most of what reputation it had, invaded countries it had no right to attack, ‘defending freedoms’ it had already taken away anyway.
I don’t know what Obama will do, nor what he will change. I don’t know that he will be a good president. But I think he has both dignity and integrity, two things the office of the presidency have been sorely lacking for a long, long time (and not just during this past administration. I like Clinton, but dignity and integrity are not words that come to mind when he does), and I feel comfortable enough with the next four years (at least) in his hands.
I don’t think much will change for a while; Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the Berlin Wall didn’t fall the day after Mr. Reagan challenged Mr. Gorbachev. Then again, September 12th, 2001 saw the sun rise on a world completely changed from the one that had existed just 24 hours before, so who knows?
I don’t. But here’s the thing:
While I don’t remember much about the morning of September 11th up to, say, 8:50 or so, it is because that day at that point in my life was unremarkable, which means it was a good morning. It was a morning on which I woke up a little later than I wanted, brushed my teeth, walked a block up to the PATH station at Journal Square. It was a morning I walked from Herald Square at 34th and 7th to my office at 40th and Madison, and if I don’t remember anything out of the ordinary during that several block trek, I will claim it was a good one, because those walks were, back then. They weren’t all sunshine and roses, of course (not many rosebushes on the streets of Manhattan), but after that morning, those walks were different, and they disappeared all together several weeks later.
I cried when I watched Obama’s acceptance speech, just like I cried when Hillary Clinton spoke at the DNC. I cried when I watched McCain concede. Not because I was so happy, though there was that, but because I was feeling something with which I had been unfamiliar for so long. I watched the polls and results with hope but also with caution, and even posted over at Making Light that I would believe it only when he took the oath of office.
Because the thing is, when you’re so scared, when you feel so beaten down, when you get so wound up and anxious, if you feel that way long enough, it can be hard to give it up. Watching Obama speak, I started to give it up. I started to let the sun shine in again. I started to feel myself open again, and that’s something I haven’t felt in a long, long time. Watching Obama speak, I started to realize that things might not always be so dark as I felt they were.
Then again, I also know that I may well be projecting my personal feelings onto those of the country as a whole. I took this election more personally than I took the one in 2004 because I’ve changed in the years since. In 2004, I was working as an assistant editor and living in my parents’ basement; this just a couple of years after I had graduated college with all the promise in the world and gotten a great gig at a prestigious advertising agency. In a way, I think I felt I was going backward if I ever felt much at all, because I know at times I was going just to go, doing just to do, coasting through to get by. This year was personal because I don’t feel that way. I’m working and living and doing. I’ve stopped waiting around for life to happen and started to make things happen, and I think I projected some of that feeling onto the election. I think I felt as though, since I was changing, the world should, too, somehow, in however small or large a way.
I think, too, I felt ready.
I don’t know what the future will hold. I don’t know what tomorrow will be.
But just the hope of it makes me smile at the possibility.
For now, that is something. For now, it is enough.
334 electoral votes (at last count) later, this is no longer what you might call a victory. It’s now pretty much a blow out. What Obama did last night is called “winning decisively” or, alternately, “handing John McCain his ass.” McCain was gracious about it, accepting the failure as his own during his concession speech, and Obama, for his part, remained dignified and concentrated not on himself but on us. Which is why, I think, he was so galvanic.
I think few of his supporters believe he won last night.
I think we believe we won. He just happens to be our candidate, because he has risen up to become our voice. In him we see ourselves at our very best, and the hope to lead our country to its very best.
In him, I believe, we see the living embodiment of a dream:
That all men are created equal, and that we may live in a society in which we are judged by the content of our character and not the color of our skin. I’ve noticed that pretty much every media source in the country notes the historicity of his race, that he is the very first African American elected president, but I wonder if that does a disservice to what he has truly accomplished. Because he proved so decisively that what truly counts is the person, the candidate, and not the race or the creed or the gender. What matters is action and speech, thought and gesture, and I don’t believe Obama won despite that he is Black; I believe he won solely because, for once, people set color and race aside to focus on what truly matters.
And I think that’s beautiful.
403 years ago today (by my count, but remember of course how terrible I am at math), on 5 November, 1605, Guy Fawkes’ plot to blow up Parliament was foiled.
In following years, Fawkes came to regarded more as a hero than as a terrorist. “Guy Fawkes was the only man ever to enter parliament with honest intentions” became a common saying, and in 2002, the BBC ranked him 30th among the 100 Greatest Britons of all time.
Later, Alan Moore used the Fawkes mask in V for Vendetta, which is an awesome movie:
Watching it always makes me tear up. Particularly this scene:
It fills me with a sense of joy and elation, a feeling of possiblity and hope.
The same feeling that filled me last night, first when I saw Barack Obama pull ahead in the polls, and then again when I saw ABC News projecting him as the winner. I didn’t want to believe it; I’ve witnessed two presidential debates that were hijacked within a few hours, or which called for greater deliberation that meant they couldn’t be decided for days or weeks.
But then I saw the rumor that McCain had called Obama to concede, which I found on the Associated Press site.
And then I watched the concession speech.
And that was when it finally started to sink in:
This might really be happening. This could be real.
Given the state of things, I remain cautiously optimistic. I will remain worried about waking up to find something awful has happened. Probably for a while.
But cautious optimism is optimism nonetheless, and of all the rare commodities lately in light of the financial crisis, hope might have been rarest of all.
Evey is right, in that clip up above. The pundits will say this was all about the economy, and partly about race, but I think it was about more than that. It was not just about hope but also ideas, and Evey is right that you cannot kiss an idea, nor touch it, nor hurt it. Ideas do not bleed, nor feel pain.
The same can be said for change. You cannot touch nor hold change.
You can only be it.
And now, we have our chance.
Yes we can.
Yes we did.
Yes we will.
Remember, remember, the fifth of November,
The power and audicity of change.
I can think of no reason
In this autumn season
To doubt or question its range.
Barack, Barack, ’twas his intent
To defeat McCain for president.
Three hundred college votes select
Obama president elect.
By people’s choice he will now lead
A great country toward its greater dreams.
Holloa boys, Holloa boys, let freedom ring.
Holloa boys, Holloa boys, let choirs sing.
I’m more surprised people are surprised by this. By Republican standards, $150,000 is an absolute bargain, considering it’s roughly half what Cindy McCain’s RNC outfit cost.
It’s become apparently newsworthy enough that the GOP is issuing statements concerning it. McCain says she needed new clothing, I guess either because she didn’t have enough, as governor of Alaska, or because everything she owned was maternity wear. They also claim all the clothes will be donated back to charity, by which I suppose they mean PUMA for Hockey Moms or somesuchlike.
To be honest, I don’t care, though I do so enjoy the fact that during the midst of an economic crisis verging on absolute collapse, John McCain can’t keep track of how many homes he earns and Sarah Palin spends very nearly more in a few weeks on clothing than I have so far earned during my entire professional career (and I’m 30. Which probably says a lot about my professional career, or sometimes lack thereof). The only thing I care about is that she’s a total hypocrite. Because here’s the Yahoo! news story in which she denies the rumors and then says that:
It’s kind of painful to be criticized for something when all the facts are not out there and are not reported.
Which reminded me a lot of this video:
From back in March when she “offered Hillary Clinton advice on how to campaign” by criticizing Clinton for a “perceived whine.”
Please may this woman disappear just as quickly as she appeared in the first place.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go early vote. And by ‘early vote,’ I mean cast my ballot for “that one.” And by “that one,” I mean Barack Obama.
Now, I seem to be dreaming of water, and of cities falling into it. The ground beneath my feet has given way at least three times in the past . . . well, I don’t really know how long; it took dreaming about it last night to remember I’d dreamt of it before. And the title of this post is a bit misleading; it’s not inundation like a wave or a tsunami. It’s just giving way.
I don’t know where I am in the dreams. Part of me thinks Los Angeles if only because Los Angeles is the only city I associate with falling into the ocean. There was an amusement park-type setting last night, and maybe a Ferris wheel, which may or may not have been Santa Monica pier . . .
I wonder if it’s because I feel I’ve become unbalanced lately. In many ways. I’ve been teaching and grading and studying so hard I haven’t had nearly as much time to write as I would like. I feel like I’ve gone a bit overboard on politics, here in the blog, in the past couple of weeks, but then again I think that’s because so many of my feelings about the upcoming election are tied to my feelings about September 11th. I know that in many ways (and especially in recent weeks) Obama is just politics as usual (mainly, I think, because he’s playing to undecided voters), and I know many disagree that he is a good candidate, but something about him hits me in the same place watching WTC 7 crumble down hit me. Something about him gives me hope in those places that day deflated.
And yes, I realize that’s more an emotional response than anything, but then again, McCain makes me anxious in the same way those apocalyptic dreams always have.
And again: I didn’t mean to talk about politics here. I meant to talk about dreams and disbalance, because I know we’re all a little exhausted by the whole process by now.
I found out, last week, my grandmother passed away. I don’t know if that has anything to do with these feelings and dreams. She was actually a grandmother-in-law, through marriage (my uncle’s mother), but she was still often present in my childhood, whether as the first house on our annual Halloween trick-or-treating adventures or at my cousins’ birthday parties (three cousins, three parties per year). But I don’t actually remember the last time I saw her; I know it was at the local supermarket, but I’ve returned home less and less these past few years, and Jersey feels farther away than ever. I couldn’t go to her viewing/funeral, but I think what bothers me most about that is that I couldn’t hug my aunt and shake my uncle’s hand. She had a full life 88 years long, children and even grandchildren she watched grow up, and my mother told me it’s a blessing for reasons of recent health, but still, mum mum Kit is no longer around, and I’m a little sad about that. I don’t remember mum mum Kit with hair any other color besides white, pulled so taut back it became an old-fashioned facelift, voice full of old cigarettes and bourbon forgotten years before.
Anyway, I’m going to try to move back from politics. I’m going to also be trying to do some more writing. My real writing, that is, not blogs. That’s not to say I’m taking a break; this doesn’t feel like I’ve felt when I’ve realized I need to walk away from the blog for a while . . . it’s different, somehow. I’d meant to talk about Lulu, but I may be saving that for a couple of weeks just yet, as I’m still trying to figure out the best thing to do with my book.
I wish I could talk about the economy with more knowledge, but I admit up front I cannot. I’m actually looking forward to the next week or two, when my business class transitions from marketing to economics; I’m not sure it’s the sort of economics the country is having trouble with (I sense not so much), but even still I figure there will be connections I can make between the two.
I once read a magazine article about the stock market. I can’t remember which magazine published it, but Rolling Stone is my first guess. The article was about a coming market related to either bulls or bears, whichever is worse, and it parsed the market itself as a sort of nebulous popularity contest. It vaguely connected being a popular stock like Apple or Google or Microsoft (though this was in the days before Google, I believe) to being the popular kid in school, and made the analogy that such popularity was a sort of currency, which was why people traded and bartered it. Why people believed that something so ethereal as a small stake in a zero and a one could be worth actual cash money.
I remember enjoying the article immensely even if I didn’t really understand it. Like I’ve never understood economics, and like I certainly don’t understand what’s going on right now. I guess maybe I really am Joe Sixpack even though my drink of choice is a Smirnoff mixer or a nice glass of wine. But when I open up Yahoo! and its finance page tells me every damned time that the Dow has dropped another twenty points since the last time it piddled itself, and I know that’s bad. I know, vaguely, what it means that it dropped in points, but in real world terms?
Right now, Colorado is split right down the middle between Obama and McCain. It’s a dead heat at 44% of voters each, which is why Palin was in Englewood the other day accusing Barack Obama of “pallin’ around with terrorists,” the best evidence she has of which is the fistbump Obama once gave his wife and the fact that Obama barely knows some guy who did something when Obama was, like, 8 years old.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and all, of course, and right now I’m not sure there’s anyone in America more desperate than the two people on the GOP ticket.
I get people who support John McCain, though, I’ll admit. I did once, too, long, long ago before he let Bush win the GOP primary back in 1999. Before then, I would have said he seemed like a good guy, and I’d like to see him come along after Bill Clinton. The world would be a much different place if we were currently ending a McCain administration instead of a Bush administration, and I’d wager, in fact, that alternate history wouldn’t have led us to such a bleak and very real present, with its economic crises, illegal espionage, and unjust wars. Back in 1999, McCain seemed like the kind of guy who would have told the world on September 12th, 2001, that we had been struck by terrorists and would respond swiftly and surely, and then, you know, responded to the right country.
But that’s not who John McCain is anymore. He’s erratic. He seems to want to believe that America can restores its international image simply by bombing more countries. He doesn’t understand the economic crisis, not in any real way; no one who would lose track of the number of houses his family owns could really grok the mortgage crisis.
So I get people who support him, I think, because they’re supporting who he used to be rather than what he’s done since and what he’s running on, now, and really, who wouldn’t like to go back to 1999? Well. Okay, I wouldn’t, but 2000-2001 would be nice, certainly. I’d dig it.
This is the story of the real John McCain, the one who has been hiding in plain sight. It is the story of a man who has consistently put his own advancement above all else, a man willing to say and do anything to achieve his ultimate ambition: to become commander in chief, ascending to the one position that would finally enable him to outrank his four-star father and grandfather.
In its broad strokes, McCain’s life story is oddly similar to that of the current occupant of the White House. John Sidney McCain III and George Walker Bush both represent the third generation of American dynasties. Both were born into positions of privilege against which they rebelled into mediocrity. Both developed an uncanny social intelligence that allowed them to skate by with a minimum of mental exertion. Both struggled with booze and loutish behavior. At each step, with the aid of their fathers’ powerful friends, both failed upward. And both shed their skins as Episcopalian members of the Washington elite to build political careers as self-styled, ranch-inhabiting Westerners who pray to Jesus in their wives’ evangelical churches.
In one vital respect, however, the comparison is deeply unfair to the current president: George W. Bush was a much better pilot.
Saw most of the debate last night, but gave up on it after a while. I felt like I was just sort of cheering for the side I’d already chosen. One thing I’ve noticed this election cycle is a difference I perceive in the way the different parties seem to be voting. To wit: it seems to me that people who are supporting the Barack Obama/Joe Biden ticket are doing so because they truly believe in it, while people who are supporting the John McCain/Sarah Palin ticket are doing so because they truly believe against its opposite.
Which is to say: it seems to me that the entire election, no matter how people are voting, is being determined by Barack Obama. Either people really like him and believe he can do the job well, or people really dislike him and don’t believe he can do it and so want to keep him from office at all costs.
I read a bit of the debate coverage. I was surprised it recorded higher viewership than the actual presidential debate. One of the reasons I’m rather indifferent here is that, well, No Contest 2008 is a presidential election. Too many people are forgetting that.
Because, seriously, I’m not sure I would have been able to hold back from striding onto that stage and, after McCain’s first response, looking the camera dead in its little electronic eye and saying:
“You’re serious? You’re really not sure whether to vote for this guy or for me? You’ve noticed he’s got a notebook full of letters three feet high because otherwise he can’t remember what he wants to say and they’re not big enough for him to see? You don’t see right through his pathetic ploys to dead soldiers, which he trots out during every media interview he engages in?
Look: I want to help you. I want to cut your taxes and get us through these difficult times. I’m a better candidate because I care about you.
But if you don’t realize that, I can’t help you.
I want to help you, but I can’t if you won’t let me.”
Because seriously, tonight’s debate confirmed all my suspicions. If McCain isn’t completely senile he’s simply incompetent.
I caught this article on Yahoo! concerning Barack Obama’s response to John McCain’s suggesting we postpone the presidential debate to, you know, focus on the economy.
That response? Here:
It’s my belief that this is exactly the time when the American people need to hear from the person who, in approximately 40 days, will be responsible for dealing with this mess.
My response was a little more abstract. It was:
“McCain wants to postpone the debate? You don’t say…”
Because, since the beginning, I’ve thought the debates would be one of the deciding factors in this election. Much like historians sometimes cite the very first televised presidential debates, back in 1960, between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon.
Houghton-Mifflin, purveyors of the textbook of said statistics. Who decided that even though I spent nearly $150 purchasing their textbook, I could only download it once, and then only to one computer, and only then using Adobe Digital Editions. Who the hell uses Adobe Digital Editions? And seriously, I get the new Coldplay, I rip it to my computer, I can listen on any device I want, but I spend nearly ten times as much and you lock me in? It’s a statistics textbook for a business course, and that business model makes me question just how damned authoritative you actually are. Business is about relationships and transactions with your customers. I am your customer, and you totally and completely failed me.
PUMA supporters. Which, apparently, stands for “Party Unity My Ass.” Have you heard of this? All the sad supporters of Hillary who are upset she lost and decided that Obama is the antichrist, and that McCain/Palin is a good choice because Palin is, like, a chick? God, I’m so tired of everyone backhanding Obama and treating McCain/Palin like they wouldn’t be 8 more years of the same. Dear female PUMA supporters; take your heads out of your collective twats long enough to acknowledge that feminism is about more than simply voting for anyone in a skirt.
Both McCain and Palin are proponents of drilling, and not just offshore. The desire/idea to drill seems related to being a Republican; I distinctly remember not long ago when Bush was making the case that we needed to open Alaskan reserves to drilling to, you know, relieve our dependence, or whatever. (which strikes me as further odd, because isn’t the GOP mindset toward less government intervention? I guess it’s just no intervention for those who need it, just for more old white dudes)
Which strikes me as a logically unsound argument. I’ve been teaching my students logical fallacies this past week, and the idea strikes me as one though I’m not sure what sort I’d classify it as. To make an analogy, it seems to me the equivalent of attempting to solve someone’s dependence on heroin by increasing their access to heroin.
It also strikes me as the sort of thing the party who thought ‘economic stimulus checks’ were a good idea would agree is another good idea.
Because, seriously, did that $600 really help all that much? I know I’m still just a broke-ass grad student, but then it ain’t like being a grad student has any relation to being broke at the moment; Lehman Brothers and AIG are both now broke-ass, too.
Which makes me wonder: where’s my $85 billion to bail me out? If the government is going to nationalize the big insurance company and relieve the debts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, why can’t they nationalize healthcare and relieve student loans? I think, for every dollar the federal government uses to either forgive or bolster giant conglomerate companies, they should also pledge one either to a national healthcare policy or to relieving broke-ass grad students of their student loans. Or maybe just lower the interest rate of Federal Stafford loans by, say, 1% or something.
It strikes me that this mad scrambling is the equivalent of cutting off our nose to save our face, rather than spite it. Those stimulus checks were pretty much entirely worthless, just like offshore/reserve drilling is inherently worthless. Just like those stimulus checks have done absolutely nothing to bolster the economy and prevent financial crisis, neither will increased drilling help resolve the energy crisis.
It’s also why I’m voting for Obama. Not just that I think he could deliver a speech like that one, but because he just seems that honest. He seems like the kind of guy who would man up when required, the sort who would say, “You know, I thought this was a good idea, but I’ve reconsidered because it’s just politics as usual and it ain’t gonna work. I pledged to you that I would serve you well, and act in your best interest, and I think rejecting this bill is in your best interest.”
I can’t imagine McCain saying anything remotely similar. All I can imagine McCain saying is, “You know, the situation is complicated, and I have a lot of great advisors I lend credence to–”
(and as a sidenote: since when does ‘advisor’ contain an ‘e’? Is that a British thing, like ‘grey’ versus ‘gray’? Because spellcheck keeps underlining advisor and I keep thinking, ‘No, it’s not, in fact, adviser,’ and I don’t really listen because, come on, spellcheck underlines ‘spellcheck,’ which just seems silly)
Point is, this is the wire, and we’re down to it. You can either vote for an old man who thinks that things are fine and he can make them finer and his Caribou Barbie sidekick who’s a joke of a woman, much less political candidate, or you can vote for someone who’s going to bring the change we want to see in the world.
Gandhi said we must be the change we want to see in the world, and now I say we must vote for it.
Lots of major political happenings the past few days. Obama accepted the nomination on Thursday, right down the street from me, but I deliberately avoided any and all proceedings related to the DNC (I have issues with crowds. And crowd control, which seems an oxymoron).
I watched his speech on Thursday. I wasn’t nearly as moved by his as by Hillary’s, but then again, I think that might be for the better. I’ve heard some people complain that it lacked his usual passion and rhetorical flair, but I have to wonder if that would have been the right place for either. I thought it was a basically nuts-and-bolts speech in which he accepted the nomination and then indicated what he planned to do. One of the biggest complaints against him (besides “arrogance,” but don’t even get me started on that) is that many people felt they didn’t know what he was running for or promising. They didn’t know what his policies were going to be.
I think we have a better idea now. We might not yet know how he plans to accomplish his plans, but at least we know he’s got them, and I think that’s the important part for anyone who was undecided, which is really who that speech was addressed to. I was going to be voting for him anyway, regardless of what he said, because really the other choice is a senile old man, and I think that his speech was for everyone who hadn’t already been swayed by his brilliant rhetoric and bombastic charisma.
And how about that senile old man? McCain’s the other big news with his choice of Sarah Palin, the Tina Fey-lookalike Alaskan governor nobody besides Alaskans had ever heard of before yesterday, to be his vice-presidential candidate.
So, basically, I think McCain believes that all the disenfranchised Hillaristas who are so upset Obama beat their candidate, hands down, are voting based on gender and not ideas or politics, so anyone in a skirt will appease most of them. I can’t think of any other reason. His most oft-repeated criticism of Obama is that Obama lacks experience; meanwhile, Palin’s been governor for less than two years, and of a state whose total population is less than that of Brooklyn. One could argue that she, as a governor, has more executive experience, but if one really wants to make that argument, she technically has more experience than any other candidate, none of whom have political experience outside of the Senate.
I wouldn’t make that argument. I think she’s totally crazy and completely scary. She’s anti-abortion rights. She believes Creationism should be taught alongside evolution in school.
And most of all: do you know that average life expectancy for an American man is 75.6 years? McCain turned 72 yesterday. Which means that, if he’s elected, and if he actually manages to live through his first term, it will actually be unexpected. And this is a man who’s battled malignant melanoma four times between 1993 and 2002.
So on one ticket we have a senile old man who wants to bomb Iran and his conservative, Evangelical Christian running mate who’s been a governor for only slightly less time than McCain is yet expected to live.
On the other, we have a man with solid integrity who seems utterly committed to uniting America in the change he sees as a vision for the future, and his senior Senator running mate.
It really should be no contest, and it’s a damned shame it’s not.
Obama’s naming his own choice for a running mate would effectively keep him in the news for a full week, and would certainly draw focus on him and his campaign at a very crucial moment. By then we might actually no longer be hearing about swimmers and underage gymnasts (which I, personally, think is a moment that can’t come soon enough, thanks).
The article names a handful of possible candidates, picking Hillary as a longshot behind people like Joe Biden and Evan Bayh, and a couple of people I’ve never heard of, Tim Kaine and Kathleen Sebelius. The latter has an impressive Wikipedia page and a good track record.
I should note I’m disappointed that John Edwards is gone from the process. To be honest, I really don’t care about candidates’ personal lives, and I’d still vote for him regardless of his extramarital activities. I don’t think they have any bearing on the good he’s accomplished, and it’s a shame his personal choices will effectively end his political aspirations.
Then again, I’m also the guy who thinks it’s a crock that some random pastor guy grilled Obama and McCain on issues of faith, because I’m also the guy who thinks religiosity comes in at the very bottom on the list of qualities I’d like to see in a leader.
Interestingly, that Yahoo! article speculates about McCain’s choices for a running mate, and names one by which I was surprised: Joe Liebermann. Who you might remember as Gore’s running mate in 2000. Which strikes me as a turncoat sort of thing to do, especially given McCain’s views on the war in Iraq and etc. The other name was Tom Ridge, a former governor of Pennsylvania and a supporter of abortion rights. Lending credence to that: McCain is apparently surveying constituents concerning his choice–
Underscoring how seriously McCain may be considering Ridge or Lieberman, Republican officials say top McCain advisers have been reaching out to big donors and high-profile delegates in key states to gauge the impact of putting an abortion-rights supporter on the GOP ticket.
Which strikes me as hypocritical. In the same debate in which the candidates were moderated by random pastor guy, McCain stuck by his assertion that life begins at conception. It strikes me as a fundamental dichotomy to consider someone who is pro-choice as a running mate, not to mention morally oppositional.