Thursday, April 10, 2008

She said and then She said back...

My Beloved Beth said in comments from my previous post

"For the sake of form, and to help acclimatize your psyche to discord, I submit the following:

You're wrong about Clinton - she isn't a flip-flopper so much as she's just a straight-up liar. Calling her anything else is simply contributing to her "I misspoke I'm sleep deprived you're picking on me because I'm a girl" fantasy world. It's quite easy to know why she changes her mind on any point whatsoever: just ask what the most politically expedient thing to do or say is, and there you'll find the Rosetta stone to all her words and actions.

McCain is the flip-flopper and he seems to be more than a little mentally unhinged. And you can't be paying all that much attention if you're lumping him into the Just Another Republican category, because he's roundly despised by nearly the entire Republican party for loudly rejecting vast continents of their ideology. He's mostly (politically) a decent and rational guy. I don't necessarily agree with him on most issues, but he's not irrational. Except apparently when he decides to get mad. Then he's a fucking whacko.

The idea that experience is vitally important is, in a word, bollocks. "Experienced" unfailingly means "hermetically sealed inside the D.C. bubble for decades" - and when the worst problems with our government is a lack of, well, GOVERNANCE due to
1. breathtaking levels of corruption,
2. an Us vs Them mentality both at home and abroad, and
3. unwavering conviction that I Know What Is Right For The Unwashed Masses -
then why the bloody fucking hell would you want a Washington insider to head up the government? Personally, I plan to use my ballot to vote for a bunch of completely new-to-me names. Goodbye, incumbents, may the door hit your ass on the way out, and slam on the fingers of as many of your fat cat lobbyist followers as humanly possible.

And furthermore, a President is a leader who provides vision and direction - not a grad student outlining a 400-page thesis. Obama has plenty of quite detailed policy plans, but he doesn't cling to each minute point as though it's lifeblood, cramming it down the throats of anyone who stumbles across his path. Considering that every bit of legislation has to go through an ideologically varied (to say the least) Congress, I think it's far more realistic *not* to be dogmatic about each and every fine detail of any plan. A leader provides the the blueprint, and the many representatives of the people work together to figure out how to make it real. Anything else is too much like nagging the architect (who is presenting a blueprint for a lovely and structurally sound house) with questions about the brand of paint that will be used on the hall closet door when said closet actually exists two years from now.

The overwhelming majority of Americans feel as though government does not belong to us, we're not welcome there, shout all you want but they'll keep on doing what they do and if you don't like it - well, they just shrug and keep on. They do what they want and we should just play with our iPods and be happy. So when a politician says "we" and "us" instead of "I" and "me", we feel like maybe we DO matter. Or maybe we can MAKE ourselves matter, we just need the encouragement to try. It's far more realistic and responsible than "I'LL take care of this mess." Fuck that - I'd much rather hear "LET'S fix this mess." It's OUR country to fix, after all.

There is no way for us to clean up the mess in Iraq. A You Break It You Buy It policy would be dandy, sure, but we are by definition the elephant in the china shop. We've been there for 5 years and it's all still chaos and bloodshed and little progress to be seen. We're fucking PAYING Iraqis not to fight. That's a solution? That's how we fix it? No it's not, but no one else has come up with anything that keeps the lid (partially) on. The Iraqi police and militia don't get any stronger and the Iraqi politicians don't get any less corrupt just because we're there. An open-ended stay has done and will continue to do exactly nothing for anyone. Oh, except it allows all those contractors to get richer. All we're doing is waiting for it to explode again. And it will, whether we're there or not.

I'm totally with you on the abortion thing, though.

See? That wasn't so bad, was it? Easy-peasey. And I still totally adore you! Cmon cmon, yell back. You know you want to, and I'm as full of shit as the next person. I just learned to let it out. Open your mouth and bitch more, it's good for your skin!


So I reply, with Love too!

I jumped into the election miasma not very long ago. I felt like "Shit, elections are coming, the candidates are talking, I should probably give some of my attention." So I went to their websites, read what they had to say, then went and read what their critics had to say. Taking every negative with a percentage of bullshit allocated on all candidates to try and find a median of reality. I'm at a slight disadvantage informationwise because of being outside of the country. My head isn't swimming in American politics every day. It's an occasional headline but usually a byline, page 12 or something in the foreign section. I have to use the internet to get information, and the internet, being a major artery of information, is full of bullshit, emotional propaganda and lies.

I envy and admire your ability to be so aware and entrenched. Thank you SO MUCH for giving me some concrete direction to follow.

Clinton is a liar. You're right. I just didn't have the gumption to say it outright. So there's the chaff cut. I can easily ignore the "Because I'm a woman," crap because it's so disingenuous. I think America is ready for a woman president, just not her. Does the fact that after I read that a dozen times on various feminist websites wasn't enough to convince me, but it was Jackie Mason on YouTube who did? Even I shake my head at that. No, really. But there's my confession.

What I read about McCain that turned me off were his views on abortion, wishy-washy "Leave it to the State" views on Creationism in schools and gay marriage. It seemed a standard theme across the Republican candidates which is all I needed to know I didn't want to vote that way. On gay marriage, I think gay couples who are in love and want to promise devotion to each other and be recognized by the state as legally married should be able to and have the same rights and legal protections as hetero couples. I think trying to force religion to accept them is a useless venture. It's another reason why separation of church and state is imperative. My vow was that I knew of no legal impediment to my marriage and to forsake all others until death do us part. Where is the problem if same sex couples promise the same thing?

I also agree that incumbents should be ousted, new blood and new ideas are needed and a fresh new outlook would be cleansing of the dread and dirge from DC. I don't think there has ever been an election where people hadn't wanted that. I just don't have unwavering conviction that Obama is our guy (yet) for the sole reason of I had not heard of him before. I accept that's my failing in not following American politics. But I have watched his speeches and I felt like he says a lot but makes few points. Perhaps I've watched the wrong speeches? I hear the words "hope" and "change" a lot, but everyone has hope. Where's he going to make the change? Perhaps I'm looking at candidate websites and being too critical of the way issues and content are presented. Perhaps I'm being a bit lazy in wanting a bullet point breakdown instead of wading through layers of hope and inspiration to find the nuggets of promise within. I zone out waffle. Politicians waffle. Obama waffles. That's where I worry he's hiding his lack of experience behind his abilities as an amazing orator. Absolutely, a president should provide vision and direction. Obama has lots of vision, but I need to see more of his direction. As it stands, I do see him as the best candidate by a far margin. I just don't like that niggling feeling of not being 100% committed to him. I don't think I should have to make a decision until the very last minute.

I wasn't making issue over "We" vs "I", it was over the "Could do should do" vs "Can do will do." His website has more assertive language than he uses when speaking. So who do I like, Obama or his speech maker and web designer?

I just don't know what it is about Obama that makes me unsure. Sometimes I listen to him and he comes across like a cold reader/medium, saying "The issues" but not stating any issues, leaving the listener to assume the issues in question are the ones the individual feels are important. When he speaks, I zone out. Is it the tone of his voice? The look in his eye? I don't know, but he's a bit of nytol for me. Chamomile tea. I listen, I get the warm fuzzy and then I think - what the hell has he been saying for the past five minutes again? I forgot! He demands a lot of my focussed attention. When other candidates come out throwing hammers that clunk me on the head and make it really easy for me to say no, Obama doesn't. I'm suspicious of his smoothness. I'm frustrated by my inability to maintain focus and alertness when he speaks. Am I lazy? Am I easily programmed? Am I a Loony Tune?

The Iraq issue isn't going to be resolved for another decade and banking on any one candidate to resolve it in the next four years is a wasted vote. You're right, it's going to explode again. They knew that before going in that once Hussein was removed a civil war would break out, Iran and Iraq would start slinging the shit again - none of this was not predicted. To think that America will completely withdraw from Iraq is ludicrous. We still have military presence in Japan and Germany, so what makes anyone think we'll be out of the Middle East any time soon. Well, because Obama says so. Obama is promising 16 months (approximately) guaranteed to get military out of Iraq. He says we will not have a military base in Iraq, but will keep troops there to keep al Qaeda cells from setting up bases and to protect our consulate and embassy. Where do they expect to put those troops if not on a base? He makes that a definitive statement and I really want to know how he plans to make that happen, but I've not found his Sept. 2007 plan. Not even mentioning the other candidates opinions of Iraq because they aren't contenders for my vote at this time, but for fairness:

Hillary says "The most important part of Hillary's plan is the first: to end our military engagement in Iraq's civil war and immediately start bringing our troops home." which I read as let the strong and passionate kill each other off for a while and then we can deal with the weak and scared. Think that's harsh? Well her second phase talks about redeployment of troops to stabilize Iraq's government. Bring them home just to send them back in again? It's not a very well thought out plan apart from trying to get a lot of hoorays in the first year, but to end up back at square one by year four - ripe for a re-election.

McCain is all for staying in Iraq, building it's defense against insurgents, training their army and helping them develop and establish a stable government they will be able to run independently all the while trying to encourage tolerance and cohesion for Shia, Sunni and Kurds. At least he mentions them.

Back to Obama, since I can't listen to Obama because of the induced snooze - and I don't mean he's boring, it's like he's a drug with meditative muzak - I need that 400 page thesis to try and decipher where he's coming from. I have to pinch myself and bypass all of his Glorious New America to try and get the facts. Politics has had smooth talkers and snake oil salesmen for generations, I need to be sure I'm not being seduced by the good talk. I absolutely need him to break down his plan, remove the inspiration, hope, change and tell me straight: What are you going to do? And I mean that from every politician, not just Obama. Most of the others, like I said, throw hammers, Obama throws velvet pillows.


Beth said...

Argh. I have to go to work, so I can't answer at length. But I will say that your reaction to Obama's speaking is not unusual and I think it happens because we've all been listening to nothing but soundbites. He does present a big challenge, because he addresses the complexity of issues, and we want it simplified. It makes me feel like I'm being spoken to as an adult, but it leaves a lot of people wanting the Cliffs Notes version so they don't have to find the salient points themselves. But to say that he's a smooth talker, great orator, but that he also puts you to sleep with the lengthy analysis? Doesn't make any sense. Maybe the droning on about the details bores you, but doesn't that at least prove that there ARE details?

Okay, I really have to blow-dry now,but one thing about Iraq: it is not Germany and it is not Japan. It is not a unified culture and an American occupation in any Islamic country is seen as a moral abomination by the entire region. There's no emperor instructing the people to stand down and submit. We created a vacuum and the only thing we've filled it with is guns and money. Not working. We need to engage the entire region and help the country to find its own way - and NOT through the use of our military. A military doesn't make a country.

Okay agggggh wet hair gotta go!

NWJR said...

Bravo to both of you.

Daisy said...

There is just something about Obama, I can't really put my finger on, that REALLY bothers me. And I don't feel comfortable giving him my vote. Sure he makes great speeches (written by someone else, no doubt), but what else has he to offer. And I DON'T like his wife!