Sunday, September 21, 2008

Election Day, Part 2 - 40 odd days and counting

Well, here we are, 7 months plus since my last election post and guess what. Still no President. Half a billion dollars spent, running mates picked conventions held, interviews given and rally after rally after rally held and televised. And still this endless process continues. We still have debates to look forward to and who knows how many months of vote counting before the partisan power grab is over and we can have dances and parties and all pat ourselves on the back on our exemplary, peaceful, political process.

Most people I know, my relatives excluded, are civilized enough to keep their judgements and opinions to themselves most of the time. Maybe your outfit isn't quite ready for Vogue or you're having a bad hair day. Maybe you're making stupid decisions that are messing up your life and your kids'. Maybe your spouse is an ass and everyone knows it but you. The folks in my circle are usually polite enough to keep their opinions about this kind of situation to themselves until asked. Moreover, they wouldn't presume to tell you what to do or how to think. Until an election comes around.

For the past months, I can't open my email without some propaganda from someone about their favored political candidate. Presumably, until election season, I was deemed intelligent enough to think for myself, to make decisions on mundane things like whether to vaccinate my children, or to send them to public school, or the best way to take care of my and my family's health. Now, all of a sudden, I need to be told by my friends who to vote for and why, whose family values and vice presidential qualifications are acceptable and whose aren't, and which Facebook group to join to tell the world my political views. I need to have the news analyzed by these sudden political experts.

I didn't ask.

It seems, as a matter of fact, that everyone is an expert. As I watch the Emmy Awards tonight, I'm annoyed, but not surprised, that so many of the presenters choose to make political statements. Once again, this is not what I tuned in for.

Last I checked, I was smart enough to know where to go for political information and analysis: any number of cable news shows, magazines, political blogs, the newspaper. That one I can figure out. What I can't figure out is why people who are otherwise lovely, charming and thoughtful would be so insulting as to force their unsolicited political views on me, and then judge me for either not agreeing or asking to be spared. Wasn't it considered in poor taste not too long ago to even discuss politics and religion?

Don't get me wrong. I don't mind a healthy political discussion, a respectful exchange of ideas, of point and counterpoint between equally matched intellects. What doesn't work for me, and never will, is being told by someone not to vote for Barrack Obama because his middle name is Hussein and "Jews can't vote for Hussein," or that John McCain and Sarah Palin are "evil" and a joke. Again, I didn't ask. I notice that most people don't ask about my views, other than to ascertain whether I'm voting their way. As soon as they hear that I'm most likely not, they make it their personal mission to tell me why I'm wrong and why I should.

Now, this is my blog and you came here, so you must want to know what I think. If you're here by mistake, leave now. Once and for all, these are my views:

  • I hate our electoral process. It makes me sick. It's no longer about governing, or improving the lives of the citizens. It's about a power grab for one party at the expense of the other, and of the interests of the American public, who are the last people considered when policy and legislation are being crafted.
  • I don't like either of the candidates for President. I'm not embarrassed to say so. One is too old and one isn't experienced enough. Giving good speeches doesn't make you a great president. As the "greatest democracy in the world," what we deserve is a real choice, with more than two options.
  • I don't like Sarah Palin and I don't like Hilary Clinton. This doesn't make me anti-feminist.
  • I live in a blue state. My vote doesn't count.
  • I'm disgusted by the stronghold of the religious right over the Republican party. This country was founded on the tenet of separation of church and state, yet this party seeks to blur those lines further and further every day. Sarah Palin has called the war in Iraq a "task from God." Jihad, anyone? Yet her party is energized and excited by her nomination. That disconnect is frightening.
  • Whoever gets elected, it won't make a fundamental difference in my and my family's daily lives. This is an unpopular view and certainly some things may change. We all know, though, that what's promised in campaigns isn't what will happen anyway. But our personal challenges and triumphs will continue regardless of who has taken over the White House.
Again, these are my views, and you don't have to agree. Unless asked, I will keep them to myself. If you disagree, I won't judge you and suggest you have inferior intelligence. And I certainly won't let it get in the way of our relationship because in my world, people will always be more important, more genuine and much, much more relevant than politics.


NikJustNik said...

T I love the fact that you are so vocal about what, in my opinion is a long winded, financially exhasuting load of bull crap!!! Seriously...Your economy is collapsing around your heads but it is okay to spend half a billon dollars on an electoral campaign!!! We may not be a huge nation...but your 6 week peaceful electoral campaigns works just fine for us!!!

Ray said...

Well said, T. I don't get people who would never dare tell me how to parent my children, how to dress, what car or house to buy, what food to like, what job to take or what religion to believe in yet feel the need to tell me how to vote. Whatever happened to good old fashioned manners??

tspwlv said...

Nik-what I wouldn't give for a 6 week election cycle!

R-It seems manners are getting harder and harder to come by these days. xx

Anonymous said...

I'm disgusted by the stronghold of the religious right over the Republican party. This country was founded on the tenet of separation of church and state, yet this party seeks to blur those lines further and further every day.

Dubious. The 'religious right' hardly has a stranglehold over the Republican Party. If they did, then John McCain would not be the nominee, Mike Huckabee would. In fact once of the main complaints of the religious right, going back to the Reagan era is that they are too often ignored once elections are over, and those who they help elect, distance themselves from them, once in office.

Reagan did not roll back abortions to the 1920s. He did not impose schoolprayer. He did not mandate teaching Creationism. Neither did Bush 1, and neither did "Dubya". In fact, on one of the religious right's most hot button issues-- gay marriage-- Dubya, aside from rhetorical support, has done little. He has not for example put himelf out much to push for a constitutional amendment for example. The same scenario can be repeated across the board with other nmatters. Dubya's Justic Department for example, is not runnng around filing Friend of The Court briefs against school districts who ban the teaching of creationism.

Furthermore the term 'religious right' too often fails to see that people so described are a diverse bunch. Some vary issue by issue. There are a lotof conservative Catholics for example, who support abortionswhere there is a medical reason, or incest, etc etc.. There are some who have little problem with social-welfare spending on schools, health care etc.. - they are not chomping at the bit for a rollback to the 1920. Indeed their churches are among the foremost sponsors of charitable institutions that help the poor and sick. Ever run into any Catholic hospitals or orphanages? How about the medical institutions run by the Seventh-Day Adventists? Are all these people 'evil' right wingers?

Many 'religious right' people are strong backers of civil rights. This means eqaul opportunity, not body count affirmative action quotas. There is a difference, hard as this is for some people to believe. They want to see women for example get equal pay for equal work. Indeed many of them are working women, teachers, nurses etc.. Do you seriously believe such women want a rollback to the barefoot and pregnant era of the 1800s?

In short, the stereotyped picture of this fanatical horde of bible thumpers bent on destroying 'our Constitution' is massively distorted, and bears little relation to the real lives of people who consider themselves religious.

Sooo... both the notion of a fanatical horde, or the notion of a Republican Party under their evil control, or an all-powerful 'religious right' seeking to impose a 'theocracy', sounds dramatic but has little evidence to it.

Anonymous said...

Now take a look at RAY's statement:

Well said, T. I don't get people who would never dare tell me how to parent my children, how to dress, what car or house to buy, what food to like, what job to take or what religion to believe in yet feel the need to tell me how to vote. Whatever happened to good old fashioned manners??

Think about it for a moment. Where in America are there people telling you how to dress, how to vote, what car to buy, and flouting old fashioned manners? Give up? On our "politically correct" college campuses, where ordinary folk are lectured 24/7 on how greedy, stupid, racist and short-sighted they are.

Remember those Duke ballplayers, condemned as guilty by most of Duke's faculty before the facts were even out? How about Grutter and Bollinger- condemned as "racist" and "selfish" ebcause they questioned why minorities with lower test scores and grades were admitted to the particular college and they, whith higher test scores and grades were rejected because they were white?

How about the guy who during his lunch hour was reading a book called "Notre Dame vs the Klan" about how the Catholic Univ of Notre Dame back in 1924, the vicious days of segregation, STOOD UP TO THE KLAN in a violent confrontation? It didn't matter that the book was against racism and was about FIGHTING racism. A 'minority' co-worker had her brought up before the university administration on charges of "insensitivity" because the book had the word "Klan" in it. The guy had to pay lawyers to fight his case or he would have been gone. He is still out of pocket those expenses, but the university admin and the professors, and leftist activists on campus arent't rushing to help pay those expenses.

How about ordinary students, from ordinary neighborhoods across America harassed and bullied by not only the administration but the politically correct activist groups given a free hand on many campuses? THEY can fill a bottle of urine and put a crufix in it and the professors and admin think its fine. But let one of those ordinary students wear a T-shirt supporting traditional marriage and they are hauled up to face charges of "insensitivity" and threatened with action ranging from compulsory "bad thoughts" ahem, sorry, make that "diversity" training, to suspension to expulsion. See which has well documented cases, including court cases about what is actually going on.

I would like to hear what you and Ray have to say about these "politically correct" folks and THEIR influence on the Democrat party...

tspwlv said...

Anonymous - Why hide when you have so much to say?

You and I clearly differ on the Religious Right's influence on the Republican party. Hasn't McCain had to downplay some of his less conservative views? Wasn't his choice of running mate made entirely to appeal to that group? And aren't they now "energized" by her? I didn't make up the lingo but the fact remains that conservative Christians vote predominantly Republican and if a Republican wants to win a national election, he or she must appeal to that voting bloc. It just so happens that I don't share some of that group's values. That doesn't mean that I think they're evil or that I refute all of the good work done by religious organizations in our country. I just don't like to see any religious influence at all in our government.

Now, I probably wouldn't have written what I did unless I had actually experienced people telling me how to vote or judging me for my political beliefs. And I'm not talking about a college campus. It has nothing to do with being politically correct. It has to do with being polite.

The cases you cite seem do seem ridiculous but I don't have any first hand knowledge of it so I'll have to take your word for it. I do know that in my children's public elementary school, one teacher has magnets with Bible (New Testament) quotes in the classroom while another is afraid to have kindergartners taste apples and honey for Rosh Hashanah, even though her class has been studying Johnny Appleseed and all things apply for a week, because she knows some parent would be offended and complain.

I guess, A, that you seem to have missed the greater point of my post. It's so silly to point to Democrats as the flag-bearers of political correctness gone wrong; or Republicans as the moral stewards of our country. There is nothing about America that can be pigeonholed in one of only two categories. Why must our politics be?